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Windows 7's Virtual XP Mode a Support Nightmare?

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the twice-as-many-windows-to-wash dept.

Windows 413

CWmike writes "Microsoft's decision to let Windows 7 users run Windows XP applications in a virtual machine may have been necessary to convince people to upgrade, but it could also create support nightmares, analysts said today. Gartner analyst Michael Silver outlines the downsides. 'You'll have to support two versions of Windows,' he said. 'Each needs to be secured, antivirused, firewalled and patched. If a company has 10,000 PCs, that's 20,000 instances of Windows.' The other big problem Silver foresees: 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.'"

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413 comments

Pardon me... (5, Insightful)

Franklin Brauner (1034220) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738627)

...but didn't Apple successfully pull this off twice?

Re:Pardon me... (5, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738797)

Mac OS is a niche market. In the Windows market, reality has a way of kicking you in the balls. Yes, this will be a support nightmare but we simply cannot write of the biggest heap of legacy software ever. That would be the true nightmare, no correct support for older apps. And by older I mean everything tailored for XP, either 1 or 7 years ago.

Re:Pardon me... (1, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739095)

In the Windows market, reality has a way of kicking you in the balls.

Somehow I think Microsoft's reality distortion field has always been a lot bigger (and more power hungry) than Apple's has.

Re:Pardon me... (5, Interesting)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739107)

In the Windows market, reality has a way of kicking you in the balls.

Actually, Windows has a way of kicking you in the balls. How would running XP in a virtual machine be any different from the usual windows experience?

I think this is the smartest move Microsoft has done in a long time. They need to relegate the backwards compatibility to a virtual machine, and make the next Windows OS much leaner and secure.

I agree with the GP that Apple had little problems with this and their market is of sufficient size to assume that Microsoft would fare just as well.

Drivers? (5, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739287)

How would running XP in a virtual machine be any different from the usual windows experience?

It depends on whether Windows 7 can pass-through USB devices and PCI cards to Windows XP. Otherwise, people will try and fail to use hardware with XP drivers on the virtual XP. (Windows 7 uses Vista drivers.)

Yes but ... (3, Insightful)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738895)

...but didn't Apple successfully pull this off twice?

... Apple doesn't have every IT criminal on the planet gunning for their OS. They are bloody lucky to be in that situation and should IMHO be less smug about Windows security problems in their advertising. On the other hand running the defense grid for one Windows instance was fatiguing enough to persuade me to abandon Windows and become a Linux user and then an Apple customer. I still have to put in work to secure my machine but it is a lot less work than if I was using Windows. If this really means MS is doubling the security workload on each Windows box then.... hell.... I don't even want to think about it.

Re:Yes but ... (4, Interesting)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739555)

I almost feel bad for Microsoft because of the number of people attacking their code. Almost.

As I was perusing the various security boards and newsletters I frequent, I started thinking of how amazingly large the array of people making their livings off of Windows' security deficiencies. It's huge.

There are a multitude of websites that might as well be devoted to Windows security issues. There are the people who constantly write AV signatures. People who collect malware in honeypots and distribute it to security researchers. People who have to write and test patches - both at Microsoft and at other software publishers. People who lecture on Windows security. People who do forensics on compromised machines. People who try to contain the damage when an organization's computers are compromised. People who have to notify the people who are affected by the compromises. People who have to untangle and try to block unauthorized bank charges and identity theft. Etc.

It's like the bump on the log at the bottom of the sea song. The chain just goes and goes and goes. At least it is employing people but you have to wonder what the total global expenditures are in dealing with the consequences of security issues in Microsoft Windows.

This isn't meant to be a troll. It's a legitimate concern and I wonder when people will finally say "enough".

Re:Pardon me... (2, Informative)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738903)

Not quite. To my knowledge, Mac OS 9 and earlier apps could run in OS X by means of the "Classic" abstraction layer; in other words, OS X was emulating earlier APIs. Likewise, when Apple made the switch to x86 procs, they used a binary-translation layer called "Rosetta", that translated PowerPC instructions to x86 instructions.

XP Mode is very different from either of those. Quite simply, XP Mode is an extension of Virtual PC that allows an application to appear like it's running directly from the host OS, when in fact it is running under a guest OS. Because of this, you have a new, virtual system that needs to be secured, just like any other system.

Re:Pardon me... (3, Interesting)

iamnothere900 (1098065) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739059)

Classic is/was not an abstraction layer. When you start classic, you can open a window where you watch Mac OS 9 boot, just like Virtual PC. After it finishes loading, the window disappears and Classic apps are displayed on the desktop, same as any other. An old enough Macintosh can boot from the System Folder used for Classic.

