I was just reading about the XP Mode of Windows 7 (only included when you buy the premium versions of that OS) and wondering, from the description, if this isn’t simply a tool for Microsoft to mess up the actual workings of XP, by semi-virtualizing it, and then being able to crow about anyone wanting to run things that way must really miss XP badly.

The story on Within Windows states that the system will be basically  an image of Windows XP SP3 running on top of Windows 7. Who do they think they are fooling?

1 • With XP running on top of Windows 7, it looks as though the 64 bit version of Windows 7 will be needed, as 2 GB for Windows 7 hardly leaves anything inside the maximum 3.12 GB barrier (per Microsoft) for a 32 bit version of Windows XP and 1 or 2 small applications. How is this better than sticking with XP? We all know how slow a thrashing VM file can be.

2 • With the XP running semi-virtualized, how will people who want XP for games, and better coupling to the hardware react? I’m betting this won’t be wooing them anytime soon.

3 • Will anyone, save businesses finding their must have applications broken on Windows 7,  be enamored of this? Clearly, this is for the business users, and so for the general public Windows XP is the still one to have. Those that want to run Windows XP because they like the look and feel can simply stay with Windows XP.

4 • While I’m thinking about it, this XP Mode add on will be considered out of band, like the Windows Live Essentials, which sounds suspiciously like ‘you’re on your own for support’, or through e-mail, as it is with Essentials. There are things in Essentials that have not been fixed since their inception – I’m guessing it was not essential to repair the problems.

So, I’m guessing that, if you’re an IT person in a large company with an application you can’t afford to upgrade, you’re happy – otherwise, it’s time to move on, nothing to see here.

Once again, Microsoft just does not get it. If the company thought that Windows 7 (or Vista, for that matter) could stand on its own, why not continue selling XP, and see which OS is taking the lion’s share of the sales – wouldn’t that show confidence?

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I was sleeping the other night, alone, thanks to the exterminator.

• Emo Philips

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