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MS, Intel "Goofed Up" Win 7 XP Virtualization

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the one-man's-goof dept.

Windows 315

clang_jangle writes "Ars Technica has a short article up describing how Microsoft and Intel have 'goofed up' Windows 7's XP Mode by ensuring many PCs will not be able to use it. (And it won't be easy to figure out in advance if your PC is one of them.) Meanwhile, over at Infoworld, Redmond is criticized for having the 'right idea, wrong technology' with their latest compatibility scheme, and PC World says 'great idea, on paper.' With Windows 7 due to be released in 2010, and Redmond apparently eager to move on from XP, perhaps this is not really a 'goof' at all?"

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315 comments

2010? (2, Insightful)

swaq (989895) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878067)

I thought it was leaked that it would be released this year?

Re:2010? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27878135)

Based on the 3 year rule, most people say 2010.

All the postings from Microsoft developers, combined with their probably-intentional leaks are hinting strongly at a late-fall release.

Re:2010? (3, Interesting)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878911)

No, most people don't say the "three year rule". Where have you been?

Microsoft's suffering revenue shortfalls because Vista was a bad idea. You'll see the tip in September, real McCoy in October. That's not 'late fall'.

Re:2010? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27878137)

Doubtful, is it not still RC1? then you have to add in several months for RC2, RC3, and gold by going how their prior OS's were released.

Re:2010? (1)

homesnatch (1089609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878227)

Microsoft announced that there will only be one public RC for Windows 7.

Re:2010? (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878251)

Doubtful, is it not still RC1? then you have to add in several months for RC2, RC3, and gold by going how their prior OS's were released.

Actually, it has been stated that there will not be any further RCs. It seems to me that the public pre-releases are more for media hype and maybe software developers to fix their own programs than development of the actual OS. The beta helped fix bugs, but the RC is pretty much the done deal.

Hardware Virtualization needed. (5, Insightful)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878113)

AMD has placed this support in almost all of their recent chips, but Intel has been more stingy with it.

It's necessary to use 64-bit guests in Virtualbox, but VMWare can make due without it.

Re:Hardware Virtualization needed. (5, Interesting)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878209)

It surprised the heck out of me when I found I could run 64-bit guests on a (32-bit host OS, 64-bit hardware) with hardware virtualization, at least on my AMD.

Re:Hardware Virtualization needed. (5, Interesting)

pegr (46683) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878233)

Apple did this, not once but twice. Why is Redmond so afraid of trading out the basic underpinnings? I guess they married the concept of permenant backwards compatibility when they used that very stick to beat OS/2 into the ground.

Is Rosetta Stone a good technology? No, but it got users over the hump. (It was, however, a great hack...)
How about Fat Binaries? Good lord, Win binaries are fat enough already!

There's no good solution, so Redmond has to go with "good enough" to get users over to "the other side". Hey Bill! Maybe they don't want to go...

Re:Hardware Virtualization needed. (2, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878473)

This is actually very similar to what Apple did...They kept OS 9 support on all systems that had the old power PC processors. Once you bought intel, however, no more OS 9, no matter what version of OS X you were using.

Like anything else, users will have to decide for themselves if there is anything that is good enough to make them upgrade.

Re:Hardware Virtualization needed. (5, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878511)

Apple did this, not once but twice. Why is Redmond so afraid of trading out the basic underpinnings?

And what's Apple's market share? What's Microsoft's?

You say it yourself: "they used that very stick to beat OS/2 into the ground."

I would say that the single biggest reason that Windows is as prevalent as it is today is that to a very large extent, MS has maintained backwards compatibility at almost any cost. I can only think of a couple exceptions: transitions to the NT line stopped some old DOS programs that access sound cards and stuff directly from working, XP SP2 made a few similar strides (I don't know details), Vista makes a couple more, and x64-based Windows drops support for 16-bit programs (but this is largely the fault of AMD/Intel rather than MS, who would have had to work around processor limitations since 16-bit instructions aren't available in 64-bit mode).

But even with Vista 32-bit, my experience is that each of the three or four DOS programs from the mid-80s still ran. There are few systems that can claim this lineage. So it's no wonder to me that MS doesn't want to give it up.

And it's only recently that the pile of compatibility hacks and inability to make fundamental design decisions has caught up to MS and been harming them from the market's point of view.