You may be thinking of the Carbon API, which was available under 9 and X. There is no translation involved; Carbon applications are native in both 9 and X.

Rosetta is a binary translation layer, like you said. Apple did the same thing when moving from Motorola 68k CPUs to PowerPC.

Re:Pardon me... (1)

Karrots (14012) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739101)

They even had FAT(universal) binaries when moving from 68k to PowerPC.

I thought it wasn't a binary translation layer so much as a 68k layer in the PowerPC chip. But I don't have anything to backup my claim.

Re:Pardon me... (5, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739515)

No, it was an actual 68LC040 emulator in software.

In fact, large chunks of the System were still written in 68040 code for a long time. So new releases of the OS would actually run faster and faster as that code was replaced with native versions.

Re:Pardon me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27738959)

Depends on how you count: 68k to ppc, os9 to osx, ppc to x86.

Re:Pardon me... (4, Insightful)

slk (2510) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739053)

Apple had a very different set of problems, but has actually pulled something similar off three times.

68k to PowerPC: Lots of apps didn't work, though it was really hard to tell what System 7 broke versus what 68k to PowerPC broke.

OS9 to OS10: utter nightmare. Classic works great as long as you're on a single-user system running as admin with well behaved applications. You run into everything from apps that expect to busy-wait to the fact that OS9 has absolutely no idea what's going on with concepts like file permissions. Ridiculous support nightmare on anything with non-admin users, multiple users, etc.

OS10 PowerPC to OS10 Intel: 99% of stuff just works. Very clean, very well done. The handful of apps that broke were generally easily fixed, or were broken by design (i.e. anything made by Adobe)

XP on Win7 is more like the whole OS9 to OS10 transition, and like that transition, your best bet is to ignore the existence of XPM (just like your best bet was to ignore the existence of Classic)

Re:Pardon me... (3, Informative)

crath (80215) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739601)

Exactly! Why is this an insanely great idea when Apple does it, and nothing but trouble when Microsoft does it.

For me, a Windows Power User, this is the best news I've had from MS in many, many years. Corporate IT shops will simply disable this "feature" if they don't want to support it; the rest of us will get the benefit anyway.

kdawson (5, Insightful)

rgo (986711) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738633)

stop posting troll articles!! :@

Re:kdawson (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27738689)

Agree.

Re:kdawson (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27738829)

If i had mod points, i'd mod you underrated, because kdawson's articles are all troll articles. (I'd like to see +5 redundant for this article)

Leave kdwason ALOEN,just leave k ALONE (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27739121)

Just leeeave kdawson alooone. Leave k aloneeee!!!!!!!!!

OK with Virtual Support (1)

PeterFnet (1234626) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738635)

Not really feeling that. It's a great way to put deprecate old support. Similar to how my visual studio compilers work. Each version will give a specific warning about deprecating certain calls. The next version will kill that call off completely.

I plan on using the XP Virtual mode rarely. I'll probably only end up using it when the software hasn't been updated, yet. Probably not as a permanent solution for anything.

Re:OK with Virtual Support (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739153)

I have a feeling (and I hope) that this will get used about as often as "Compatibility Mode" is now. From the end-user's perspective, it's a last-resort tool they can try if they're attempting to run an old, unmaintained app. From the programmer's perspective, they'd better update their software, or else they can expect tons of support calls to which the answer will be instructions on how to enable XP Mode on their app.

Re:OK with Virtual Support (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739575)

What is really sad is that they need anything more than compatibility mode. On XP, I can run most Win 16 apps just fine. I can run many Windows 95/98 apps just fine. Same with NT4 apps. Windows 2000 apps? No sweat. And that is generally without requiring manually enabling compatibility mode. That Windows 7 has such problems with XP apps that Microsoft thinks some users will want to run them in a virtual machine says a lot to me.

Re:OK with Virtual Support (0)

boombaard (1001577) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739719)

And what's that exactly? That Vista/Win7 represents "progress"?
That those apps have been badly designed?
That they want to dump legacy support, because it is forcing them to build an insecure OS?
Or rather, as kdawson would want you to believe, that MS is to blame for Global Warming?
Virtualization is so much better as a "compatibility solution" than "compatibility mode" that I'm almost shocked they've thought of it.
I'd already imagined how I could run WinXP in VMWare in the future to play old games on (since my current HW will support that easily, and it seems much better than dual-boot, but this would be even better: A transparant VM.
All Hail MS.

