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A Mixed Review For Windows 7's XP Mode 137

Posted by timothy
from the weak-solution dept.
The Register writes "If one thing excited people more than the disclosure of the Windows 7 Release Candidate's availability, it was the news of Windows 7 XP Mode. The Reg's Tim Anderson gave Windows XP Mode a mixed report in his review of the Windows 7/Virtual PC combo. Overall, the level of integration is excellent and Windows XP Mode showed strong potential. However, responsiveness of applications was sluggish and the seamless integration between Windows 7 and XP proved confusing."
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A Mixed Review For Windows 7's XP Mode

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  • by ignavus (213578) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @12:54AM (#27803619)

    If one thing exited people

    I don't think that phrase means what you think it means...

    • by dov_0 (1438253)

      If one thing exited people

      I don't think that phrase means what you think it means...

      But the irony is delicious. A Freudian slip perhaps?

  • by Bandman (86149) <bandmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday May 03, 2009 @12:55AM (#27803629) Homepage

    It sounds like OS X with the OS 9 compatibility layer...

    Except for the part where OS 9 wasn't better than OS X

    • I dunno. There's a reason why Apple didn't make OS X the default until 10.1.2... :)
    • by jonbryce (703250)

      Or OSX with Parallels Desktop.

    • Just for the record, both IBM OS/2 and Windows NT had VMs for backwards-compatibility. In fact Vistas still ships with the old school NTVDM, and Windows 7 probably will too.

      I know that Mac users kinda missed the entire 1990s technology-wise, so this is worth posting. ;)

      • True, though OS/2 went a few steps further - including allowing multiple VMs running simultaneously, and each could be running different versions of DOS - all without them having to use virtual disks for storage or other functions.

        And if VirtualBox continues in the direction it is going, then by the time this feature for Win7 gets out of beta, it will be running right into nice cross platform competition. Since I run various operating systems, I'd rather standardize on a VM technology that can run on all o

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Since you're mentioning VirtualBox on Linux you should take a look at dosemu while you're there. It has the same kind of DOS emulating functionality as OS/2 did.

  • Did they really change enough to warrant something like this? What is Win7 lacking that prevents older applications from running?

    • Re:What's missing? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by commlinx (1068272) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @01:10AM (#27803709) Journal

      Did they really change enough to warrant something like this? What is Win7 lacking that prevents older applications from running?

      When I moved to Vista x64 I created a few VMWare XP virtual machines and it did ease the pain of having a handful of applications that wouldn't run under Vista. It's probably not aimed so much at mainstream applications that will have any Windows 7 incompatibilities patched quickly, more at a few legacy niche applications that may otherwise prevent an enterprise from moving to Windows 7.

      As another example I have a few USB device programmers and other electronics gear that are end of life so don't have Vista USB drivers, however they would have been expensive to replace so there's no way I would have moved to Vista without being able to use them under a VM.

      • Re:What's missing? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @04:47AM (#27804519)

        Ya in general use, you find no problems. I'd place Vista 64-bit as having a compatibility between 99%-99.9% I've used all kinds of apps including engineering software, video editors, DAWs, game, compilers, and so on and nearly everything works without flaw. However there are apps that don't. Some can be fixed by hacking around with settings, though that is beyond many users, but some just flat out don't work. They are all old, of course, some of them are 16-bit apps (64-bit Windows doesn't have a compatibility layer for 16-bit).

        So something like this is useful for the old apps that are still needed, but never getting upgraded. Hell at work (engineering department at a university) we have some computer that run DOSBox to run old DOS apps, because that's the only thing that controls a given piece of hardware.

        While most apps get updated for current systems, not all do. In fact, not even all hardware does. For example if you search around, you can located modern motherboards, like Core 2 boards, with ISA slots. Now why the hell would you want that? I mean even PCI is now on the deprecation list. Well, because some companies in very specialized fields are stuck in the past. Our chip fab has that problem. They have equipment which only has an ISA interface to the computer and the company refuses to make a PCI one. Thus, it is either use an old computer, or buy a new board with ISA support.

        So this XP layer is kinda like the ISA boards: Not needed for the majority of people out there (hence why it isn't in there by default) but available for those stubborn apps that won't update.

