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Windows Operating Systems Software Microsoft

Microsoft Kills 3-App Limit For Windows 7 Starter Edition 352

Posted by Soulskill
from the crippleware-wasn't-politically-correct-anyway dept.
Chabil Ha' writes "Heard the rumors that the much-maligned Windows 7 Starter Edition would be able to run more than three concurrent applications? Today, the Windows team made it official: 'Based on the feedback we've received from partners and customers asking us to enable a richer small notebook PC experience with Windows 7 Starter, we've decided to enable Windows 7 Starter customers the ability to run as many applications simultaneously as they would like, instead of being constricted to the 3 application limit that the previous Starter editions included. We believe these changes will make Windows 7 Starter an even more attractive option for customers who want a small notebook PC for very basic tasks, like browsing the web, checking email and personal productivity.' Small consolation, of course, if you want to watch a DVD natively, but I'm sure this won't stop the Slashdot crowd from enabling it."
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Microsoft Kills 3-App Limit For Windows 7 Starter Edition

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  • by buttfscking (1515709) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:13PM (#28146447)
    Still not using it.
    • Re:THIS JUST IN (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:15PM (#28146457) Journal

      "a small notebook PC for very basic tasks"

      I would never trust Windows to do anything OTHER than very basic tasks.

      It's like trusting a 3 year old to stack all your fine China.

      • Re:THIS JUST IN (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:54PM (#28146651)

        a better example is sending an 8 year old to the grocery store. You CAN do it, but unless you give them VERY specific instructions they'll come back with a shopping cart full of poptarts and cereal.

      • by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Friday May 29, 2009 @11:28PM (#28146793)

        The premium edition 3 year olds have been able to stack fine China for a while now, it just requires a plug-in for stability and hand-eye coordination.

      • Re:THIS JUST IN (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@nOsPAm.hotmail.com> on Saturday May 30, 2009 @12:34AM (#28147159) Journal
        "a small notebook PC for very basic tasks"

        That's bullshit anyway.

        Most netbooks exceed the capabilities of full business laptops from just four years ago:

        Toshiba Tecra A2 P-M 1.5GHz
        Australian RRP (inc GST) - $2,365.00
        Intel Pentium M Processor 1.5GHz, 400MHz FSB.
        40GB hard disk

        Compared to:

        Toshiba NB100
        Australian RRP (inc GST) - $$599
        Intel Atom N270 Processor 1.6GHz, 400MHz FSB.
        120GB hard disk

        The RRP is the deciding factor here. Microsoft just doesn't like the idea of cheap computers where they will struggle to compete with their expensive OS.

        • Re:THIS JUST IN (Score:5, Informative)

          by stfvon007 (632997) <enigmar007NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Saturday May 30, 2009 @01:13AM (#28147289) Journal

          The atom processor dosn't have the performance of a 1.5Ghz Pentium M. It has the equivalent performance in benchmarks of a 1.2Ghz P3 processor (circa early 2001) or a core2 with only one core running at about 750Mhz, or a 500Mhz Core 2 Duo. comparing Mhz between different processors is often like comparing apples to oranges.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Oh that's easy - apples are crunchy and you don't eat the inside. Oranges are juicy and somewhat spongy and you don't eat the outside.
          • Re:THIS JUST IN (Score:4, Informative)

            by i.of.the.storm (907783) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @01:50AM (#28147415) Homepage
            Another data point to mention is that it's actually worse than the 900mhz Celeron (Dothan core I believe) that was in the original EeePC in terms of performance.

            comparing Mhz between different processors is often like comparing apples to oranges.

            In fact, it really should be ALWAYS, because anyone who knows a little about computer hardware design knows that there are a huge number of factors besides clock rate and in fact clock rate is really meaningless by itself. Things like length of the pipeline, in-order vs out-of-order execution, cache size and associativity, etc, are all probably as or more important than clock rate. For example, if you have a tiny cache or a badly designed one, your processor is going to keep hitting main memory, which wastes a ton of cycles, so most of the clock cycles will be wasted waiting for memory to respond anyway. I would expect someone on slashdot at the least to know that you can't just compare clock rates like that, and possibly even understand why the Atom does much less per clock than other architectures.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by sdpuppy (898535)

              For example, if you have a tiny cache or a badly designed one, your processor is going to keep hitting main memory, which wastes a ton of cycles, so most of the clock cycles will be wasted waiting for memory to respond anyway.

