August 19, 2010

Windows 7 XP Mode

Image representing Windows 7 as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBaseBy The Computer Doctor
Video By Jonathan Mann

So many of you are still bemoaning the shortcomings of Microsoft's project Longhorn which has spawned the Windows Vista and Windows 7 series of operating systems.

Despite the compatibility mode which is supposed to make older software run properly, many times we find erroneous errors popping up in our applications or that the applications will not run at all.

Well for once I applaud a Microsoft decision with reservation of course. If you own a legitimate copy of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate you can get for no additional cost the Windows XP mode. This is a virtual machine of Windows XP running on Microsoft Virtual PC platform.

My reservation of course is that if you have Windows 7 Basic or Home premium or any copy of Windows Vista you are S.O.L.

My experience with XP mode is in helping a customer who couldn't run software for her class that was required for school. Her computer specs were a 2.8 Ghz processor with 8 Gb of RAM and a 250 GB hard drive running Windows 7 Professional. We tried running in compatibility mode, changing graphics modes, cleaning the registry, and re-installing multiple times. Why shouldn't a 6 year old program designed for Windows XP Professional work on this system? Because the Windows Kernel has more forks than a public school cafeteria! So now what was she to do? Search endless garage sales for a used computer with Windows XP on it?

The answer came from one of my oldest tricks from the Linux side. If you can't beat them then join them with a virtual machine running the OS that the software you need was designed for. Microsoft finally saw the light in making a real XP environment available for these circumstances.

See the following promotional video for more information and to see what this XP mode looks like.

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