back to article Hidden Windows 7 costs worry upgraders

Microsoft - if not IT pros - can breath a sigh of relief, as Windows 7 has given businesses a reason for not defecting to competing desktop systems. According to a new study released Wednesday, the number of businesses desperately looking for an alternative to Windows on the desktop has dropped significantly for the first time …


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  1. SuperTim

    No worries

    I was pleasantly surprised by how compatible 7 was for XP software, even without the xp compatiblility mode on. That said, i never use really crappy old business software, which in my experience is dodgy even on correctly specced machines and OSs.

    Also, most business machines would not even entertain a bigger OS than XP. They just are not powerful enough.

  2. Neil 6
    Gates Halo

    It works

    I had a situation yesterday where a very old DOS based app wouldn't work on a new Win7 PC. I setup XP mode, and as far as the customer is concerned the virtualised app works just as it did before.

    I hope MS continue this trend so that legacy code can be dropped and a more refined and secure OS can be produced while maintaining compatability.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hidden pitfalls

      Unfortunately, Microsoft have not dropped legacy code at all. XP mode is a just XP on a virtual pc tied in with the UI. I hope you informed your customer that the xp mode will need a seperate antivirus (with licence) and that they will also need to do all the xp updates with the virtual pc as well as xp mode does NOT link in with the windows 7 automatic update.

      Far from creating a trend by removing legacy code and cretaing a more secure OS, Microsoft have used sticky tape and glue to patch a problem and left a gaping security hole

  3. The Other Steve

    IT "Pros" ?

    "Rob Meinhardt, president of Dell KACE, said in a statement announcing the survey that the lack of a direct upgrade path from Windows XP meant migrating to Windows 7 could be "challenging and costly for many organizations.""

    Erm, except that there is one, Windows XP Mode*, which will even happily run your old hardware drivers. I suspect the survey results would have been different if they excluded people who hadn't bothered their sorry arses to get get hold of a preview or RC - or gosh golly, splash the cash and BUY a copy - and actually test it for compatibility issues.

    Y'know, like professionals ought to.

    *and that's assuming that your app base doesn't just work out of the box.

    1. SuperTim

      Upgrade path meaning

      He means that a business cannot just say to M$ that they want an upgrade from xp to 7 and it to all just work.

      There isnt a proper upgrade procedure from xp to 7 and if there was, it would likely not work well.

      It would therefore be expensive to just buy a load of new licences and have to set them all up on all of the old computers (and for them to all work perfectly).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Expensive new licenses...

        Lets see...

        There is no proper upgrade procedure from XP to seven

        XP compatibility mode needs to be enabled to use those xp apps that simply will not work.

        New Windows licenses for each PC in a business much be purchased.

        New Antiviral/Antimalware application licenses need to be purchased.

        Going forward I see no end to the trail of expenses to keep a Windows PC infrastructure.

        A business needs a platform that can evolve & grow with them without adding significant costs to their enterprise. Linux or OS/X fills the need, although I keep reading that Apple does not want the corporate dollar. Still, with it's much less costly O/S (but more costly hardware) the Mac might be a contender.

        In either case (Linux or Mac), business applications in use on XP can be run in a virtual machine while their Linux equivalents are sought-out. A Linux desktop machine can mimic the look of XP so the resistance to change on that front can be reduced. There is the printing infrastructure to consider, the printers need to work with the new O/S, and this may be an opportunity to reduce the cost of consumables on that front, research still needs to be done.

        1. The Other Steve

          Only not

          "Linux or OS/X fills the need, "

          No offence to either OS, both of which I use frequently, but you seem to have left out the cost of reskilling your entire IT department and user base.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Up


            This is one issue that's always overlooked by the Linux crowd, and it's far from trivial.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Gates Horns

            Reskilling user base

            I think the user base is the least of your problems - you inflict that on yourself every time you upgrade Windows or Microsoft Office anyway.

            It is indeed reskilling the IT guys that's the challenge, for two reasons.

            First, it means getting used to the way Apple gets in your way instead of how Microsoft does that, and getting used to the fact that you can't spend the morning drinking coffee because the machines still need to boot up and download new virus signatures and patches.

            Secondly, because the improved usability and stability they will know quite soon that a number of them are surplus to demand. This means a manager who gets a smaller budget, and techies who have to start new projects to appear busy.

