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Windows 7 To Include "Windows XP Mode"

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the os-that-won't-die dept.

Windows 364

Z80xxc! writes "Paul Thurrott's WinSuperSite reports that Windows 7 will include a built-in virtual machine with a fully licensed copy of Windows XP Professional SP3. The VM runs in a modified version of Virtual PC, and applications running in the VM can interact directly with the host operating system as if they were running on the Windows 7 installation itself. While details are scarce for now, it looks as if this feature will only be available as a (free) addon for Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Windows 7. Also, a processor supporting hardware virtualization will be required, indicating that this is perhaps aimed more at power users and corporate users, rather than consumers. Microsoft confirmed the feature last night."

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Had that for awhile now... (5, Funny)

downix (84795) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711963)

Altho I call it Kubuntu with XP running in QEMU....

Re:Had that for awhile now... (5, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712015)

When do you think VM images will outnumber disk images on the pirate sites?

XP! Pre configured, fully loaded with apps, fully patched, and pre hacked. Please seed!

Re:Had that for awhile now... (5, Funny)

spud603 (832173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712293)

XP! Pre configured, fully loaded with rootkits, fully patched, and pre hacked. Please seed!

fixed that for you

Re:Had that for awhile now... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712431)

Excellent, that will make this [xkcd.com] easier.

Requested by the Military (5, Interesting)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712619)

The U.S. Military is heavily invested in several applications that have been tested at Microsoft. (Military members do have offices in Redmond for this purpose.) Windows 7 was shown to have some issues. The USN scrapped plans to move to Vista, planned for this quarter, and decided to wait for Windows 7, but needed XP compatibility. The VM compromise was brewed up.

I knew it! (5, Insightful)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711969)

The only way they'll convince people to switch to Windows 7 is to bundle it with XP!

Re:I knew it! (4, Funny)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712017)

So, can I run DOS software via emulation inside XP inside Window 7? It's time for some Jazz Jackrabbit; I just knew Microsoft was still good for something.

Re:I knew it! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712465)

don't forget that you're installing Windows 7 inside VMWare, xVM or pick your favorite virtual machine software...

although I'd be willing to bet that the *feature* required "hardware vm support" isn't emulated inside the VMs...

I once knew someone who loaded linux, installed bochs, loaded windows inside bochs, installed bochs, loaded linux within bochs, within windows, within bochs, within linux..

after he got about 6 layers deep he stopped... his system was out of resources...

Re:I knew it! (1, Interesting)

sharperguy (1065162) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712495)

Didn't apple do this with OSX? You can run OS9 apps, but it is in a VM.

Re:I knew it! (3, Informative)

Sparks23 (412116) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712955)

Classic wasn't precisely a VM in the normal sense, though, but rather more of an abstraction layer. Most PowerPC code was just run native and unchanged, and there was simply an abstraction layer that turned all the classic system calls (and some old hardware calls, admittedly) into modern equivalents.

The benefit of which was that you did not take nearly the performance hit you would for virtualizing the entire computer a'la a traditional VM, but the downside was that Classic would no longer work once Macs made the switch to Intel architectures because you weren't virtualizing hardware at all, just abstracting the system APIs into newer calls.

Which is why Classic is no longer in Mac OS X as of Leopard, now that all newer Macs are Intel-based. There's still true VM based equivalents for Intel machines, though, like Sheepshaver.

Re:I knew it! (5, Funny)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712499)

You dawg, I heard you like Windows, so we put Windows in your Windows so you can BSOD while you BSOD.

Re:I knew it! (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712513)

*Yo.

Re:I knew it! (4, Interesting)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712703)

Probably the best enterprise marketing decision that MS has made in years...

And who needs it most? (1, Troll)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711991)

"While details are scarce for now, it looks as if this feature will only be available as a (free) addon for Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Windows 7. Also, a processor supporting hardware virtualization will be required, indicating that this is perhaps aimed more at power users and corporate users, rather than consumers."

Yet who is more likely to have old applications or hardware that will need XP? If you have the latest and greatest full bells and whistles OS, you probably have the latest version of your apps as well. Once again, MS misses the boat.

Re:And who needs it most? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712053)

Yet who is more likely to have old applications or hardware that will need XP? If you have the latest and greatest full bells and whistles OS, you probably have the latest version of your apps as well. Once again, MS misses the boat.

It seems that it's you who is missing the boat. This is a very good move on MS' part for companies that have custom apps that are known to run properly on XP. Rather than having to go through extensive testing to ensure they run properly on Windows 7, they can instead be run in this VM. It's a move to make companies feel more at-ease in their transitions to Windows 7.

Re:And who needs it most? (4, Insightful)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712433)

Yet who is more likely to have old applications or hardware that will need XP? If you have the latest and greatest full bells and whistles OS, you probably have the latest version of your apps as well. Once again, MS misses the boat.

It seems that it's you who is missing the boat. This is a very good move on MS' part for companies that have custom apps that are known to run properly on XP. Rather than having to go through extensive testing to ensure they run properly on Windows 7, they can instead be run in this VM. It's a move to make companies feel more at-ease in their transitions to Windows 7.

Except that this is pure PHB-bait -- IT professionals are going to realize pretty quick that all their apps are going to require testing to ensure they can be run in this VM, just like if they were being tested for Windows 7.

The only ones who are going to go "hey, neat, free XP" are the C?Os that don't quite understand technology anymore and the consumers who don't really need this feature, anyway.

