New threat to Windows 7?

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

5 Comments Add yours

  1. eksith says:

    Woah! New layout!

    Why does XP Mode remind me so much of OS X’s OS 9 mode? They basically got this idea from Apple then?

    If they did, then they should also know what drew crowds of users to OS X wasn’t just the eyecandy. It was fundamentally different from every aspect from OS 9. A sort of “burning down the old house” so to speak so it will never return to it.

    So XP users obviously won’t be drawn to it if it has traces of the old OS. It has to be fundamentally different right down to the core, but still be functional to the same degree if not more. And those terrible UAC quirks had better be gone. I never understood why MS couldn’t take a lesson from Ubuntu in this area. You can restrict privileges without being annoying.

    I sincerely hope Win7 isn’t really Vista underneath. Or I will never use a Windows machine as my primary PC ever again.

    Hehe. I too had a “lipstick on a pig” remark on one of my posts… On the same day! Great minds think alike eh?😛

  2. openbytes says:

    Hi!

    Nice to hear from you again!

    I think with the introduction of XP mode we can say it is infact Vista at heart. It a little sad (IMO) that whilst we see lower specs being touted by Microsoft as a feature of Win 7, people tend to forget that surely a tighter OS would have been better in the first place when Vista was released. Looking at performance of 7, it is reported as being almost identical to Vista, and I think the requirements for XP MODE show that theres a real mother of a core chugging away at the heart of 7.

    Time will tell. I will be purchasing the off the shelf product to give it a test run. I dont though believe that the beta findings are going to be representative of it, hence why Ive avoided the betas.

    Quote “Why does XP Mode remind me so much of OS X’s OS 9 mode?”

    Agreed, and I also think they realize just how strong a following XP has. I dont though think XP mode will appease the consumer. as not only does it require high specs, it apparently does not offer DX support.

  3. chips b malroy says:

    A couple of problems of running in XP mode in Windows Seven, that will cause problems. First of all, as it has been discussed, is this is just a glorified badly done “virtual machine” software without DirectX (games) support for XP. Second, XP as guest, may be able to infect the host (Seven) with malware easily bypassing many of the so called “improvements” in Vista/Seven. If this is true,then both the host and the guest XP will have to be secured separately, and the security will only be as good as the weakest link or weakest system.

    Third, from my understanding of this XP mode app in Seven, is the guest OS cannot be backed up and replaced easily. This is a major weakness or problem for M$ virtual XP mode, because with Sun Virtualbox, or VMware, its almost as easy as copying a file over the old guest (xp) file. In fact, one can move this guest file between computers, and it will work on other VM programs. And it would still be legal, if you have the right licences (pural) and can change the keys and activate. Sort of like imaging that big companies do, expect this is as easy as overwriting a file. You can understand why M$ doesn’t want its users to be able to do this, they want to sell more licenses and they think users will pirate and run in more than one computer. Think of it this way, once you spend the 1 to 3 days to setup a windows OS,(with all the malware protection and programs) in this case XP as guest, will you want to do that on several machines if you have multiple computers in your home, or just copy the file, think vdi. Key changing files for xp are free on majorgeeks.com to help keep you legal, extra licenses however, you must buy. Really the licensing scheme from M$ is another thing that is wrong, as most VM users seldom use Windows that often, and should not have to pay full price on every machine in the house.

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