A big mess (3, Insightful)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738649)

On one side, you have the convenience of having an OS thats tested, your apps work on it, everything is good. On the other, you're perpetuating an old system, and keeping people from moving forward. Support nightmare isn't the half of it, you're going to have a very mixed level of application compatibility as well. In fact, the better option might have been a better more robust compatibility function to better support older apps. Because while it's all well and good to say that companies need to upgrade their products, how about the apps that are no longer supported, but switching away from them is no option. In many larger companies it can take years to migrate to another system, even upgrading may not be an option.

This is M$ we are talking about. (2, Interesting)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738733)

When has M$ ever released an OS that wasn't a support nightmare?

Needs fixing (2, Funny)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738917)

When has [anyone] ever released an OS that wasn't a support nightmare [when it's actually put in the hands of users]?

All better now?

Re:This is M$ we are talking about. (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739035)

Or any OS for that matter. For even the best built OS there's a better built idiot waiting to use it.

Re:This is M$ we are talking about. (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739537)

Yeah, it's the downside of writing really good FAQs. They filter out anyone (a) with simple problems (b) smart enough to read. So you only get calls from idiots who couldn't take in information anyway. Great.

Re:This is M$ we are talking about. (2, Interesting)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739687)

But you're going to have to deal with those people anyway. You might as well get the people who can help themselves out of the way so you have more time to explain what the "Any Key" is.

Re:A big mess (5, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738901)

I think overall, this is a better way of moving forward. Windows has been essentially crippled from several different perspectives for years because of their need to support backward-compatibility, even with broken interfaces or insecure models. Letting a significant portion of that flow into VMs of older operating systems for those customers who absolutely, positively can not get off their old apps is a good compromise. It allows them to start with a cleaner slate for the majority who has no such requirements.

Won't this largely depend on how well it works? (5, Interesting)

DoninIN (115418) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738665)

The better it works the easier it will be to support. Also why does the XP instance have to have its own antivirus and firewall? I don't understand why the windows 7 (Magnificent 7? Windows Magnifica!) firewall and antivirus won't be sufficient for the virtual XP machine inside.

Re:Won't this largely depend on how well it works? (1)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738729)

Will you need a firewall or AV for a virtual machine that is fairly isolated from the outside world, doesn't browse the internet, and don't open email?

Re:Won't this largely depend on how well it works? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27738745)

Good stuff. How pissed would people be if their XP stuff didn't work at all on Windows 7? And if it worked natively, it would probably bulk up the OS. A trend these days seems to be a generall slimming of the OS.

Re:Won't this largely depend on how well it works? (5, Insightful)

Mr.Z of the LotFC (880939) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738839)

The need for a separate antivirus makes sense because the virtual machine is running a different operating environment with susceptibility to different viruses. A separate firewall does indeed seem superfluous.

Re:Won't this largely depend on how well it works? (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739143)

I see no reason for a second AV program, providing the VM's virtual drive is readable by the host operating system. If any kind of nasty program gets installed, it's going to have hit the file system at some point, and if the host's AV can plug in to that file system, it can suspend or terminate the VM.

Re:Won't this largely depend on how well it works? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27739309)

mod up

Re:Won't this largely depend on how well it works? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27739363)

If any kind of nasty program gets installed, it's going to have hit the file system at some point

Yikes, please never become an IT person.
"Installed", yes to get installed it would have to write to the HD.
But to "do tons of damage" doesn't require the virus to write itself to disk.
It can still do "rmdir /q /s \" without any code-on-disk.

The slammer (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739419)

If any kind of nasty program gets installed, it's going to have hit the file system at some point

SQL Slammer didn't hit the file system.

Re:Won't this largely depend on how well it works? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738899)

Yeah, I call bullshit on this. Just crap tabloid journalism using sensationalism to attract readers.

I imagine that if MSFT do this that it will be properly integrated and fairly transparent to the end-user, just as WoW is in previous versions of Windows. Any patching and security issues will be included as Windows 7 patches.

WinXP?! (1)

ihatewinXP (638000) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739315)

I am sure this is going to be a total disaster!

But then again I will spread any FUD to keep my /. username relevant another 7 years. And if it keeps my consultant prices up in the meanwhile so be it.

Re:Won't this largely depend on how well it works? (1)

mokeyboy (585139) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739365)

This may depend on if you run the VM in NAT or Bridged network mode. The firewall to the Windows 7 machine and the communications to the XP machine could be different. The software installed may expect different firewall behavior (TCP keepalive etc) or use different ranges (eg random UDP port exclusions) for some connection types. At least that seems to happen now using other VM technologies (VMWare, Xen etc). How would licensing work for AV (and other applications)? Surely you'd need a copy per client (host + VM)?

Actually, it might work pretty well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27738691)

A virtual XP machine has far simpler drivers and hardware interaction, and is easy to re-image and restore compared to the real operating system. You can also run an external virus checker, firewall and root kit detector on the real operating system.