Re:Hardware Virtualization needed. (5, Interesting)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878643)

I'd be happy if Vista included virtualization technology for DOS6.2 on a 386. That would allow much smoother operation of very old programs that some of us still use, or want to use at least.

Re:Hardware Virtualization needed. (2, Insightful)

srmalloy (263556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878749)

Eternal backward compatibility is an inevitable result of Microsoft's "Every current Windows user needs to buy a new OS from us every 3 years" cash-flow model. Look at how lackluster the adoption of Vista has been, when it's just the lack of any clear advantage from upgrading. Now consider what purchasing decisions will be made when the cost analysis is choosing between "continue using our existing OS and applications" and "Upgrade to the new version of Windows and replace every single application we're using" -- the benefits to be achieved from upgrading will have to be very significant to justify a complete replacement of all applications, with the attendant problems associated with legacy data and applications. Not to mention that the lead time on releasing a new OS that broke backward compatibility would need to be much higher to allow application developers to get the development tools for the new OS and build compatible applications.

Ask Slashdot (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878255)

It's necessary to use 64-bit guests in Virtualbox, but VMWare can make due without it.

I'm looking to replace my outdated machine (800MHz, with less than 1G of RAM) with a new one. I want to do virtualization on it, with Linux as the host. What processor/motherboard would give a decent bang for the buck? How much memory should I get (I'm thinking 8G RAM)? Any brands to avoid?

Re:Ask Slashdot (2, Informative)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878597)

Ummm, compared to where you're at, just about any dual core proc. Are you really concerned about price? Just get a C2D, ASUS, 4GB ram. That's bang for the buck. Going with 8GB of ram you must really be planning to go all out with the vm's. Most people will tell you that you only really need enough ram so you don't swap with the vm's, otherwise it's overkill.

But, if you're going 64bit linux and plan to keep this one as long as you've kept your last one, maybe 8GB is the way to go.... I am running 64bit linux with XP, Vista, and win7 in VMware right now, and it's just fiiiiiiiiine......

Re:Ask Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27878659)

I'm looking to replace my outdated machine (800MHz, with less than 1G of RAM) with a new one. I want to do virtualization on it, with Linux as the host. What processor/motherboard would give a decent bang for the buck? How much memory should I get (I'm thinking 8G RAM)? Any brands to avoid?

I recently upgraded two of my systems for about 150 each. That's proc, mobo, and RAM. I reused the case, PSU, GPU (on one, used onboard video on the other), HD, and optical drive. This stuff is dead cheap these days.

Re:Ask Slashdot (1)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878753)

muppet sig ftw!

Re:Ask Slashdot (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878771)

Any AM3+ motherboard paired with an X3 or X4 CPU.
I wouldn't recommend unlocking the extra core on the X3s, it IS disabled for a reason!

You'll need a 64-bit OS to see the extra RAM in your virtual hosts. (I think. As stated, you can run a 64-bit guest on a 32-bit host if you have hardware virtualization acceleration, but I assume you still need a 64-bit OS to have the guests see all the RAM.)

You probably won't need more than 4GB, realistically, but there's no harm in going for 8 GB with today's prices.

What you may want to splurge on is an SSD (since the crux of virtualization is almost always I/O).
I recommend the Intel X-25 M or the OCZ Vertex drives. Add in regular drives for capacity as you see fit, of course.

I would get:
AMD Phenom II X3 710 - $120
MSI 790GX-G65 - $130 (open box: $90) (Has onboard video)
30 GB OCZ Vertex - $135 (Maybe 2 in RAID 0?)
WD Caviar Black 500GB - $70
8 GB GSKill DDR3 1600 - $130 (2x "2x2GB")

$585 + tax/shipping.
Obviously you need to add a PSU if your system is that old.

Re:Ask Slashdot (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878801)

I want to do virtualization on it, with Linux as the host.

As usual, see Wikipedia. [wikipedia.org]

The same brands suck/don't suck as always. Buy an ASUS, ABIT, Gigabyte... something decent, and it will probably not be lame. As always, the vendor's chipset is probably the slowest and probably will work most reliably. If you're going to run a lot of concurrent virtual machines think about a dual-dual AMD setup for the massive memory bandwidth, you could probably buy someone else's used machine and still have it be a massive upgrade from what you have now. All computers run on used parts!