              Yeah, sigh, that's what my girlfriend always tells me.

              However in spite of that my memory responds quite well, thank you very much.

              Sniff Sniff.

            • Re:THIS JUST IN (Score:4, Informative)

              by Spatial (1235392) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @11:11AM (#28149509)

              I would expect someone on slashdot at the least to know that you can't just compare clock rates like that, and possibly even understand why the Atom does much less per clock than other architectures.

              While we're on the subject, Anandtech made a good article explaining the technical details behind the it. [anandtech.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Its Microsoft Bob Version 7

  • Outbreak Of Sanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maz2331 (1104901) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:14PM (#28146451)

    At least someone realized that it was an epicly bad idea before the thing was released into the real world.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      At least someone realized that it was an epicly bad idea before the thing was released into the real world.

      Maybe Microsoft are responding to competition for once.

      • by symbolset (646467) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:46PM (#28146595) Journal
        Time to stop posting so many helpful tips.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Foredecker (161844) *

          Yes - we're watching :)

      • by Auraiken (862386) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:47PM (#28146603)
        This seems more like they were marketing it as going to be limited and people were turned off by that but it kept the product in the public eye. Waited for a bit. Now they're marketing it as without the limit as to improve the perception of the product, leading to more people wanting it.
      • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@nOsPAm.hotmail.com> on Friday May 29, 2009 @11:14PM (#28146725) Journal
        Maybe Microsoft are responding to competition for once.

        Maybe.

        But the rest of the likely limitations are fairly ridiculous too.

        1. Screen: Not to exceed 10.2"
        2. Memory: 1 GB RAM
        3. Storage: 250 GB HDD or 64 GB SDD
        4. Single core processors that :
          • do not exceed 2 GHz frequency, and
          • have a CPU thermal design power that is less than or equal to 15 W, not including the graphics and chipset.

        The most interesting result will be if manufacturers take the opportunity to release higher specced netbooks with Linux than Microsoft will allow for Windows. I find it hard to believe Microsoft would shoot themselves in the foot like that, given netbooks are the currently the fastest growing computer segment. I'm fairly sure the RAM limitation at least will be dropped before these things hit the market.

        • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Friday May 29, 2009 @11:24PM (#28146769)
          They might actually make more money this way. Microsoft seems torn between:
          1. Cripple the cheap version to force people to buy the expensive Windows while keeping the sticker price low. Most users don't consider switching to Linux an option so we can charge as much as we want.
          2. Maybe basic netbook users aren't even looking for advanced features that scare people away from a new OS

          The only reason for arbitrary limitations (it costs them nothing to unlock them) is to encourage people to buy the more expensive version instead. That logic has worked in the past because users haven't seen anywhere else to go (except even further up the price range with Apple), but Linux is doing well on netbooks and I think MS is starting to figure that out.

          • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@nOsPAm.hotmail.com> on Saturday May 30, 2009 @12:08AM (#28147007) Journal
            That logic has worked in the past because users haven't seen anywhere else to go (except even further up the price range with Apple), but Linux is doing well on netbooks and I think MS is starting to figure that out.

            The trouble is, Microsoft is just starting to figure it out, others are way ahead of them.

            There's about to be a watershed in the OS field, and a company which is collecting 85%+ profits won't be able to compete. With Qualcomm, Freescale, Longsoon, et al prepping supercheap machines, there simply won't be the margins for an expensive MS OS. Microsoft will have to reduce its prices and profitability just to stay in the netbook/smartbook market.

            They've even managed to scare their long-time collaborator, Intel, into developing Moblin. If Intel didn't do something to keep a toehold in the low-power/cost end of the market, they could see themselves swamped with ARM, MIPS, Snapdragon etc Linux netboox/smartbooks that are cheaper, get better battery life and still run most of the Linux application stack.

          • Most users don't consider switching to Linux an option so we can charge as much as we want.

            Even more important from their POV is that your average Joe Sixpack or Aunt Millie doesn't even know Linux exists, so they're not aware a choice exists.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anpheus (908711)

            Everyone on Slashdot acts like every edition of Windows cost the same amount. It's true, every edition has a physical merchandise cost that is essentially a few dollars, but you're paying for other things as well. As in, it might cost Microsoft the same amount to sell each version, but it costs Microsoft vastly more to produce the advanced features novice users do not and should not have. Frankly, Bitlocker is an advanced feature nobody at /. should want everyone to have. Bitlocker has the potential ability

        • MS knows they have to release a rock bottom price version to remain competivive in the netbook/nettop market. At the same time they don't want people using the netbook version on higher end machines. Those requirements look to me mainly like an attempt to draw a line between netbooks and regular laptops.