It MS don't screw this up it could be pretty useful.

On the contrary... (5, Interesting)

casings (257363) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738695)

This could be very good for support people. Since Microsoft would have to keep supplying patches to XP, there will be no reason to even think about installing Windows 7. Thus allowing support people to the confidence of continued patches.

Re:On the contrary... (5, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739331)

> Since Microsoft would have to keep supplying patches to XP, there will be no reason
> to even think about installing Windows 7.

It gets even better. If they ship an XP compatibility layer in 7 it tells everyone that XP apps will be a supported option for the lifetime of Windows 7. And if XP is kept alive in this way, ya you are probably right that patches for XP itself will probably be continued for quite some time, especially since they are going to be selling newly licensed copies at least as late as this Xmas.

However it is the follow on effects of a promise that XP will be a viable platform to run applications in for at least the next 5-7 years. It makes XP the safe choice of API to write new code to. An XP compatible application will run on XP, Windows 7 and via CodeWeavers increasingly effective efforts (as the XP target has remainied basically stable for years) it means an XP application can run at native speed on Mac and Linux. And it doesn't take that much effort to write XP apps that will run on 7 anyway without needing the emulation layer so 7 compatible XP code is going to be a more universal binary than Java ever achieved in the real world.

If Microsoft isn't careful with this XP on 7 plan they could Warp themselves.

How about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27738701)

Run an antivirus that is capable of protecting a sandboxed and isolated XP virtual machine.

What about this? If you put a virgin windows XP (release version) on a perfectly secure and protected network, don't use it for email or web browsing or opening office documents, how many viruses can you expect to catch (no email viruses, no drive by malware, no worms spreading because of a secured network)? Lets give microsoft the benefit of the doubt that they can implement what me, an unemployed computer engineer can think of in 10 minutes of reading an article's summary. (Assuming they properly isolate the XP box from the network via cutting it off form the network stack unless outgoing connections or services request out)

So what, if true (5, Insightful)

Radhruin (875377) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738709)

This is exactly what we want them to do. Virtualize the deprecated, old stuff, and get it out of the main operating system. Move on from the cruft of yore and build in some sweet new fundamentals that break backwards compatibility. We've been crying for them to do this for forever, so let's encourage it. It might add a bit of a support burden, but if it gives us a better product overall, what's the big deal?

Re:So what, if true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27738811)

It is Microsoft.

This is Slashdot.

Editor listed above is kdawson.

I think I know what the big deal is.

Every time Microsoft does something, positive or negative, a hundred pundits fall over themselves to attack microsoft and claim that it is the beginning of the end.

Re:So what, if true (4, Insightful)

Chang (2714) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738925)

The thing is - Windows Vista and Windows 7 aren't really a fundamental departure from the past. For example, I applaud Microsoft for finally getting on board the IPv6 train with Vista and Win2K8 but what happened to rewriting system services and the Windows shell in managed code (.NET)? That would be a fundamental change that would justify a compat VM container. Microsoft is really giving customers the worst of both worlds. Making only incremental improvements to their mainline OS's while creating a backwards compatible VM which is simply more cruft to throw on top of an ever expanding pile of backwards compatible cruft.

Re:So what, if true (3, Interesting)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739057)

Microsoft is really giving customers the worst of both worlds. Making only incremental improvements to their mainline OS's while creating a backwards compatible VM which is simply more cruft to throw on top of an ever expanding pile of backwards compatible cruft.

Better to float the "VM as compatibility" boat in the wild before relying on it?

I'm making crap up -- it's probably more MS missightedness -- but it would be a half decent reason. There's all sorts of stuff that can go wrong in the wild that would be next to impossible to foresee, so by limiting the places where it doesn't work to only programs that don't run on Win7 natively they limit the potential damage a little bit. (Of course, problems that surface are more likely to be on critical apps.)

Re:So what, if true (0)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739399)

You do understand that .Net is a library on top of the Win32 API, don't you? There is nothing new about .Net, it is a more complicated MFC with a couple of new languages thrown in on top of it.

Yes, VB.Net is a world of difference from VB 6 and a great improvement. C# isn't a replacement for C++ though, and .Net isn't a "new API", it is a wrapper on top of the real API, Win32.

Eee PC happened (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739513)

what happened to rewriting system services and the Windows shell in managed code (.NET)?

For one thing, low-cost subnotebook PCs happened. Managed code tends to have a larger working set than native code, which needs more RAM (more $$$):

  1. You need to have both the MSIL bytecode and the x86 bytecode loaded.
  2. Data structures aren't as tightly packed because they have overhead to make sure they're verifiably type-safe.
  3. Garbage collecting VMs that use pure tracing without reference counting tend not to return the memory used for unreachable objects to the operating system very quickly.

