Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Windows Operating Systems Software IT

Windows 7's Virtual XP Mode a Support Nightmare? 413

CWmike writes "Microsoft's decision to let Windows 7 users run Windows XP applications in a virtual machine may have been necessary to convince people to upgrade, but it could also create support nightmares, analysts said today. Gartner analyst Michael Silver outlines the downsides. 'You'll have to support two versions of Windows,' he said. 'Each needs to be secured, antivirused, firewalled and patched. If a company has 10,000 PCs, that's 20,000 instances of Windows.' The other big problem Silver foresees: Making sure the software they run is compatible with Windows 7. 'This is a great Band-Aid, but companies need to heal their applications,' Silver said. 'They'll be doing themselves a disservice if, because of XPM, they're not making sure that all their apps support Windows 7.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Windows 7's Virtual XP Mode a Support Nightmare?

Comments Filter:
  • Pardon me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Franklin Brauner ( 1034220 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:07PM (#27738627)
    ...but didn't Apple successfully pull this off twice?
    • Are we talking about the home or corporate market here?

    • Re:Pardon me... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daimanta ( 1140543 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:21PM (#27738797) Journal

      Mac OS is a niche market. In the Windows market, reality has a way of kicking you in the balls. Yes, this will be a support nightmare but we simply cannot write of the biggest heap of legacy software ever. That would be the true nightmare, no correct support for older apps. And by older I mean everything tailored for XP, either 1 or 7 years ago.

      • Re:Pardon me... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:50PM (#27739107)

        In the Windows market, reality has a way of kicking you in the balls.

        Actually, Windows has a way of kicking you in the balls. How would running XP in a virtual machine be any different from the usual windows experience?

        I think this is the smartest move Microsoft has done in a long time. They need to relegate the backwards compatibility to a virtual machine, and make the next Windows OS much leaner and secure.

        I agree with the GP that Apple had little problems with this and their market is of sufficient size to assume that Microsoft would fare just as well.

        • Drivers? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Monday April 27, 2009 @08:08PM (#27739287) Homepage Journal

          How would running XP in a virtual machine be any different from the usual windows experience?

          It depends on whether Windows 7 can pass-through USB devices and PCI cards to Windows XP. Otherwise, people will try and fail to use hardware with XP drivers on the virtual XP. (Windows 7 uses Vista drivers.)

        • Re:Pardon me... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @08:50PM (#27739723)
          They are not apples and oranges (no pun intended). Mac's typically do not run virus scan (good or bad practice, most don't see it as necessary). They didn't have to deal with running virus scan and firewall software within the virtual machine. They also had a change of architectures underneath which may have made virus propagation from VM to parent a bit harder. Last but not least, OS X like Linux, is simply more secure, either through design or lack of market share.

          That said, the latest offerings from virtul products tend to be very highly integrated. One would hope that MS could offer vscan integration to allow the parent OS to protect the virtual machine. I'm not saying that is the case now, but it seems possible since they are both on the same file system, both using the same hardware, memory, etc (given they are segmented from each other).

          I still see this as a necessary step to avoid a lot of legacy baggage.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ukyoCE ( 106879 )

          Exactly. As long as its not meant to be or treated as anything more than a band-aid, this is a good thing. The answer when something doesn't work in the VM should be "petition the software maker to upgrade it to Windows 7".

          By letting the VM solve 75%+ of these apps, the motivation and pressure will exist to get the other 25% ugpraded, and let them deprecate XP for good.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by wooferhound ( 546132 )
          So, I guess this means that Microsoft will be extending XP support for a few more years ?
      • by actionbastard ( 1206160 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @09:27PM (#27740051)
        "Mac OS is a niche market. In the Windows market, reality has a way of kicking you in the balls."

        Obviously you've never been Rochambeaued by Steve Jobs.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jurily ( 900488 )

        And by older I mean everything tailored for XP, either 1 or 7 years ago.

        How many times have we been through this? 3.1, 95, 98, 2000, XP, Vista, and now this. How many legacy apps did Linux broke since then? Oh, right, they're still working because the code is open and there's always someone to fix that one function call that no longer exists.

        Wanna bet? In five years the Win 7 apps will be either obsolete, or better supported on Linux than Windows 7++.

        • Re:Pardon me... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Arainach ( 906420 ) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @11:19AM (#27746055)

          You really don't get it, do you? Source compatibility isn't enough. You need BINARY compatibility. Many core business apps were developed by companies that no longer exist or developers who were no longer there. Many times, Source code doesn't exist.

