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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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Industry
By tjr508 on 10/12/2009 6:48:16 PM , Rating: 4
I work with industrial equipment regularly. The fact is that somewhere in the mid-90s it became worth-while to integrate commands and controls to a PC-like environment. This was not due to a large jump in computing power at the time, but it was rather due to a large jump in availability of many solutions along with a trend. Now that 10-15 years has been spent fine-tuning systems that are now rock-solid, it would be silly to essentially start from scratch and re-do everything while realizing near-zero benefit.

I know of a couple fortune 500 companies whose most profitable equipment runs primarily on 16 bit code. The reasoning is that it works well.

Vista/Win7 are in unique positions in that they the first major OSs to occur after the large industrial trend to move controls over PC atmospheres while not supporting many older instruction sets.




RE: Industry
By The0ne on 10/12/2009 7:39:13 PM , Rating: 2
Trust me "industrial" environments and manufacturing environments don't change much. Change is complicated and costly so stick with what has been working til the company is brave enough to spend the money for the change :D


RE: Industry
By Nik00117 on 10/13/2009 5:37:17 AM , Rating: 1
I worked in a Cash Cage, our western union machine was Windows 95. Western Union offered to switch us to Vista we declined on the basis we don't need it DOS works just fine.

It's not fancy, it's a black and white screen, however it's fast, works, and simple to use.


RE: Industry
By NaughtyGeek on 10/13/2009 1:04:04 PM , Rating: 3
I believe you've touched on one of the biggest issues with modern OS upgrades. In my environment, it's less about the code the machines are running and more about the software required to interface with said equipment for troubleshooting and system changes. As a topper to that, our business software just finally became XP compatible about a year ago.


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