Windows

Legacy compatibility is a reality with Virtual Windows XP in Windows 7

Greg Shultz shows you how some of the new features in Windows Virtual PC and Virtual Windows XP make using Windows XP applications in Windows 7 a simple operation.

In my recent blog, "Determine if Your Hardware Can Support Windows XP Mode in Windows 7," I described the procedures that I went through to determine if the hardware on my Windows 7 test system would support Windows XP Mode. (While this new feature is being referred to as Windows XP Mode, the actual installation is called Virtual Windows XP.)

As I mentioned I was successful and have had Virtual Windows XP up and running on my Windows 7 test system for several weeks now. I must reiterate that I am truly amazed by the way this feature works and really believe that this new feature will help alleviate the types of application compatibility issues that prevented Vista from gaining a strong foothold in the enterprise.

In this edition of the Windows Vista and Windows 7 Report, I'll show you how some of the new features in Windows Virtual PC and Virtual Windows XP make using Windows XP applications in Windows 7 a simple operation. (Windows XP Mode will be available only in Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, and Windows 7 Enterprise.)

Note: Keep in mind that this is a Release Candidate version and that the look and features of Windows 7 that I will discuss here may very well change between now and the time the operating system is actually released.

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a free TechRepublic download.

Installing Windows Virtual PC and Virtual Windows XP

Since both the Windows Virtual PC and the Virtual Windows XP programs are still in the beta stage, I won't go into any detail on installing them. The installation procedures may be very different by the time Windows 7 is available.

If you want to experiment with them, you can download both the Windows Virtual PC Beta and the Windows XP Mode Beta from the Windows Virtual PC home page.

I will say that the installation procedures for both were pretty straightforward. Installing Windows Virtual PC Beta edition in the Windows 7 Release Candidate is simple: you just run the installation program, and then restart the system. You'll then find Windows Virtual PC on the Start menu.

Once you have Windows Virtual PC Beta installed, you can launch the Virtual Windows XP Setup Wizard and just follow the steps. When you finish, you'll find Virtual Windows XP on the Start menu right inside the Windows Virtual PC folder, as shown in Figure A, and will be able to access a virtual machine with a fully installed version of Windows XP SP3 on the virtual hard disk.

Figure A

Once installed, you'll find both Windows Virtual PC and Virtual Windows XP on the Start menu.

The environment

When you are running Virtual Windows XP, you'll find a small menu bar at the top of the window, as shown in Figure B, that looks and works like the Remote Desktop menu bar. You use the thumb-tack icon to toggle the menu bar display between Auto-Hide and Always Show. The Action drop-down menu contains two commands: Restart and Close. Selecting the Close command will actually put the Virtual Windows XP system into hibernation.

Figure B

The Virtual Windows XP menu bar resembles the Remote Desktop menu bar.

When you have a USB device connected to the Windows 7 host system, the USB drop-down menu will show that device and allow you to directly and exclusively access the device from within Virtual Windows XP. (By default, any USB device that has drivers installed on both the Windows 7 host system and the Virtual Windows XP system is automatically shared between the host and virtual systems using the integration feature. Selecting the device on the USB drop-down menu will disconnect the device from the host.)

Selecting the Ctrl-Alt-Del command virtually initiates the secure attention sequence (SAS) and will bring up the Windows Security dialog box. You can then select from the six standard buttons: Lock Computer, Log Off, Shut Down, Change Password, Task Manager, and Cancel.

On the menu bar the hover text for the minimize button reads Return to Windows 7, and clicking it minimizes the full-screen Virtual Windows XP window to the Windows 7 Taskbar. The hover text for the restore down button reads Exit Full Screen, and clicking it reduces the size of the window as you would expect. The hover text for the close button reads Close, and clicking it puts the Virtual Windows XP system into hibernation.

Installing applications

To install your XP applications, launch Virtual Windows XP, insert the CD, and install the applications just like you normally would in Windows XP. When you do, you'll, of course, find the application on the Virtual Windows XP Start menu, but you'll also find the application on the Windows 7 Start menu. This will allow you to launch your XP application without having to first load Virtual Windows XP.

For example, I installed my vintage copy of Jasc Paint Shop Pro 8 in Virtual Windows XP, and it also showed up on the Windows 7 Start menu, as shown in Figure C. Thus, when I launch Paint Shop Pro, it loads Virtual Windows XP in the background without any UI, and it looks and feels as though I am running Paint Shop Pro directly in Windows 7, as shown in Figure D. Microsoft calls this Seamless Mode.

Figure C

XP applications installed in Virtual Windows XP show up on the Windows 7 Start menu.

Figure D

When you launch an XP application from the Windows 7 Start menu, it runs in Seamless Mode.

You'll also notice that I installed AVG Anti-Virus in Virtual Windows XP. Even though it is a virtual environment, it is still susceptible to the same types of malicious software as a real system, and having anti-virus software on the host system will not protect the virtual system.