          Even if it does, users don't want to or know how to recompile it. And fixing that one function call that no longer exists? Why should people have to? Every function call that no longer exists is another pile of developers who won't switch to your latest version.

          I highly reccomend reading Raymond Chen's blog/book to understand how backwards compatibility works in the real world.

    • Yes but ... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Savage-Rabbit ( 308260 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:28PM (#27738895)

      ...but didn't Apple successfully pull this off twice?

      ... Apple doesn't have every IT criminal on the planet gunning for their OS. They are bloody lucky to be in that situation and should IMHO be less smug about Windows security problems in their advertising. On the other hand running the defense grid for one Windows instance was fatiguing enough to persuade me to abandon Windows and become a Linux user and then an Apple customer. I still have to put in work to secure my machine but it is a lot less work than if I was using Windows. If this really means MS is doubling the security workload on each Windows box then.... hell.... I don't even want to think about it.

      • Re:Yes but ... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by NeverVotedBush ( 1041088 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @08:30PM (#27739555)
        I almost feel bad for Microsoft because of the number of people attacking their code. Almost.

        As I was perusing the various security boards and newsletters I frequent, I started thinking of how amazingly large the array of people making their livings off of Windows' security deficiencies. It's huge.

        There are a multitude of websites that might as well be devoted to Windows security issues. There are the people who constantly write AV signatures. People who collect malware in honeypots and distribute it to security researchers. People who have to write and test patches - both at Microsoft and at other software publishers. People who lecture on Windows security. People who do forensics on compromised machines. People who try to contain the damage when an organization's computers are compromised. People who have to notify the people who are affected by the compromises. People who have to untangle and try to block unauthorized bank charges and identity theft. Etc.

        It's like the bump on the log at the bottom of the sea song. The chain just goes and goes and goes. At least it is employing people but you have to wonder what the total global expenditures are in dealing with the consequences of security issues in Microsoft Windows.

        This isn't meant to be a troll. It's a legitimate concern and I wonder when people will finally say "enough".
        • Re:Yes but ... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Kaboom13 ( 235759 ) <> on Monday April 27, 2009 @11:44PM (#27741151)

          That's because making a living off Window's security deficiencies is for all intents and purpose the same thing as making a living off Computer security deficiencies. Sure, there are aspects of the Windows security model that downright suck. But the reality is every system has security vulnerabilities out the ass. Whether Windows or Linux or BSD or what have you has more is up for debate, but the definite thing is that security is an active, evolving process, and whatever OS is used by the majority of the world is going to be under constant attack.

          I suppose if builders didn't build houses so damn easy to get into, we wouldn't need locks (and thus lock makers), and alarms, and cops and security guards, and fences, and a neighborhood watch. After all, the home builder made the house, he should guarantee it in perpetuity as an impenetrable fortress. Even if the owner ignores his recommendations, and leaves the doors unlocked and the windows open, it should still be secure. And despite the need for security, it must still be convenient for the owner and guests to enter and exit at will, pleasant to look at, and maintainable by an owner who has no knowledge of experience in houses.

          You act as if security is easy, and MS could accomplish it if only it tried a little harder. That's not the reality. MS deserves flack for any number of legitimate grievances. They took way to long to take security seriously (basically the entire time from XP's release to Vista was spent making massive security improvements to catch up to where they should have been), they use abusive business practices to encourage lock-in. They make bizarre and frankly retarded attempts at anti-piracy like activation/genuine advantage (if there ever was a drm measure that does nothing to even slow pirates down, and annoys the crap out of legit purchasers, its Windows Activation).

          But acting like MS and MS alone must bear the burden for ensuring the security of pc's, is ridiculous.

          • Re:Yes but ... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by NeverVotedBush ( 1041088 ) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @10:12AM (#27745185)
            I didn't say that. What I said is that there is a huge infrastructure in place with huge costs associated with Windows.

            Linux and OSX both have and will have weaknesses. The tend to be more local exploits than remote, but they aren't perfect either. I know Apple has caught a lot of flack for being slow to fix weaknesses too - apparently generally slower than Microsoft or the Linux distro maintainers.

            I know security is not easy. Security is a big part of my work. But I think that both Apple and Microsoft could do a better job about educating users regarding security. All too often I hear Windows and Mac users claiming they have never had an intrusion/virus. Particularly Mac users. Linux users, on the other hand, really do tend to be more computer literate and the distros now also tend to have everything turned off and ports need to be opened to use services. A default closed stance is a good one.

