Can You Trust The Windows 7 Compatibility Report When Doing An Upgrade?

As some of you may know, I am an MVP over at Scot’s Newsletter forum, and have been a member of the forum since Scot started it. The main expertise of the forum is for Linux support, but there are also some great expert advice when it comes to Windows as well. So when I read this post this morning about one user experiencing problems with an upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 on a 3 year old PC, I thought I would share this users experience with you who read the posts here at Lockergnome.

The user, Eric Legge, stated the following information in his post:

Hi all,

I just performed an upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium from Windows XP Home for a relative with a Dell Dimension 3000 desktop PC.

The compatibility report did not indicate any serious problems with the upgrade.

Unfortunately after the final reboot, it can only boot to Safe Mode.

I tried Startup Repair from my Win7 repair disc, but it found nothing wrong with the startup.

There are no devices in the Device Manger with a yellow exclamation mark or red cross.

However, the computer failed to bring up the options to choose a Home, Work or Public network even though the wireless router was on and working and had been online with XP.

After I chose the Home network option with my own laptop, the setup required my wireless encryption key and then went online for updates.

Tomorrow I’ll try Safe Mode with networking to get online and get updates and drivers from Windows Update, if that fails, I’ll try connecting the PC by Ethernet cable to the router and then running the setup at startup from the install disc.

Any ideas would be appreciated because there are no reports of this problem on the web yet.

Other readers of the forum made some good suggestions, but when I was reading Eric’s post, my first thought was that I suspected a video display driver problem. At the end of his 2nd post, Eric confirmed this was the case and that the Windows 7 compatibility report should of warned him of this prior to the upgrade.

In his second post Eric stated the following from the compatibility report:

Windows Aero

Not capable

Your current graphics adapter won’t support the
Windows Aero user interface. Contact your PC manufacturer or retailer to see if
an upgrade is possible.

This should of alerted Eric to the fact that the video display may not work with Windows 7.

Finally he posted again with this conclusion:

Unfortunately the integrated graphics of the Dell Dimension 3000 is the Integrated Intel Extreme Graphics 2 chip.

This only supports DirectX 8 and Win7 requires a graphics card/chip that supports DirectX 9. Dell used a cheapo DirectX 8 chip in this 2006 computer. My own self-built 2005 desktop PC with an AMD Socket 939 motherboard has a Direct X 9.0 integrated chip and a PCI Express slot for a graphics card.

There is also no AGP or PCI Express slot for a graphics card, so the Dimension 3000 cannot be upgraded to Win7.

That shows the weakness in the compatibility report. It should have said that the graphics chip only supports DirectX 8 and that Win7 cannot be used unless the graphic card can be upgraded to a DirectX 9 card.

What this demonstrates is the importance of checking on the manufacturers web site to confirm that drivers are available for ALL of your hardware, prior to attempting an upgrade. Do not assume the upgrade will work without checking that Windows 7 will work prior to trying the upgrade process, especially when it comes to taking the leap from a machine designed for Windows XP.

There is one other thing I would like to share. Though Microsoft states that Windows 7 will function on a system with a processor of 1GHz and 1 GB of RAM, I seriously doubt that the user experience would be enjoyable on such a machine. Just my 2 cents.

Share your thoughts.

Comments welcome.

Scot’s Forum

Windows 7 RC – XP Mode – Intel & AMD CPUs – Virtualization – Essentials

On May 5th, most of you who are interested in trying out the next operating system from Microsoft will hit the servers to get a copy of Windows 7 RC [Release Candidate]. Be patient. There is going to be a huge crowd trying to get the download. Once you get the download and have it installed stop on over at Windows Live Essentials to get the following free toys:

IM and e-mail

Stay in touch. With Messenger, you can chat, swap photos, and see what’s new with friends. Mail brings together your Hotmail, Gmail, and other accounts, along with multiple calendars.


With Windows Live Writer, blogging is a breeze. You can add photos and videos, format everything just so, and publish to most blogging services.

Photos and movies

Use Photo Gallery and Movie Maker to edit and organize your photos and movies, and then post them online or send them to friends.

Web browsing

With Toolbar, you can customize your browser and find what you need, fast. Family Safety helps you keep your kids safer online.

Get Windows Live Essential here.

You can select which items you want to install and which ones you do not.

If and when Microsoft releases the public beta of XP Mode, which is the virtual mode for running XP within Windows 7, confirm that your Intel CPU supports the virtualization process which is required. Some do. Some Don’t.

Intel Processor Spec. Finder is here.

Ed Bott also has a great article covering the Intel processors and XP-Mode under Windows 7.

Ed Bott’s article is here.

I found this tool at the AMD site to check your AMD processor to see if it is V ready.

AMD Compatibility Tool Is Here.

If you do decide to try the RC please let us know what you think.

Comments welcome.

Windows XP SP3 Delayed As Of 4-29-08

Just a quick note:

Microsoft has already pulled SP3 for Windows XP citing a compatibility problem between Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System and the new service pack.

That’s it. No one is sure when the update will be reposted for download.

Comments welcome.