        • by thsths (31372)

          > I'd place Vista 64-bit as having a compatibility between 99%-99.9%

          You must be joking. IÂtried Windows 7 Beta in 64bit, and I have a surprising amount of applications with 16bit installers around. Yes, they are a few years older, but they would still do the job, and still work, if it was not for the installer.

          I know that Microsoft is doing some fudging by automatically replacing the installer binary with a 32bit version in recognised cases. But obviously that did not work for some applications, or

          • by headbulb (534102)

            http://blogs.msdn.com/craigmcmurtry/archive/2004/12/14/301155.aspx [msdn.com]

            16bit installers are detected and replaced with a 32bit installer.

            See bottom of document #1

            • by BobPaul (710574) *

              That's a neat trick. I had a lot of trouble when first trying 64bit windows due to 16bit installers. Generally, I'd extract the installer manually if Winzip/Winrar would handle it, or I'd find another machine to start the installer and then find where it extracted to in the temp folder and copy that over. Of course, that was before I found Gentoo and left the world of windows (mostly) behind.

            • Interesting read, thanks for the link. I'm having a very similar problem installing Adobe Illustrator 8.0 on Vista Home Premium x64 (I know, spend some money and upgrade, blah, blah). Thanks to the article, I now believe it is related to the fact that Illustrator uses a 16-bit installer, but unfortunately there is no 32-bit equivalent for it to swap out for. I wonder if I copy the .exe and any supporting .dlls off of my old XP x86 machine if I could get it running, bypassing the installer.
        • by BobPaul (710574) *

          Our chip fab has that problem. They have equipment which only has an ISA interface to the computer and the company refuses to make a PCI one. Thus, it is either use an old computer, or buy a new board with ISA support.

          I've run into similar problems. Did you know there's multiple different types of PCI slots? They're differentiated by a divider in the slot itself, much as AGP 4x was differentiated from 8x. Most PCI cards are universal cards and most slots are the newer, 3.3v(?) kind.

        • by MrCrassic (994046)
          Actually, the ISA slots can be an incredible help in troubleshooting issues when PCI/PCIe/Integrated Video/AGP do not work. I think that one way to tell if there was a hardware issue before was to plug an ISA video card and check.
        • Ya in general use, you find no problems. I'd place Vista 64-bit as having a compatibility between 99%-99.9% I've used all kinds of apps including engineering software, video editors, DAWs, game, compilers, and so on and nearly everything works without flaw....

          Wow! That's impressive! So... Vista 32bit doesnt come close to achieving that level of backwards compatibility - yet Vista 64bit, which has the added problem of not dealing with most 16bit code in any software (just about anything except certain install code that it recognizes and can replace "on the fly"), is more compatible than the 32bit version?

          That's amazing! Or, maybe the word I am looking for is impossible.

          While such may be your experience, that does not mean that it is applicable to all. Because 9

      • VirtualBox (Score:5, Interesting)

        by toby (759) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @09:34AM (#27805581) Homepage Journal

        Several Vista users I know hate it so much they asked me to install VirtualBox [virtualbox.org] running XP - after they saw it running on my wife's Mac. (She only uses it because some sites use browser plugins not available for OS X - another effect of the monopoly).

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      The ability to run 16 bit programs. Yes, there's still lots of them around.

      The ability to provide read/write access to c:\Program Files\ and c:\Windows\ or whatever they are called in Windows 7.

      • The former you can possibly make a case for. Getting rid of the latter is one of the big reasons for Vista/Win7.

        Eventually you will either have to transfer your app to a VM or rewrite it entirely. Especially if you're running a closed-source consumer OS on consumer equipment. Hardware and software advance, old equipment fails, and software suffers from 'bit rot'.

        There are exceptions to the rule of obsolescence, but they're not relevant to a discussion on windows, and vice versa.

      • by BobPaul (710574) *

        The ability to run 16 bit programs. Yes, there's still lots of them around.

        Is Win7 64bit only? It can't be, they're touting it for netbooks. Did they drop support for 16bit from the 32bit release? Back when I used Windows, this was an issue on XP64, but I only encountered 32bit apps that had 16 bit installers, and it sounds like they've got something special for this case.

        The ability to provide read/write access to c:\Program Files\ and c:\Windows\ or whatever they are called in Windows 7.