            But the fact is that Microsoft is the target of the lion's share of exploits and attacks. It does get the criminals the most bang for the buck. But for whatever reason, a lot of Microsoft users don't update. I think it's a bad decision, but Microsoft now excludes pirate copy users from being able to get updates. That just guarantees a ready pool of systems to be used in botnets.

            I think Apple and Microsoft both would benefit from including a multimedia presentation with their computers that covers the basics of computer security. They could explain the risks of various activities and also the best ways to combat computer crime. If people actually understood what the difference was between an administrator account and a user account, that in itself would go a long way to make it more difficult to compromise PCs.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by SCPRedMage ( 838040 )
      Not quite. To my knowledge, Mac OS 9 and earlier apps could run in OS X by means of the "Classic" abstraction layer; in other words, OS X was emulating earlier APIs. Likewise, when Apple made the switch to x86 procs, they used a binary-translation layer called "Rosetta", that translated PowerPC instructions to x86 instructions.

      XP Mode is very different from either of those. Quite simply, XP Mode is an extension of Virtual PC that allows an application to appear like it's running directly from the host
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Classic is/was not an abstraction layer. When you start classic, you can open a window where you watch Mac OS 9 boot, just like Virtual PC. After it finishes loading, the window disappears and Classic apps are displayed on the desktop, same as any other. An old enough Macintosh can boot from the System Folder used for Classic.

        You may be thinking of the Carbon API, which was available under 9 and X. There is no translation involved; Carbon applications are native in both 9 and X.

        Rosetta is a binary transla

    • Re:Pardon me... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by slk ( 2510 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:44PM (#27739053)

      Apple had a very different set of problems, but has actually pulled something similar off three times.

      68k to PowerPC: Lots of apps didn't work, though it was really hard to tell what System 7 broke versus what 68k to PowerPC broke.

      OS9 to OS10: utter nightmare. Classic works great as long as you're on a single-user system running as admin with well behaved applications. You run into everything from apps that expect to busy-wait to the fact that OS9 has absolutely no idea what's going on with concepts like file permissions. Ridiculous support nightmare on anything with non-admin users, multiple users, etc.

      OS10 PowerPC to OS10 Intel: 99% of stuff just works. Very clean, very well done. The handful of apps that broke were generally easily fixed, or were broken by design (i.e. anything made by Adobe)

      XP on Win7 is more like the whole OS9 to OS10 transition, and like that transition, your best bet is to ignore the existence of XPM (just like your best bet was to ignore the existence of Classic)

      • Re:Pardon me... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mdarksbane ( 587589 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @11:09PM (#27740895)

        It really depended on what you were trying to do with Classic. As a way to run just a few old apps that never got upgraded, it worked really well. As a main part of your daily workflow, it was a pain in the ass. For most home systems it did what it was designed to do - get people by until they were able to buy the next version of all their favorite software, which was by that time OS X native.

        It's a much better solution than either a) not supporting those applications at all or b) maintaining backwards compatibility with a codebase that is that archaically designed.

    • Re:Pardon me... (Score:4, Informative)

      by crath ( 80215 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @08:35PM (#27739601) Homepage

      Exactly! Why is this an insanely great idea when Apple does it, and nothing but trouble when Microsoft does it.

      For me, a Windows Power User, this is the best news I've had from MS in many, many years. Corporate IT shops will simply disable this "feature" if they don't want to support it; the rest of us will get the benefit anyway.

  • kdawson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rgo ( 986711 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:07PM (#27738633)
    stop posting troll articles!! :@
  • A big mess (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mc1138 ( 718275 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:09PM (#27738649) Homepage
    On one side, you have the convenience of having an OS thats tested, your apps work on it, everything is good. On the other, you're perpetuating an old system, and keeping people from moving forward. Support nightmare isn't the half of it, you're going to have a very mixed level of application compatibility as well. In fact, the better option might have been a better more robust compatibility function to better support older apps. Because while it's all well and good to say that companies need to upgrade their products, how about the apps that are no longer supported, but switching away from them is no option. In many larger companies it can take years to migrate to another system, even upgrading may not be an option.
    • When has M$ ever released an OS that wasn't a support nightmare?
      • When has [anyone] ever released an OS that wasn't a support nightmare [when it's actually put in the hands of users]?

        All better now?

