Will Windows 7's "XP Mode" feature, win the love of the consumer or is that love already firmly placed with XP?
Will Windows 7's "XP Mode" feature win the love of the consumer or is that love already firmly placed with XP?

We’ve seen the many sites, comments and reviews about why users should try alternatives.  Todays computer world is so different to that of yesteryear that we are now “spoilt for choice”.  We are beginning to see various companies compete with each other for your custom and in the case of FOSS they are going to have a hard time competing.

Putting aside my opinions that there are far better alternatives to Microsoft products available, lets look again at the most talked about OS (or certainly so in the case of the MS faithful)

We’ve had the issue of the “starter” 3 app version of Windows 7.  We’ve had allegations of Win 7 being a spruced up Vista (or lipstick on a pig)  We’ve had the EU getting involved in the distribution of IE within the Windows platform, but more than that, we’ve had many users/Enterprise not wanting to move from XP.  (We dont need to mention Vista again here that, IMO is best forgotten)

So whats this new threat?  Well in my opinion its really an old one, and its competition that I beleive Microsoft are finding hard to battle.  What is it, I hear you ask?  XP of course and the claims made by Microsoft in relation to XP mode for 7.

When the announcement of XP Mode was made (a sort of XP VM in Windows 7), that will allow XP packages that were previously incompatible in Vista to run in 7, the MS faithful went crazy.  We had days of certain posters paying homage to this wonderful feature that Microsoft was offering as a free download to Windows 7 customers.  What?  Free download?  Windows 7?  Well yes and no.  Yes its free if you are a pro/ultimate/enterprise customer, tough luck if youre not.

Meet Windows 7.  Sure it looks pretty, I wonder if consumers will think so?
Meet Windows 7. Sure it looks pretty, I wonder if consumers will think its worth upgrading?

At the time I thought it was a clever tactic by Microsoft to force home users with a need of XP compat to buy the more expensive version of Windows 7.  I argued that due to the diverse range and sheer amount of different packages home users have on their systems, it was just as reasonable to expect a home user would require an XP mode as much as Enterprise.

It is now appearing as if I was wrong.  In my opinion the XP mode is not really what it was cracked up to be, and already we are seeing a few “issues” that I never saw mentioned when everyone was praising Microsoft for such a great idea.

Here are some of the issues that have been reported so far.  It has to be stressed that its yet to be confirmed exactly what others are going to be brought into the light, but in my opinion these are enough to show that if XP mode is so important to a potential Windows 7 customer, then it may be worth considering simply staying with XP.

At http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=946 they have this to say:

“In the case of Intel’s phenomenally confusing product matrix, VT support is added and removed from CPU models for reasons that have more to do with marketing than technology. You can’t necessarily tell from the model number whether VT support is present or not. If you buy a brand-new PC and pick the wrong CPU, Windows Virtual PC won’t be able to host the virtual machine that powers XP Mode. And spending more money can actually hurt you in some configurations.”

Billybob, one of the regular posters over on Microsoft Watch has this to say in regards to XP Mode:

“It’s not going to lure anyone who wants a game to work because it doesn’t support DirectX. It will not be available to most home users either so it is definitely designed for business.

I don’t think it really has a future there either because of the extra hardware and maintenance/security requirements. Businesses will be better off waiting until 2012 and making their decision then. I bet that by then Linux will be a candidate for upgrade alongside Windows 8.

Even if they upgrade I assume XP will still be unsupported so they are just delaying the problem.”

Openbytes has reported on possible alternatives to the “XP Mode” in Windows 7 before, you can read that article here https://openbytes.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/windows-7-xp-modeat-a-price/

and @flanakin has yet to make a response to the DirectX issue.   Billybob goes on to say:

“Wine on Linux might be a much better alternative since it will be supported after 2014 and DirectX will work if they want games. For less than the cost of Windows 7 they can pay for a copy of Crossover Office and get their favourite game/app supported.”

There is also an issue of exploits being present in XP having an impact on Windows 7, and issues surrounding performance and the need to have better hardware than the claimed required for Windows 7.

CONCLUSIONS

It seems the XP issue is still a thorn in Microsofts side, even with offering the XP mode there are a plethora of issues raised out of it and to me begs the question, if XP is so important why are you thinking of upgrading.

A while ago I mentioned I was suspicious of a post I read regarding free downgrade options for Windows 7.  I questioned at the time that if Windows was as great as the faithful had led us to believe, why would this be a consideration?  It seems that maybe an answer might be that for people requiring an XP compat mode, they are going to be disapointed.  I certainly cannot see anything being offered here that is better than chosing a Linux/Wine rig, since youre going to have a securer system (IMO) and also its substantially less (free!)  As I said on the other article theres also the WM option for those that want XP running in Linux.

Maybe the new threat to Windows 7 will be not living up to the expectations of its customers and the love of XP by many of its users?

I wonder, when Windows 7 is released we see similar videos to this one when Vista was:

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com