          I'm sure some netbook manufacturers will offer netbooks with specs that exceed theese bundled with either linux or a higher version of windows (HP already do this, you can get the mini 2140 with 2G of ram bu

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by symbolset (646467)

            They're in a bind no matter what way you look at it. They've saturated their market three times over. There's no room left for growth in the places where people have money to pay for a desktop OS, and all the people in the other places have tried a pirated Vista already. In the supercompute market their share is 1% [top500.org] despite coming out with their own supercomputer OS [microsoft.com](*), and in the server room they're not holding their own either. Their traditional hardware and software partners are starting to come out wi

        • by asavage (548758)
          The biggest problems with those limitations I see is the RAM and SSD size. 2GB of RAM already costs next to nothing. You can already get netbooks with 64 GB of SSD. In a few years 64GB SSD might even be hard to buy. I guess they may alter the max specs every year.
        • by Firehed (942385)

          That only applies to the significantly cheaper Starter Edition that's designed for netbooks. There's nothing stopping manufacturers from using a different version of Win7 that doesn't have those artificial restrictions in place, though of course there's also nothing stopping them from using Linux either, as you point out.

          I think it'll prompted increased Linux availability on higher-end netbooks, but I still imagine Windows will significantly outsell them if only because that's what the vast majority of peop

    • by Jurily (900488)

      At least someone realized that it was an epicly bad idea before the thing was released into the real world.

      One out of hundreds. Yay!

      Does it still tell you to reinstall after chkdsk loses an activation file? (Yes, it happened on a legal copy of Vista. I suspect pirated versions don't have this feature.)

      And, of course, Windows ME.

    • by donaldm (919619)

      At least someone realized that it was an epicly bad idea before the thing was released into the real world.

      Even Microsoft can't be that stupid to believe that most people would accept a three process limit. Granted that some would because they don't know any better but anyone with a even half a brain would start to realise that BSD and Linux distributions will run just about anything they want (games for windows aside) whether it be a netbook or even a full blown PC and there is no extra cost to do this.

      At the moment the only counter to Linux Microsoft has is Games for Windows, Office/Exchange integration and

  • by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:20PM (#28146487)

    * Disable the thing that shocks you with an electric shock every ten minutes (every thirty minutes if your OS validates as genuine)
    * Remove the requirement to take, PCR, and compare a DNA sample at startup to allow WGA to know it's the same person
    * Take that thing out of the EULA that allows MS to terminate your license or you at any time for any reason.

  • by lastomega7 (1060398) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:24PM (#28146501)
    I don't get how it's "even more attractive"

    MS: Ok so guys, you can only use 3 apps at a time on our new OS.
    World: Well who would want to use that?
    MS: Ok, we changed it back. Now it's even better than before!

    Sigh.
  • by Squarewav (241189) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:35PM (#28146541)

    After how badly Vista Basic failed I find it odd that MS would try again, and even more odd that they would make an even more basic version of it. (yes I know starter has been around sense xp, but they are trying to sell it worldwide now)

    I predict that it will follow the same path as Vista Basic

    A few companies will try selling it with cheep entry level systems for 400. No one will buy them, and those that do will complain about how much Win7 sucks. In the end the companies will be forced to put home premium in order to sell them.

    If starter was free to download and basic was less then $30 (retail) I could see some value in them for home builders and people who want to upgrade and want a low cost and legit version of 7

    • by benjamindees (441808) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:46PM (#28146597) Homepage

      Who says it failed? Offering a cheaper version of Windows probably staves off defections to Free operating systems, even if no one actually buys it.

      Microsoft is an excellent marketing organization. Most people probably believe that a cheaper OS costs less because less effort was put into producing it. It doesn't matter that, in fact, *more* effort must put into producing crippled versions of Windows. The average consumer equates cheap Windows with being less functional, and so by extension free software must be completely unusable.

      It's all a very well-designed marketing scheme, and not a failure at all.