      • by mc1138 ( 718275 )
        Or any OS for that matter. For even the best built OS there's a better built idiot waiting to use it.
        • Yeah, it's the downside of writing really good FAQs. They filter out anyone (a) with simple problems (b) smart enough to read. So you only get calls from idiots who couldn't take in information anyway. Great.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            But you're going to have to deal with those people anyway. You might as well get the people who can help themselves out of the way so you have more time to explain what the "Any Key" is.

            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              I'm still trying to figure out how to get my cup holder to come out when I want it to and not just when it wants to.

              One time it spilled coffee all over my desk. That was the last time I trusted it.
    • Re:A big mess (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dhalka226 ( 559740 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:29PM (#27738901)
      I think overall, this is a better way of moving forward. Windows has been essentially crippled from several different perspectives for years because of their need to support backward-compatibility, even with broken interfaces or insecure models. Letting a significant portion of that flow into VMs of older operating systems for those customers who absolutely, positively can not get off their old apps is a good compromise. It allows them to start with a cleaner slate for the majority who has no such requirements.
      • It allows them to start with a cleaner slate for the majority who has no such requirements.

        That thing your doing? That "making sense" thing? Stop it. Stop it right now.

        That's not what I come here for.

    • On the other, you're perpetuating an old system, and keeping people from moving forward.

      I don't think it will keep app creators from "moving forward" because I'm pretty sure there will be benefits to having your apps run directly in Win7 without the virch layer.

      Of course, this doesn't apply to corporations who build their own apps, but honestly, I don't care about them any more. Maybe it'll keep a lot of developers working, though, rewriting apps for Win7. That's a good thing, because I do care about deve

  • The better it works the easier it will be to support. Also why does the XP instance have to have its own antivirus and firewall? I don't understand why the windows 7 (Magnificent 7? Windows Magnifica!) firewall and antivirus won't be sufficient for the virtual XP machine inside.
    • Will you need a firewall or AV for a virtual machine that is fairly isolated from the outside world, doesn't browse the internet, and don't open email?
    • by Mr.Z of the LotFC ( 880939 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:24PM (#27738839)
      The need for a separate antivirus makes sense because the virtual machine is running a different operating environment with susceptibility to different viruses. A separate firewall does indeed seem superfluous.
      • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:54PM (#27739143) Journal

        I see no reason for a second AV program, providing the VM's virtual drive is readable by the host operating system. If any kind of nasty program gets installed, it's going to have hit the file system at some point, and if the host's AV can plug in to that file system, it can suspend or terminate the VM.

        • If any kind of nasty program gets installed, it's going to have hit the file system at some point

          SQL Slammer didn't hit the file system.

        • One of the features of Win7 that was announced early was that it can mount .VHD (Virtual Hard Disk, the format used by Virtual PC) natively (it can even boot off one, so long as the bootloader is on a real partition). So yes, the host AV *should* be able to protect the virtual system.

          Firewall is just ridiculous; filter the VPC connection through the host (Win7) network interface, and the host's firewall is the guest's firewall. In fact, on current versions on VPC, if you want to connect the client to a network *without* running it through the host firewall, you need a dedicated NIC (i.e. the host can't connect via that interface).

    • by Malc ( 1751 )

      Yeah, I call bullshit on this. Just crap tabloid journalism using sensationalism to attract readers.

      I imagine that if MSFT do this that it will be properly integrated and fairly transparent to the end-user, just as WoW is in previous versions of Windows. Any patching and security issues will be included as Windows 7 patches.

    • I am sure this is going to be a total disaster!

      But then again I will spread any FUD to keep my /. username relevant another 7 years. And if it keeps my consultant prices up in the meanwhile so be it.

  • On the contrary... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by casings ( 257363 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:13PM (#27738695)

    This could be very good for support people. Since Microsoft would have to keep supplying patches to XP, there will be no reason to even think about installing Windows 7. Thus allowing support people to the confidence of continued patches.

    • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <> on Monday April 27, 2009 @08:12PM (#27739331)

      > Since Microsoft would have to keep supplying patches to XP, there will be no reason
      > to even think about installing Windows 7.

      It gets even better. If they ship an XP compatibility layer in 7 it tells everyone that XP apps will be a supported option for the lifetime of Windows 7. And if XP is kept alive in this way, ya you are probably right that patches for XP itself will probably be continued for quite some time, especially since they are going to be selling newly licensed copies at least as late as this Xmas.