Re:And who needs it most? (1)

interstellar_donkey (200782) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712531)

I have a laptop that I bought a year ago that came preinstalled with Vista. XP wouldn't install on it (I'm sure there is some hack, but I don't have the time or energy to find it). When this laptop running this crummy OS is up for recycling, I'd be very happy to know that the next one I buy can run in XP mode and all of my software will run nicely.

Re:And who needs it most? (0, Flamebait)

McNihil (612243) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712441)

This way they can charge for more than one license per machine too. Overheard in the latest board meeting... "Milk the customer till they drop... customers are a bunch of idiots in any case... they have no clue what is going on... Microsoft are the ONLY ones who know what computing is about..."

Re:And who needs it most? (5, Informative)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712073)

I think companies are more likely to depend on old software that runs only on XP. So they target the correct users indeed.

Most non-corporate users only use programs to browse the tubes, print documents, send email and view photo's, nothing that depends on XP :)

Re:And who needs it most? (3, Interesting)

gadget junkie (618542) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712453)

I think companies are more likely to depend on old software that runs only on XP. So they target the correct users indeed.

Most non-corporate users only use programs to browse the tubes, print documents, send email and view photo's, nothing that depends on XP :)

Do not forget gamers/power users. I loathe the fact that I need a killer machine, to run a killer OS, to run Call of duty about at the same Frame per second rate as my old machine, with a few bells and whistles involved that I do not care particularly about.I'd end up paying 1.000 bucks on hardware, 250 on OS, and 50 on the game just to stay where I am now.

One other consideration is that these strategy of enabling XPsp3 in windows 7 will surely put some noses out of joint, plus leaving the door open for interesting legal questions. Imagine this scenario: in an all win XP sp3 outfit, the company buys half a dozen copies of win7. are these particular associated copies of XP officially supported while all the legacy copies aren't?

Remember: if a company has a particular, mission critical application that runs in XP, and this application is "good enough/fast enough" as is, the requirement of the company is "cheap xp machines with xp installed", NOT "rich win 7 machines with win7 plus a virtual machine with XP", if only because cost of hardware goes up. Given the low price of entry level hardware these days, the OS is representing a bigger slice of the pie than previously, so pressure there is higher. I would not be surprised if somebody did a "spoiling attack" claiming that all this design is a win7 tax and demanding to be able to buy legitimate XP copies....at old win xp prices.

Re:And who needs it most? (4, Insightful)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712985)

I suppose MS's reasoning is, that all computers in a company should have windows 7 and use this compatibility feature to run XP only programs, instead of having some real windows XP computers, adding this feature helps remove an excuse for not installing Win 7 (in the eyes of Microsoft, not my own opinion).

I still don't see the reason for the complaint though, I mean, what do you want them to do? NOT include this feature? Make the feature work on crappy computers? In the future all CPU's will have hardware virtualization anyway, we're talking about a future OS on future computers here, non power users of the near future will have a CPU that is more powerful than a CPU of today and with hardware virtualization.

And also, don't power users use "Professional" versions of Windows anyway, instead of "Home" versions? The "Home" versions are the versions for the users that just browse internet and put photo's on their HD (and then losing them because they don't back them up and don't put them on a separate partition of their disk and will let someone format their HD to install a new windows after a virus infection anyway).

Re:And who needs it most? (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712091)

Yet who is more likely to have old applications or hardware that will need XP? If you have the latest and greatest full bells and whistles OS, you probably have the latest version of your apps as well. Once again, MS misses the boat.

I, for one don't want to get rid of quality games like Baldur's Gate 2.

Also, if they build in a VM like that, they could use it to let that handle compatibility and turn the OS itself upside down, getting rid of all the cruft that's been accumulating since win95 in some cases. Just like Apple did with OSX. It worked beautifully. Of course, being MS, they fucked up again, introducing this when they're almost done. It should have been in the design.

Re:And who needs it most? (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712145)

Oh, and another thing: if they can integrate Linux like that as well, they could get people to migrate back. Hell, I'd give it a spin. Especially if they can enable 3D acceleration for Linux properly. And Total Commander. The possibilities are limitless.

Re:And who needs it most? (1)

FireFlie (850716) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712669)

Never going to happen. They're not going to deliberately give Windows users the opportunity to experiment with Linux. Users like you and I are more likely just to dual boot or run a VM if we want both. I think the net effect in the general public would be the opposite of what you are proposing.

Re:And who needs it most? (2, Interesting)

Rydia (556444) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712241)

Amusingly, BG2 works perfectly in the 7 beta. I even have it running with Baldur's Gate Trilogy without any problems. I agree that 7's compatibility with anything non-vista is horribly awful, but BG2 thankfully works.

Re:And who needs it most? (2, Informative)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712345)

For those who don't know: BG Trilogy [shsforums.net] is a method of importing the original BG assets into BG2.

It's possible to do that and add a boatload of other mods (like Dark side of the Sword Coast) to create an epic, continuous game that goes from the escape from Candlekeep all the way through to the Throne of Bhall.

Re:And who needs it most? (4, Insightful)

Taagehornet (984739) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712473)

-1 Clueless

Do you honestly believe that it's to cater for the needs of home users that XP is still around?

Home users aren't the ones causing Microsoft to worry about the adoption of Windows 7. Most home users don't even pay much attention to the operating system. They'll use whatever comes with the Dell they got, as long as it allows them to surf the web, write the occasional document in Word and load music to their iPod - things that work well on Vista.

