Thursday, May 07, 2009

Windows 7 "XP Compatibility Mode"

After the less-than-stellar adoption of Vista, Microsoft's plan to gain wider market acceptance for the forthcoming Windows 7 is to enable a "XP compatibility mode".

PC Magazine tested the beta and here's what they had to say:,2817,2346464,00.asp

What I find particularly so Microsoft-like is their insistence on doing things back-asswards. Here's the relevant quote:

>>To install XPM, you'll need the right combination of hardware and software. Your hardware must include a CPU and motherboard that supports Hardware Virtualization Technology, sometimes known as VT-d, AMD-V, or Vanderpool.<<

Most likely this is to do their hardware partners a favor. Virtualization technology has been around for a long time and there is simply no need for hardware support of virtualization. All the "features" that are mentioned were already found in Connectix Virtual PC, way before it was acquired by Microsoft.

So why would I need to buy new hardware to use Windows 7 for its crippled "XP compatibility mode" when a Linux box or Mac running Parallels/VMWare/Virtualbox (freeware) can run a full, actual working copy of XP? This is progress?

It gets worse.

>>Your operating system must be Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Enterprise, or Windows 7 Ultimate.<<

There is no sound technical reason for this arbitrary limitation.

>>With both downloads, make sure to download the 32-bit or 64-bit version, depending on whether you're running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7.<<

Again, no sound technical reason for this because VMWare for example already supports 32-bit and 64-bit guest operating systems regardless of what platform the host is on.

Why would a rational person buy Windows 7 for its crippled "XP compatibility mode" when you can go the opposite direction i.e. install Windows 7 as a guest operating system in XP under VMWare?