      However it is the follow on effects of a promise that XP will be a viable platform to run applications in for at least the next 5-7 years. It makes XP the safe choice of API to write new code to. An XP compatible application will run on XP, Windows 7 and via CodeWeavers increasingly effective efforts (as the XP target has remainied basically stable for years) it means an XP application can run at native speed on Mac and Linux. And it doesn't take that much effort to write XP apps that will run on 7 anyway without needing the emulation layer so 7 compatible XP code is going to be a more universal binary than Java ever achieved in the real world.

      If Microsoft isn't careful with this XP on 7 plan they could Warp themselves.

  • So what, if true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Radhruin ( 875377 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:14PM (#27738709)
    This is exactly what we want them to do. Virtualize the deprecated, old stuff, and get it out of the main operating system. Move on from the cruft of yore and build in some sweet new fundamentals that break backwards compatibility. We've been crying for them to do this for forever, so let's encourage it. It might add a bit of a support burden, but if it gives us a better product overall, what's the big deal?
    • by Chang ( 2714 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:31PM (#27738925)
      The thing is - Windows Vista and Windows 7 aren't really a fundamental departure from the past. For example, I applaud Microsoft for finally getting on board the IPv6 train with Vista and Win2K8 but what happened to rewriting system services and the Windows shell in managed code (.NET)? That would be a fundamental change that would justify a compat VM container. Microsoft is really giving customers the worst of both worlds. Making only incremental improvements to their mainline OS's while creating a backwards compatible VM which is simply more cruft to throw on top of an ever expanding pile of backwards compatible cruft.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by EvanED ( 569694 )

        Microsoft is really giving customers the worst of both worlds. Making only incremental improvements to their mainline OS's while creating a backwards compatible VM which is simply more cruft to throw on top of an ever expanding pile of backwards compatible cruft.

        Better to float the "VM as compatibility" boat in the wild before relying on it?

        I'm making crap up -- it's probably more MS missightedness -- but it would be a half decent reason. There's all sorts of stuff that can go wrong in the wild that would b

      • what happened to rewriting system services and the Windows shell in managed code (.NET)?

        For one thing, low-cost subnotebook PCs happened. Managed code tends to have a larger working set than native code, which needs more RAM (more $$$):

        1. You need to have both the MSIL bytecode and the x86 bytecode loaded.
        2. Data structures aren't as tightly packed because they have overhead to make sure they're verifiably type-safe.
        3. Garbage collecting VMs that use pure tracing without reference counting tend not to return the memory used for unreachable objects to the operating system very quickly.
  • by gparent ( 1242548 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:16PM (#27738731)
    As opposed to what, supporting an install of XP and an install of Windows 7? Or Windows XP in a VM and Windows 7?

    Just think about it.
  • by jerryasher ( 151512 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:18PM (#27738761)

    Fear and doubt...doubt and fear.... Our two weapons are fear and doubt...and ruthless uncertainty.

  • I thought one of the key advantages of running a virtual OS was so that you could completely bork it without harming your host OS... Plus, once all the OEMs start slapping "Made for Win7" on their retails, it's not like they're going to be writing drivers for their stuff to work in WinXP. Put another way, anything out there that is designed to work under WinXP today should work just fine under an emulated WinXP tomorrow, right? Otherwise, what's the point?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I don't really see the issue here. If the virtual OS is running off of a directory tree in the host OS's file system, then any virus checking can be done via that route. If the host OS detects a virus, spyware, rootkit or whatever being installed (this is going to have to hit the disk at some point), then deal with it via the host OS.

      Some of us have been asking MS to do this for a couple of years or longer, and with pretty much every modern x86 CPU now supporting virtualization, the time seems right. I'm

      • Re:Umm... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by DaHat ( 247651 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @08:23PM (#27739469) Homepage

        Neither VPC, Virtual Server or Hyper-V support "running off of a directory tree in the host OS's file system"... instead the virtual hard drive(s) are packaged into nice and portable VHD files... and I'd be very surprised if VirtualBox, VMWare or any other VM software did.

        External scanning would require the AV system to know how to crack a VHD (which isn't difficult at all)... though doing so when the VM is online might be tricky.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:29PM (#27738905)

    I'm 100% sure that a competent IT dept that has no use for this feature will, unsurprisingly, NOT USE IT, saving themselves all the support hassles entirely.

    And for those that DO need this feature, they know there's basically no other way and it's worth the extra support hassle because they know they will have people saying Application XYZ MUST work I don't care how.

    I suspect this means that the old applications that have to work and only currently work on XP can now be moved forward and the IT dept can get everyone onto Windows 7. Once there, the devs of these applications will have Windows 7 rather than XP to test against/run with and they'll have an incentive to update their programs to just work on Windows 7 because, like Classic on Mac OS X, this mode will have just enough 'impedience' that programs will be updated to work on Windows 7 native; but they will work okay in the meantime.

