I will be the first to admit that I have been a Windows XP hold-out. I have decided to skip Vista for my professional computing environments. While I do use it at home, I hadn't made the switch for work-related computing, initially for compatibility reasons and ultimately for being the old dog declining to learn the new trick. The compatibility statement frequently is not given enough priority -– there are plenty of systems that may not work on the new version of Windows or Internet Explorer for administrators. I have a solution that you may like as well –- seamless XP windows.I have long been a fan of Sun xVM VirtualBox, a free virtualization package, for various levels of virtualization, and the seamless window function has been a lifesaver for me transitioning to Windows 7. With a seamless window, the virtual machine can be Windows XP running on the Windows 7 host. In this configuration, I have both operating systems available on the computer. While Windows XP mode launches a Virtual PC-based XP virtual machine -– I find myself using xVM VirtualBox anyway and would rather consolidate platforms. Figure A shows a seamless Windows XP virtual machine running on Windows 7:
Here we can have a separate inventory of software, including Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or 7 (instead of version 8 that comes with Windows 7) for compatibility. You also will have a separate inventory of drive letters configured with the virtual machine and can install a VPN client if needed. I think this is the way to go as a transition tool to Windows 7, as the XP virtual machine can be launched and shut down on demand.
How are you transitioning to Windows 7 for use with administrator tools, ensuring application compatibility and your own learning curve? Share your comments below.
Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.