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Windows XP is an elderly operating system, so why do we still rely so much on it?

Excitement is building around the launch of Windows 7. Microsoft's latest operating system was released to manufacturing back in August and will be available to consumers on October 22. Many eager Windows users are already enjoying their retail copies of Windows 7 courtesy of the Windows 7 Party Pack – in fact, some have decided to part ways with their Party Packs and list them for $200+ on eBay.

When it comes to Windows 7, there are quite a few features that stand out in the minds of users. The install takes up less space than Windows Vista, offers across the board performance increases (especially for netbooks), and includes numerous tweaks both to the user interface and beneath the skin. One feature that has received a lot of attention is XP Mode which is included with Business and Ultimate versions of Windows 7.

As its name implies, XP Mode allows users to run a fully licensed copy of Windows XP in a virtual environment within Windows 7. While having the ability to run a full copy of Windows XP Professional is no doubt a nice addition for regular consumers and businesses that still rely on Windows XP to run certain software or conduct business, is the trend to provide easy access to XP a help or hindrance to software development?

Windows XP was released late in 2001; we are now late in 2009 and fast approaching 2010. Windows XP is an eight-year-old operating system, which is quite ancient in terms of modern operating systems. Since that time, Windows Vista was released (October 2006 for businesses, January 2007 for consumers) and now were are tiptoeing towards the release of Windows 7.

Is is that consumers and businesses are just so set in their ways with using older, incompatible software? After all, upgrading to newer software that is compatible with Windows Vista/7 could be quite expensive for corporations on top of the cost of upgrading to Windows 7 (or buying new computer systems with Windows 7 already installed). Or are the software vendors that provided these older software programs just not interested in making newer versions compatible with Windows Vista and Windows 7?

In Microsoft's case, it's of little concern, because anyone who buys a copy of Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate for XP mode has ultimately bought a new Windows license. But the question remains, why hang on to ties to the past?

Tell us your thoughts. If you plan on using XP Mode in Windows 7, what software do you plan to run in the virtual environment? Why are you using that software? Is there an updated version that is compatible with Vista/Windows 7, but you're comfortable using the older version? You have our ears!

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RE: browsing questionable websites
By jonmcc33 on 10/12/2009 4:27:37 PM , Rating: 2
Or even VirtualBox.

To run Virtual XP Mode you need Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate. Both versions are much more expensive than Windows 7 Home Premium. VirtualBox is free! Save the money and just use VirtualBox!

RE: browsing questionable websites
By Master Kenobi on 10/12/2009 4:35:31 PM , Rating: 4
VirtualPC is also free. XP Mode actually includes a pre-configured XP VM that is legally licensed by Microsoft. XP Mode is little more than the VM though, you still need to load the VirtualPC software on Windows 7 to take advantage of it.

RE: browsing questionable websites
By adiposity on 10/12/2009 5:28:49 PM , Rating: 5
Yes, but it will put icons in your Windows 7 notification area ("tray"), and the windows will show up on your Windows 7 taskbar, and you don't have to look at the Windows XP VM in a window, and the icons will be installed into your Windows 7 start menu, and you can print directly to your Windows 7 printers, and have access to your Windows 7 shares...

Don't get me wrong. It sucks to have to use it. But once set up, it's much closer to native apps than a generic VM (vmware, virtual pc, etc.).


RE: browsing questionable websites
By Brandon Hill on 10/12/2009 5:31:46 PM , Rating: 2
I love VirtualBox -- also helps that it's free :) I use it to run Windows 7 RC1 on my MacBook Pro so that I can have terminal access to my Windows Home Server.

RE: browsing questionable websites
By jonmcc33 on 10/13/2009 10:46:35 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, it is quite a nice multiplatform VM application. Works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. I have been using it since before Sun acquired it but Sun has just improved it tenfold.

RE: browsing questionable websites
By kattanna on 10/12/2009 5:33:16 PM , Rating: 1
To run Virtual XP Mode you need Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate. Both versions are much more expensive than Windows 7 Home Premium. VirtualBox is free! Save the money and just use VirtualBox!

as a technet member, it costs me the same to use whatever version, so of course ultimate.

RE: browsing questionable websites
By jonmcc33 on 10/13/2009 10:49:43 AM , Rating: 1
I don't think you were saving any money when you became a TechNet member ($349 per year).

RE: browsing questionable websites
By MatthiasF on 10/13/2009 12:59:53 PM , Rating: 2
Windows Ultimate alone is $220. Add on Office, OneNote, etc., and the value adds up beyond $349.

This all assumes you actually want legitimate licenses. If you're a faux robin-hood that steals his software, paying anything is too much obviously.

RE: browsing questionable websites
By jonmcc33 on 10/15/2009 8:44:36 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, you can get Windows 7 Ultimate for $179 @ NewEgg right now. is completely free and offers word processing, spreadsheet and presentation capability. Never seen many home users using OneNote.

RE: browsing questionable websites
By Proxes on 10/13/2009 1:55:27 PM , Rating: 3
With a coupon code you can get the price down to around $281 including tax. Ten Windows 7 Ultimate keys that have 10 installs each on them plus all the other stuff for $281? Yes please.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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