Running the NRC Dairy Cattle Model Software on Windows 7 64-bit Operating System

Lucien McBeth, Ruminant Nutrition Graduate Student, The Ohio State University

The National Research Council's (NRC) website clearly states that the NRC Dairy Cattle Model Software program is not compatible with 64-bit operating systems.  This is not true; you can still use this program if you upgrade your computer.  It will take a few steps and some virtual elbow grease to get there. 

To download the NRC Dairy Cattle Model Software onto Windows 7, you will need to create a Virtual PC with Windows XP on it.  To do this, you will need Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise.  If you are not sure what version you have, you can check by:

  1. Click the start icon in the bottom left corner and go to the control panel.
  2. Go to the System and Security link.
  3. Under the System heading, there will be a link that says "See the name of this computer", follow this link.
  4. At this panel, you will see what edition of Windows 7 you have.  Make sure that it is Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise.  If not, you will need to purchase one of these upgrades.  You will not be able to download the NRC program on the Home edition.
  5. You may want to keep this panel open to refer back to while installing Windows XP Mode.

If you have one of these editions, you can continue on with these steps to install Windows XP Mode:

  1. Print these instructions out; you will be restarting your computer.
  2. Go to and click on the link in the orange box that says "Get Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC now".
  3. Select your edition of Windows 7 and the preferred language in the dropdown boxes under the heading "Select your edition of Windows 7 and desired language for installation".
  4. Click on the "Download" box under Window XP mode.
  5. Click "Continue" when a box comes up that asks for a Window Validation, and click "Continue" when the validation is successful.
  6. Select "Save File" when the option comes up.  This is the execution file that will install Windows XP mode and is a large file that will take some time to fully download.
  7. Once finished, double click on the file to run it, and then click continue on the installation panel that comes up.
  8. Select a location for the file (suggested location is the best) and click next.  This installation is setting up a "hard drive" on your computer's actual hard drive.
  9. Once this installation is complete, click finish and return to the website that should still be open (if you closed it, return at
  10. Click on the "Download" box under "Step 3" on the website.
  11. Select the "open with" option with "Windows Standalone Installer..." and click "ok".  This should download a file.
  12. Once this file is downloaded, another box will come up with "Do you want to install the following Windows software update?", click "Yes" and eventually "I Accept". This will install the Virtual PC.
  13. Once this is installed, a prompt will come up asking to restart the computer and click yes.
  14. If you have Window 7 Service Pack 1, skip this step (you can find out by returning to the panel telling you the edition that you have).  If not, after restarting the computer, return to the website and click on the box in "Step 4" labeled "Update" and follow those prompts.
  15. You are finished creating a Windows XP Mode. Now you will need to install the NRC program on this "machine" - refer to the steps below.

To install and run the NRC program, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Start icon, all programs, scroll down and find the folder named "Windows Virtual PC" and click on the "Window XP Mode" program.
  2. The first time that you use this program, it will ask you to agree to the terms, create a password, choose whether to install Automatic Updates (suggested to choose "yes"), and to share the files (suggested to choose "yes").  This will set up Windows XP on the Virtual PC and will not need to be done again.  This will take some time though.
  3. Once this is finished, a program screen will come up that will look like the home screen of the old Windows XP.  This is your "Virtual PC"; it is essentially a whole new computer on your existing physical computer.  I suggest installing an antivirus protection program on this "PC" if you will be using the internet or any other programs that you do not trust.  Windows does offer a free one that can be downloaded from their website (use the Internet Explorer Icon that is on this screen).
  4. Insert the NRC Program Installation CD, or find the program on the NRC website (you must go to this link on the web browser on the Windows XP window, and choose "Save" but not "Run").
  5. If using the CD, click on the "My Computer" icon on the start menu of the Windows XP screen, and select the CD-ROM drive.
  6. Choose the "NRC- Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle (Setup)" Icon, and choose "Yes" to install.
  7. Install the NRC Program as if you were installing any other program.
  8. Install a printer on this Virtual PC; just insert any printer CD-ROM and install it in the same manner that you installed the NRC (steps 5 through 7; this will take care of the old glitch in the program that will not let you view a report of the diet if a printer is not installed).
  9. Whenever you want to run the NRC Program, you will need to "Start Up" your Virtual PC (just go to the start menu and select the Windows XP Mode).  Clicking on the "x" box at the top of the screen will "Hibernate" your Virtual PC, as if you were turning it off.  DO NOT "Log Off" on the Start Menu; this will do you no good.
  10. If you would like to minimize your Virtual PC and return to your main computer but do not wish to turn it off, you can minimize this window my selecting the minimize symbol at the top of the screen.  To pull the XP Mode window back up, just click on the icon at the bottom that looks like a monitor with a square coming out of it.