Re:Hardware Virtualization needed. (3, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878525)

AMD has placed this support in almost all of their recent chips, but Intel has been more stingy with it.

Also, with Intel, it's not enough that the CPU and chipset supports VT-x, it also has to be enabled in the BIOS. Some manufacturers disable it, and some (most notably Sony) often won't even show the option in the BIOS set-up, making it permanently turned off. All to save a few bucks in support costs.

Re:Hardware Virtualization needed. (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878633)

Indeed, my Sony laptop does not include it in the BIOS. It's a Pentium Dual-Core model,(none of which have VT-x), but I think they still don't include this option in the BIOS with their Core 2 Duo machines.

Re:Hardware Virtualization needed. (4, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878841)

Indeed they don't. Apart from the BZ-series, all Sony Vaio PCs have VT-x disabled, and no way to turn it on in the BIOS setup. Even if you buy a brand new Core 2 Duo P9600 Vaio Z with 4 GB RAM for 2-3000 bucks, it won't be an option.

...easy to figure out if your PC can use it (2, Informative)

Kashell (896893) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878125)

1) Do you have:
1Ghz processor, 1.25GB of RAM, and 15GB of disk space per Windows virtualization?

Then run this standalone app:
http://www.grc.com/securable.htm

That was easy.

Re:...easy to figure out if your PC can use it (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878607)

My desktop can run it just fine, but that's not surprising considering it's a Quad-core Intel (i.e. fairly new and somewhat high-end). What IS surprising is that my lowly little HP laptop with an Intel Core 2 Duo can also run it, straight out of the box.
Apparently laptops (And HP laptops in particular) are some of the least likely to run this technology as (word has it) half of the time, the Virtualisation options are not present in the BIOS, or if they are, they're disabled by default and in some rare instances, enabling them doesn't actually enable it (Forcing you to flash a specific BIOS version where it actually works).

Then again, Microsoft has said time and time again that this isn't meant for home users and is strictly for businesses that need to run legacy apps - in other words, anyone likely to run it probably has or employs someone that knows just enough about technology to know if this stuff is going to work or not.

Re:...easy to figure out if your PC can use it (1)

davidphogan74 (623610) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878905)

That's too easy.

I've tried it (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27878147)

I've tried "XP mode" on Win 7 RC and it works fine. Looking through our corporate infrastructure (90,000 machines) by the middle of next year we won't have any machines around that can't run this. The Intel chip virtualization assist will be there on all of them. I really wouldn't plan personally to run Win 7 on a machine older than the ones that can support the virt. Generally, people don't upgrade machines that are quite a bit older anyway. I know that people are worrying about "NetBook" type machines - but seriously - who would try running Win 7 AND an XP VM in only 1 GB of RAM? It's just not that core a scenario.

The machine I am typing this on is a Lenovo X200s machine and right now I am on Win 7 7100 RC with an XP mode VM up running and it works brilliantly.

Re:I've tried it (4, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878603)

The parent isn't insightful, because he erroneously believes that a new machine guarantees that virtualization will be available. Not so.
Buy a $3000 Sony Vaio-Z, for example, and despite it having a chipset and a brand spanking new Core 2 Duo CPU that both supports VT-x, the manufacturer has chosen not to give the users the ability to turn it on in the BIOS, so it doesn't help one bit.

Re:I've tried it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27878949)

corporations don't buy sony's shit.

Re:I've tried it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27878969)

Corporations buy the CFO exactly what the CFO wants.

No Virtualization on some new Intel (4, Informative)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878999)

AC obviously didn't read the article, which states clearly that Intel uses VT availbility as a market segregation tool.

A recent example would be the new Core 2 Quad Q8400, now with less VT! [anandtech.com]

Difficult? (5, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878183)

I suppose it depends on your definition of "difficult" -- it's not particularly hard to find out if your processor supports virtualization extensions.

The Ars Technica is terrible -- it implies that it's a complete mystery why a virtualization system would require processor virtualization extensions to function.

I'm also not entirely sure it's reasonable to call a logical design decision you disagree with a "goof". I would hazard a guess that requiring virtualization extensions is intentional, not a mistake.

Re:Difficult? (0, Redundant)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878245)

It's really a non-issue, though... now that Intel knows about this, they'll ensure all their new product lines include the virtualization support because it's now obvious that tons of corporate users who previously didn't care will now care. Since they have something like 6 months until Windows 7 is even released, and it'll be at least another 6 months before companies begin shopping for hardware based on Windows 7, I think there's plenty of time to fix their bad decision.

