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I think TECHNICALLY you can also install Oracle VirtualBox (free) and install a (licensed) copy of Windows XP and run that as a virtual OS. I say "technically" because it will run that way although you would also be in violation of your Microsoft EULA for regular Win7! This just gets SO frustrating...!
My understanding is in order to have compatibility mode work in Windows 7 it has to be at least Windows 7 Professional version. That's what I have and I routinely use programs written for Windows XP and it works fine. I'm only speaking about the 32 bit version. I also understand they don't have such a mode in Windows 8 or 8.1 which makes me reluctant to upgrade, since I assume it'll break all my old programs. Oh, what Redmond considers to be "compatible" I'll never understand...
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May 25, 2015