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Old 08-05-2009, 04:17 AM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default Microsoft Releases "Windows XP Mode" Release Candidate

From our front-page news:
One of the more touted features of Windows 7 has got to be the "Windows XP Mode", which aims to tackle an issue that some found themselves with when moving to Windows Vista... incompatibility. With Windows XP, compatibilities existed, but they usually weren't a major issue. Vista was the stark opposite though, with many peripherals simply not working, and applications as well. While XP Mode could only be considered an unbelievable workaround, it should do well to please anyone who'll need to use it.

Last week, we posted an article taking an introductory look at virtualization, and how it works. Windows XP Mode uses the same technology, through Microsoft's Windows Virtual PC application. With Windows 7 (and any current version of Windows for that matter), anyone can go and download the application for free. But if you want to use "Windows XP Mode" as Microsoft calls it, you'll need to be using either the Professional or Ultimate version of 7. If you're on Home Basic or Home Premium, you'll have to provide your own copy of XP.

For those with Professional or Ultimate installations, you're now able to download the RC version of Windows XP Mode and get to work right away. If all goes well, it should be simple, and everything should work as hoped. The RC features some updates worth noting, such as USB sharing. This means that your XP installation can utilize your USB devices such as printers and flash drives without issue.

To make use of the Windows XP Mode, you need a processor that supports either AMD's "AMD-V" or Intel's "Intel VT". Most recent CPUs support these, but to make sure, you should look up your respective CPU model on the vendor's website. To read more about Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode, check out Microsoft's site here. If you happen to take this for a spin, post in our forums and let us know how you made out!


Windows XP Mode provides what we like to call that "last mile" compatibility technology for those cases when a Windows XP productivity application isnít compatible with Windows 7. Users can run and launch Windows XP productivity applications in Windows XP Mode directly from a Windows 7 desktop. I also strongly recommend that customers install anti-malware and anti-virus software in Windows XP Mode so that Windows XP Mode environment is well protected.


Source: Windows Team Blog
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:52 AM   #2
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From our front-page news:[INDENT]One of the more touted features of Windows 7 has got to be the "Windows XP Mode", which aims to tackle an issue that some found themselves with when moving to Windows Vista... incompatibility.
You may have to forgive me for this as I'm sure I'm not quite understanding this whole concept.

Microsoft is suggesting that we install Windows 7 so that we can run XP in a virtual session a la VMWare.... Come get the newest thing so you can end up using the old thing? What is up with that?

It seems to me that if Windows 7 is going to have problems with older software (written for win2k and xp) why not just install XP and be done with it?

It seems to me the smartest thing would be to wait a year and let software developers catch up to the windows 7 requirements...

If there is one thing getting old has taught me it's that newer isn't always better.
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Old 08-05-2009, 08:13 AM   #3
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i'm thinking this is more for companies that older software that they use that works if XP and not vista. probably don't/can't get it upgraded to be used in win7 but want the improvements win7 gives.

thats just my thought
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Old 08-05-2009, 08:27 AM   #4
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i'm thinking this is more for companies that older software that they use that works if XP and not vista. probably don't/can't get it upgraded to be used in win7 but want the improvements win7 gives.

thats just my thought
I don't disagree... but I do have to wonder what improvements they would get if they are running in XP mode...

Maybe in a mixed environment... older stuff that, as you say can't be updated mixed in with newer software that won't backdate... but beyond that I don't see much value in the whole idea...

But maybe that's just me???
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:05 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by 2Tired2Tango
Come get the newest thing so you can end up using the old thing? What is up with that?
They are not stressing this as being a feature everyone will use, but are offering it to people as a last resort, of sorts, for applications or devices that might not function in Vista, due to whatever reason. They don't expect people to use Windows XP for more than anything than this, because really, you have Windows 7 right there, so what's the point in that?

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Originally Posted by 2Tired2Tango
It seems to me that if Windows 7 is going to have problems with older software (written for win2k and xp) why not just install XP and be done with it?
Because it's an eight-year-old operating system. Windows 7 (and Vista for the most part), are better OS' in almost every regard, except for maybe the incompatibility. This probably won't happen for a while, but if you use a current OS, at least you know everything you buy from that point will be tailored for it, from peripherals to applications. We might reach a time soon where more works in 7 than works in XP. Again, this will take a while.

What it is good for, is to use it as a security measure. Not sure about what you just downloaded? Scan or install it first in the virtual machine, and see what happens. That's just one scenario.

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If there is one thing getting old has taught me it's that newer isn't always better.
In this case, I think it's an exception. There are few people who've used 7 and still complain about it. Microsoft was smart to have such a robust beta period, and in all seriousness, the OS was for the most part rock-stable in January, so come the release in October, it should be near-perfect. Don't quote me ;-)

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Originally Posted by evilives34
i'm thinking this is more for companies that older software that they use that works if XP and not vista.
True, which is why they are calling this a business feature, and don't include it in Home Premium.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Tired2Tango
Maybe in a mixed environment... older stuff that, as you say can't be updated mixed in with newer software that won't backdate... but beyond that I don't see much value in the whole idea...
Compatibilityis all it comes down to. But, another scenario like mentioned in our virtualization article, is to take a developer user. If they have this feature, they can test their software in Windows XP without even rebooting their machine. Or like what I mentioned before, being able to test things of any software in XP first before 7, is a nice perk.
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:18 PM   #6
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Exactly, XP mode is for those users that want to run old 2000-era software inside Windows 7. I'm frequently hearing about people that have programs that work in XP, but not Vista or W7 and this virtual XP fixed the problem. Such as a friend of mine is still using Photoshop 6, it doesn't install under W7 but it installed into his virtual XP apparently.