      • by Ken_g6 (775014)

        So in case any average consumer reads this, let's put an end to that myth. For instance, I'll compare the Starter Win7 disabled list in TFA with Puppy Linux:

        • Aero Glass - well, Puppy has Compiz-Fusion [wikipedia.org].
        • Personalization features - Yes. [wikipedia.org]
        • User switching - I couldn't find Puppy specifically, but most Linux can [linuxforums.org].
        • Multi-monitor support - Yes [murga-linux.com], although spreading windows across more than one screen at once is iffier.
        • DVD playback - probably; but might have to install VLC Media Player or something (which you can [murga-linux.com]).
        • Windows
    • by iamhassi (659463)
      "After how badly Vista Basic failed"

      [citation needed]
  • Just when you thought Mr C Sense had been a casualty of the Redmond lay-off spree it turns out he was just hiding under a desk all along, not wanting to draw too much attention to himself.
    • by LordKaT (619540)

      I'm sorry, but as a C programmer I have to say that C doesn't make a lick of sense.

  • by Entropius (188861) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:37PM (#28146551)

    Microsoft's line about netbooks being only suited for rudimentary computing tasks is full of shit.

    I'm typing this on a eeepc: 1.6GHz Atom cpu, 2GB ram, blah blah blah. Microsoft (and others) may have this attitude that netbooks are only suitable for checking email, updating Facebook status, and the like ... and that you need a "real computer" for "real computing". That's absurd.

    Yes, they're not the most powerful computers around. But they're about as powerful as desktops of five years ago. I run dozens of Firefox tabs, Skype, OpenOffice, GIMP, Picasa, Pidgin, my camera's timelapse software (Olympus Studio), and other stuff, often at the same time ... with no problems at all, and with plenty of CPU to spare. Of course I can do this -- people were loading old desktops this hard and nobody complained that they weren't "suitable for serious computing". If I wanted to run apache and serve webpages on this machine I certainly could -- I did it on my old crappy desktop when I was an undergrad, after all!

    Saying that a netbook isn't a real computer is like saying a Toyota Yaris isn't a real car just because it only has a 100 hp engine. Sure, if you want to tow things you need something different -- just like if you want to play Crysis you need a desktop (replacement), and if you want to do lattice quantum chromodynamics you need a supercomputer.

    A netbook is a small, full-featured computer that can make use of all of the flexibility of a full-featured operating system.

    • by jo42 (227475) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:41PM (#28146569) Homepage

      Marketing has a very, very short memory. Not too long ago people where word-processing, spread-sheeting, data-basing, developing software and even Windows, heck, even using AutoCAD on a Pentium II. Or a 486 if you go farther back a bit more.

      • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @01:29AM (#28147333)

        Not too long ago people where word-processing, spread-sheeting, data-basing, developing software and even Windows, heck, even using AutoCAD on a Pentium II. Or a 486 if you go farther back a bit more.

        Not too long ago, I remember having to wait 15-20 minutes to TeX up my research papers, only to find out that I missed a curly brace somewhere.

        Not too long ago, my spreadsheet couldn't import data from a MySQL database halfway around the world through the internet.

        Not too long ago, the database that I run on that other computer would need a refrigerator-sized mainframe.

        Not too long ago, developing software meant that it was faster to manually read for syntax errors than to just compile and have the IDE flag the errors. On a project 1/20th the size, at least half of which was implementing things that are now in libraries. Actually, as I recall, I didn't have an IDE, just a dumb terminal. The debugger was crap to -- it pales in comparison to what I have today.

        Never used CAD software, but I bet dollars to donuts that in the 12 years since the Pentium II, it's also come a damned long way. And that's the problem with these comparisons -- people may have been doing the same tasks but they were still doing much much less than we casually do today. In many ways, we the usefulness of the tasks themselves expands to fill the available power -- our programs and environments get better and better.

        If 10 years ago you would have told me that I'd be running a miniature search engine on my computer, crawling and indexing my filesystems to save me the trouble of finding files, I'd say you were nuts. Today, I can't remember how I lived without Google Desktop: ctrl ctrl + filename and the results are there. To say that somehow this is comparable to my computer 10 years ago because they both perform the same basic function -- allowing access to saved files -- is disingenuous. They are the same in the way that a steak knife and a chainsaw are the same. That all goes for the modern web, AJAX and all, versus the web that I browsed back in the dark old days. Same for programming, same for just about everything I can think of.