Eh, Where is the problem? (1)

fltsimbuff (606866) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738727)

I honestly don't see anything wrong with this. The people supporting the PCs still have control of the software running on them. If you don't want to have to support XP, then you just use all software that is Windows 7 compatible. If something you absolutely need isn't compatible, then you still have to run XP one way or another.

This simply provides more options to admins, and there's nothing bad about that.

Re:Eh, Where is the problem? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739109)

The real benefit at the end of the day is allowing Microsoft to begin stripping out all the legacy crap from the Windows kernel. By making a legacy VM, they could conceivably do radical changes to the kernel, while allowing older apps an avenue of running. There's no reason that they couldn't toss out the current API entirely.

As opposed to what? (3, Insightful)

gparent (1242548) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738731)

As opposed to what, supporting an install of XP and an install of Windows 7? Or Windows XP in a VM and Windows 7?

Just think about it.

Inflated numbers? (-1, Redundant)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738737)

'You'll have to support two versions of Windows,' he said. 'Each needs to be secured, antivirused, firewalled and patched. If a company has 10,000 PCs, that's 20,000 instances of Windows.

Why does every user need two operating systems? That seems awfully wasteful.

Re:Inflated numbers? (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739541)

Why does every user need two operating systems? That seems awfully wasteful.

Because a non-free application that's no longer supported by its original publisher needs Windows XP, but the only OS of which Microsoft is selling new copies is Windows 7.

Pfft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27738757)

I've been running XP in a VM since I moved to Edgy Eft some years ago. Nothing to see here...

Since when does anyone take Gartner seriously? (5, Funny)

jerryasher (151512) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738761)

Fear and doubt...doubt and fear.... Our two weapons are fear and doubt...and ruthless uncertainty.

Re:Since when does anyone take Gartner seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27738823)

I'm a CIO you insensitive clod!

MacOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27738799)

Wow.. Sounds eerily similar to what happened when Mac moved from the 680x0 to PowerPC..

If they can somehow sandbox the XP instance it might work, but yeah, could introduce a nightmare of support issues.

Fascinating (1)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738819)

These are the same analysts whose opinion is dismissed when the say anything positive about Microsoft, but when they say something worth spinning negatively, it makes the Slashdot front page.

Re:Fascinating (1)

maugle (1369813) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738889)

From the posts I've read, their opinion is still being dismissed. After all, this has been pretty much what we've been saying Microsoft should do.

Umm... (1)

xx01dk (191137) | more than 4 years ago | (#27738891)

I thought one of the key advantages of running a virtual OS was so that you could completely bork it without harming your host OS... Plus, once all the OEMs start slapping "Made for Win7" on their retails, it's not like they're going to be writing drivers for their stuff to work in WinXP. Put another way, anything out there that is designed to work under WinXP today should work just fine under an emulated WinXP tomorrow, right? Otherwise, what's the point?

Re:Umm... (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739021)

I don't really see the issue here. If the virtual OS is running off of a directory tree in the host OS's file system, then any virus checking can be done via that route. If the host OS detects a virus, spyware, rootkit or whatever being installed (this is going to have to hit the disk at some point), then deal with it via the host OS.

Some of us have been asking MS to do this for a couple of years or longer, and with pretty much every modern x86 CPU now supporting virtualization, the time seems right. I'm no pro-MS advocate (quite the opposite, as my posting history shows, I loathe Redmond), but to my mind, sandboxing via virtualization is the very best way to deal with legacy apps, and with all the potential security holes they may have.

As others have mentioned, with a virtualized XP instance, MS has total control of the virtualized hardware, so a whole avenue of support issues large disappears.

Re:Umm... (3, Interesting)

DaHat (247651) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739469)

Neither VPC, Virtual Server or Hyper-V support "running off of a directory tree in the host OS's file system"... instead the virtual hard drive(s) are packaged into nice and portable VHD files... and I'd be very surprised if VirtualBox, VMWare or any other VM software did.

External scanning would require the AV system to know how to crack a VHD (which isn't difficult at all)... though doing so when the VM is online might be tricky.

IT depts that don't need it ain't going to use it! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27738905)

I'm 100% sure that a competent IT dept that has no use for this feature will, unsurprisingly, NOT USE IT, saving themselves all the support hassles entirely.

And for those that DO need this feature, they know there's basically no other way and it's worth the extra support hassle because they know they will have people saying Application XYZ MUST work I don't care how.