If Intel can't get their shit together in a full year, then they deserve to lose all the marketshare they're likely to lose. Meanwhile, AMD already has their shit together, so if you're primarily buying AMD chips, you're taken care of.

And somehow, Slashdot manages to blame this all on Microsoft.

Re:Difficult? (1)

sohp (22984) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878427)

And yet it still requires users who have perfectly serviceable hardware running XP to upgrade to new hardware to run Win7 + XP, and if you buy new hardware, well, you'll probably have Win7, and corporate users are just going to upgrade and leave XP. Really, what's the point again -- I need to buy new hardware to continue to use XP? Treadmill, anyone?

Re:Difficult? (1, Informative)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878561)

And yet it still requires users who have perfectly serviceable hardware running XP to upgrade to new hardware to run Win7 + XP

Ok, you're confused in a few ways.

The XP feature is intended for business users only. Not home users. If a business has "perfectly serviceable hardware running XP", they're not going to upgrade the OS.

and if you buy new hardware, well, you'll probably have Win7, and corporate users are just going to upgrade and leave XP.

Yes... and now that they can use Windows 7 to run their ancient XP-only applications, they'll be happy with their Windows 7 purchase and not bother to downgrade back to XP.

That's the *entire point* of it-- currently a lot of corporate users *can't* upgrade and leave XP because they have applications that only run on XP. This virtualization environment will allow them to move to Windows 7 without leaving those applications behind.

Really, what's the point again -- I need to buy new hardware to continue to use XP?

Assuming you mean "I, personally", then no. This feature is not intended for you. If you buy new hardware you'll get a copy of Windows 7 without the XP virtualization ability.

Maybe I'm confused about your entire post.

Off-topic, but I'd love to see the rationale from whoever moderated my first post in this thread "Redundant." Redundant with what?

Re:Difficult? (1)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878889)

Some mods always mod the first post redundant right away, hoping that your post will float to oblivion and the NEXT post will be the first post.

Re:Difficult? (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878965)

Weird. My post wasn't even the first post-- although I guess it was the first reply to an early post. In any case, it sounds better than "somebody with mod points is out to get you!!"

Thanks.

Re:Difficult? (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878667)

Imagine that, in *some* cases you'll have to buy new hardware for an operating system that is two generations ahead of your current OS. Try putting Snow Leopard on your G5 when it comes out. Two generations and you need a whole new *architecture.* And Apple's release cycle is much shorter. Where's the outrage there?

Re:Difficult? (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878247)

Well, why does it require the hardware extensions? Prior versions of Virtual PC, and VMware, certainly don't require it. I can only assume it's safer to the host, and faster, but it's certainly not mandatory in the operational sense.

Re:Difficult? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878301)

few years ago when we first bought into VMWare and before the hardware virtualization on CPU's arrived I asked this to the VMWare sales guys because the new CPU's were shipping soon. they said it allows the virtualization software access to ring 0 of the CPU instead of going through the normal channels. kind of like MS and it's secreat API's for it's own products

Re:Difficult? (3, Insightful)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878695)

I love now how slashdotters are faulting Microsoft for going the safe, secure, performance-minded route.

Re:Difficult? (2, Informative)

nlawalker (804108) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878253)

Previous virtualization systems did not require processor virtualization extensions to function.

They're calling it a "goof" because it would have made more sense *not* to require the extensions and use them only on an as-present basis to enhance performance. This is especially appropriate given that that many of Intel's offerings are lacking VT, and Virtual PC 2007 (the foundation for XPM) does not require extensions, but can use them if they are present.

I imagine that the reason Microsoft requires them is that they wanted to have an excellent baseline for performance of XPM on all machines. They made the mistake of assuming that many/most machines have virtualization extensions, when the article states that that is not the case.

Re:Difficult? (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878469)

From TFA:

Intel uses VT for product segmentation, regarding it as a high-end feature and charging more for it.

Thus, only high-end chips will be able to emulate XP and I don't see any reason why Intel would change this any time soon (in fact, it could even be that they're the reason Microsoft did this). This looks precisely like a "goof" to me because I bet the corporate world with all their specialized apps and low-end PCs will not be to happy that they can only run XP emulation on some PCs and not others.