            Call me a cynic, but I can't see this happen. It's good for the users, and good for the corporate budget, but IMHO IT would fight this to the death. Ditto for large consultancies because it means less work for them, and less lock in. Ain't gonna happen - that advice just isn't going to go into a report. Not unless the hapless author wants to be sacked. It's the same argument as for the use of Open Source..

        2. No, I will not fix your computer

          Not really

          >>"A business needs a platform that can evolve & grow with them without adding significant costs to their enterprise."

          Not really, only if you have no clue how to run a business, why do you need a platform that can evolve and grow? didn't you plan your business? didn't you put in capacity? Do you have no clue where the business will be in 6 months? 60 months? No hardware/OS is any use unless it's the right one for your buiness, the reason why XP has been so popular and people are reluctant to more from it is that it does the job, it did it yesterday and it will probably do the job tomorrow, an example;

          You buy a small office system for £5k that supports 5 users without needing to be upgraded. This is great if you never need more than 5 users, but if you know it's likely that you'll need more then don't paint yourself into a technological corner.

    2. Bill Gould
      Gates Halo

      XP Mode

      The only concern with XP mode is that it requires a virtualization capable processor (toss that old kit you twits), and that virtualization has to be enabled (and don't buy Sony).

      So provided companies actually involve their IT departments... wait, strike that. As long as companies actually involve their IT techs in the decision making process they'll be fine.

      1. The Other Steve

        Good catch

        And for some reason, hardware virtualisation is usually disabled by default in the various BIOSes.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re:XP Mode


        Actually there are many more concerns about XP mode for any semi-decent I.T. team. As someone already mentioned, it requires it's own AV and patching in order to keep it "secure". Not to mention that you've taken a relatively secure OS (7) and poked a nice big gaping security hole in the side of it using XP.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      XP on virtual machine, yay

      "Erm, except that there is one, Windows XP Mode*, which will even happily run your old hardware drivers"

      That's not exactly an "upgrade" as I see it. I can run XP on VMware also and I see that as a sidestep, not upgrade.

      Why would anybody use a lot of money to buy something to run the OS they already have, tell me?

      Much slower than now.

      New OS (and machines) runs new programs and current (not "old" as many 7 fans like to say) software runs in current systems.

  4. Maverick

    no title as just waiting . .

    for the trolls claiming their business relies on key applications that won't run under Win7

  5. Si 1
    Gates Horns

    Compatibility fail?

    Microsoft's biggest selling point with Windows is supposed to be its backwards compatibility. If stuff as recent as XP doesn't work, that seems to be a bit of a fail to me. Half the bloat of Windows is supposedly there to retain compatibility with old apps. Microsoft should either work hard to be fully compatible or drop it altogether, this halfway house just seems messy to me.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Half of the bloat ?

      Don't worry, that old XP bloat has been removed and replaced with some brand new, shiny Vista bloat that we're going to get to keep for the next 50 years.

      There you go, all happy now, right ?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    86 per cent told KACE - recently bought by Dell - that they are concerned about compatibility when migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7.

    im guessing these people didnt worry at all about compatability when they thought i know lets go linux or mac !!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      IMHO virtualizing XP in the Linux or Mac host gets the job done nicely. Not like you're playing high-frame-rate games at the office... are you?

      1. David Barrett


        You would really recommend installing Linux or osx then an xp vm within that environment as opposed to win 7?

        Bear in mind win 7 xp mode does not need a licence where as running xp in a vm on another environment does...

        Might as well stick with xp in that case.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          XP license isn't a real problem

          "Bear in mind win 7 xp mode does not need a licence where as running xp in a vm on another environment does..."

          Which corporation doesn't have a ton of OEM XP licences hanging around?

          XP licence even don't say anything about virtualization, so it's allowed.

          You also could buy three (used) XP licenses on the price of one 7, essentially giving you the hardware for free.

  7. davtom
    Thumb Down

    Windows 7 and legacy drivers

    I was really disappointed with Windows 7 when I installed it on my two laptops and found that I couldn't use my trusty, old Olivetti Job Jet P200 workhorse. It's an old printer but perfectly serviceable. It runs fine with XP, but Windows 7 doesn't like the drivers.

    Also, Windows 7 Home Premium doesn't allow back up to a network-attached server. Many homes now have these, and I think it should have been an essential feature that I actually used on Vista when I had it.