I suspect this means that the old applications that have to work and only currently work on XP can now be moved forward and the IT dept can get everyone onto Windows 7. Once there, the devs of these applications will have Windows 7 rather than XP to test against/run with and they'll have an incentive to update their programs to just work on Windows 7 because, like Classic on Mac OS X, this mode will have just enough 'impedience' that programs will be updated to work on Windows 7 native; but they will work okay in the meantime.

That's the thing - this isn't seamless. It's going to be a little tricky to set up applications to run in the XP box rather than natively on Windows 7, even if launching them is easy.

The trick is "Just enough impedience to get people to update to 7 native while providing a path."

"If a company has 10,000 PCs, that's 20,000" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27738919)

If a company has 10,000 PCs, that's 20,000 instances of Windows.

... Or 10,000 instances of Linux? Hell, maybe even 100 if you decide to run thin clients...

Re:"If a company has 10,000 PCs, that's 20,000" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27739481)

They want to do actual work, not fuck around recompiling kernels all day.

It's all VB6 fault (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27738937)

You guys are missing the point, do you know how much "corporate legacy software" is written using VB6 - which will not run on Vista? That is the single reason for XPM in Win7 - and it is the single reason why many corps do not want to update to Vista, they have to re-write all of their apps.

It's the "cobol" problem.

Do you REALLY know how long it takes to do stuff? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27739033)

Serious.
"Okay everyone, time to jump on the Windows 7 bandwagon."
Devs say "Okay great, we'll build everything for IE8 and Win7."
5 years later "Okay, everything's running on Win7 and IE8 now!"
"Great! Now everyone needs to jump on the Windows 8 bandwagon! And what loser still uses IE8? LOL you dorkz!"
etc
etc
etc
Serious. At a big institution you'll have literally dozens of 3rd-party app vendors who all have to do this continual upgrade path.
I'm getting tired of it.

Fucking Retarded Shit on Slashdot (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739077)

Gartner?
Analyst?

The option to download a free XP license and VM with linked desktops is a BAD thing? Really?

FUCK.

Re:Fucking Retarded Shit on Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27739507)

It's Microsoft and this is Slashdot; everything they do is a bad thing. You must be new here.

If you're going to break compat (1)

ethana2 (1389887) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739135)

go POSIX with MacOS X and Ubuntu. Switch to Qt, Cocoa, or GTK, then build your app against winelibs, and then factor winelibs out and take more advantage of the native features of KDE, Aqua, and GNOME. Either that or we _will_ replace your application with a Free alternative that, sooner or later, will make its way back onto the Windows platform to bite you, really hard, in the butt.

Find me Free alternatives to these (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739595)

Either that or we _will_ replace your application with a Free alternative

Some categories of application tend not to have a comparable Free alternative:

  • Major label video games: Where's the Free alternative to Smash Bros., Spore, or any EA Sports title? And why does Mario Kart DS still kick the behind of TuxKart?
  • Vertical market software: Where's the Free alternative to Stone Edge Order Manager [stoneedge.com]?

Re:Find me Free alternatives to these (1)

ethana2 (1389887) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739625)

They may not exist yet. I'm saying that Windows developers should reduce the risk of competition by having multiplatform applications.

How about all software solutions... (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739173)

done by companies that went bust and do not have any new versions for w7 nor will ever have?

Finally Microsoft's way of doing business is backfiring at them "big time" albeit by proxy.

With current climate (since 2003 or so) there is no chance this will change for the better.

The sooner Windows solutions are dumped for something that does not depend on any one particular company or companies the better.

Question-OTD: How does it feel having your data taken hostage by the programs/hardware you rely upon?

Re:How about all software solutions... (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739433)

Same as always, this isn't new and has been solved many times before. You guys act like Microsoft was the only company to ever kill off a popular OS and move to one that no one really liked. Migrating to a new OS causes a short amount of temporary pain and then you move on.

Microsoft, please read and listen! (1, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739183)