Drive and folder access

When you are working within the Virtual Windows XP environment, you aren't stuck there as far as drive and printer access goes. In fact, when you open My Computer, you'll see not only the virtual hard disk but also all the drives available on the Windows 7 host, as shown in Figure E.

Figure E

From within My Computer in Virtual Windows XP, you can access all the drives available on the Windows 7 host.

You'll also have access to your Windows 7 main folders, such as My Documents, Pictures, Desktop, Music, and Video, from inside the Virtual Windows XP environment.

Clipboard sharing

With the Clipboard sharing feature, you can cut, copy, and paste data between the Windows 7 host system and the Virtual Windows XP system.

Printer access

With the Printer Redirection feature, you'll be able to install drivers and print directly to the Windows 7 printer from your seamless application or virtual machine.

What's your take?

After reading this, what do you think about the new Virtual Windows XP environment? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

58 comments
MPG187
MPG187

Virtualization is nothing new... Maybe full graphics hardware support for gaming

alpha425
alpha425

MS dosen't get it. I work with the public and enterprises, and most of my work seems to be answering questions about how to use Vista. The majority of people have little tech skills and just need a computer to function without having to read a complicated manual.

Zenith545
Zenith545

Since Virtual Windows XP is only available with Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, and Windows 7 Enterprise, Microsoft is telling the million of personal computer users to "eat cake". I, for one, can not see a time in the near future when I will pay $300 US - to $400 US for new operating system or a new computer. Pity the personal computer users who have to spend that, then get "suckered" in to spending up to $1000 US total for a machine and the software that they are used to running. Really a pity that the largest software company in the world refuses to match pricing of Apple's OS. Apple provides a Family Pack of OS X with five licenses for $199 US. This is a FULL version, not an upgrade. Shame on Microsoft !! Tech Republic acts like a Microsoft paid front-man. Praising all the virtues of a "New" feature in an OS without really testing. Reminiscent of what Tech Republic said about Vista before Microsoft released it. M$'s Virtual PC technology is poo compared to VMWare. M$ also expects user's and support staff to now use and support two OS environments on the same PC. This is a HUGE headache in the enterprise environment. I can imagine how it will be with many personal users. M$ seems to be acting like the government - forcing you into no alternative situations, such as making it much more difficult to run apps on your local PC so they can get everyone to think kindly about their thin-client and server-based apps strategies. (That no one wants, by the way)

rpcimino
rpcimino

This feature is great. It installs easily. It is integrated well with the Windows 7. Not only can I run some of my older programs with rebooting my machine(s), I can now use two of my printers for which Vista could use only alternative drivers. The alternative drivers never allowed use of all the features of the printers and when they did work, the printers never print at full speed. After 2 years, I can now get rid of XP installation.

paultraite
paultraite

Is there (at most) a SINGLE instance of Virtual Windows XP, or each each app (or instance of an app) executed in its own VW-XP instance? (An imperfect analogy of the latter might be multiple CMD.exe boxes, each running an instance of the same DOS program). This would affect things like product licensing that allows (under normal XP) only a single instance of an app, and could also affect inter-process communications between apps running in different VW-XP "boxes".

gdude
gdude

It works for me. Vista didnt have good USB support or legacy support for CD printers..now i can upgrade to 7 & still keep my CD printer instead of buying a new one as these are not cheap...

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

Will Windows Virtual PC Beta run anything other than the XP Mode sample VHD that Microsoft provides? Or is it just a pretty good marketing tool to try to grab the die-hard XP users? Can a user create his/her own VHD from any installable OS? If so, how?

andrew.glenda
andrew.glenda

Well it solved my problem with TMPGenc not working in 7

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

Mind you, from the majority of the 'informed' articles that I've read on the Virtual XP Mode subject - they all insist that it is (presently at least) only meant as a sort of placebo for business applications users. Let's face it - business applications don't have much sound (sic). I'm rather disappointed thus far.

m
m

Can I run in this mode with WIN 7 ordinary if I have a copy of XP or do I have to but the Win7 that supports this option?

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

One of the main bones of contention that many users have is this STUPID marketing ploy of sorting out the functionality to really screw users out of a lot of money to get all the functionality. Not only are they "repainting and reselling the same old OS" they want more money, too much for a couple of changes at the user end. People don't care how fancy they re-arranged the guts; people are interested in the tools they can use. This would make a good Mac commercial. Showing that if you get basic you get screwed, and that to get the real OS you have to turn over a butt load of dough. One of the main reasons I am moving to Mac and Linux. For anyone who may read this here is the scoop. Buy the bottom line Microsoft junk and run wubi to load a real OS like Ubuntu. I bought a couple of software tools to switch up the partitions, squeeze that useless Microsoft OS into a corner and load Linux. Think of it as Linux with training wheels until you can do away with Microsof altogether.