    The fact that Microsoft have sacrificed compatibility with XP means that I have to seriously consider what's going to happen when there is a Windows 8. Will that break Windows 7 applications and drivers? Resolving these problems takes time, and I don't have the resources to run an IT department to sort them out for me.

    Ubuntu is now so advanced as an operating system that I actually consider it viable that the next move I make will be away from Windows. I will also be steering my family down this route. It's simply going to be cheaper for me, in terms of time.

    So sorry to disagree with the article, but I believe many people will be thinking like me and voting with their feet in the future.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Windows 7 and legacy drivers

      So your main complaint about it is that the edition you purchased doesn't include features that are in the Professional / Ultimate editions?

      1. davtom

        re: Windows 7 and legacy drivers

        Well, fairly obviously, no. My main complaint about it is that Microsoft changed the API for hardware drivers after XP and broke compatibility with existing code.

        There are also programs that work under Vista that won't work under Windows 7, such as legacy versions of Delphi.

        I don't mind upgrading my operating system, but I don't like it when as a result of upgrading it breaks things that used to work.

        I mention the backup thing because Vista Premium did allow back-up to NAS drives. Admittedly it's possible that I could have become aware of that fact having done more research, but Microsoft don't make it easy for you to find that out until you've actually purchased the upgrade and find it doesn't work.

        It's just another program that used to work and now doesn't. And my idea of progress doesn't involve breaking things.

        1. Brian 6


          "Admittedly it's possible that I could have become aware of that fact having done more research, but Microsoft don't make it easy for you to find that out until you've actually purchased the upgrade and find it doesn't work." Your right there was nothing on the internet about windows 7 and no Betas or RC's so u could try before u buy. Doing as little as typing 2 words into google would have given u all the info u needed.

          Oh and Delphi works fin on windows 7 "" took me 2 seconds to find that out.

          1. davtom

            @Brian 6

            I'm not interested in beta-testing Microsoft's software for them, so no, I'm not going to try any of their release candidates.

            I'm not running Delphi 7, but that YouTube vid might be helpful, thanks.

            1. The Other Steve


              "I'm not interested in beta-testing Microsoft's software for them,"

              By which you mean "Oh, I never thought of that". Or is it just that you weren't interested in finding out what was compatible and what wasn't before you rushed into the upgrade without a clue ?

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              you're not beta testing for them

              aye, you're not beta testing for them.. you're testing the applications and services *you* provide and support to see if there will be any issues with the latest OS. Cause, you just know a director will turn up with a shiny new laptop sporting the latest OS and demand you put their business apps on there and it doesn't look good on your side when things go tits up and you didn't see it coming.

              It also then gives you plenty of lead-in time to push for that decrepid CRM app to be replaced/upgraded or to make a case for some new machines to replace those 6 year old boxes everyone bitches about.

              I suppose it's not your job to ensure the next service pack for windows doesn't bork your apps/services either?

      2. Stephen Bungay

        "Premium" vs "Ultimate" || "Professional"

        Umm... basic functionality that is lost when transitioning to a product that is marketed as being better than what you have means that you are being played. Network Attached Storage (not Network Attached Server (you can't have a server that is not attached to a network because then it wouldn't be able to 'serve' anything)) is pretty basic stuff. Did they also kill peer-peer drive sharing or put a limit on the size of the share?

    2. Bill Gould
      Gates Halo

      Not Win7 issue. Talk to your vendor.

      Drivers are not Microsofts issue. It's a vendor issue. If your %thingy% doesn't work in Win7 because of drivers then your vendor didn't bother to write them and get them approved for inclusion. Or even bother to write them for a separate download for that matter.

      1. davtom


        Why should a hardware vendor have to update a perfectly-working driver because Microsoft removes support for it in a future OS?

    3. Paul 129

      Win7==Win95 (2010 edition)

      Unless MS is doing something really significant on the server front I think win7 is the beginning of the end of windows.

      As a common service person I'm starting to see issues like failed motherboards etc. Rarely can these be replaced with like systems. In the past you could do a windows repair install to get your system going again. Not the case with Vista and Win7 if your system cant boot into windows your forced to do a compete install, ie all the applications services etc. Thank you MS more downtime....

      Then you have concepts like junctions. Bodged up symlinks, its going to be fun when viruses start using these.

      XP compatibility mode a VM that simply puts loads of guff everywhere on your system.