Enterprises however, who hold several million worth of internally developed business critical software - code that relies on all the cracks and crooked ends of XP; these are the ones causing sleepless nights at Redmond.

Not only that (2, Insightful)

localroger (258128) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712791)

Historically, people tend to use at home what they use at work, which is how MS Office took over the world. Many home users won't care but workers who use XP and XP apps at work will in some cases prefer to use what they're used to at home. MS knows this and it's another reason they want to push IT into their newer OS.

Hardware virtualization, eh? (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711995)

It's already getting hard to find any moderately powerful desktop or laptop rig that doesn't have a CPU that supports hardware virtualization. Hell, I've got an older development box with a single-core AMD64 chip that supports KVM just fine.

Re:Hardware virtualization, eh? (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712065)

New, yes. Old i disagree. There are *millions* of perfectly fine machines that don't have the extended instruction sets.

I have 2 under my desk at work, 2 ghz 2gb ram. Id not call that garbage. Neither have a newer chip.

Re:Hardware virtualization, eh? (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712755)

You bought a single core AM2 chip?

Also has a "Vista Mode" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712001)

aka BSOD.

Re:Also has a "Vista Mode" (4, Funny)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712037)

No it is just a file requester that says "Are you sure you want to do this? Confirm or deny" over and over...

Re:Also has a "Vista Mode" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712285)

witless shit

Wait a second (5, Interesting)

downix (84795) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712019)

if it will run XP mode software, wouldn't that mean XP style viruses now have a key right into the system?

Re:Wait a second (2, Insightful)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712067)

There's that possibility, but securing VMs can be fairly easy. Don't want internet connectivity? turn it off.

On the other hand, a virus that infected your XP VM wouldn't be able to infect the host OS unless it could complete the infection anyway. The only concern is that a VM being highly connected (to personal profiles and the like) may be granted permission to delete files, harvest information etc.

Re:Wait a second (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712493)

Yes, but they could only infect the sandbox and any files that sandbox has access too, woops..

Microsoft wants to say Sup Dawg (2, Funny)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712029)

We heard you like BSODing, so we put Windows in your Windows so you can crash while you crash.

Re:Microsoft wants to say Sup Dawg (1)

miggyb (1537903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712105)

That's actually a good point. I don't have experiences with Virtual PC, but I've used VirtualBox and VMware Fusion in OS X, and it seems you really have to try to bring the whole computer down. Usually, if the client OS crashes, the host OS continues happily. Does anyone have any experience with Virtual PC? How sturdy is it? If XP crashes, would Windows 7 take it well?

Re:Microsoft wants to say Sup Dawg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712549)

know your meme
http://www.doobybrain.com/2009/03/06/xzibit-says-yo-dawg/ [doobybrain.com]

You're that early to mid-40s guy at the office that completely makes a mess of things like this aren't you?

amirite?

Pretty sad if you think about it (0, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712045)

"new and improved" My foot. If they have to have an emulation mode to get users to upgrade why is it better?

At least apple had an excuse for doing this, they changed architecture.

Re:Pretty sad if you think about it (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712057)

Doesn't this kind of defeat the purpose of "upgrading"?

Re:Pretty sad if you think about it (1)

SpryGuy (206254) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712607)

No. Not in any way.

Re:Pretty sad if you think about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712239)

Classic to X was not a change in architecture

Re:Pretty sad if you think about it (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712339)

I'm talking universal binaries in this case, not the 9 to 10 change.

But even that was a radical shift, so it was either that or cut off the existing software base, far different then windows XP to 7 which is basically the same.

Re:Pretty sad if you think about it (2, Insightful)

pasamio (737659) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712633)

Apple ran 9 and 10 together for a period of time as well, plus they released the Carbon API back to OS 9 as well as having it available to 10. They killed a whole heap of API's from 9, kept some that they're only just getting around to killing and then created a new one which they ported back to 9 so that you could get over the gap even easier.

Apple have changed architecture twice in their lifetime AFAIK and have done a great job of maintaining things.

9 to 10 had its own emulation stuff, the "Classic" layer, and the PPC to Intel transition had Rosetta.

The thing people are missing is that Microsoft is admitting that they stuffed up so badly that they're willing to ship copies of XP to the corporates whilst still getting their latest version out and bought. This is about ensuring they don't continue to go backwards because whilst Apple went forward Microsoft went back - and that must scare someone at Redmond.

Re:Pretty sad if you think about it (1)

thetartanavenger (1052920) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712425)

New and improved with full backwards compatibility leaves the errors of the past in the operating system, and hence can never be removed. By adding an emulation mode they're ensuring backwards compatibility, yet making it that bit more awkward forcing new software writers to conform to their newer operating system yet not breaking everything.

Sometimes it's hard to get rid of your old mistakes because people end up relying upon them. By adding pressure in the sense of annoyance forces design changes without breaking everything. I swear they tried something similar with UAC but fucked up the ratio of annoying to usable.

This has been a long time coming (4, Interesting)

DavidChristopher (633902) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712059)

... one of the drawbacks of the WIndows platform - from an development and engineering point of view - is that it's backwards compatible all the way back to (if I'm not mistaken) Windows 1.0. That's an insane codebase to be dealing with. By bundling an XP VM with Win7, they can- for the first time - take the backwards compatibility crap out of Windows and concentrate on providing a stable OS.

Isn't that essentially what Apple did with the transition from 68000 series chips to PowerPC, from OS 9.x to OS 10, and then again from Power PC to Intel?

I've believed this was a necessity for quite a while.