[tags]microsoft, xp, vista, sp3, delayed, compatibility, [/tags]

Microsoft Provides Free Email & Chat Support For Vista SP1

Microsoft is gearing up when consumers start to download SP1 for Windows Vista. They have a website where free support will be offered via email and chat to consumers. A toll free number is also available for those who have Microsoft subscription programs or are Microsoft partners.

Support for installation and compatibility issues will be provided until March 18, 2009.

Hours for Chat (Pacific Time)Monday – Friday



5:00 A.M. – 12:00 A.M. (midnight)

6:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.

6:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.

Email responses are in one business day.

Problems? Check out the link below for assistance.

Microsoft support for SP1 for Vista is here.

[tags]free, support, microsoft, vista, spa, compatibility, installation, email, chat, phone by subscription, [/tags]

Vista Is Getting Better – We Are Reaching A 'Milestone'

Well you got to give Steve Ballmer some credit for finally admitting that Vista has had some hardware and compatibility issues, but Vista is getting better. He also admits that Vista is over kill when it comes to security and feels it was ‘over tuned’. Because of this ‘over tuned’ security some other issues like ‘application compatibility’ were ignored. Oh yeah…..battery performance was forgotten as well. But all is going to be A-OK with Sp1. Well maybe not all is going to be A-OK but ‘Sp1 is a major milestone.’

I must admit that SP1 has addressed some issues on my system and that performance seems to be better. But I don’t think anyone can say exactly how much SP1 will solve issues until the masses install it and problems start to surface. If you don’t have any issues with Sp1 then you are one of the ‘milestones’. If you do have issues with SP1 I guess you will be classified as being unable to be considered a ‘milestone’.

Comments welcome.

Complete eWeek article by Peter Galli is here.

[tags]microsoft, vista, better, sp1, application, compatibility, security, performance, [/tags]

Will My Programs Run In Vista?

Q: If an application can run in Windows 2000 as well as XP would/should they still be able to run in Vista? Has some backward compatibility ever been addressed in Vista? -Alvin

A: Your question is one of the prime questions that everyone should be asking before they decide to upgrade to Vista.

Unfortunately, there is no connection between programs that can run under Windows 2000 or Windows XP and their ability to run under Windows Vista, although Microsoft is claiming that most will.

Each application is unique and has specific interaction points with the operating system that will determine compatibility.

This means the only way to know for sure is get confirmation from the developer of the program. Windows Vista is going to impact every software company in a major way, so most of them are already testing and posting their compatibility statements on their respective websites.

There are three categories of software compatibility that will come into play:

  1. Programs that are fully compatible and will run with no problems
  2. Programs that will run but have minor compatibility issues that can be worked around or ignored.
  3. Programs that won’t run at all or have heavy compatibility issues that render the programs practically useless

The kinds of programs that are going to be in the “most likely to experience a problem” include:

  • Custom built programs
  • Older programs that were designed to run on Windows 98, ME, or DOS
  • Remote access or VPN (Virtual Private Network) programs
  • Special “plug-ins” or custom applets for Windows
  • Point Of Sale programs in retail environments
  • Sync software for PDAs and Smartphones
  • Security software such as firewalls, anti-virus & anti-spyware, especially those designed to work in a corporate environment
  • Older Automated Backup Software
  • Specialized audio and video editing programs
  • Older games, especially those that have their own graphics engine

The problems that may come up can range from very minor to extremely complex.

Microsoft has posted a download called the Vista Upgrade Advisor at (click on the Get Ready button) which does a great job of looking at all the various areas of your existing computer to see if there are going to be problems.

Not only will it review the programs that you have installed, it will check your hardware to see which version of Vista will run on your machine as well as suggestions to make Vista run better.

Another area of concern for upgrading to Vista are “drivers”; small software programs that allow components and peripherals (video cards, sound cards, printers, scanners, digital cameras, etc.) to communicate with Windows.

In past operating system upgrades, the drivers were amongst the most challenging because they had to be re-written by the manufacturer of the device before it would work properly.

This means you should also visit the websites of the manufacturers of all of these items as well as your software. If you don’t see a specific update for your device for Windows Vista, that may be another reason to wait.

The more time you spend investigating before you decide to switch to Windows Vista, the less time you will spend trying to get everything to work after the fact.

Ken Colburn
President of Data Doctors Computer Services
Host of the award-winning Computer Corner radio show
Author of Computer Q&A in the East Valley Tribune newspapers

[tags]ken colburn, data doctors, vista, windows, vista driver, compatibility[/tags]

Is Your Hardware Compatible With XP?

If you are considering upgrading to Windows XP, one of the things you need to consider is hardware compatibility. Microsoft used to release a hardware compatibility list (HCL) for its operating systems. The HCL lists all the hardware supported by the operating system.

If your hardware is not present on the list it does not necessarily mean you can not proceed with the installation but you should verify with the hardware manufacturer that the component is Windows ready. You can find an up-to-date version of the HCL on Microsoft’s website. Microsoft now publishes the Windows Catalog that lists the products that have been designed to run on Windows 2000 platforms and later.
Continue reading “Is Your Hardware Compatible With XP?”