        Don't they just prompt you with the UAC as in Vista? Hell, Vista also has a overlay of program files in c:\users\[username]\appdata\ (or there abouts) so a program storing config information in c:\program files\[

    • by Stevecrox (962208)
      It's not what they changed but the non-sense application writers have done. realMyst is a great game but there were alot of fudges written into it so it barely functions in windows xp, Discworld 2 is anouther example and alot of game installers were written to an inordinate amount of information to a Win 9x registry which they can't do in Vista/7. Currently I use Virtual PC with a mix of Win98/WinXp virtual drives to play these older games.
      • by BobPaul (710574) *

        alot of game installers were written to an inordinate amount of information to a Win 9x registry which they can't do in Vista/7.

        Can't you just right-click, run as administrator? Me thinks the registry isn't the problem, but I don't doubt something else is. I believe UAC prompts if something tries to write to someplace in the system.dat portion, so running as administrator shouldn't even be required.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)

      Programs written correctly, following the documentation for Windows 95+, still work fine in Vista. There aren't a ton of these.

      The problem Microsoft is dealing with is the thousands of applications written using undocumented functions, diving directly into implementation data structures without using the API, saving files in places they shouldn't (i.e. blithely saving temp files into /Program Files without using the API which returns the correct folder for temp files-- lots of video games do this), relying

      • by BobPaul (710574) *

        Vista has folder redirection for programs writing to /Program Files/ directly. Take a peak through the hidden folders in your /users/[username]. Did they remove this from Win7?

        I guess, I'm not a Windows user, but I do occasionally have contact with Windows, still. I found a lot of annoyances in Vista, but not a lot in the way of incompatibilities--at least, nothing that shouldn't be expected, such as the 16bit thing on 64bit computers.

        But I guess what you're telling me is that if it worked on Vista it shoul

        • by Blakey Rat (99501)

          I'm sure it still has it. I guess I should have been more specific, since I seem to have confused people:

          This virtual XP takes the existing compatibility "stuff" in Vista to the next level Vista already has a bunch of compatibility tweaks to lie to the application in ways that makes it think it's bad operations are working. With this virtual XP, those applications *are* actually working.

      • So the XP layer helps users run those applications, while also letting Microsoft actually *improve* their OS in the way that Apple and Linux (systems who don't give half a whit for backwards compatibility) can.

        When OS X was introduced it included an OS 9 VM for years ("classic mode"). After the switch to Intel OS X included a PPC VM ("Rosetta") which still allows all PPC programs to run on Intel Macs. In fact, with 3rd party software (e.g., VMWARE Fusion and a copy of Windows XP), a Mac is exactly as compatible with old Windows programs as a PC is.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @12:58AM (#27803653)

    ...Overall, the level of integration is excellent and Windows XP Mode showed strong potential. However, responsiveness of applications was sluggish and the seamless integration between Windows 7 and XP proved confusing...

    I submit:

    In the above quoted statement, substitute KDE 4.x for Windows 7 and KDE 3.5 for Windows XP. It still makes sense.

    Ironic to say the least.

    • by BobPaul (710574) *

      [quote]It still makes sense.[/quote]

      This is where you lost me.

    • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

      That could only make sense to someone that has no idea of what KDE actually is.

    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      Well, KDE 4 with Qt 4 is installed to my OS X, running as native application, using OS X frameworks although it needs some testing. I suspect it is same deal on KDE/4 Windows too.

      OS X one: http://pdb.finkproject.org/pdb/browse.php?summary=kde4 [finkproject.org]

      KDE 4 has made such a revolution with possible future of running in embedded systems, phones and anything you can imagine. What did Vista or 7 achieve?

  • I find it disturbing that people could become become acclimated enough to Vista's horrendous interface that XP is somehow confusing.
    • s/become become/become

      Hey, it's 0100 EST, and I've been coding for ten hours straight :).
    • by Khyber (864651)

      I find it more disturbing that a feature 'found in windows Vista or windows 7' has been around in XP the entire time and peopple are just NOW noticing it (left-click the 'remove hardware' icon in the taskbar when you have something plugged into USB.)

      It's sad how ignorant most people are, that they're shown something very old as if it were something new and they go "oooh, shiny!"