        Computers do more than they did. This is a GOOD THING. Stop convincing yourself that somehow what they do now is good enough for the future. I hope it's not, and I'm working to make sure that it's not by pursuing more ways that my computer can do more for me.

    • You can sit by the pool and play Crysis or use Photoshop or Autocad on your netbook with wireless, even on Linux. You just RDP to the machine that's doing the heavy lifting. I would recommend external video and I/O for the fine work, but for getting some quality WoW time while you're making sure the kids don't drown the basic kit should be OK.
      • by Entropius (188861)

        Right -- I intentionally didn't count that, since the point I was trying to make was that netbooks are suitable for much more than dumb terminal use (counting "facebook client" as a dumb-terminal-type application). Today I was using my netbook to ssh to a 10,000+ CPU computer in Texas to generate data and my dinky quadcore desktop at home to analyze it, neither of which the netbook would be able to handle on its own (although I wouldn't be surprised if Atoms power the next generation of supercomputers... ho

    • Geez, this Eee PC 701 with 600 MHz processor is my main machine. I use it for everything.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rrohbeck (944847)

      I'm writing this on a 4 year old Pentium M, 1.5 GHz, 1.5 GB, 80 GB disk.
      No reason to upgrade.

  • by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:39PM (#28146561) Homepage

    We believe these changes will make Windows 7 Starter an even more attractive option for customers who want a small notebook PC for very basic tasks, like browsing the web, checking email and personal productivity.' Small consolation, of course, if you want to watch a DVD natively

    Wow. Microsoft basically took a market where Linux and Apple excel in (customers who just want to do basic tasks with minimal hassle) and crippled the features that make Windows even slightly attractive in that arena. Now they un-crippled one of those features. That's not "even more attractive"; That's "somewhat less ridiculous".

    I have a new bullshit meter. It measures in units of "picosofts".

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      I have a new bullshit meter. It measures in units of "picosofts".

      Hey, I might start using that.

    • by wampus (1932)

      Linux users want to do things with minimum hassle? Have you used it? For about 5 years I thought the entire point of using Linux was to endlessly dick around with my configuration and have basic functionality mostly work.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      I have a new bullshit meter. It measures in units of "picosofts".

      I think pico is a little too fine grained. What about something bigger .... like, microsofts maybe? ;-)

      Cheers

  • by gmuslera (3436)
    Microsoft took out the limitation of Windows 2009 server of running more than 10 simultaneous tasks, if your computer is a 486.
  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Friday May 29, 2009 @11:03PM (#28146685)
    Impose an artificial 3-app limit in a new OS. The get all sorts of positive press coverage when you rescind that limit. Brilliant marketing.

    .
    But what about the technical aspect of this? Microsoft is pulling out all the stops in its attempt to create a "marketing buzz" for Windows 7. Was Vista really that bad that Microsoft has to attempt to manipulate the press and websites to this extent in order to give the illusion that Windows 7 is better?

    If Windows Vista was so bad, do you really expect Windows 7 (a.k.a. Windows Vista 1.2) to be that much better? Or is the marketing effort the actual improvement here?

    Does the Emperor really have clothes this time?

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Was Vista really that bad that Microsoft has to attempt to manipulate the press and websites to this extent in order to give the illusion that Windows 7 is better?

      If Microsoft ever fails to convince people their newest stuff is better, than they're out of business.

      The new hotness is always the new hotness, and the old and busted must be replaced for a generous amount of money they'll happily accept from you.

      What are they going to say, "now, 10% better"??

      Cheers

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Was Vista really that bad that Microsoft has to attempt to manipulate the press and websites to this extent in order to give the illusion that Windows 7 is better?

      Now whatever gave you the impression that a company needs a reason to overhype their newest product?

  • Who would've thunk it [slashdot.org].

    Apple's netbook / tablet PC will be out sometime in 2010 and, as usual, it will rewrite the rules and Microsoft will then change these silly specifications in an attempt to try and catch up to Apple. I've seen this movie before.

  • Still a POS (Score:3, Informative)

    by FlyingBishop (1293238) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @12:14AM (#28147049)

    Windows 7 Starter does not include:
            * Personalization features for changing desktop backgrounds, window colors, or sound schemes.
            * DVD playback.
            * Windows Media Center for watching recorded TV or other media.
            * Remote Media Streaming for streaming your music, videos, and recorded TV from your home computer.
            * Domain support for business customers.
            * XP Mode for those that want the ability to run older Windows XP programs on Windows 7.