      They've got things running well through all their tweaks optimizations an patches of vista, but how on earth can it be maintainable into the future? Win95 was a good step forward on win3.1, there next version win 98 was some window dressing and usb, then we had winME the win95 codebase just couldnt be tweaked anymore without it becoming too unstable. So they jumped to the sever version WinNT codebase much more stable.

      I just dont think MS have anywhere to jump to....

      I've gone penguin and its nice to be able to fix things, rather than be treated as a pirate.

  8. DZ-Jay

    Perhaps they are gone already?

    Perhaps the reason that the number of businesses considering switching to alternatives has decreased is because some have already defected.

    If half of IT shops were considering defecting last year, and a measurable amount did, then their numbers would be less this year, no?


  9. Neil Lewis

    @DZ-Jay -gone already

    My thoughts exactly. Glad to see I'm not the only one who can understand basic arithmetic.

  10. Mark 65

    I think

    That most of the respondents don't have a clue as, due to the inclusion of compatibility mode for just this purpose, shitty old specialist apps should run far enough into the future until you can rewrite, their creator can rewrite, or you can move off of them.

  11. Goat Jam

    Microsoft must Indeed be releived

    To see that the usual " must upgrade to newest windows" pavlovian response is still evident amongst so called " IT pros" after the huge scare they got after Fista was unleashed on an unsuspecting world. Even today these same IT pros will carry on about the "retraining costs" associated with alternative office suites while at the same time blithely planning enterprise wide rollouts of win7 plus office 2007 to users who have never heard of "ribbons", task bar groups and bread crumb trails. Somehow I suspect that the most important training that is under consideration here are the MCSE certs of the "IT Pros" themselves who are well aware that were they to move away from their proprietary MS platforms then their proprietary MS certifications will become worthless. It's quite sad really.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Goat Jam

      The majority of Linux posts I've seen advertised don't mention any Linux certification requirements. Given that Linux is no more difficult to learn than Windows, all MCSEs should have to do is - well, learn Linux. No biggie. For an interviewer, they'd be a far more attractive prospect than a zealot who'll whinge every time he's asked to use MS stuff. People get MS qualifications because they know managers think they're getting someone skilled in the products they're using. That simple. A smart way to increase your chances of employment and pay the bills. Expecting them to worship you as an IT god just because you know Linux is pretty naive. Well, willfully blind at this point. If they're using both - well, MCSEs have qualifications and you don't. If they've switched to Linux? Well, MCSEs have qualifications and you have - "Look at me! I can use Linux! I can use tired plays on MS product names! Woooorshiiiiiiip me!" That's gone beyond sad, through pathetic and settled nicely into contemptible.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    It's not hidden costs, it the blooming obvious costs

    I never got the XP mode to work anyway, it was a failure out the box because of what you had to have for it to work. As was half the glossy niceness of win7. Most business won't want it or need it, and as has been said no machine can run win7 in offices I work in (NHS) They simply can't hack it on a 1,8 GHZ and 512 MB RAM.

    The software we use could run on Vista but IT can't afford staff to maintain the OS problems (We tried with laptop roll outs), never mind the legacy software, so 100's of machines sit in a warehouse with Vista on, as we had the budget then.

    Now we don't have the budget and IT staff have been culled. (Not just cut) So we can't afford Win7 upgrades or the time to put win7 on the machines in the warehouse.

    So again, win7 is a luxury we neither want nor can afford (or need to be honest).

    XP is comfortable and liked by staff, so for now at least my PCT won't be upgrading and the ones around here won't be.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    How much did it cost them?

    From what I've heard, microsoft have had to discount corporately reasoanbly heavily. This must have hurt their bank balances badly.

    On the private arena, I've actually changed a small number of my friends over to Ubuntu and after a short introduction and a few days of them getting used to it, without exception they are all happy and working well. One particular friend remarked that she wishes she made the switch year ago ... I didn't have the heart to tell her that Ubuntu has only recently achieved this level of polish.

    On the coroprate side, there is pressure to move over to Open Office and investigate other open source alternatives; but as for the desktop, it looks like Windows XP will have every inch of life wrung out of it before we switch the busines, most likely to Win 7 unless something stunning happens on the ubuntu desktop between now and then .. that's just my opinion as a governmental IT grease monkey, of course. Eyes are on the next incarnation of Ubuntu and thoughts are turning over internal company clouds ... so microsoft are by no means high and dry yet.

    One particular friend was stunned when I built Ubuntu on his new PC for him. "Don't you need the drivers CDs?" he said as I tossed them asside with great abandon. "Nope, just an internet connection." and everything went sweet as a nut.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      "sweet as a nut"

      Personally, I don't find nuts sweet, but rather bland. Either that or totally annoying.

      But I'm sure that's just me.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I haven't used supplied driver disks for a decade when applying a fresh coat of windows to a machine - I just use the internet too ;) For times when it's the NIC, just download a copy on another machine and slap it onto a pen drive.

      Or, I'll use my WDS/RIS server and have the drivers baked into the install so I don't need to do anything.

      One thing I'd love to see in Linux is a concerted effort to integrate linux desktop clients with an already existing windows network. An ability to translate some of the group policy settings would be a good step towards gaining support and providing alternatives.

      Of course, it won't stop the gravy train of cash to MS, since you'd still need to pay MS for the CAL even if it doesn't run a windows desktop... but it could be a great step towards a full *nix backend in what was a windows only environment.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: um

        "I haven't used supplied driver disks for a decade when applying a fresh coat of windows to a machine - I just use the internet too ;) For times when it's the NIC, just download a copy on another machine and slap it onto a pen drive."

        Absolutely! As a general rule, you don't want to use the *vendor's* driver CD if you can possibly avoid it. The actualy driver is probably a "higher performance" one that wouldn't pass the WHQL tests and the disc will contain a "setup" program that installs several hundred megabytes of "useful applications provided to you free of charge by our partners". Windows Update, on the other hand, will provide a WHQL-certified driver (not a perfect QA system, by any stretch, but certainly better than trusting the benchmark-obsessed vendors) and nothing else.

  14. andy 103

    Things move on

    To use an analogy with hardware - remember when USB became standard and motherboard manufacturers stopped fitting parallel ports? There were loads of people who threw away perfectly good printers and REPLACED them with USB models.

    The same thing applies here, at some point that system your company relies on will stop working purely because things move on. It's expensive, annoying and a fact of life - deal with it.

    1. Stephen Bungay


      It costs money to toss out perfectly serviceable equipment like printers.

      "There were loads of people who threw away perfectly good printers and REPLACED them with USB models".

      Foolish people. A parallel PCI expansion card costs what... $20.00? A new printer is (cheapest) $49.00? Perhaps a little less? Ink for that new printer will cost you more than the printer itself. A parallel expansion card in each new PC could have saved THOUSANDS of dollars.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        or, you know, discover the wonders of laser printers with an ethernet card in them since a laser printer is far more cost effective than inkjets and far better quality printouts too. They don't cost much, less than £200 for one now and the toners will last far longer (and don't dry up!) than ink carts.

        Maybe, buy a jetdirect box and hook up a couple of printers to it and strip away that waste of a printer per desk and make them users get up every now and then... it'll do em good ;)

      2. Robin 2

        Actually printers cost zilch

        The "throw-away" mindset in this case is the cheaper option. A printer always comes with a full set of cartridges. When you replace them all the first time you quickly realise that the the manufacturers are giving the printers awayy for next to nothing and making the money on the consumables. So, yes, it probably was cheaper to get a new printer than PCI card.

        1. kissingthecarpet

          Full set of cartridges?

          Or are they special low-capacity ones that they just supply with new printers? They certainly do that with toner carts that come with new printers.

  15. Vehlin


    Sadly I've yet to find any solution to reading SRAM cards natively on a notebook, Windows XP used generic drivers to read them, however they now seem non-existant in Windows 7, which is a bit of a shame as they are required for some legacy kit.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I haven't seen any hidden costs as yet.

    At work I'm running a Dell Optiplex 745 with Core 2 running @ 2.13GHz and 2GB RAM.

    It runs Windows 7 just fine.

    It runs also runs 1 XP virtualisation session just fine at the same time as running Code::Blocks, IntelliJ, Firefox, Excel and maybe a couple of other applications. After that it gets a little slow and stuttery.

    I like the user-interface more now I'm used to it, and it's been lovely and stable. I do use XYPlorer rather than Windows Explorer though because the new Win Explorer interface really does my head in.

    Can't say I've noticed any hidden costs at all. We checked the compatibility of my PC and it was OK (4.1 units of compatibility, whatever that's supposed to mean), I installed Windows 7 and applications on it (took half a day) and that was it.

    I guess if you've an older computer, or one with less grunt, then upgrading will be a pain in the arse because you'll need new hardware; if you bought your computer in the last year or two though and didn't go for totally budget model I can't see what (other than affording the upgrade) the problem is.

  17. Sureo
    Gates Horns

    Love it, hate it

    I upgraded from XP to 7 and in general really like it. What I hate is filling up my trashbin with perfectly good hardware (mostly USB stuff) because drivers aren't available.

    The other thing is MS Visual Studio 6 won't install. Yes I know I can run it under Virtual XP but its not the same. Try debugging an application that crashed on 7. It is much cheaper to keep XP than to upgrade to 7 and a new version of visual studio.

    1. Andrew Kemp

      And that is Microsofts fault because...?

      "...upgraded from XP to 7 and in general really like it. What I hate is filling up my trashbin with perfectly good hardware (mostly USB stuff) because drivers aren't available..."

      How is that the fault of the OS developer? If you changed to Linux/OSX and couldn't get a driver, putting you in the same situation, would that be the fault of Linux/OSX...?

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        And that is Microsoft's fault. (Yes, I'll stop there.)

        "How is that the fault of the OS developer? If you changed to Linux/OSX and couldn't get a driver, putting you in the same situation, would that be the fault of Linux/OSX...?"

        Er, yes, assuming that Linux previously had a driver but failed to support it in a later upgrade. Oh, hang on, that hardly ever happens.

    2. xyz Silver badge

      @love it, hate it

      Visual Studio 6!!!!...we need to get a whip round going to drag you into the 21st Century.

      I didn't think anyone was running anything less than 2005. I do have 2003 and 2005 on old laptops just in case and am running 2008...but 6, man! I've got apps still running I wrote way back then, but they're all web apps. I'm shocked.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: VB6

        Erm, so you're saying that developers *should* be constantly re-writing their working apps simply to use the latest platform, even though they won't be able to sell the revised versions to their existing customers because there's no actual new functionality?

        Most of us who program for a living find it *much* easier to sell new features than new back-ends, just like most of us who buy software to solve a problem care much more about what it does rather than how it does it.

        You might also want to investigate why Windows is so broken. It's not too far from the truth to say that Windows has become sclerotic because Microsoft know full well that if each new version isn't fully compatible then there's a proportion of the customer base that will never upgrade and will go looking elsewhere. There's an awful lot of "old code" still in use out there. Microsoft's ability to run that code better than WINE is the reason *anyone* still buys Windows.

    3. David Barrett


      News to me. It warns you about compatability issues at install and has to be run as admin but it's working fine for me and has been since november not using xp mode either.

      It's worth a bit of fiddling, it's not technically supported but will work.

  18. jason 7

    XP mode..not that good on a 5 year old PC?

    Iirc XP mode needs a CPU that is virtualisation capable. How many corporate PCs from the likes of Dell/IBM/HP etc. all running those lovely single core 2.4GHZ P4s with 512MB of ram and a 40GB HDD will be up for that?

    If you go XP mode you are likely gonna have to junk most of your PCs. I dont say thats a bad thing, the more single core PCs we can rid the world of the better!

  19. jason 7

    Ahhhh good news!

    CPU vitualisation not needed soon.......

  20. Revelationman

    I run Vista SP 2 no issues so no rush to Windows 7

    Now I probably get some serious flaming but I run Vista SP 2 and no issues, never had one.

    My point is this when Microsoft releases any new OS there is this mad rush to upgrade, and then after people start to moan and groan.

    With Vista it took SP 2 to make it stable and that is normal, how long did it take XP to be stable .

    I will say there is no reason to be running XP it is a legacy system plain and simple, it fails many of the current OS security needs.

    I probably will upgrade to Windows 7 but only when SP 2 is released, but like Vista, Windows 8 will be rolled out and the same usually folks will be slagging Windows 7.

    I agree with Ubuntu I love it, but the problems is certain apps just do not work with Linux; Blackberry Manager, my Microsoft Zune obviously will not work.

  21. Antoinette Lacroix

    What did you expect ?

    One starts

  22. Raven
    Thumb Down


    They stop seeking for an alternative once they've tried the "alternatives" and realize they know shit about anything remotely related to computers. I've just spent 2h at a helldesk - explaining how to install an audio driver to a beancounter. Glad to see MS raking in the N00bs. We don't want them on our mailing lists anyway..

    1. Doug Glass

      After All ...

      ... you're just an "automobile mechanic" who fixes stuff we consumers buy for our pleasure. That's why you get calls only when you're actually needed. And that's as it should be, we pay; you fix. Ta Da!!

  23. Anonymous Coward

    There's no accounting for taste - or need

    MS is still trying to make money building OSs for all seasons and all users. However, the ranges between most and least sophisticated and most and least demanding users have become so great that the compromises all must accept (in MS trying to satisfy everyone all the time) now far outweigh the incremental value of successive versions in the relatively small subset of features that I need, use and prefer. In expanding its OS to capture the latest and greatest fads at both ends of the spectrum, while dragging along as much of its legacy middling software from the past, it has become increasingly untenable.

    From my specific user's view, MS is still using the same tired office- and business-app models they had almost 15 years ago - only cluttering them with so many added goofy "features" - seemingly change for the sake of change in many instances - that using them is10X more difficult and less efficient, while the Linux "desktop" and open software seem to be only bad imitations of MS's bad ideas. Who needs that? What is needed is a long overdue re-factoring of the whole office and business application model that takes advantage of all the improvements in hardware, software, human-factors, and the web - not more of the same old tired "suite" of programs that operate, in software and in their human interface, as if they had been designed and programmed by 10 different vendors and patched together after the fact ( maybe that's the way things work inside MS). It's ok to defer re-factoring for a while, but for decades is just sloth and the inefficiencies of monopoly economics and business - not a desirable state of affairs for progress.

    So, when they do that, I'll cheer for change. Until then, I'll drag my heels because I know that the past is a good guide to the immediate future and in MS's case, that is a very sobering thought.

  24. gerryg

    Upgrading hardware

    I know this is a industry journal, but are we really going in the right direction with the general, "toss out the hardware, get a new printer" approach to IT?

    I have no credentials with the organic knitted lentil sandal wearers but...

    I am using an 8yr old gigabyte motherboard, with PATA and SATA, dual NIC, firewire, 8 usb 2.0, dual channel 1GB PC2700 (a gimmick IMHO, but it was £18/stick) Athlon 3200, Geforce 6200 (5 years old) soundblaster audigy to replace on board sound.

    I'm running full fat KDE 4.4.1 on openSUSE, with no sign that I need 64 bit, dual core or faster I/O. Device compatibility only gets better. All applications have worked from version to version.

    Does hardware bloat and software bloat never need to end? What am I missing?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      You can pack that in right now! Tch! Bringing sensible thought into an IT argument, whatever next?

      I used to have to have "latest'n'greatest" of everything, then I got a hobby ( photography ) and got a life! I find I can happily use my two year old kit to process digital images of my 2 month old dSLR with ease, I spend far more money on something that gets me out and about. IT is my day job, it pays the bills. Downtime, I am just another PC user with a bit more nous than average.

      Unless you are some gaming nutter running three 30" HD screens and you need the power, why not spend the money you would waste on your PC kit on something to make better use of your existing kit and your precious time, with any luck you'll exercise the other side of your noggin in the bargain!

  25. Dave Bell

    Making the leap

    My Windows system is getting old enough that many parts are obsolete. The replacements would be overwhelmed by dependences. And I've been using Linux on this netbook for long enough.that I think I'm past fear of the Linux option.

    Linux + WINE looks as though it should work. And the cost of a Windows7 which will handle my XP software (Not everything I use has a substitute) is significant.

    And if "free" doesn't work out, I can still choose to spend money.

    My best choice looks rather obvious, doesn't it.

    1. Keith Oldham

      Re : Making the leap

      Go for it ! - nothing to lose but your chains

      Try a few distros though - I use OpenSUSE 11.2 - I've installed on 5 systems without any kind of problem. I'd recommend Edimax if you need WiFi PCI - ~£12 from DABS -worked out of the box.

  26. steve 44
    Thumb Up

    I'm probably the odd man out............

    One of my customers is currently updating their old kit from xp to windows 7. They use some old programs (designed for windows 95) and so far i haven't had any problems. Most of the users like the "new shiny" look. I haven't had any complaints and all the software seems to work. I'm not using xp mode on any of the computers. I'm still in the testing phase so i will probably find something that doesn't work, but at the moment it looks good.

    And before anyone starts saying i'm a M$ corporate shill, i think Ubuntu is great and the best workhorse server i have ever used ran AS/400. I think everything has it's place and i'm happy to give my smarter customers linux boxes.

    ...........but not Macs

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    A pleasant surprise

    I bought an Acer Revo recently which was remarkably cheap at about 200 sovs. It came with Windows 7 installed. There were other cheaper options (Linux or Vista) but I thought I'd give 7 a punt. Linux couldn't run the software I needed and Vista is a pain. In fact the whole Vista world of hurt was one of the reasons I swapped my office hardware to Macs.

    I'm remarkably surprised at how snappy the 7 is on the Revo's puny hardware. The OS loads quickly and I've had no compatibility issues. It certainly seems better than the Vista installs I've seen on more expensive hardware.

    Perhaps Microsoft can only get every other OS right? 95 crap, 98 OK, ME crap, XP OK, Vista crap, 7 OK?

    1. David Barrett



      Everyone loved 2000

  28. Louis Wheeler

    No easy or automatic upgrade to Win7.

    One thing which is not mentioned is the combination of Chrome OS and WINE for old XP users. Partly, this is because the Chrome OS is not finalized yet. But, it has possibilities we should explore.

    The Chrome OS should be more comfortable for Windows XP users than Linux. WINE will allow old versions of software to be run. This means the bulk of Windows XP users (which comprise 60% of the world market) have no necessity to buy the new computers required by Win7. Many businesses are content with running old XP software, hence Chrome OS and WINE will be the cheapest way of gaining better security than on Windows XP. Reusing old XP software, which they are used to, means no retraining cost for their staff. The IT personnel will love that.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    I Rite Allot

    I can't believe I'm the first grammar Nazi to notice that the thing that one does with a sigh of relief is "breathe." With a terminal "e."

  30. Martin Usher
    Gates Halo

    Software doesn't wear out

    I use a variety of systems, including some Win2K. If they do the job now then they will continue to do the job for the foreseeable future. I don't get worried about security issues with these old systems because they are not connected to the Internet, at least not in a way that anyone could push software onto them.

    Modern systems are some kind of "one size fits none" design. They are not modular so you get everything even though all you want is a kernel, filesystem, maybe a display and some limited connectivity. All the extra power in modern hardware is wasted, its providing pointless animation and infantile sound effects. This is what I'd guess is driving the rise of the does what its users want in a small, handheld, package.

    The future for me is Linux because I can customize it and I can move applications from platform to platform. I don't have the one PC.....and I don't spend all day on systems work for their keep.

  31. Steven Raith

    People banging on about WINE

    Yeah, having used Linux for a few years now, I can tell you that while WINE is rather bloody good, it's not a miracle fix; try running XenCenter on it. Fat chance.

    Also, try running your proprietary XP software on it [name any package you need paid support for] and if it works, wait for it to get a bug.

    Then call up your software vendor, and listen to them laugh heartily when you go through a certain set of steps, at which point the app crashes due to WINE not behaving exactly like an XP platform, and refuse to support you for running it on an unsupported system.

    The best way to migrate to a *nix platform is to find a FLOSS alternative that runs natively on DistroOfChoice, or to rewrite your apps for it, if you can. Some apps transfer better than others - web apps, natch, and anything based on an open-ish platform that can cross compile, some basic .net apps that will run with Mono and so on.

    If you can't do that, you're basically stuck if you actually want to have proper support from your vendors and suppliers.

    I'd also be interested to see how large vendors who haven't updated their software to run on Win7 deal with support requests for software running in XP Mode - I'd put a fiver on them desperately trying to get out of it if they can.

    It's not right, and it's not fair, but it's the way it is.

    For what it's worth, I'm no MS apologist - I have four machines here, three running Ubuntu, and one Xenserver box. I also have a Win7 VM for 'emergency' access - such as when my good chums at openxencenter update the SVN and break the Python XenCentre clone and I need to fluff my VMs. I like my Linux, but alas, the idea that you can just magically transfer to Linux in a corporate environment is closer to fantasy than it is reality at the moment.

    Ah well, maybe one day, eh?

    Steven R

  32. kissingthecarpet
    Gates Horns

    Re:software doesn't wear out

    If your future is Linux, you might still want to give Bill a halo, but I bet Ballmer wouldn't like you one bit...

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