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Actually I'm not. Remember that people had the same issues with the transition from 3.x to 9x. Then people had the same issues in the transition from 9x to XP. Even with the minor revisions there were enough issues to warrant support calls over it, and people wanted the old vanilla UI brought back. Remember how lost a lot of people felt moving from CLI to a GUI? While there's a large segment of people here who still work in a CLI environment, even that is slowly moving away in the Linux environment to

      • I expect within 20yrs, that programing will move from CLI to a complete object oriented programing system. And people will wonder why people wrote in lines of code, after the universal adoption of a standard UI/Programing interface system.

        Erm, object oriented programming has nothing to do with CLI/IDE, it has more to so with applying software engineering paradigms like using code objects and having them interact in all sorts of funky ways instead of writing a goo of procedural spaghetti mess.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Object_oriented [wikipedia.org]

  • Then I could watch YouTube in fullscreen. Maybe this could be a way of solving legacy code problems. Why make a new OS backward compatible when you can completely scrap old code. Use a virtual OS for backward compatibility.
  • i am more exited than everyone else about windows that's why i got a mac
  • Couldn't you just run it in a vm?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by zxjio (1475207)
      This is a VM integrated graphically into the Win7 GUI. FTA: "Most of the features called Windows XP Mode are really features of the new Windows Virtual PC." Their "virtual application support" for the top Win7 editions just makes it more convenient.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BobPaul (710574) *

      Did you even read the article?

  • by sjames (1099) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @01:31AM (#27803799) Homepage

    The feature your customer base is most excited about in your new product is that it can run the years old version nearly as well as the old version would run on the bare hardware (if they could get a license for that).

    • So skip it and go straight to Win2k. No "authentication" nonsense with that.
    • The feature your customer base is most excited about in your new product is that it can run the years old version nearly as well as the old version would run on the bare hardware (if they could get a license for that).

      Aw, c'mon. The reason why this gets so much attention these days is that it was a new, previously unannounced feature, with long-reaching consequences. Everything else we already saw in the beta several months ago (and, in case you missed the reviews back then, they were mostly quite excited, too).

    • by Kaboom13 (235759)

      When the reality is you want to upgrade, but one stupid old app you use once a month is keeping you from doing it, it's a really good feature. Whether we like it or not, xp is going by the wayside. Already some newer hardware does not have xp drivers, and even more does not have vendor supported xp drivers. Not to mention, there really is some tech in Vista, and more coming in 7, to be excited about in a business enviroment. The problem until now for many enviroments has been the migration path has been

      • by sjames (1099)

        I'm not claiming XPM is a bad feature, just the opposite. It seems it is the best feature of the new OS. I can imagine smoother ways they could do that, but at least they provided something to address the large legacy software base.

        I'm not even claiming that Windows 7 isn't a step up from XP, just that it's not what the customer base is clamoring for.

    • by arkhan_jg (618674)

      Of course, XPM is free with windows 7 professional upwards - and ironically, it's the one of the few ways to get a new XP licence unless you're buying a netbook or downgrading vista licences.

      I dunno about you, but installing XP on new standalone hardware (using our legacy VLK licences) is a royal pain in the bum these days. Needing a floppy disk to install the SATA drivers, or patching the OS ISO, futzing around trying to find compatible sound card drivers, wireless network card drivers, the multitude of pa

      • Aren't you allowed to use something like nLite to create OS images?

      • by sjames (1099)

        Agreed, installing an old OS on arbitrary new hardware ranges from difficult to nearly imposable. If for some reason I actually had to run something like Radhat 9 today, I'd even adopt a similar strategy and install it in qemu.

        XPM is a good feature. The problem for MS is that while they would like their customer base to be excited about the other features of Windows 7 and then happy that XPM removed the obstacles to upgrading, instead, they're just relieved about XPM and luke-warm about the rest of Windows

      • I dunno about you, but installing XP on new standalone hardware (using our legacy VLK licences) is a royal pain in the bum these days. Needing a floppy disk to install the SATA drivers, or patching the OS ISO, futzing around trying to find compatible sound card drivers, wireless network card drivers, the multitude of patches (thank $deity for SP3 rollup, it was getting rediculous post-patching SP2 even with WSUS).

        It's only hard if you're actually using CDs and F6 floppies. You can ditch the CD by using Windows Deployment Services (WDS) in Legacy (i.e. RIS) mode. There is even a thing called binlsrv.py for Linux systems that will run on port 4011 and speak the BINL protocol (among others) so you can run this on a Linux server along with tftpd and Samba.