Couple this to the lack of a speed increase for 7 [slashdot.org] , it's looking more and more like Windows 7 will replace the Vista installs fairly rapidly, but those computers running XP are only going to be upgraded to 7 through attrition and replacement.

P.S. Is /. completely screwed up today for anyone else? It won't load in Safari at all, and Firefox only shows the RSS feed. Weird. (Mac OS X, running minimal mode while logged in.)

Re:Difficult? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878693)

only high-end chips will be able to emulate XP

Patently false. For example, pretty much every C2D (well, not really... but more than not) and many other chips [wikipedia.org] have it. Many of them could justifiably be called "budget". Notably, pretty much every low-power C2D has got it, so the majority of those Centrino notebooks out there in the hands of execs will be fine :)

Re:Difficult? (2, Interesting)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878977)

I went to Intel's Core 2 Duo list [intel.com] of chips and counted. 18/60 chips don't have the VT extension. That's 30%. I have no idea on the relative popularity of these chips but if 30% of the chips out there can't run the XP emulation mode, I'd say that's pretty significant, wouldn't you? It's not like these chips are ancient or anything either, I'm guessing their Core 2 Duo is their most popular chip for desktops right now and maybe even laptops.

Re:Difficult? (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878565)

It has to do with the 64bit OS and the context switching between the code running, the virtual OS and the VM. When they moved to the 64 bit instruction set, as I understand it (and please correct me if I'm wrong) the virtualization became clunkier and it became more difficult (and hence slower) to protect your VM from applications running in the same mapped memory space.

Re:Difficult? (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878849)

Previous virtualization systems did not require processor virtualization extensions to function.

Actually, yes they kind of did. Before VT extensions the guest OS needed to be aware of the fact that it was not running on bare metal. Various hacks by VMWare and Xen (NT kernel hacks, funny drivers, etc) made it possible to run XP as a guest but it wasn't pretty. (or even legally available in Xen's case).

VT made it possible to run unmodified operating systems as a guest - and generally on any arbitrary host OS you feel like - greatly increasing the utility and stability of VMs.

I never expected for a second that XP-mode would run on non-VT hardware. It would just look bad to the point of not worth supporting, like trying to do modern 3D in software. Windows-7 wont be running on many non-VT chips anyway, so it is really no big deal.

Re:Difficult? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878407)

it's not particularly hard to find out if your processor supports virtualization extensions.

It's not all that insanely simple, either. I don't know which of my computers support virtualization extensions, though I'm sure some do and some don't. I could probably figure it out with some research, but it's not obvious. Looking at the computer in front of me, I see a sticker that says it has an "Intel Pentium D" and another sticker telling me the computer is designed for Windows XP. I can right click on "My Computer" and it will tell me the processor speed and how much RAM I have. None of that tells me anything about virtualization extensions.

It's not entirely clear to me, either, that virtualization extensions are necessary for virtualization. I was under the impression that those extensions improved performance, but I've run virtual machines and emulators on machines without those extensions before.

Re:Difficult? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878453)

Blaming Intel, is code word for we don't wanna do it. But our customers want it.

Re:Difficult? (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878579)

Agreed. By requiring the VT extensions they adopt the inherent security and performance benefits. Ironically, these are the two things slashdotters love to take shots at MS for, and in typical slashdot fashion they are going to fault them wherever possible, even when their decisions *are* taking security and performance into account.

Re:Difficult? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878703)

As much as I would love to bash on the hypocrisy of of Slashdotters. However virtualization is rather common now and although having VT extensions would make things easier. There are defiantly ways around it. And with a little focus on Security and performance it should be really close to as it was with the VT extension. It is really just Microsoft not wanting Virtualization.

I hate to ask the obvious (5, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878207)

Why does MS need a separate XP mode? Why are the two so different that one needs a separate product, virtual PC to run the code? Why do they want XP to run on a virtual machine at all? It this decision based on the way Windows work, or does MS just not want such an ability integrated into the OS.

The reason I am confused is because this would have been great for the Vista transition, and seems to be old technology. Over ten years ago Apple included this capability in OS X, allowing OS 9 application to run in the classic environment. Apple also included bundles to allow the transition from 68K to PPC, and later PPC to Intel. Why did MS not do the same, and why are the including a hack solution at the last minute.