This comes from someone who does large enterprise (15,000 - 75,000) infrastructure support at the architect level - so perhaps someone from Microsoft will read this. The problem that Microsoft has here is a failure to understand the needs of their enterprise customers. The inclusion of this feature shows that Microsoft has not really listened to their enterprise class customers. In principal this sounds like a really neat idea, now let me explain why this is dead on arrival.
  1. This introduces two platforms to perform patch management on instead of one. At the enterprise level this is a /really/ big deal.
  2. This introduces two platforms to perform software compatibility / certification testing on. Now instead of testing Acrobat on XP, one must also test it on Windows 7.
  3. This introduces two platforms to perform hardware compatibility testing on. The testing of drivers has just increased significantly.
  4. My support costs for helpdesk and desktop support have just increased as I have now introduced something new to non-technical staff that will require training.
  5. All of the above effectvely dictate a large increase in staff and lab resources to do testing. Since most testing is done under VMWare this also dictates new investment of equipment, time and training resources on Microsoft's virtualization platform. It also means I can't just use the same ESX server to do the testing that was already in place.
  6. This greatly complicates large scale image deployment. You need to test your hardware image for both Windows 7 and the XP image. Will that XP only scanner work when Windows 7 wont properly recognize it?
  7. License costs - If I'm running two operating systems, I still have to pay licensing costs for the XP session on top of the Windows 7 host. This could easily double the cost of applications like Antivirus software.
  8. The real problem though is the poison pill. They have greatly reduced CPU support to only a select few CPU's. If I'm supporting 20 to 60 hardware platforms, this becomes a /really/ big deal as I now have to cost justify Windows 7 and replacing hardware that otherwise would otherwise not need replaced in order to have a consistent image across the enterprise. Unless I'm performing an entirely new roll out and replacement I can't cost justify that expenditure. And if I don't replace the hardware to have a consistent image I will have two radically different platforms to support over a three to four year hardware lifecycle which greatly increases support costs.

The bottom line is that I can't do a seamless implementation into the environment, the amount of overhead for the extra testing, training, hardware, certification means that it simply cant cost justify. Microsoft needs to remember that their two biggest competitors are XP and Linux. Any CIO worth his salt is going to ask one very simple question when presented with these costs. "Why aren't we sticking with Windows XP to begin with?".

I'm not opposed to things like VMWare, I have set up labs professionally for clients as a consultant and personally have paid for the workstation application and run it at home. I think it's great for IT needs, but the above issues should help explain why this feature is not the answer that Microsoft thinks it is. On a personal level I like this feature, and will almost certainly run it at home, so I speak professionally, not personally.

Re:Microsoft, please read and listen! (0, Redundant)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739683)

You seem to have no idea what you're talking about. Still, I'll save a point-by-point reply for when it's not 2:40 in the morning, so here's a qucik solution to all your problems: this feature is entirely optional. If you feel this feature is not useful for your large enterprise for whatever made up reaons, simply don't install, enable, or use it.

Let me fix that for you: (5, Interesting)

pseudonomous (1389971) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739205)

From TFA:

"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.

Corrected:

"Windows XP Mode is specifically designed to help us move copies of Windows 7 proffessional and ultimate, as opposed to the cheaper home addition,"S cott Woodgate, director of Windows enterprise and virtualization strategy, meant in a blog entry last Friday.

why upgrade in the first place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27739215)

xp pro can do wathever job win7 can in an enterprise.

a better approach (1)

bugi (8479) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739329)

Instead of copping out with a VM, MS should instead use Wine to run legacy apps.

That would be a win for everybody.

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid... (4, Insightful)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739347)

How stupid are these people?

Windows alreadys supports multiple OSes, from the Win16 and DOS subsystems to the BSD/UNIX subsystem, and also the Win32 and Win64 subsystem.

Which all have their own kernels, and run in NT OS subsystems.

So adding in a VM'd version of XP is going to add to 'support'? How?

The updates still come from MS Update, it isn't like the in house people are writing the patches themselves.

If anything this creates more work for MS, not a freaking IT department.

I'm not sure where to even begin with how stupid this sounds...

More tech support? Really?

If an IT department isn't using group policies and the business centralization and integration technologies of Windows, they shouldn't be using Windows and instead move to something that has almost no central control or mangement like Linux or OS X.

The hallmark of why business CONTINUES to choose Windows deployments is the ease and control that MS continues to give IT administrators, along with their centralized server management concepts that really do make anything else out there look foolish.

A well deployed Windows server/client environment is peanuts to administer, even when the IT people shove Firefox on users and have to run around and do 'manual' updates because Firefox is 'retarded' about allowing remote or admin level updates without giving your users administrator rights.

The second part of this is not understanding the virtualization technology being used. They assume it is like a 'free window' VMWare mode.

It isn't, it somewhere better a VM and a Subsystem on the NT architecture, which is one thing that makes HyperV as powerful as it is.

Truly people forget that NT is a user mode OS-less architecture, and that everything anyone sees is a 'virtual' subsystem, even Win32 has its own kernel and doesn't really know that NT is running under it.

Ok, I'll let people go grab the facts on this crap themselves, and give Win7 a week or two i people's hands that actually 'do' know what they are talking about...

PS The XP Virtualization is mainly for corporate clients, as 99.9% of all software works on Vista and Win7.