D

Back(ass)wards Compatibility. (2, Interesting)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712175)

... one of the drawbacks of the WIndows platform - from an development and engineering point of view - is that it's backwards compatible all the way back to (if I'm not mistaken) Windows 1.0. That's an insane codebase to be dealing with. By bundling an XP VM with Win7, they can- for the first time - take the backwards compatibility crap out of Windows and concentrate on providing a stable OS. Isn't that essentially what Apple did with the transition from 68000 series chips to PowerPC, from OS 9.x to OS 10, and then again from Power PC to Intel? I've believed this was a necessity for quite a while. D

While I agree with your observation regarding making a "break" in the code by providing a virtualized "backwards-compatible" environment, what the hell is the reason the codebase IS compatible all the way to Windows 1.0?!?

When a company says "we're no longer going to support Windows 3x or Win9x, they should MEAN IT. NO support for the software. NO support for the hardware. This would be like me walking into the Ford dealership and demanding to know why they no longer "support" my 1978 F-150 for parts.

Rather ironic that Microsoft seemed to learn the "tough shit, upgrade" customer approach when it came to deploying Vista (hardware requirements), yet their software will still run Office 95. At some point, you've got to cut BOTH cords.

Re:Back(ass)wards Compatibility. (4, Insightful)

trifish (826353) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712219)

When a company says "we're no longer going to support Windows 3x or Win9x, they should MEAN IT. NO support for the software.

They'd have to be insane to do that. Only an insane OS vendor would get incompatible with the largest collection of software in the history of computing.

Re:Back(ass)wards Compatibility. (1)

chill (34294) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712497)

Actually, I can walk into a Jeep dealer and get parts for my 1983 Jeep Scrambler. Sometimes they're in stock and sometimes they have to order them. No that I do very often, mind you. Dealers charge 3 to 10 times more than an independent parts store. Only when I wanted the actual OEM gasoline filler hose, pre-bent in some god-forsaken unique shape, did I actually go to a dealer. But in stock it was.

Re:Back(ass)wards Compatibility. (1)

SpryGuy (206254) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712535)

The main reason Windows has such massive market share is the backward compatibility.

It's because BUSINESSES rely on it, and Business is where Windows pounds most other OS's in use. Of all my friends, well over half use Macs (50+% market penetration), yet over-all, Windows has 90% market share (give or take). That delta is all about business.

And most businesses are very slow to upgrade, and have custom apps that cannot be easily rewritten. It's EXPENSIVE to rewrite something for a new OS just because the OS upgrades.

The backwards compatibility of Windows is both its biggest benefit AND it's biggest draw-back.

It really seems to me like they're setting the stage to use VMs to solve this problem going forward. But even then, they'll still need to retain backward compatability with the last few releases... you don't want to end up with every app runing in VMs because nothing is written for the new OS.

I find this development really interesting, though. I think it's a smart move.

Vista was a 'pain' because it NECESSARILY had to break applications in order to add much-needed and much-over-due security to the system. Applications for so long have been written assuming everyone was running as admin, which is part of what made UAC so annoying. As developers write to run on Vista, things are getting a lot better (that, plus Vista SP1, which fixed a lot of performance and other issues). I now run Vista full time at my place of work, and not only have no problems, but am now starting to be annoyed when I go back to XP and am missing all my wonderful search featurs and other Vista bells and whistles (like the snipping tool). Vista was a necessary break from the past... and would have been a lot better had IT had this XP virtual machine to run ill-behaved apps.

I think Windows 7 is going to be a success, because it seems Microsoft is really listening and really doing the kinds of things they need to in order to move forward. Hopefully with Win 8 and beyond they'll be able to junk a lot of the legacy support that is bogging down windows, and deal with apps by just running them in a VM hosting the neccessary OS.

Mac OS X is as "clean" and nimble as it is, precisely because they've made the decision to break with the past and just go ahead and break apps, get everyone to move over, and then move forward. They can do that because 1) they own both the hardware and the software, and 2) they don't have a huge presence in the Business Enterprise market. It's worked out really well for them, actually.

The Windows strategy of trying to run as much as possible from the past with each new release had worked well for MS up until recently, but now the house of cards is too big, the code-base is too unwieldy, and it's harder to move forward. That was one of the huge problems during Vista development, which required them to do a complete reset/restart, losing YEARS of development time, and enabling XP to become so entrenched that it's proving difficult to move people forward into better OS's.

Now MS is working hard to get out of this pit it's dug itself in, and this looks like a really smart way to go. I'm really, really looking foward to Win7.

But given this feature will be targeted at businesses, I'm half-wondering if I should try to get Windows Professional on my next home (not work) PC, or whether Windows Home Premium will be "good enough" for me (given I make my living developing for Windows).

Re:This has been a long time coming (3, Informative)

trifish (826353) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712187)

they can- for the first time - take the backwards compatibility crap out of Windows and concentrate on providing a stable OS.

No, they can't. The vast majority of Windows 7 users will be running one of the Home editions, which aren't going to have this "Virtual XP" mode. RTFA or just the summary.

Re:This has been a long time coming (3, Informative)

mike260 (224212) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712189)

The CPU transitions were handled at a much lower-level - the CPU was emulated, but not the OS, so even emulated software was running in the native OS. Apart from the performance drop, running apps in Rosetta (the PPC emulator) is pretty seamless; you can try it out by choosing an app, File->Get Info, then checking the 'Open in Rosetta' checkbox.