BrianGSiwik
BrianGSiwik

Will one be able to install and use MS Enterprise 6 (VB6,C+, etc)? Vista can run programs made with enterprise 6 but you can't istall the compiler to create programs.

goalcoach
goalcoach

Other than costing us a bundle of money and time--what purpose does XP to Virtual to 7 do to make the XP-VISTA-OS simply functional to enhance our ROI-PRODUCTIVTY TIME????? I just don't get it. My time and money are migrating to MAC--so long PC, and enjoy paying for a new learning and aggravating system & whatever elso the conjure up to skim your thin wallet.

almeister9g
almeister9g

It uses a generic Virtual S3 Trio Video driver and there is no way to install anything better. Forget games altogether. Same as Audio.

Dopey.1.of.The.LSD
Dopey.1.of.The.LSD

Sorry but Virtual XP is nothing than a revamped release of Virtual PC that has been around for a long time. Unfortunately, MicroSoft didn?t improve this piece of software originally created by Connectix that they acquired early in 2003 and the sole new "stuff" is the ability to run apps seamlessly. I'm using VMware vs. Virtual PC for its strong reliability and this MS competitor runs fine on XP as well as both on Vista and Windows 7. However, both these two competitive solutions lake a major feature: a real amount of virtual video memory (only 16 or 32 Kb) that won't allow you (for example) to run a lot of games in the virtual machines or even the Aero interface of a virtual Vista machine. A minimum of 128 Kb. would be appreciated. So, unless the next Virtual PC provides this, I'll stay with VMware that is faster and less resource consuming than its competitor. Cheers.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

of compatibility provided, but it still doesn't explain why they had to deliberately change the command set to make it necessary to run a virtual machine instead of just allowing the XP applications to run in Win 7 natively by staying with the same command set.

gburk
gburk

It took me a little while to install it and get it up and running properly.I installed an app that will not run on Vista nor Win7 and I was disappointed. What I installed is an audio app (Roland VSC3 sound canvas) but it did not work well at all. The generic sound that the virtual XP uses is terrible for this with the sound bogging down and breaking up badly. Most of my other older apps are working well enough in Win7 that I really didn't need the virtual XP but I wanted to tinker with it just for the learning experience.

billfly
billfly

What type of programs will Windows 7 Home version users not be able to run, since the Virtual Windows XP environment is not available to them?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What do you think about the new Virtual Windows XP environment? Does the potential of XP compatibility make Windows 7 more enticing?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Remember this is the Windows Blog on TechRepublic - we do blog posts about Windows, Microsoft etc. TechRepublic does have a Linux Open Source Blog and if the audience warrants we would add a blog about OS X.

rick@Hogans-Systems.com
rick@Hogans-Systems.com

>I, for one, can not see a time in the near future when I will pay $300 US - to $400 US for new operating system or a new computer. Not many people can, given that Microsoft charges nowhere near that much for an upgrade to Windows 7. Why make up bogus prices like that instead of being honest? >Really a pity that the largest software company in the world refuses to match pricing of Apple's OS. Perhaps when MS starts selling $2000+ PCs, and says that you can only run Windows on an official MS PC, then they will be able to start giving away the OS upgrades at the same price as Apple charges. Of course, being totally clueless about how businesses work, I'm sure that just flew right over your head. >M$ also expects user's and support staff to now use and support two OS environments on the same PC. No, MS expects most people to upgrade to Windows 7 when they are ready to upgrade, and only use XP mode for the rare application that absolutely cannot be made to run under 7 and absolutely cannot be replaced. It's so tiresome to hear MS bashers like you making up crap just to justify your hatred of MS. Why don't you just go buy yourself an overpriced Mac and leave the rest of us alone? Rick

sykandtyed
sykandtyed

that makes me want to shell out more bucks just to use Excel or use WinWord? Besides, my computers are single user PCs and laptops. So why am I saddled with having to create a user and the complexity of being shut out of folders on MY COMPUTERS??? Yeah, I know, it?s for my own good. Damn it, it?s still my computer. Since 90% of PCs and Laptops are pre-installed with Windows, single user purchasers are forced to accept any OS MS wants to sell. Businesses can still get XP until next June. Not so for consumers. MS is offering pre-order upgrade deals of $49 for Home Premium and $99. Seems like a desperation move to boost PR on acceptance of Win7. Right now, I have better use for my dough.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

Windows Virtual PC Beta has that same type of controls as Virtual PC 2007 to allow you to create alternate virtual machines. These controls are accessable from within the Virtual Machines folder. However, I have not attempted to create another virtual machine as of yet.