        If you put it in OEM mode it'll even copy entire folders onto the C: drive during text-mode setup. So what I do is I have it copy a Drivers folder to C:\ with the c

    • by westlake (615356)
      The feature your customer base is most excited about in your new product is that it can run the years old version nearly as well as the old version would run on the bare hardware

      The market is the same that needs Boot Camp on the Mac.

      The same that needs WINE in Linux.

      The integration of XP adds value to Win 7. It subtracts from the value of OSX and Linux.

      It is easy to install.

      You don't need to be a geek to make it work.

  • by uberzip (959899) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:01AM (#27803925)
    I actually tend to like Windows and other Microsoft products but for some reason whenever they have to make a change for security or try to integrate something new, they seem to do so in a completely confusing way. For instance, could the extra security on IE 6&7 for allowing active x controls be any worse? What about the macro warning on basically any useful Access DB? It wouldn't surprise me if the XP compatibility feature in Win 7 is indeed a confusing mess. My theory is that they design this stuff by committee rather than having one smart person architect the stupid stuff. Thus, interface and process design gets convoluted and confusing. Ok, so this is all still in beta but it often surprises me why a lot of this stuff gets to public beta before people notice the confusion. I think the UAC was a good example of this... it should have never got out the door in its initial state.
    • I'm sure architect used to be a noun not a verb.

    • My theory is that they design this stuff by committee rather than having one smart person architect the stupid stuff.

      Personally, I blame Martha Stewart and her family.

  • Wine on Win7? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by skiminki (1546281)
    I was just thinking that occasionally Linux runs Windows applications better than Windows. So, could I use Wine on Windows 7 and forget all about that VM hassle and sluggishness?
  • Word I Heard (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:08AM (#27803949)
    Word I heard is that because PCs can't virtualize devices that an XP VM under W7 will run like crap - although on AMD processors it will be a little less like crap due to better memory virtualization than Intel yet has.
    • Word I heard is that because PCs can't virtualize devices that an XP VM under W7 will run like crap - although on AMD processors it will be a little less like crap due to better memory virtualization than Intel yet has.

      This is especially a problem if you try to run a 3D game on a modern GPU under XP VM.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's not designed to run 3D games. I read the article that the OP is referring to in his "the word I heard" comment. The problem isn't what XP mode can't do, the problem is that the person who wrote the article wanted XP mode to be a fully functioning XP install hiding behind his Windows 7 install that can do anything his old PC could do. It's not, and it's not intended to be.

        Windows XP mode is basically the Windows 7 version of Vista Enterprise Centralised Desktop (VECD) that was released a few weeks ba

  • If you can't run programs designed for Windows XP and earlier natively on Windows 7 and the use of the XP emulator mode required to run those programs, is Microsoft moving away from the native backwards compatible philosophy they have maintained for Windows(?) so far.

    That's what it looks like or am I missing something, I didn't bother with Vista and I haven't tried Windows 7.

  • MS needs to kill backwards compatibility and start over on windows.

    Windows 8 should (IMO) only run managed code. All apps would be written in .net (be it C# or C++.NET) and have only the .net API to work with. Anything that needs to be added to that API could be added quickly.

    Backwards compat would be handled like this, with a W7 (or maybe even just XP) VM with a seamless mode on.

    -No more registry
    -no more unmanaged code (and thus security issues, which MS will NEVER solve)
    -no more 15 versions of the 20 ye

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @04:14AM (#27804417)

      MS needs to kill backwards compatibility and start over on windows.

      True.

      But backwards compatibility is the only real reason why people buy Windows, so by killing compatibility for technical reasons, they'd kill the commercial reason for using Windows.

    • So MS should do a total rewrite of Windows? Oh yeah, theres no chance that would turn into a massive boondoggle, the software development version of a giant pit you shovel money into and never get anything out of.

      While I agree theres definitely a ton of legacy crap to be thrown out, it works. While I'm sure the programmers will be happy, a total rewrite means throwing away a decade of lessons learned the hard way.