But yeah, the OS9->OSX transition did something similar to what Microsoft's describing. I only hope that Microsoft manage it a bit more gracefully than Apple did, 'cos that had serious usability problems and was a pretty jarring experience overall.

Re:This has been a long time coming (4, Insightful)

TropicalCoder (898500) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712577)

By bundling an XP VM with Win7, they can - for the first time - take the backwards compatibility crap out of Windows and concentrate on providing a stable OS.

My fear is that once they have provided for running legacy software in a VM, they will feel free to move on towards their ultimate goal - an OS that will no longer run native code. They will come out with an OS that only runs .NET managed code, and thereby exercise total control over what you can ultimately run on the platform. It will be a form of "Trusted Computing" [wikipedia.org] in disguise. Only specially certified "Microsoft Partners" will be allowed special access to develop the libraries underlying .NET, and the rest of us will be shut out. Microsoft will excercise absolute control over what can be run on their OS and thereby gain enormous powers far beyond what they have today.

is it a sandbox or not? (2, Insightful)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712143)

if it can interact just like it was on windows7, will it be just as vulnerable?

will people choose to use that rather than windows 7 all the time?

will it run on top of a hypervisor? ie, can it access the hardware directly?

Will solve a lot of legacy problems (5, Insightful)

Nichotin (794369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712147)

I have had a Windows XP Professional running in VMware on my MacBook and my Vista 64-bit desktop from the beginning. It solves a lot of problems with some quirky legacy apps I have to run.

And thanks to the USB support, I can also use:
1) Very old USB scanner with XP 32-bit drivers. I use it a few times a year for digitalizing reciepts etc., and I really don't want to pay for a new one.
2) Random gadgets with stupid software and buggy drivers.

Getting this free with Windows 7 would really rock.

Won't solve a whole lot (5, Interesting)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712151)

Unfortunately, while this is a long overdue solution that other companies have used fine before, but it's going to prove problematic for Microsoft. Things that won't work (and Joe User will try to do anyway):

1.) Install their XP-compatible Antivirus program. "It said on the Windows 7 box that I could run old programs!"
2.) Install a printer which works on XP only. "The printer box said it works on Windows. Why can I only print from some programs (the older ones seem to work)?"
3.) Play an old game at reasonable speed. "I installed Super Hardware Killer Shooter for Windows XP and the 3D is running really slow!"

Virtualization is a great thing. I use it work all the time and love it. The public doesn't quite "get it" yet. They're going to see some things work, some things not and wonder why the hell that is. It happened when Apple moved to OS X, but the user base was much smaller so the complaints were less.

Until someone creates a hypervisor which is presented in a completely transparent way to the OS, in that things difficult to virtualize (e.g. video card hardware) run at normal speeds, it's just going to appear to the user "every time I run an old program, either it's too slow or it doesn't work".

Re:Won't solve a whole lot (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712369)

Most people won't have Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate editions. Those that do probably know what they are doing or are at work where they are constricted in what they can install anyway.

Re:Won't solve a whole lot (-1, Flamebait)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712411)

RTFA, n00b. Joe User won't have this capability, because it won't be available in Windows Home, only Professional and above.

Re:Won't solve a whole lot (1)

Gen. Malaise (530798) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712673)

@silentchris sigh...I know its /. but cant you at least read the summary in full? its not aimed at consumers!

Re:Won't solve a whole lot (1)

NuGeo (824600) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712747)

As has been said, this product is not being marketed to Joe User. It's being marketed to businesses that rely on legacy apps and geeky power users who understand what it is they're getting.

Your average consumer will have the Home Edition of Windows 7, which will not include the built-in virtualization of XP. In other words, Microsoft is not promoting this to the average consumer as a way to make all your XP stuff compatible with Windows 7. Your average PC user won't even know that this "virtualization thing" exists.

Re:Won't solve a whole lot (1)

mac.man25 (988406) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712781)

It happened when Apple moved to OS X, but the user base was much smaller so the complaints were less.

I'm sorry, this is just not the case, Apple did a REALLY good job with the classic environment in Mac OS X and most of these complaints were known, but it was OK, because everybody could see how much better Mac OS X was than classic.

1.) Old antivirus programs weren't a big deal because there weren't any. Microsoft has an interface that notifies XP when an antiVirus is being installed, it might be possible to prevent an antivirus from being installed by claiming there's one installed already. Or maybe, MS just doesn't care because it's a VM anyhow, and they just have a new copy somewhere else on the computer.

2.) This was a big problem with printers in the OS X switch over. Epson in particular lost a lot of repeat customers because they refused to update some of their USB printers to support Mac OS X. One solution, was to install the printer driver in Classic and print only from there. But anything you wanted to print from Mac OS X had to be compatible with the old program.

3.) 3D games? I'm sorry, they just worked. Really. No Joke. They were slightly slower, maybe 2-3 FPS slower, but nothing major. It was great, I could play all my old games without having to reboot into the classic environment. A few games I had were upgraded to be able to be played on OS X, and those games got a huge speed boost when they did. On OS 9, they'd get somewhere in the 30FPS range, then 27-28 when played on classic, then, when they were upgraded, they got somewhere in the 35-40FPS range.

The other thing that probably makes my memories a lot rosier is that OS 9 was so outdated and crashy by the time OS X came out, we were very glad to switch to something that didn't crash.

Re:Won't solve a whole lot (1)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712861)

But it fixes the PERCEIVED problem that Vista is incompatible with lots of legacy software. Microsoft can point at Windows 7 and say that it runs MORE than Vista, and actually be truthful about it.

