I'm underwhelmed by the performance of the XP VM that was provided by IT along with my win7 install. Because it's a generic company wide image I'm wondering if it might be stuck running in software virtualization mode even though my laptop does support hardware virtualization. Is this a legitimate concern?
AMD-V / VT-x is not always turned on by default. If it is not turned on, you would have to turn this on in the bios.
Once it is turned on, WVPC will use it automatically.
See more info here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/support/configure-bios.aspx