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

I wouldn't even call it one trick :) Hopefully, this won't be a problem. I hope our big names come through and update their (horrible) software.

rick@Hogans-Systems.com
rick@Hogans-Systems.com

Do a search for "Microsoft Virtual PC". You can download it for free and it runs on XP or Vista. I assume it will also run on the Home versions of Windows 7, but I haven't tried it. MS Virtual PC will give you the ability to install your existing copy of XP into a virtual machine, similar to what the Virtual Windows XP feature gives you. Rick

dmize
dmize

This is true, its NOT earth shattering and is the samething that most of us IT people have been using for awhile in VM. The difference is however, I can deploy this to users that I would never give a VM to because of thier level of PC Skills. This shows the app in the start menue like any other application and they really have no idea they are actually running a VM behind the scenes. From a IT managers view, I see it being a huge win for deploying to people with very low level skills. d.

lbennett
lbennett

and it is slow to boot, hibernate and run. I was disappointed my new i7 based PC with Velociraptor hdd and 12 gig memory did not perform better. The only thing good about it is the free XP license.

rick@Hogans-Systems.com
rick@Hogans-Systems.com

Maybe it is because you are making things up? Every time you bring up this story about MS supposedly "changing the command set" I try to get you to explain it and you never do. No one else in the world, besides you, ever says anything about MS "changing the command set." In my experience, the vast majority of programs that worked under XP still work perfectly fine under Vista. The few I've seen that don't work natively under Vista will work if set to run in XP compatibility mode, or if set to "run as administrator." This is needed because the programs improperly use functions that require elevated priviliges. I personally only know of maybe 2 or 3 programs that won't run at all under Vista. As far as I can tell, based on my own experience, and based on everything I've ever read is that the only reason programs that ran under XP won't run under Vista is because the programs were improperly designed in the first place. I have yet to see anything that mentions any changes that were deliberately made, just to make old applications incompatible with Vista. It just doesn't make any sense, but I suppose it's the kind of thing you Linux trolls have to tell yourselves to make yourselves feel good. Rick

Yam Digger
Yam Digger

Did you try adding the XP version of the sound card drivers in the VirtualXP mode?

GELyon
GELyon

I think it was a terrible idea to not include Virtual Windows XP in the Home Premium incarnation of Windows 7. Home users are potentially the most needing of the feature.

tom
tom

No one has mentioned that you need a computer capable of Hardware Virtualization for this, unless I'm mistaken. And, not just the CPU. I contacted Dell to make sure I was ordering a PC with a CPU that was Hardware Virtualization capable, and ordered it. Got it, and the while the CPU supports it, the Main Board does NOT support Hardware Virtualization. And, try to find which PCs support it. No mention anywhere (that I can find) on Dell or HP websites. Two of the 3 people I talked to at Dell (the sales person that gave me the initial info and the first tech who tried to help me had no clue what I was talking about. I didn't give the third person a chance, I just told him what it was.

de_comp5350
de_comp5350

I have just tested in my computer (Intel Desktop Board Core 2 Duo 2Gb Ram) After I run the installation and I reboot the computer, I did not see any new programs in the menu bar, so I start to look in the folder windows Xp mode and it was necessary to double click the app for the first time. I don?t know why it happened, but later I reboot again and both programs, Virtual Pc and Virtual XP Mode already show in the menu. Since then, a week ago I have been using this feature. I am very surprised. Because it is working as they say. I had some troubles with the Ram because it was necessary to install other memory module in my computer A-Data 1 GB 667 MHz and it seems that it was a faulty one so I need to change it for another good one and everything get back to normal. In my point of view these feature will be fundamental to allow enterprise, single users attempt to migrate in some future time to Windows 7 with some grade of confidence. Also because there is other new feature in Windows 7 that allows you to make a clean install of Windows 7 but without losing your data. All the information about user accounts and documents are saved in the folder Windowsold and Windows 7 is capable to restore all information to Windows 7 User Folders. These two features were not present in Vista, but with it Windows 7 look very promising. Of course have to wait to see what will be the new price by the time Windows 7 be fully release

sguss38
sguss38

Great that you can install individual apps, now, how do I install my current system, lock, stock and Windows 98 apps into Virtual Windows XP without reinstalling every single program I've installed since 1996 or so?????

Yue Hong
Yue Hong

How long does it take to load the application in virtual XP mode? Is the loading time = Virtual Windows XP booting time + application loading time?

rpbert4
rpbert4

I still have XP on a second computer and Vista Home Premium on another. I have pre-ordered Windows 7 Pro. to get Virtual XP. If Microsoft is really stopping XP support, what happens next.

frencht52
frencht52

I have several apps that run in Windows XP only if I allow them to acquire Prime Memory via a Startup.bat which runs when I boot XP. I didn't migrate these apps from XP to Vista for fear these would no longer work. Can anyone confirm if the Windows 7 and/or theVirtual XP environment will support these apps or will I need to keep these apps on XP? Thanks in advance Tim

lcox
lcox

Do you have to divide up physical memory between the Virtual XP and Windows 7?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

support for XP well before then. thus the users are left out in the cold and vulnerable to all the design errors made by MS that will be open to attack.