Yes, it's all semantics at the end of the day. In truth I've been running 64-bit Vista on my work laptop for months now and I actually really like it. Although I still deal with the occasional incompatibility, it's usually nothing I can't work around. It's far more stable than XP, and I feel a lot more secure (yes, UAC actually does succeed so long as you don't turn it off!). It's still Windows, so it still frustrates the hell out of me sometimes as I'm a Mac user at home and in my career have been a UNIX admin several times... but hey, this is what I do for a living and I accept that. If I worked only with technology that I liked, I'd bore of the technology far too quickly and start to dislike it.

This is mostly marketing hype. The same functions they're touting here you can do with free software today. I have VirtualBox on my Vista machine, on which I run an XP AND a Gentoo setup in seamless mode. I have hidden XP's Task Bar and just have a button bar for my "badly behaved apps", which by the way are becoming fewer and fewer all the time. Once I get my desktop up, I can pull up the start menu for Vista from the bottom of my screen, launch Linux apps from the left and XP 32-bit apps from the right. So far the only negative is the lousy support for dual monitors...

On your points though; yes, the anti-virus will be an issue because it's supposed to get deep into the file management structure of the OS to really work. That's valid... but hey, if you have anti virus you're used to taking it up the rear once a year for a renewal and upgrade... this is nothing new.

Printers? There's no reason the printing subsystem couldn't be bi-directional within the VM, thus allowing the physical machine to print via the VM to the legacy printer. Hell, I do that today again with my VirtualBox machines... though I rarely print anything anyway these days. Yes, my setup is not "Joe-User" friendly, but it wouldn't take much to abstract that away so that the VM's printers just appear in the Printers menu.

Old games also may be an issue, but hopefully not. Any games written in recent years are all DirectX based, and thus pretty compatible with DirectX 10 in Vista. I've yet to encounter a game written in the last 5 years that won't run in Vista... though granted I'm not a big gamer and thus my experience is limited. Older than 5 years shouldn't be an issue because they were written to an hardware standard that's really out of date and thus shouldn't really press the hardware all that much.

You're right as well that Joe Public doesn't get virtualization. Done right, they never will have to because it should be just an invisible part of their computing experience. That's what I keep espousing to my developers when they ask questions, to the point that I have grown so weary of listening to them that I hide the VMware Tools icon on all their virtual machines. Most of them don't even realize any more that their dev servers are all virtual and have been for a year! All they know is that the Infrastructure department is really responsive when they need more storage, more RAM, more CPU's... whatever... in that we just ask them when we can take the system down, reassign resources and boot it back up again. They love that responsiveness and the smart developers don't care.

The dumb, bad developers... now they're the ones I get phone calls from saying that their code doesn't work because it's running in a VM. For them I have a special place in my Office Communicator groups...

Cut Out The Middle Man (1, Insightful)

Valen0 (325388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712163)

Maybe they could cut out the virtual machine and offer Windows XP SP3 as a separate product? It would eliminate all of the virtual machine overhead.

This move to bundle this with Virtual Server seems analogous to the bundling of Internet Explorer in Windows 98. I wonder if Microsoft is trying to kill VMWare and Parallel's market share like they killed Netscape's browser share.

Finally, it is pretty sad when your operating system requires a virtual machine to emulate what the operating system should do natively. I would have preferred it if Microsoft went all the way with this option and did a complete revamp of the Windows executable and security architecture with the implementation of this virtual machine architecture (Apple implemented this during the OS 9 to OS X transition). As it is implemented right now, the virtual machine seems like a waste of resources as it is duplicates existing functionality while requiring more overhead and a separate configuration.

Re:Cut Out The Middle Man (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712371)

Finally, it is pretty sad when your operating system requires a virtual machine to emulate what the operating system should do natively.

I call FUD. If you want to run some old-ass linux executables you'll probably need an old-ass Linux to run them on, and while you COULD integrate all that stuff into your current install by sticking everything in different paths and tweaking LD_PRELOAD constantly, it might STILL cause problems. Meanwhile, Windows NT has always used a virtual machine process to run 16 bit executables.

OTOH, including "all" of Windows XP SP3 seems kind of egregious...

Re:Cut Out The Middle Man (1)

NameIsDavid (945872) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712571)

Not only isn't it sad, but it addresses the core problem that has always led people to denegrate Microsoft - the need to saddle each version of Windows with legacy support. This is a key source of bloat and stability issues and the lack of needing to support businesses in this way has always been a key advantage enjoyed by Apple. The future of legacy support is virtualization and Microsoft is taking the absolutely correct step here.

Re:Cut Out The Middle Man (1)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712911)

Obviously someone who doesn't remember the old OS X and "Classic" environment. That was a virtual machine before virtual machines became "cool".

Is it pretty and wonderful and exciting? Not really... but it DID work. Classic continued to work all the way up to the point that Apple moved to Intel... and along with Carbon it provided developers a lovely, smooth transition path to the new OS X API's. Sure, it wasn't perfect... but it was far better than what Microsoft did with Vista.

When Microsoft released Vista, they released their own OS X... a very different OS with some very specific needs and care and feeding instructions. They did this with no real backward compatibility layer (which is what this is), and because of their mostly closed and incomprehensible API's provided few paths for developers to smoothly transition to the new platform. This is an attempt to rectify part of that, and I for one applaud Microsoft for doing this, even if it's not exactly an original idea.