      Apple had a lot of advantages in their situation that MS does not. For one thing, they controlled all the hardware. This meant no massive effort to get drivers made for an os that is still years away.
      The mac development community was much smaller, tighter knit, and connected with Apple then Window's has ever been. They supported it because Mac OS X would bring a lot of things missing in 9 that caused them a ton of headaches. There was very little in the way of custom in-house apps written for Mac, because there was very little corporate mac use period.

      Finally, and perhaps the biggest, was the fact that for most users, their experience with the new OS would be on new hardware, at a time when hardware was improving at break neck speeds. There is a much bigger difference to the end user between a 200 mhz processor and a 400 mhz processor then a 2 ghz and 4 ghz.

      The PC world and the Mac world are different. Apple firmly leads the Mac world. Microsoft is the big dog of the pc world but as Vista has shown, it has limits. Backwards compatibility is one of their biggest selling points. Windows works, its not alway pretty, but it works. Tossing out something that works to start over is the quick path to having nothing at all.

    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      There's just one problem with that idea : there are two reasons why MS still dominates, one of them is that people don't want to drop it because it runs every programs they ever needed. Kill backwards compatibility and suddenly it's no more an extra burden to move over to an alternative. In such a scenario it would be an opportunity for anyone else to attack and make people switch.

      By the way, in my mind there is something seriously lacking in the OS market. Very basically, you have the declining commercial

      • by Rockoon (1252108)
        A real challenger wont appear because above all else its DRIVERS DRIVERS DRIVERS.

        What the hell am I going to do with an OS that doesnt support any of my shit? This is the real reason that Vista never took off. While lots of new hardware has Vista drivers, theres still plenty of old hardware. I wouldn't install Vista on some of my machines even if it was free because of it.

        Linux is in the same boat. Open Source can't solve this problem, either.

        The only real contender is Apple, because of the very few
        • by 4D6963 (933028)
          You're right, I think that answers my question. Unless... could an hypothetical contender make his OS compatible with XP drivers? The way I see it, an aggressive challenger set out to eat Microsoft's piece of the pie would try to succeed where Microsoft is failing on the backwards compatibility by supporting stuff the hard way, i.e. a better "XP mode" based on a better VM than Virtual PC (not that hard) or even Wine, some compatibility layer with Windows drivers and so forth, until it beats Microsoft at bei
    • I might be wrong, but wasn't Windows 7 supposed to be that total rewrite of Windows that was needed?

  • by os2fan (254461) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @04:23AM (#27804445) Homepage
    I think it's another re-run of OS/2 1,x PM virtualisation under NT 4. When you install this package, the program launcher still lives in the host system, and any commands to start an application visits the host, and then switches to the virtualisation.

    Compare OS/2's virtualisation of Windows 3.x. OS/2 still launches the app, but it does not do a graphic repaint of the current host screen to do this.

  • Not made for games (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    XP mode is for use of internal apps, NOT games. That is why it is shipping with the business line.

    • by tepples (727027)

      XP mode is for use of internal apps, NOT games. That is why it is shipping with the business line.

      Then what is for games? Is it "Too bad, so sad; the publisher should have become a bigger company so that it could qualify for an Xbox license"?

      • by Dun Malg (230075)

        Then what is for games?

        An instance of a VMware machine with XP installed on it. If you have even a year old dual core box it'll still be stupidly fast. If you don't have a computer that good, go buy a new computer, you cheapskate.

    • by smchris (464899)

      Heh. Well, I'm sure there will be a Windows 7 vs. qemu shoot-out appearing on Slashdot. I play Links386 and Chuck Yeager's Air Combat on a DOS qemu, Epic Pinball on a Win98 qemu, and Galactic Civilizations (Original) on an OS2 Warp qemu. Obviously, if you mean anything that isn't prehistoric.....

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        qemu and dosbox are heroic for ancient games (some actually run well on dosemu, believe it or not, like civ 2) but for newer ones you need 3d support. Luckily, Wine, VirtualBox, and VMware all offer some now. Unluckily, VMware Server seems to be a huge drain on Linux these days. I've been thinking about trying out ESXi, but I suspect it would blow away my suspend/resume which works on 9.04 so long as I don't use the -rt kernel (which was causing me random lockups anyway.)

  • If I purchased a brand new OS from MS, my only reason for running a old OS virtualised would be updating firmware of my device (e.g. via USB2), using my USB2 gadgets which has no support for Windows 7 yet and so on.