Zenith545
Zenith545

You can also download for FREE VMPlayer which will run VMware virtual machines. AND - VMX Builder - a freeware app to actually create VMware virtual machines. VMWare is much, much better then M$'s Virtual PC. Which is really a shame.

rhomp2002
rhomp2002

Is it possible to use hardware that is compatible with XP and not with Win 7 using the Virtual XP? I am guessing not compatible but maybe they got smart and allowed this one. There are a lot of people with recently purchased equipment who do not want to get rid of it but it is not supported on Win 7. That would preclude a lot of the market from upgrading to Win 7 and leaves that consumer between a rock and a hard place in that they are not supported and yet they can use their chosen equipment if they do a lot of overhead things like the defrag/spyware/malware/registry cleaner/etc. That would leave them up for the next version of Windows but would they have a means of transferring their files/settings, etc to the next O/S when they get their next equipment.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

those posts or don't understand the process. The hardware needs certain commands to make them work - at the basic level they're things like start, stop, save etc. The operating system gives those commands to the hardware. The application issues those commands to the operating system and it sends them on to the hardware. There's even an industry standard out for most of this stuff. Simplifying it a whole lot, let's say the industry standard commands are as per this partial list: Printer start is = PST Printer stop = PSP Printer new line = PNL If the application and operating system uses the exact same commands, the operating system can do a simple hand off of the commands, however, the OS will normally do some handling to ensure the relevant commands are related to the correct application Now lets say the operating system wishes to use a different set of commands for these same functions, like Printer start is = ZST Printer stop = ZSP Printer new line = ZNL The application needs to be rewritten to issue those commands instead of the earlier ones. Also, the hardware now needs a special little program to convert those commands (which mean nothing to it) to the earlier ones so it can perform the actions - this is called a 'device driver.' If the hardware is made to expect the commands used by the operating system, it is said to be fully compatible with that system or 'out of the box' compatible. Every now and then MS change the command sets, which is why you need different drivers for the same hardware if you are using Win 98, as against Win NT, or Win 2000/XP, or Win Vista. Because MS used the same command set in Win 2000 and Win XP they use the same drivers, but they changed them for Vista, so they don't work properly in Vista. ........... As to how you design a program to run in MS, any improper designs are due to the guidelines handed out by MS on how to design a program to run on their software. ........... A clear example of the issues raised above is the fact that earlier versions of Ms software do NOT run properly on the latest versions of their OS due to the changes mentioned above. That's why they have to emulate XP in a VM to have the applications work, instead of running natively on the OS. ......... BTW: I was aware of all this stuff back in the 1990s, long before I got introduced to Linux. And I'm not a Linux Troll, if I was I'd be spouting personal abuse like the MS Trolls do. But not being a Troll, I won't get personal. ............. In summary, the only reason an application will work on one MS OS and not another is because of changes to the OS made by MS to the basic functions to make them not work. they did a hell of a lot of changes to DOS over many years, yet a DOS program made for DOS 1.0 worked on DOS 6 nearly a decade later. Applications written for Win 3.11 worked well on Win 95/98, but not on Win 2000 - for the reasons stated above.

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

Microsoft needs to have more features in the Pro and Ultimate versions to justify the sharply higher price for Pro and Ultimate. There may also be a chip-based reason for the omission. Although almost all recent AMD chips have virtualization support, the majority of Intel's lower cost, consumer-oriented chips do not have it.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

Unfortunately, that isn't how it works... Besides, even if you could, a system first installed in 1996 is bound have deep rooted problems that would surely come up and bite you if indeed it were possible to port your system over.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

Yes, it does take a little extra time to load the XP App as it must first load Virtual XP in the background. However, it isn't an inordinate amount of time.

john3347
john3347

Microsoft has committed to continuing XP "support" for two or three years yet (2012 is it?). Even so, "dropping support" DOES NOT make your use of that application or OS unusable. (That may be true of cloud based applications but not applications installed on your computer). Microsoft discontinued "support" of Windows 2000 Several years ago, yet I continue to get periodic security updates as recently as a couple of weeks ago. There just will be no further Service Packs and no "Help Line" or Microsoft sponsored forums to go to for assistance, but my Windows 2000 computer still works and runs my legacy applications and hardware that will not run on XP, CERTAINLY not Vista, and not Windows 7 RC. XP will have a reasonable service life of 10 years or more even after Windows 7 becomes the mainstream OS. As long as there are enough users to make it profitable, third party applications will continue to be available. Windows 2000 has just recently (over the past 2 or 3 years) lost third party support to the point that one is really pushed to look into upgrading to a newer OS. XP has several good years left yet, with or without Microsoft "support". That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it!

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

with no troubles and it still works well with Excel 4 and Word for Windows 2a too.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

Since you can freely download Windows 7 Release Cadaidate and the Windows Virtual PC/XP Mode installation, you should be able to easily conduct your own investigation into whether the Virtual XP environment will support your specialized apps.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

By default, Windows Virtual PC allocates 256MB of RAM for the Virtual Windows XP system, but you can allot more if you wish. The amount of memory that you can allocate the virtual machine is only limited by the amount of RAM that is available in the physical computer. There should be plenty of available RAM since Windows Virtual PC requires that you have 2GB installed on your system.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

and another to use it as a system connected to the internet or use it at work a virus attack is more likely. There's also the aspect that the chances of a virus in the wild today being aimed at Win 98 is so low it's not funny. At present you can't say the same for XP, but may be able to in a few years time. I don't expect a new car, but I do expect a new car to run on the same fuels as is approved by the government, and not need a new one as declared by the manufacturer, and I do expect the basic accessories like tow bars etc to be easily fitted and work the same.