Now, if Microsoft would just give away their dev tools on the installation DVD like Apple do...

I get to buy windows twice? (1, Insightful)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712173)

So let me get this straight. I can buy windows 7 and not have to worry about it sucking more than XP because I can run XP in virtualization. So if I go back to XP I just paid for the privilege of running XP twice? Microsoft has really gone downhill lately. The upgrades seem to have negative marginal value these days. Who would have paid for the privilege to run Windows 3.1 in Windows 95? Where's the innovation? It seems like each release they just take features away and only give them back to you if you buy the "Ultimate" edition.

I don't care if it got virtual XP. (0)

JoshDmetro (1478197) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712191)

I still won't buy a Microsoft product. XP sucks there is no getting around that just because it is better than Vista doesn't make it a good os nor give me the desire to run it in VM. Lately I have been helping friends fix there XP/Vista boxes and it is a horrible experience for me, long hrs of watching progress bars inch there way across the screen. Wasting my time in the evenings after work that I'd rather spend with my kids. Has anyone ever thought to calculate how much time MS has taken from people with to progress bar or registry and they make you pay for the privilege. And an OS shouldn't have different versions Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate editions. And can you ever be truly happy if you got Professional when you could get Ultimate?

sup dawg (-1, Redundant)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712201)

SUP DAWG WE HEARD YOU LIKE WINDOWS SO WE PUT A WINDOWS IN YOUR WINDOWS [today.com] SO YOU CAN WHINE WHILE YOU WINE

Seriously - I'm surprised they didn't do this for Vista. A "Classic" compatibility mode to set them free to make an API that sucks maybe a little less.

I do not own an x86 virtualization processor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712211)

My current socket 754 Athlon 64 3700 does it's job well, so I guess I'll need a new processor to enjoy this "perk"?

x64 Editions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712225)

So, if I get an x64 copy of Windows 7 Ultimate, will it include a copy of XP SP3 x64, or is it just the 32-bit version? If it is just 32-bit, I'd still have to find an x64 license just to get around the ram limit... seems like a waste.

Re:x64 Editions (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712627)

There's no such thing as "XP SP3 x64." XP x64 is actually Server 2003 built with a client configuration, and not XP. In other words, it shares service packs with 2003.

But no, it's not going to include any 64-bit guest OS. Why would it, all the legacy software people care about is 32-bit.

oblig (1)

nih (411096) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712233)

so this will be included in windows 8?

Yay! Solves a big revenue problem for Microsoft! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712235)

Goody! Now I don't have to not upgrade if I want to stick with XP. I'll have the peace of mind of knowing that microsoft will still receive revenue from me, even if I don't want any new products! They don't have to convince me that the new product is better, because I can tell myself that I'm just re-buying the old product I'm already used to. Besides, is my license up-to-date? Is there a possibility of piracy because I haven't been keeping good track of all my Microsoft licenses? Peace of mind, here I come!

Not dead yet! (4, Interesting)

Minupla (62455) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712237)

So does this mean M$ will be extending the fully supported period for XP again, as it will be shipping with W7?

Min

You FAIL it? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712287)

the 8unsdane chores arseholes at Walnut against vigorous is the group that

Re:You FAIL it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712343)

where's my link, bitch?

All features are vaporware until released IMO (3, Funny)

Atraxen (790188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712291)

By "confirmed the feature last night", did you mean:

"confirmed their intention to include an interesting feature, which in all likelihood will be dropped in the last quarter before release because other issues critical to the fundamental infrastructure of the OS have been discovered and will require 110% of effort in order to result in an acceptable basic release?"

I've been trying to learn Spanish lately - my corpspeak is seeming pretty fluent.

Re:All features are vaporware until released IMO (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712417)

You want Netcraft to confirm it, don't you?

What series have hardware virtulization? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712297)

My main rig is a socket 939 Athlon x2 3800+ /w 4gb ram that I have no intention of upgrading any time soon.

I'm guessing I can't run this.

Re:What series have hardware virtulization? (1)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712331)

But MS Virtual PC uses software virtualisation.

Re:What series have hardware virtulization? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712459)

But this requires hardware virtualization. Didn't you RTFS?

Thumbs up! (5, Insightful)

Jonas Buyl (1425319) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712307)

It's an interesting decision. By implementing an easy-to-use VM for legacy software they're able to stick to their policies (maintain support for all legacy Win32 software) and on the other hand restructure their operating system with new knowledge. Each time I see news on Windows 7 I can't help but wondering if Microsoft has finally seen the light. There might be hope still!

Re:Thumbs up! (0, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712515)

I can't help but wondering if Microsoft has finally seen the light.

Linux Railroads: The light at the end of Microsoft's tunnel is an oncoming train. CHUGGA CHUGGA WOOOO WOOOOOO!

Re:Thumbs up! (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712875)

There are a LOT of highly customized software used by governments and businesses that run specifically under Windows XP. As such, offering the Windows XP "virtual machine" will allow these organizations to keep their legacy software as they transition to true Windows 7-compatible customized software.

XP comes home (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712315)

Yes finally XP reaches it safe haven, the VM.

Now we know what this Win7 is meant for.

Sign of luck of confidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712429)

This clearly shows that Microsoft is scared to death of the outcome of Windows 7 and throws in for businesses the "XP lifeboat" offering in case Win7 sinks like Tita.... I mean, Vista.

This and the fact that Microsoft keeps talking about Windows8 already may be a hint that Win7 is a reloaded service packed Vista.