    That's the thing - this isn't seamless. It's going to be a little tricky to set up applications to run in the XP box rather than natively on Windows 7, even if launching them is easy.

    The trick is "Just enough impedience to get people to update to 7 native while providing a path."

  • Gartner?

    The option to download a free XP license and VM with linked desktops is a BAD thing? Really?


  • done by companies that went bust and do not have any new versions for w7 nor will ever have?

    Finally Microsoft's way of doing business is backfiring at them "big time" albeit by proxy.

    With current climate (since 2003 or so) there is no chance this will change for the better.

    The sooner Windows solutions are dumped for something that does not depend on any one particular company or companies the better.

    Question-OTD: How does it feel having your data taken hostage by the programs/hardware you rely upon?

  • This comes from someone who does large enterprise (15,000 - 75,000) infrastructure support at the architect level - so perhaps someone from Microsoft will read this. The problem that Microsoft has here is a failure to understand the needs of their enterprise customers. The inclusion of this feature shows that Microsoft has not really listened to their enterprise class customers. In principal this sounds like a really neat idea, now let me explain why this is dead on arrival.
    1. This introduces two platforms t
    • Why don't you look at the history of Mac OS. Apple has changed processor styles twice, and is working on a third major API change. Msft won't charge you for it. Itwill be standard on most versions if not all. Vpc CPU support hasbeen around since pentium III's?

      You really aren't that informed about the advances of the computer industry in the last decade. This will be mostly seamless to the end user. Double clicking on an XP app will auto launch the VM if it isn't running. If you have any Linux experience i

    • "Architect" level my ass. You probably get someone coffee. Sorry but your whole post is just ridiculous.

      There's no reason for any of your 'points' to stand if you migrate the system to Windows 7.

      Why have both? If Windows 7 is a better alternative, then for god's sake, run it. And don't tell me you need it just to have support for legacy apps that only run in Windows XP and not Windows 7.

      Because if you DO have those apps, you either need to upgrade them to Windows 7 functionality, find something that does the job better, or just FORGET ABOUT WINDOWS 7 and stay with XP.

      Damnit man, this is not that difficult to comprehend.

      Why do IT guys always have to blow things way out of proportion?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by onyxruby ( 118189 )

        I have worked as an enterprise consultant and architect for the last several years working with enterprise environments upwards of 75,000 desktops and 15,000 servers in everything from government to finance servers that link up directly with stock exchances (NYSE, Tokyo etc). I noticed you did not refute the points, but only show your immaturity and inexperience in your response. You completely missed the point that Microsoft wants people to run both in a desperate bid to start getting enterprises to actual

  • by pseudonomous ( 1389971 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @07:59PM (#27739205)

    From TFA:

    "Windows XP Mode is specifically designed to help small businesses move to Windows 7," Scott Woodgate, director of Windows enterprise and virtualization strategy, said in a blog entry last Friday.


    "Windows XP Mode is specifically designed to help us move copies of Windows 7 proffessional and ultimate, as opposed to the cheaper home addition,"S cott Woodgate, director of Windows enterprise and virtualization strategy, meant in a blog entry last Friday.

  • Instead of copping out with a VM, MS should instead use Wine to run legacy apps.

    That would be a win for everybody.

  • by TheNetAvenger ( 624455 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @08:13PM (#27739347)

    How stupid are these people?

    Windows alreadys supports multiple OSes, from the Win16 and DOS subsystems to the BSD/UNIX subsystem, and also the Win32 and Win64 subsystem.

    Which all have their own kernels, and run in NT OS subsystems.

    So adding in a VM'd version of XP is going to add to 'support'? How?

    The updates still come from MS Update, it isn't like the in house people are writing the patches themselves.

    If anything this creates more work for MS, not a freaking IT department.

    I'm not sure where to even begin with how stupid this sounds...

    More tech support? Really?

    If an IT department isn't using group policies and the business centralization and integration technologies of Windows, they shouldn't be using Windows and instead move to something that has almost no central control or mangement like Linux or OS X.

    The hallmark of why business CONTINUES to choose Windows deployments is the ease and control that MS continues to give IT administrators, along with their centralized server management concepts that really do make anything else out there look foolish.

    A well deployed Windows server/client environment is peanuts to administer, even when the IT people shove Firefox on users and have to run around and do 'manual' updates because Firefox is 'retarded' about allowing remote or admin level updates without giving your users administrator rights.