rick@Hogans-Systems.com
rick@Hogans-Systems.com

I do find it interesting that in one of your earlier posts in this thread, you talk about how you still run W98, etc., even though it is long out of support, but now you claim that people will be "forced" to upgrade off of XP due to lack of support. It seems to me this is all so simple: If you want the latest and greatest, you pay the price and make the effort to get it. If not, then you live with the old and outdated. I just can't see why people think computer software is so much different from any other product. Do you expect to get a new car, for free, when your old car breaks down? Do you expect someone to give you a new HDTV when your old TV no longer works? Or do you expect everyone to settle for standard TV, instead of HDTV, just because you don't want to upgrade? Rick

rick@Hogans-Systems.com
rick@Hogans-Systems.com

Yes, we all agree that changes were made. What I would like to know is how you are so certain that these changes were not needed to improve the security? You clearly don't seem to know all that much about how operating systems work internally. I doubt that you have access to the source code for Windows. So how did you, and you alone, determine that these changes were unnecessary? While it is true that the changes made in Vista have affected a small number of applications, you are blowing things way out of proportion with your exaggerated claims that seem to imply that NO applications that work under XP or prior will work under Vista. I am running many applications that were meant for previous versions of Windows under Vista with no problems. All of my clients are doing the same. Yes, I have seen 2 or 3 applications that needed to be set to "Run as Adminstrator" to allow them to run under Vista (because they improperly use functions that require elevated prviliges). I have also seen a few that require being set to run in XP or W98 Compatibility Mode to get them to run under Vista. If your claim were true, that MS intentionally and maliciously went out of their way to make old applications incompatible with Vista, then why did they provide these options to make old applications work successfully? If they were really out to screw people, why even provide such an option? In my previous post, I made a statement about MS "bending over backwards" to keep XP alive, with extended sales and extended support. You seem to have re-interpreted my comment as follows: "bent over backwards to keep it compatible, huh. If they had Vista and Win 7 would run XP applications natively." I think that right there shows what your problem is: You've made up your mind that MS is an evil, malicious organization which only does things to screw people over. And now you misinterpret everything you see through your slanted view of the world. You make things up and blow things out of proportion just to satisfy your need to believe that MS intentionally does evil things to its customers just to abuse people. I'll be the first to admint that MS is far from perfect, but that doesn't make them the evil empire that you fantasize about. >I've watched all this happening for the last twenty plus years, and experienced first hand. And I've been working with computers over 30 years and have also experienced all of this first hand. I have a Masters Degree in Computer Science. I have actually written my own operating system in college. No, that doesn't mean that I think I know everything. It just means that I've been at this longer than you have and know more about how computers work than you do. >The Win 7 64 bit drivers - not confusion, just stating what MS say - a clear statement of not allowing non approved drivers or apps to work on the OS. Yes, you are clearly CONFUSED. There is ABSOLUTELY NO REQUIREMENT for APPS to be signed or approved at all. And yet you keep saying that over and over as if repeating it will somehow make it true. The only requirement is for DRIVERS to be signed and you can disable that requirement if you really want to write your own drivers and not get them signed. (Edit: forgot to mention that you can get a developer's certificate for free from MS to sign your own drivers so that you can run them without having to disable the driver signing requirement). Either you don't know the difference between an APP and a DRIVER, or you are just making things up to satisfy your desire to cast MS in a bad light. >The bottom line is if you want full use of Win XP apps in Vista or Win 7 you need to get a good Virtual Machine applications to run it in. Again, completely FALSE. I have FULL USE of many apps that were designed for XP, W2K and even W98 in Windows Vista without running a VM. Perhaps you should change your name from Deadly Ernest to Clearly Confused. It is clear that nothing I say will ever help you find your way out of your cloud of confusion, but as long as you keep posting your misinformation, I will keep coming back to point out how wrong you are. Rick