Will it include P2V? (4, Interesting)

snsh (968808) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712437)

This would be great if Microsoft included a friendly P2V tool like platespin or vconverter. Then when people buy a new PC, it becomes short work to P2V their old XP system into a VM sitting inside their new system. A lot of people hate to upgrade for fear of losing their old files and settings.

This is a desperation measure aimed at IT guys (3, Interesting)

localroger (258128) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712483)

I know a few people who are really well connected in Fortune 500 IT circles, and they tell me to a man that *NOBODY* is planning to move to Vista or 7 (by which they mean *NOBODY* running a very large corporate IT enterprise). They tend to have corporate security models including stations locked down in various ways that work, deployment models that work, drive reimaging procedures that work, standard desktops and toolsets that work, and legacy code that works, much of which DOESN'T work in Vista or 7. This is the reason you can still get an XP box -- MS keeps raising the bar for it, but corporate just keeps paying the freight. So this is MS next move, to try to slide these guys into 7 by letting them virtualize their XP model.

The problem is that while this will solve some of the IT guys' problems (legacy apps, desktops, maybe security model) it will not solve what is probably the most important problem to some of them, deployment and drive reimaging. Also depending on how easy it is to break out of the emulation sandbox, they may not be happy with the security model either. When you are talking about pretty much rebuilding a network with 100,000 machines, paying an extra couple of hundred in blackmail per box for MS to let you keep using what you know works makes a lot more sense than jumping off into the void. MS may overcome some of the corporate reluctance with this ploy, particularly at smaller companies, but I don't think it's going to crack the egg they need to crack.

How about other virtualization software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712529)

Will the XP licence be tied to VirtualPC only? VirtualBox has similar integration features, will MS allow me to install XP on VirtualBox instead?

This means continued support for XP? (1)

Copperhamster (1031604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712559)

If this is being shipped with the 'current OS', that means security updates and patches for Windows XP will need to be continued throughout Windows 7's lifetime. Just because the underlying operating system is 'secure' does not mean the virtual OS does also not need to be patched. So this may be a good thing for current uses of XP as well, it depends on how Microsoft controls and implements that patching.

Interesting (1)

dan_barrett (259964) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712561)

I'm kind of surprised they're doing this, but if it works as advertised, I think it'll solve a lot of headaches for corporate installations.

eg, our work environment uses an interesting mix of VB6 apps, delphi, a couple of VB3 apps thrown in for good measure, plus very version-specific IBM middleware that fails to work properly on Vista (AIX terminal sessions via an IE6 activex control, mmm.)

Some of these components fail to run on IE7/Vista and our software vendor's not interested in supporting it on anything newer than XP.

Xp emulation in Windows 7 will solve our current problem getting new hardware that can run this system. I'm sure we're not the only company out there with crap like this going on.

So, on the one hand, our crappy mission-critical "enterprise" software can continue working - but on the other hand, there's no impetus for the vendor to upgrade it to work on a new version of windows.

We'll wait and see.

Processors with hardware virtualization (1)

Howitzer86 (964585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712575)

Find out if your processor supports it here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86_virtualization [wikipedia.org] Unless you're playing a highly demanding application, third party solutions should work just as well. Some options are free... this one from Microsoft isn't. Unless you have the right processor already and intended to get the Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Windows anyway, you'd be better served without it.

Like in that Dilbert cartoon... (1)

Casandro (751346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712621)

It's just like in that Dilbert cartoon where they find out the best marketing strategy for their new music-player is to sell it a bit cheaper than the iPod, bundle it with the iPod and provide free access to a landfill.

Well anyhow, it's Microsoft's only choice. They won't be able to sell their newer OSes because they are not compatible. The _only_ reason why people ever bought Microsoft's product was backwards compatibility.

Sounds familiar (0, Troll)

jspenguin1 (883588) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712671)

An operating system removing backwards compatibility cruft and running old applications under virtualization.

Where have I heard this before?

Oh, right, OS Classic emulation in MacOSX.

Once again, Microsoft is 8 years behind Apple.

Wow! that's original! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712727)

And that's the same I've been doing the last two years with Virtualbox running on my Ubuntu box.

Way to go, Microsoft. Way to go.

support (1)

merrickm (1192625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712933)

So does this mean Microsoft will have to support XP throughout 7's lifetime? Or after a few years will they just stick a dialog box on it saying "WARNING: This virtual machine has not had a security update in a couple years, use at your own risk."

Apple called from the year 2000 (4, Informative)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712969)

Apple called from the year 2000 and wants their legacy transition strategy back... but hey it did work, so I say go for it Microsoft.

BTW virtualization need not be in a window. When Apple provided OS 9 aka "Classic" support they didn't make the apps second class citizens in any way relevant to getting work done. Sure they were running in emulated mode and were not as fast as they could be but they had access to all peripherals, etc.

Modern virtualization allows for way better performance, full access to all hardware and as importantly can still be sandboxed.

They should hide all the virtualization aspects though and just let the apps open like they are regular apps with maybe a title bar note saying "(Windows XP) or something so there is a clue when an app gets updated to full native capabilities (the note will go away.

When Mac OS did this transition it was actually quite exciting (though also frustrating) as I would be on the look-out for the OSX native version of some software to come out.... then we got to do it again when the Intel binaries came out...

Anyways, if Microsoft does it right it will be transparent and will allow them to finally do away with the legacy support roadmap. This XP virtual mode will be there as long as it takes for companies to move their apps over to 64 bit Windows 7/8 whatever compatibility.

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