Windows 7's virtual 'XP mode' could mean support nightmares
Proves how far Microsoft will go to get people to forget Vista, say analysts
Computerworld - Microsoft Corp.'s decision to give some Windows 7 users a tool to run Windows XP applications in a virtual machine may have been necessary to convince people to upgrade, but it could create support nightmares, analysts said today.
Last week, Microsoft announced that it would offer an add-on called Windows XP Mode (XPM) to users of Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise when the new operating system ships. Professional and Ultimate are the two highest-priced versions of Windows 7, while Enterprise is sold only through volume licensing agreements.
Microsoft was clear about XPM's purpose. "Windows XP Mode is specifically designed to help small businesses move to Windows 7," Scott Woodgate, director of Windows enterprise and virtualization strategy, said in a blog entry last Friday.
"I think that this will help the uptake for Windows 7, because it removes one more 'gotcha,' and that's never a bad thing to do," said Michael Cherry, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft.
The idea of using virtualization to provide backward compatibility for older applications is neither novel nor surprising, Cherry continued. He called it a nice "safety net" for users concerned about abandoning XP who don't have access to centrally managed MED-V (Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization).
MED-V is available only to organizations that have a Software Assurance plan in place and also purchase Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP). Microsoft launched MDOP 2009, which includes MED-V 1.0, earlier this month.
XPM is a smart, if necessary, move, given the reception users gave to Windows Vista, Cherry said. "Because of the way Vista was received -- it's got enough baggage already -- the more they can do to address all those things [Vista was criticized for] upfront with Windows 7, the more likely that people will go to the new OS," he said.
Michael Silver, an analyst at Gartner Inc., echoed Cherry's take on what motivated Microsoft to offer XPM. "It shows the extent to [which] Microsoft wants to get people who use XP onto Windows 7," he said.
But Silver sees some big downsides. "You'll have to support two versions of Windows," he said. "Each needs to be secured, antivirused, firewalled and patched. Businesses don't want to support two instances of Windows on each machine. If a company has 10,000 PCs, that's 20,000 instances of Windows."
The other big problem Silver foresees with XPM is that it may cause some companies to neglect the real task: making sure the software they run is compatible with Windows 7. "This is a great Band-Aid, but companies need to heal their applications," Silver said. "They'll be doing themselves a disservice if, because of XPM, they're not making sure that all their apps support Windows 7."
- Review: Windows 7 RC1 adds speed, UI improvements -- and promises more to come
- Windows 7's virtual 'XP mode' could mean support nightmares
- Windows 7 gets virtual 'XP mode'
- Microsoft: May 5 for Windows 7 RC
- Windows 7 Release Candidate leaked
- Preston Gralla: Crippled Windows 7 netbooks won't sell, say Acer and Intel
- Microsoft: Windows 7 will nag users 29% less often
- Windows 7 tips, tricks and tweaks
- HTTP Status Code Cheat Sheet Look at the Graph, Find the Code and Boom - You're Solving Problems. Identifying and understanding common HTTP status codes can go a...
- 10 Steps to Application and Network Performance Nirvana 10 simple steps that network operations teams can take to ensure that applications and underlying infrastructure can both be tuned for maximum performance.
- Application Performance Management for Dummies Application performance management helps deliver the application performance users and the business demand. Effectively monitoring and troubleshooting application performance issues requires a comprehensive...
- IDC Report: Optimize IT and Business Gains This IDC Whitepaper outlines how CIOs can understand what the "total cost of data" is across their entire organization and how Delphix can...
- API Management: The Key to Improving the Consumer Travel Experience Join PhoCusWright's Senior Technology Analyst, Norm Rose, as he shares his insights on how travel suppliers and intermediaries can improve industry data flow...
- Tips to Simplify Database Administration and Development Make your job easier while getting the most from the leading productivity tool for database professionals. Learn tips from Dell Software's Oracle® ACE,... All App Development White Papers | Webcasts