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

and those changes create incompatibilities. Apart from being unneeded changes, unless you wish to push more auxiliary products, what other excuse do you make for them. BTW, it's not just my opinion either. I suppose all the problems people have reported with the way the security 'features' work are all fabricated. Ms have provide security add ons and not built in, like the Nix community uses, and have used for decades. It can be done, but that's not how MS chose to do it. MS did have a good security set up for Win NT, but chose to stop that process with Win 2000, and used a totally different implementation process in Win Vista. If they'd used the Win NT process they wouldn't have had any of the troubles they have had. bent over backwards to keep it compatible, huh. If they had Vista and Win 7 would run XP applications natively. It doesn't. You mention people writing apps to use elevated privileges, yet that's how MS have been writing their own software and telling people to write it. The default install does it to, until Vista. So tell me, why isn't this a faulty behaviour by MS? The OS can be upgraded and introduce new capabilities, and still run older apps, if they design and build it right in the first place. The early 16 bit Windows ran older 8 bit programs OK, and other OS makers have managed this with more compact code. MS are the only people who seem to be unable, or unwilling to allow for compatibility with older apps. I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this. I've watched all this happening for the last twenty plus years, and experienced first hand. the concerns raised were all first raised by others, and well documented when they first started happening many years ago. Many new techs don't know, and aren't trained, in anything but the latest stuff. thus, they don't know that other ways exist or should be used. the number of people who think the only way to create a web page is to do it in Flash and java are a clear example of this way of thought. MS can provide better software than they do, they choose not to, and choose to follow paths that do make life difficult. They're walking the very path Bill Gates accused IBM of walking in the mid 1980s. The Win 7 64 bit drivers - not confusion, just stating what MS say - a clear statement of not allowing non approved drivers or apps to work on the OS. The OS is supposed to facilitate me using the software I want, not tell me what software I can or can't use. It all comes back to the current MS mindset or telling the user what to do and how to do it. We seem to disagree on their right to tell people paying them money on how they can use what they purchase. The bottom line is if you want full use of Win XP apps in Vista or Win 7 you need to get a good Virtual Machine applications to run it in. that being the case you may as well purchase Linux, Unix, or Mac as VMs will run just as well on them. or save money and stay with XP.

rick@Hogans-Systems.com
rick@Hogans-Systems.com

> 1. I'm not bent on bashing MS at every point, but when they deliberate screw people over, The problem is, you have it in your mind that they deliberately screwed people over. That is just your opinion. You make assumptions about their intetions without any evidence to back up your assumptions. As I see it, people wanted Windows to be more secure and more reliable. MS did what they could to make Windows more secure and more reliable. Maybe they didn't do a perfect job of it, but all evidence shows that Vista is FAR MORE secure than XP or any previous version of Windows. Now we see the fallout: Many old applications were poorly designed, unecessarily and improperly using functions that require elevated priviliges. These are the applications that always required everyone to use an administrator ID, instead of a standard user ID, under previous versions of Windows. Now these appliations don't work withing the tighter security restrictions in Vista and Windows 7. If MS really intended to "screw people," they could have said "Too bad!" But instead, they've bent over backwards to keep making XP available and keep supporting XP for extra years, for FREE, just to try to please everyone. >When they make a change that improves the end user experience you can jump high and scream 'well done.' And Vista did improve the end user experience for the vast majority of us. The only people having problems are either people who are stuck with old, faulty applications that can't be fixed, or people who are incapable of learning anything new. >But when they make a change to basic functions that need not be changed, then they should be pinged for it. And there was NO valid coding or performance reason to change any of the command set instructions. I would still like to see some evidence of your claim that they made the kinds of "command set" changes that you claim. Most applications are supposed to use Windows APIs to invoke functions like I/O to hardware devices, etc. Actual hardware instructions are determined by the hardware makers (Intel, AMD, ATI, NVidia, etc.). >If the command set in Vista was compatible with the XP command set, every XP application would work natively in Vista, But the only applications that don't work under Vista are the ones that do things like invoke functions that require elevated priviliges, etc. Applications that use all the standard Windows APIs properly, will mostly still work just fine. >I did say they have to write their code in line with MS guidelines to work with MS software. And if they are not EXACTLY within MS guidelines they do NOT get the MS seal of approval or a listing as compatible with that version of Windows. And they usually do not work properly with the version of Windows they're designed for. While you are mostly right about that, it is still not an exact science as you seem to think it is. In my years in IT, I've seen the same thing happen over and over again. And not just on Microsoft platforms, but on many different platforms. For example, we recently had a situation with IBM WebSphere, where we had a number of JSPs that were working perfectly fine. Then we installed some updates on WebSphere and all of a sudden, none of these JSPs would work anymore. Naturally, our first reaction was to blame IBM for breaking something - the same way you automatically blame MS for everything that goes wrong. But IBM came back and showed us the J2EE specification for coding JSPs, and pointed out that our JSPs were invalid according to the specs. Somehow, these invalid JSPs were able to function before, but now, with the updated WebSphere code, they were correctly being flagged as invalid. In other words, the appliation code was bad from the start, but somehow it was able to function. >Have you seen the comment on the MS web site about Win 7 64 bit - the final retail system will NOT recognise and allow the use of any driver that does NOT have a MS digital signature in it. It is the same in 64 bit Vista and I believe even 64 bit XP had the same requirement. This is being done to improve stability and security. >That will require the people to pay MS for a copy of the command set, write their app to work with it, then pay MS to test it and issue a MS digital signature. You don't have to pay MS for a "copy of the command set." The hardware commands and the Windows APIs are pretty much all available for download from MS. >Either that or totally ignore writing an app to work with Win 7 64 bit. Seems like you are mixing "apps" with "drivers." They are two different things. Perhaps this is part of the reason why you are getting confused with all of this. I'm not sure about 7, but I believe in Vista and XP there is a way to turn off the requirement for signed drivers, for anyone who wants to write their own drivers. >The aim of an OS is supposed to be to allow people to easily interface between the hardware and the application, not make it harder. And Windows does make it fairly easy, while at the same time, trying to enforce some rules to make the system more stable and more secure. This may not be what you want in an OS, but it is what the majority of us want. >Put simply, if MS still used the command set they used in Win 3.11 all through, Win 7 would natively run all apps designed for Win 3.11, Win 95, Win 98, Win 2000, Win XP, and Win Vista - and run them all perfectly and they'd all work in later operating system. And we'd still have an OS that doesn't have real multitasking. We'd still have an OS that hangs if one appliation hangs. We'd still only have 16 bit programs and 16 bit address spaces. And if that is all you want, that is fine. You can still run Windows 3.1 or 95 on an old computer. No one will stop you. Rick