    The second part of this is not understanding the virtualization technology being used. They assume it is like a 'free window' VMWare mode.

    It isn't, it somewhere better a VM and a Subsystem on the NT architecture, which is one thing that makes HyperV as powerful as it is.

    Truly people forget that NT is a user mode OS-less architecture, and that everything anyone sees is a 'virtual' subsystem, even Win32 has its own kernel and doesn't really know that NT is running under it.

    Ok, I'll let people go grab the facts on this crap themselves, and give Win7 a week or two i people's hands that actually 'do' know what they are talking about...

    PS The XP Virtualization is mainly for corporate clients, as 99.9% of all software works on Vista and Win7.

    It is only the in house written or 'corporate' written software crap that has no concept of NT security that has problems with Vista or possibly Win7 that enforces the 20yr old NT security model that the software developers should have written for in the first freaking place.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Windows alreadys supports multiple OSes, from the Win16 and DOS subsystems to the BSD/UNIX subsystem, and also the Win32 and Win64 subsystem.

      Windows has a BSD/UNIX subsystem?

      • by TheNetAvenger ( 624455 ) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @12:15AM (#27741331)

        Holy cow, how does this stuff get under the radar, especially on Slashdot?

        Not directing this at the poster..

        I am hit by about 80% of IT people not even realizing this exists, and there are a lot of people locked in a 'Windows' corporate world that would really enjoy this stuff, and could use it on a daily basis.

        Quick Info...

        POSIX was a watered down 'basic' UNIX model OS provided under Windows NT 3.1 through Win2K.

        In the meantime MS sponsored and worked with several companies in their own UNIX subsystem technologies, and the result is SUA, or one that came from joint work with Interop and MS.

        (MS made the Interop people very rich and bought them out in the early 2000s.)

        So there has been a 'basic' POSIX environment running on NT since NT was born, but there has been a higher end UNIX subsystem that has been available around NT 4.0 and later provided by MS around the time Windows 2003 Server was released.

        (So this has been free and around for at least 6 years.)

        PS: MS also funded and worked with a couple of Linux (yes Linux) UNIX subsystems, but they haven't ever left R&D.

        The current UNIX Subsystem for Windows provides SVR-5 and BSD UNIX. (And there are people do Linux stuff as well on their own, but that is a non-issue as it is not official MS supported subsystems.)

        So yes Virginia you can easily run UNIX applications on Windows, in a native subsystem - no VM - native, that uses the IPC and Object Manager abilities of the NT kernel architecture that gives the UNIX Subsystem communication to the Win32/Win64 subsystem. Meaning you can take your UNIX app and let it tap an ODBC database driver instead of using MYSQL, as well as run on the Windows Desktop natively.

        Two quick Links... [] []

        (There is a lot of information on the MS site and whitepapers all around, as well as even OSS sites that work with SUA as it is known.)


        Even if you are just an IT person that is a UNIX CLI guru, break out the UNIX subsystem on Windows and go to town with your favorite UNIX CLI.


        Again it has been a free download from MS for XP or Windows Server since at least 2003, and it even ships on the Vista DVDs (Business & Ultimate) that is just a one click to install from that add/remove Windows Features/Components.

        This is also one of the cool things about the NT architecture, is the client/server kernel design that offsets and layers upper level OS API sets. NT also uses its 'hybrid' kernel to do things like this that OS X and Linux can't do, by allowing both direct and managed non-direct calls to let it create the upper layer OS subsystems with offset API kernel interfaces that are easily layered.

        I hope that this helps *nix people using Windows or at least someone finds this cool and something that makes their life easier.

  • Smart move? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Spit ( 23158 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @08:19PM (#27739425)

    If you're going to run virtualized, why bother using Windows 7 as the host OS? Ubuntu can virtualize XP with Virtualbox-OSE, one install away. You only need a license and any system currently running XP can be upgraded to Ubuntu with XP virtualized.

    Interesting times...

  • crash and burn (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NicknamesAreStupid ( 1040118 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @08:33PM (#27739571)
    This is sad, just another example of how the wheels are coming off the cart while careening down another blind alley. I was at a trade show last month, and the visit to the Microsoft booth was surreal. The first kiosk was for Windows 7 and a smiling young man touting the virtues of this beta software. When I mentioned that I was having trouble running Vista on a 3.2GHz P4 with 4GB RAM, a 512MB ATI video card with DX10.1, and a terabyte HDD, he scoffed and said that nobody at Microsoft was running Vista, not even the developers. He gave me a DVD of beta 7 and told me that even as a beta, Windows 7 was "so much better than Vista." I accepted his disc (which expires on August 1), and went to the Windows Mobile (WM).