    I especially like the part about not supporting XP mode... so it can't run XP apps... which are the only apps spec'd to run on it. Granted, XP mode is a VM hack that really can't run on it, but if you're not sticking with Windows for compatability on your netbook, wtf are you sticking with Windows for? Honestly, the only remaining compatibility issues on Linux are precisely the things Microsoft has banned from starter.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wampus (1932)

      XP Mode doesn't work on Home, either. It's a tool to support business apps that couldn't be bothered to follow best practices for the last 10 years, not goofy consumer software. They don't mention it, but you can't logon to a domain from Starter, either.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @02:39AM (#28147589)

      You know, for posters on a technology site, there are a lot of people here who have no idea what the hell they are talking about when it comes to technology. I'll type this slowly so people can keep up:

      WINDOWS 7 DOES NOT NEED XP MODE TO RUN XP APPS!

      Windows 7, just like Vista, has native compatibility for XP apps. Win32 binaries execute just fine. It does not use a new API, etc. You can take just about any program and install it on Windows 7 and it'll work out of box. That even includes 64-bit Windows 7. It has the same thing that 64-bit Vista and XP do, called Windows on Windows 32. It allows for 32-bit apps to run in a 64-bit OS with basically no speed difference.

      Here's a brief list of apps I've personally tested and found to work in Windows 7 64-bit RC1. This is by no means complete, just ones I've tested myself that I remember:

      Firefox 3, Thunderbird 2, Office 2003, Office 2007, SSH Secure Shell 3.2.9, FreeSSHd, Textpad 5.2.0, Winamp 5.55, Acrobat 9.0, Cadence SPB 16.02, WMWare 6.5, Visual Studio 2008, WinMIPS64, Labview 8, Steam, Impulse, World of Warcraft, Mass Effect, Sony Vegas 8, Sony Sound Forge 9, Adobe Audition 3.

      There's plenty more, this is just what I remember off the top of my head in a small sampling of different areas (consumer, programming engineering, audio production, video production, networking, etc).

      Almost all apps will run fine in Windows 7 as is. Thus, most copies of Windows 7 do not have XP mode available, and even those that do don't ship with it, you have to download it.

      So, what's it for then? Well three major classes of things you might encounter:

      1) Apps with a 16-bit component, or entirely 16-bit. While 32-bit Windows 7 can run 16-bit apps with WOW16, 64-bit Windows can't. So, if you need to run a 16-bit app, XP mode will do that for you since it is a 32-bit XP VM.

      2) Apps that interface with hardware that doesn't have Windows 7 drivers. An app that uses a dongle might be an example. If the manufacturer won't release a driver that works with 7, then you are out of luck. However, with XP mode, you install the driver in XP (is passes through USB devices) and you can use it.

      3) Apps that install a kernel mode driver that is incompatible with 7. Again a lot of this will be 64-bit stuff since while 32-bit apps run fine in 64-bit Windows, all kernel mode code must be 64-bit. Again you might encounter this with old copy protection since that kind of stuff often like to use kernel drivers.

      Now as should be pretty evident, that is really rare shit. This isn't something most people will have a problem with. However, some businesses do, and thus MS is offering them a solution. They are saying "If you have an old app that just won't work in 7 and you can't get it updated, just download a free XP VM from us, and run it in that."

      That's all. Most Windows apps run JUST FINE with no update at all. Even those that do need to be updated, it is an update, not a complete rewrite. The fundamental APIs are still the same. You aren't redoing the whole thing from scratch for new architecture.

      So please, stop with the FUD. Get your information correct.

      P.S. Not including DVD playback is highly unsurprising because it isn't free. MPEG-2 and CSS both require licenses to include in software. It is not surprising MS isn't going to pay for those licenses on low cost software.

  • Maybe M$ realized that the three program count would be reached to easily without (!) the user intervention: "Sorry, three viruses are already running, application limit reached. We are sorry for the inconvenience this cased." ;-)

  • Subject (Score:3, Funny)

    by Legion303 (97901) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @09:59AM (#28149065) Homepage

    It's mighty big of MS to allow their customers to do what every other OS ever invented lets them do.

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