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

1. I'm not bent on bashing MS at every point, but when they deliberate screw people over, they should be abused by everyone. Which is what they did here. the fact MS frequently ignore the users doesn't help them much either. Sadly, they weren't always that way, but changed. When they finally get around to fixing a mistake or error that they should have done years ago, such as improving the security in Windows, is no reason to jump high and scream how good they are. When they make a change that improves the end user experience you can jump high and scream 'well done.' But when they make a change to basic functions that need not be changed, then they should be pinged for it. And there was NO valid coding or performance reason to change any of the command set instructions. 2. MS controls the command sets they use in their operating systems, can set them to use all new commands, all the old commands, all the industry standard commands, or any combination they like. What they have done in Vista is set the system to accept and recognise some of the old XP commands as well as the new Vista commands. According to a contact at MS Aust, this was done to simplify some of the work they have to do on some of their other MS applications to allow them to work with Vista. Those apps do not need the full range of commands so Vista only recognises the ones they need for the apps concerned, if they need to add a few more commands, they'll do it with a service pack or an update. If another app is only using those limited commands, or some of them, they'll work to the extent the commands match. If the command set in Vista was compatible with the XP command set, every XP application would work natively in Vista, the way the Win 2000 apps work natively in Win XP. It only takes a change to a few significant commands to make an app not work enough to make people unhappy with it. I never said every programmer wrote perfect code, I did say they have to write their code in line with MS guidelines to work with MS software. And if they are not EXACTLY within MS guidelines they do NOT get the MS seal of approval or a listing as compatible with that version of Windows. And they usually do not work properly with the version of Windows they're designed for. Have you seen the comment on the MS web site about Win 7 64 bit - the final retail system will NOT recognise and allow the use of any driver that does NOT have a MS digital signature in it. That will require the people to pay MS for a copy of the command set, write their app to work with it, then pay MS to test it and issue a MS digital signature. Either that or totally ignore writing an app to work with Win 7 64 bit. The aim of an OS is supposed to be to allow people to easily interface between the hardware and the application, not make it harder. ......... Put simply, if MS still used the command set they used in Win 3.11 all through, Win 7 would natively run all apps designed for Win 3.11, Win 95, Win 98, Win 2000, Win XP, and Win Vista - and run them all perfectly and they'd all work in later operating system. it is reasonable to expect an application designed for a later OS not to work in an earlier one as it may use a function, command, or resource not available when the earlier OS was written.

rick@Hogans-Systems.com
rick@Hogans-Systems.com

This is the first time you explained your theory in response to me. You may have explained it elsewhere, but I do not read every single message posted on these forums. So help me understand, if MS really "changed the command set" and, as you said "The application needs to be rewritten to issue those commands instead of the earlier ones," then how is it that MOST applications that worked under XP will still work perfectly fine under Vista without running in XP compatibility mode? I know the MS changed some things about the way drivers had to be designed, in order to improve security and stability in Vista. For example, this is why your video driver can crash in Vista and you won't get a blue screen, but instead, Vista can simply restart the driver and keep on going. But this did not require any application changes, only driver changes. And this was a change made for improving Windows security and reliability, not a change just for the sake of changing things. You said "As to how you design a program to run in MS, any improper designs are due to the guidelines handed out by MS on how to design a program to run on their software." So you believe that ALL programmers ALWAYS write perfect code exactly to Microsoft's specs, and it is only Microsoft that makes mistakes with bad specs? Seriously? If Microsoft's specs are so bad, then how is it that MOST programs that ran under XP still run perfectly fine under Vista without running in XP compatibility mode, or making any special effort to make them run under Vista? Are you really certain that there is no possibilty that some programmers failed to follow the specs exactly, and that their programs don't work now because they were poorly written in the first place? You said "BTW: I was aware of all this stuff back in the 1990s..." And I was aware of this stuff in the late 1970s and early 1980s when I was a college student studying computer science. You said: "And I'm not a Linux Troll, if I was I'd be spouting personal abuse..." I will give you credit, you are a very pleasant individual to discuss things with, but I still see you as being bent on discrediting Microsoft and bent on making things up that aren't exactly true in order to make MS seem like they have done something bad. You said: "the only reason an application will work on one MS OS and not another is because of changes to the OS made by MS to the basic functions" This is a true statement. However, you are still wrong in your assertion that MS purposely makes changes just for the sake of making old applications incompatible. Rick

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