Users can't simply install XP onto a computer after Windows 7 was installed unless they have a great deal of PC know how, or can unplug the W7 drive first and use a second drive. And that is assuming they have a unused license, know their key, and have the install media easily accessible. Giving users the option to install XP through a minimized Virtual PC was a much better route to go, especially since it is free for those with the Pro or Ultimate OS's.
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Old 08-09-2009, 03:30 PM   #7
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Users can't simply install XP onto a computer after Windows 7 was installed unless they have a great deal of PC know how, or can unplug the W7 drive first and use a second drive.
Windows 7 won't dual boot XP (or whatever)?

That sucks.
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Old 08-09-2009, 04:02 PM   #8
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Windows 7 won't dual boot XP (or whatever)?

That sucks.
It will, but it is like Vista. If you have Windows 7 or Windows Vista installed first, then a user can't simply install XP without it trashing W7 or Vista's changed/updated bootloader. XP uses a different bootloader config.

If the user has XP installed first, then Vista and W7 will detect and modify XP's bootloader to dual-boot properly. But XP simply isn't smart enough and overwrites everything else it runs across. Users would need to seperate the bootloaders, or do some heavy modifications to prevent XP from fouling up newer versions of Windows.
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:49 AM   #9
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If the user has XP installed first, then Vista and W7 will detect and modify XP's bootloader to dual-boot properly. But XP simply isn't smart enough and overwrites everything else it runs across. Users would need to seperate the bootloaders, or do some heavy modifications to prevent XP from fouling up newer versions of Windows.
That makes sense... One can't expect software to predict the future. But backtracking is expected.

Thanks Kougar.
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Old 08-10-2009, 12:29 PM   #10
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Such as a friend of mine is still using Photoshop 6, it doesn't install under W7 but it installed into his virtual XP apparently.
Haha... someone is in bad need of an upgrade! That's a perfect example though.

As for the boot-loader, sometimes all you need to do after installing XP is to boot up with the Vista/7 DVD and click "Repair your computer" rather than the install button. That will search the drive for issues, and it should detect the Windows XP installation and add it to the boot loader. If that doesn't work, you could download a program like EasyBCD and overwrite the bootloader with a fresh configuration. With that program, you can create a new BCD boot-loader (Vista/7), and then add your legacy OS listing to it. You could even install a separate boot-loader, like GRUB, if you wanted to.
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:24 PM   #11
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That makes sense... One can't expect software to predict the future. But backtracking is expected.

Thanks Kougar.
That is true enough... however I am pretty sure installing Vista won't ruin an existing install of Windows 7 and would dual-boot with it just fine. I've not tested that out personally, though!

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As for the boot-loader, sometimes all you need to do after installing XP is to boot up with the Vista/7 DVD and click "Repair your computer" rather than the install button. That will search the drive for issues, and it should detect the Windows XP installation and add it to the boot loader. If that doesn't work, you could download a program like EasyBCD and overwrite the bootloader with a fresh configuration. With that program, you can create a new BCD boot-loader (Vista/7), and then add your legacy OS listing to it. You could even install a separate boot-loader, like GRUB, if you wanted to.
Once XP screws up the Vista install the the "Repair your computer" via disc method won't work... at least it didn't work for me when I tried it out. (Been a few years, but I want to say it could not find the OS to repair it). Ever since I simply disconnect all OS inhabited drives when installing a copy of Vista or W7, and reconnect them after the install is completed.

EasyBCD is great but it can only be executed in Vista as I recall... not XP. So if all you have left is XP and a ruined Vista install, you are still in deep trouble. I agree it's a very handy program to have for Vista / W7 though...
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:25 AM   #12
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Once XP screws up the Vista install the the "Repair your computer" via disc method won't work... at least it didn't work for me when I tried it out. (Been a few years, but I want to say it could not find the OS to repair it). Ever since I simply disconnect all OS inhabited drives when installing a copy of Vista or W7, and reconnect them after the install is completed.

EasyBCD is great but it can only be executed in Vista as I recall... not XP. So if all you have left is XP and a ruined Vista install, you are still in deep trouble. I agree it's a very handy program to have for Vista / W7 though...
You know... something like this might make for a good article. There are no doubt lots of people out there who don't know the first thing about dual-booting, so perhaps a robust article explaining how it works, and various scenarios and their solutions, would be a good idea. Thoughts?

EasyBCD does work in Windows XP, and the developer website uses XP for all their screenshots, so I'd assume it works fine there. Can you write a fresh BCD boot-loader from within XP? I'm not sure, but I assumed so. I really need to test this out...
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:52 AM   #13
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You know... something like this might make for a good article. There are no doubt lots of people out there who don't know the first thing about dual-booting, so perhaps a robust article explaining how it works, and various scenarios and their solutions, would be a good idea. Thoughts?
Well, I suppose it's worth writing about again, especially since there will be an influx of XP users using Windows 7. I'd need to do some research again though...

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EasyBCD does work in Windows XP, and the developer website uses XP for all their screenshots, so I'd assume it works fine there. Can you write a fresh BCD boot-loader from within XP? I'm not sure, but I assumed so. I really need to test this out...
You made me install EasyBCD again on my XP laptop just to be sure I remembered correctly. EasyBCD does not work in XP, it's designed to only be run on machines that have Vista or W7's bootloader present. Maybe that means it can be run if I install it into a dual booting computer... but standalone XP is a nogo.
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:38 PM   #14
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You made me install EasyBCD again on my XP laptop just to be sure I remembered correctly. EasyBCD does not work in XP, it's designed to only be run on machines that have Vista or W7's bootloader present. Maybe that means it can be run if I install it into a dual booting computer... but standalone XP is a nogo.
No doubt it does, since as I mentioned, all the screenshots on their website are taken using Windows XP. Again, I'll test this out in the near-future if possible to make sure.
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