    This kiosk had a good looking young man who was part of the product management group for WM 6.5 and very knowledgeable about the product. When I told him that I was a WM developer, he listened attentively as I explained my frustration in trying to program the WM6 smartphone camera to work. His smile faded as he explained that Microsoft had failed to thoroughly test the OEMs for WM5, WM6 and WM6.1. As a result, the DirectShow APIs for many phones were not fully/correctly implemented. He showed me a web page - [] - that explained the problem phones. Then I asked, "will this be fixed in the coming 6.5 release?" He shook his head and replied, "no, not until WM7." I thanked him for his candor and moved onto Live Search.

    At Live Search, a bright young man was touting the performance of their latest version and let me test it against Google, where it seemed to respond comparably. He talked about how his group was trying to get other parts of Microsoft to use their Live Search instead of their own, "an uphill battle." At that moment, another person walked up and asked a question, prompting him to pull out his iPhone. I reached out with my WM phone and joked, "wouldn't it be more politically correct to show this?" He responded, "oh, no. Most of my friends at work have iPhones. It's OK."

    The problems documented by Daniel Wagner's web page (above) and unmentioned on or cost us three months of development time. I should have suspected; mea culpa. Our application now runs on iPhone, and we are not looking back.

    BTW, the Microsoft coffee table looks like a giant iPhone.
    • Re:crash and burn (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SpryGuy ( 206254 ) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @01:17AM (#27741761)

      Just for the record, I've used Vista at work since it was released (doing .Net development and Database work on SQL Server).

      Before SP1 was released, it was a pain in the ass. Since then... not so much.

      In fact, I'm now used to Vista, and like it's extra features and perks, and find going back to XP annoying. I miss too much (the instant search everywhere, for starters, the snipping tool for another, I could go on and on) when I'm forced to use XP. And XP is so much less secure than Vista. Vista has proven to be remarkably stable and I haven't had ANY issues with viruses or trojans (not so, every XP install I've had over the same time period). It performs well, but of course I do have 4GB of memory, and wouldn't dream of saying anyone run Vista on less than 2GB.

      The trash-talking of Vista is, at this point, mostly habit based on old info. It's ridiculous. ANYTHING that will help get people off XP and onto the newer more secure OS's (hopefully Win7) is a GOOD THING.

      Hopefully most people won't need to use this new virtual XP VM in a regular way, in perpetuity. It can be and should be used as solely a stepping stone to get people on Win 7 and off XP, giving time for any software that refuses to run on Win7 to be updated or replaced. Mostly, the "XP Compatibility Mode" works well. For those apps that are just so badly written and so insecure and obsolete that they can't run even under that, this new XP VM provides a solution.

      Of course, if software had been written correctly in the first place, then it'd run on Win7 correctly without issue.

      Of course, one of the more laughable things is that SQL Server 2000, Microsoft's own product, won't run on Vista or Win7. Of course, it's a crappy database and nobody should be using it at this point... but there you go :-)

  • by dlevitan ( 132062 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @08:35PM (#27739603)

    So when Intel and AMD couldn't increase the speed of their processors any more, they decided to introduce dual core chips. Does this mean that Microsoft has decided they couldn't slow down computers any more with Windows 7 and is now planning on shipping a dual OS system to ensure slow performance?

  • Already do it... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by binaryspiral ( 784263 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @10:16PM (#27740507)

    I run Windows XP in a VMWare Workstation virtual machine. My laptop requires 64bit and runs (believe it or not) better with Vista 64bit than any other Windows OS.

    However, there are some apps that refuse to run correctly in Vista. So it's a cake walk with VMWare to run XP.

    For support - I don't see an issue. XP actually runs pretty damn good in a controlled virtual environment. You get away from all the wacky hardware drivers and shit that normally trips up XP. The problem I see is if/when Microsoft ends XP support for security updates.

  • RTFA!!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by anonymousbob22 ( 1320281 ) on Monday April 27, 2009 @10:27PM (#27740589)
    So, there's actually no full-on windows XP installation. It's application level support that wraps XP applications so that they work with Win7. Patching, antivirus, etc can all be handled by Windows 7.

    Seriously, this sounds a lot better than XP's lame "compatibility mode" for Windows 98 and older that never seemed to work anyway.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken