The Windows Conundrum

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I hear a lot of hype about which Windows version a person should be using, or planning to use over the next several months.  Folks are whining about how Vista is too annoying with UAC prompts and that all their stuff works fine on XP. 

The bad news is Microsoft has ended main stream support of Windows XP.  This means that non-enterprise customers will no longer be able to contact Microsoft for support issues.  MS will still be offering security fixes and some patches.  Soon you won’t even be able to get XP on a netbook. 🙂 

But you say to the Geekucator, “Geekucator, I have all my programs working great on XP, however Vista stinks!  Some of my programs won’t run on it and it is WAY TOO slow.”  Well, the Geekucator is here to help you with this issue.  The good news is that Windows 7 will soon be released (I’m guessing later this year)!

Soon after Windows 7 becomes available to the masses, an event known as General Availability, a bonus feature will be available for free download.  That feature goes by the moniker XP Mode.  XP Mode, just like all sweet technical applications and features, has a TLA (three letter acronym) which is simply XPM.  XPM allows a user to run Windows 7 but with an integrated Windows XP VM (virtual machine) which appears to the user to have applications integrated into Windows 7.  In fact, after the initial configuration of XPM the old XP applications can simply be run from a shortcut in Windows 7.  Oh, for legal purposes I should tell you it really is free and includes a Windows XP SP3 license specifically for XPM.  Several caveats exist here, such as XPM only runs on Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate, as well as the fact that it requires hardware based virtualization built into the processor (i.e. Intel VT or AMD-V).

So, what is a geek to do?  Here are the Geekucator’s suggestions:

1) If you are running XP then keep it going until Windows 7 becomes available.

2) Buy new hardware with Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate.  Make SURE the new hardware contains a processor with hardware-based virtualization.

3) Download and install the XPM on Windows 7. 

Oh, if you are running Windows Vista then you need not worry.  According to Microsoft most of your Vista apps and hardware will run fine on Windows 7.

Happy geeking!



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