It is only the in house written or 'corporate' written software crap that has no concept of NT security that has problems with Vista or possibly Win7 that enforces the 20yr old NT security model that the software developers should have written for in the first freaking place.

Wow... (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739369)

It didn't seem to be that much of a nightmare for Apple when they still had classic mode under OS X. Maybe they could talk to the Apple folks and ask... Oh yeah, never mind!

Smart move? (3, Informative)

Spit (23158) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739425)

If you're going to run virtualized, why bother using Windows 7 as the host OS? Ubuntu can virtualize XP with Virtualbox-OSE, one install away. You only need a license and any system currently running XP can be upgraded to Ubuntu with XP virtualized.

Interesting times...

Re:Smart move? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27739629)

You only need a license...

That's the catch. You can't get those anymore, except by buying Windows 7. ;)

Group Policy may make this easier to support.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27739431)

I would be surprised if this feature isn't controllable via group policy.

There's a few different things I can think of off the top of my head that they could do with this and GPO's that could make it much easier to support.

- Disable the feature and only use Win 7 (duh)

- Enable only the XP VM. Then you have 1 "OS" running that you have to support + you could have instant snapshot/rollback ability, etc.

I'm sure they could come up with several other things that GPO may improve upon this experience for. I just find it funny how people hear about a new feature and assume it's going to destroy the planet.

XP is the best version of Windows... (-1, Troll)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739475)

...better than all versions that came before it and after it.

Surely it makes more sense to have Windows 7 running inside a virtual machine on XP.

Seriously: If Microsoft had a brain they'd give up trying to force people to upgrade to versions of Windows that nobody wants. It's an OS for crying out loud. The important thing is the Applications it runs. Trying to hoosegowl (sp?) users into changing from a product you're already selling them they like to another they don't because some idiot trying to justify his job came up convinced other suits with a nice powerpoint is sheer stupidity.

crash and burn (5, Interesting)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739571)

This is sad, just another example of how the wheels are coming off the cart while careening down another blind alley. I was at a trade show last month, and the visit to the Microsoft booth was surreal. The first kiosk was for Windows 7 and a smiling young man touting the virtues of this beta software. When I mentioned that I was having trouble running Vista on a 3.2GHz P4 with 4GB RAM, a 512MB ATI video card with DX10.1, and a terabyte HDD, he scoffed and said that nobody at Microsoft was running Vista, not even the developers. He gave me a DVD of beta 7 and told me that even as a beta, Windows 7 was "so much better than Vista." I accepted his disc (which expires on August 1), and went to the Windows Mobile (WM).

This kiosk had a good looking young man who was part of the product management group for WM 6.5 and very knowledgeable about the product. When I told him that I was a WM developer, he listened attentively as I explained my frustration in trying to program the WM6 smartphone camera to work. His smile faded as he explained that Microsoft had failed to thoroughly test the OEMs for WM5, WM6 and WM6.1. As a result, the DirectShow APIs for many phones were not fully/correctly implemented. He showed me a web page - http://studierstube.icg.tu-graz.ac.at/handheld_ar/camera_phones.php [tu-graz.ac.at] - that explained the problem phones. Then I asked, "will this be fixed in the coming 6.5 release?" He shook his head and replied, "no, not until WM7." I thanked him for his candor and moved onto Live Search.

At Live Search, a bright young man was touting the performance of their latest version and let me test it against Google, where it seemed to respond comparably. He talked about how his group was trying to get other parts of Microsoft to use their Live Search instead of their own, "an uphill battle." At that moment, another person walked up and asked a question, prompting him to pull out his iPhone. I reached out with my WM phone and joked, "wouldn't it be more politically correct to show this?" He responded, "oh, no. Most of my friends at work have iPhones. It's OK."

The problems documented by Daniel Wagner's web page (above) and unmentioned on microsoft.com or msdn.com cost us three months of development time. I should have suspected; mea culpa. Our application now runs on iPhone, and we are not looking back.

BTW, the Microsoft coffee table looks like a giant iPhone.

Dual OS like Dual Core? (5, Funny)

dlevitan (132062) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739603)

So when Intel and AMD couldn't increase the speed of their processors any more, they decided to introduce dual core chips. Does this mean that Microsoft has decided they couldn't slow down computers any more with Windows 7 and is now planning on shipping a dual OS system to ensure slow performance?

xp support? (1)

wgoodman (1109297) | more than 4 years ago | (#27739617)

I think this is a great idea on Microsoft's part.. They get everyone to pay for a copy of windows 7, just so they can still run their XP programs. The wonderful thing is that Microsoft doesn't have to worry about patching the XP VM at all since they no longer support it. It's up to the users to deal with issues that arise.
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