    Virtual PC's big issue on OS X and Windows is, it is not supporting USB 2 and doesn't give a "pure" USB 1.1 support either. So, if you have something that needs Windows and healthy USB support or USB 2 support, you are out of luck. Virtual PC 7 for OS X does emulate the x86/MMX same time but I wa

    • I suggest keep a real (and conservative, no betas, hacks) XP on D: , sparing 15 GB partition to it and use Windows 7 as main partition.

      Why don't we have hypervisors of some kind or a BIOS that would let both OS's run simultaneously, essentially on the bare metal, and allow switching back and forth? (I'm sure there are technical problems I'm unaware of that make this impracticable; but given a machine with enough memory, why couldn't someone do it?)

      My solution is a KVM switch and two boxes with different OSs.

      • by Dun Malg (230075)

        My solution is a KVM switch and two boxes with different OSs.

        I tried that for a while, but the nature of a KVM setup requires too much "mental page buffering". Since Vista blows XP out of the water when it comes to searching and sorting files, I do most of my embedded developing there. The compiler/loader apps for some of the controllers I develop for are XP only though. VMware solves the integration nicely, putting an XP machine at my disposal in a window on the Vista desktop. I also have an Ubuntu install on a VM, with access to the parent Vista install, so I can d

  • is a good combination for running anything windows, it seems to rein in the evilness that microsoft put in to windows. it basically reduced windows from being an OS that wont play nice with other OSs to just an app that is owned by Linux & VBox...
    • by toby (759)

      Until we can eliminate Windows entirely.

      The killer (and necessary) feature here would be VirtualBox snapshots: When your Windows install gets taken over by malware, just revert to a clean snapshot.

  • He has a 3 GB RAM machine, and left the VM size at 256 MB. I was getting sluggishness at work with XP installed in 512 MB VMware VM's. Even minimalist and cheapo netbooks come with 1 GB minimum, to properly run XP (and Home edition, at that). Try installing XP (SP3) and Word on an actual PC with only 256 MB of RAM, and then load them up and I'll bet it's sluggish as well.

    • by Nimey (114278)

      Untrue, and I have an anecdote to back that up. A user brought in an old Pentium-233 laptop with 160MB of RAM. The laptop ran WinXP (forget which SP, but this was before 3) and Office 2003, and it was actually really fast. Word would launch in about 3 seconds from a fresh reboot. Excel was similarly fast.

      I'm certain the difference was that /nothing/ was running, especially no anti-virus (and no viruses either).

      So 256MB of RAM should be plenty for just one app at a time under XP, if you don't have any ba

      • by Shados (741919)

        Word would launch in about 3 seconds from a fresh reboot. Excel was similarly fast.

        Considering thats slower than Excel 2007 -without- preloading on Vista with 512 megs of RAM....

        • by Nimey (114278)

          ...on a much faster processor than a Pentium-266. Your point?

          • by Shados (741919)

            My point is that at least to me, even Windows 98 is unbearable, performance-wise, on my old 256 megs, celeron 366 mhz. Win NT was pushing it, 2k was painful, XP was like putting home premium on unsupported hardware. So i have a feeling your definition of fast differs from quite a few people's.

            • by Nimey (114278)

              No, I doubt that. I get annoyed at waiting for certain programs on my home E6300, 2GB, XP SP3 system.

              This crappy old laptop was /fast/.

    • by MrCrassic (994046)
      I have used a Windows XP machine on 256 MB RAM with an older Pentium IV processor, and it ran fine for everyday things. Moving the swap to another drive/empty partition helps.

      If it's just Moz Firefox and Microsoft Office, it'll run great.
  • Just FYI, you can check to see if your processor supports the virtualization mode needed for this feature here:

    http://www.grc.com/securable.htm [grc.com]

  • why does windows 7 have a compatibility mode setting for vista service pack 2 also?

    I thought SP2 wasn't out yet.

  • Is this for running badly-behaved games or something?

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Probably it's legacy software. Same issues we had with 8>16 and 16>32bit. If they can ensure that there's a compatibility level, then they can let business do a transition efficiently without having to scrap all their old programs.

      I know a bunch of places(government at that) around here that are still using OS/2 and netware 3.x, how funny is that? On their internal networks. But it's because that's all they can use for their database and management software.

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