Re:I hate to ask the obvious (5, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878267)

The solution Microsoft is adding to Windows 7 is the same solution Apple used for the OS 9 - X transition. Classic was a second operating system that ran essentially as a virtual machine.

Re:I hate to ask the obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27878807)

So... the difference is that because Apple knew what the hardware was, they knew it would work?

Re:I hate to ask the obvious (1)

AxemRed (755470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878339)

Many businesses haven't made the transition to Vista. I think that it's likely that many have chosen not to adopt Vista because of compatibility issues with software that they use. With an XP virtual machine, I think that MS may be trying to lure them to Windows 7 by offering them a way to reliably run those legacy applications.

Re:I hate to ask the obvious (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878663)

Why does MS need a separate XP mode? Why are the two so different that one needs a separate product, virtual PC to run the code? Why do they want XP to run on a virtual machine at all? It this decision based on the way Windows work, or does MS just not want such an ability integrated into the OS.

You don't need a separate product to run XP. It's an added feature being rolled into some versions of Windows 7. It uses Virtual PC because that's what Microsoft has for virtual machine software.

I haven't tried Windows 7 yet, nor this XP-mode, so I've got no authority here... But I would assume efforts would be made to make the virtualization as transparent and seamless as possible.

The reason I am confused is because this would have been great for the Vista transition, and seems to be old technology. Over ten years ago Apple included this capability in OS X, allowing OS 9 application to run in the classic environment. Apple also included bundles to allow the transition from 68K to PPC, and later PPC to Intel. Why did MS not do the same, and why are the including a hack solution at the last minute.

This is exactly what Microsoft is doing. They are allowing you to run your old XP-only code within Windows 7. Much like Apple allowed you to run your old 9-only code within OS X.

I agree that they're a bit late though... Something like this could have really helped with Vista adoption.

A minor update (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878239)

At the request of several interested windows-using friends, I am testing the latest win7 evaluation copy in Parallels on a Mac. So far I have installed Opera, cygwin, Tortoise svn, OpenOffice.org 3.1, and even got XP's 3D Pinball to work in it. Now I'm wondering if many users will even need XP emulation...
Of course, who knows what MS might change by the official release date.

Re:A minor update (4, Insightful)

WaXHeLL (452463) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878373)

That suite of applications that you're testing doesn't accurately represent the target population for XP emulation.

XP Emulation is primarily geared towards businesses with legacy/custom business applications which have not been re-written for Windows Vista/7. Not to mention, some of those vendors for those business applications will charge large hefty upgrade fees to get their software compatible with the newest versions of Windows.

Re:A minor update (5, Informative)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878755)

That suite of applications that you're testing doesn't accurately represent the target population for XP emulation.

XP Emulation is primarily geared towards businesses with legacy/custom business applications which have not been re-written for Windows Vista/7.

We run an ancient version of Televantage here.

The Televantage server itself is still running NT4. The client software refuses to run on anything newer than Windows XP SP1.

The solution has been to go ahead and update our machines to SP2/SP3/Vista/whatever and run Televantage inside a small virtual machine running Windows 2000 SP4 - it works great.

This is the kind of problem the XP-mode is intended to address.

Re:A minor update (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878389)

What kind of accounting software did you test. Our accounting software runs on FoxPro9, and prior to last year it was running in compatibility mode of FoxPro4 or 5 (I forget). Lots of small buisnesses run wonky custom accounting software that's been hacked to run sequentially newer operating systems since DOS. I think we started running our accounting software in win3.1 of FoxPro 3 or 4 back in 1998.

Re:A minor update (1)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878619)

Most people likely won't need to bother with XP mode. XP mode is being included to allow badly coded business applications that are hacked together that work on XP run on Windows 7. Surprisingly every report I've read has Windows 7 having better compatibility than Vista, so throwing in XP mode will have it run everything that works under XP. I do wonder if XP mode will allow the sharing of USB devices like you can in VMWare. I still have some old legacy hardware that does not have 64bit drivers and it would be a nice way to have these devices still be useable under Windows 7.

Who Cares? (5, Insightful)

siuengr (625257) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878241)

I don't understand why people are making such a big deal about XP Mode. It is meant for enterprise systems that have millions invested in software that is difficult to convert. 99.9% of people are not going to be using XP mode.

Re:Who Cares? (1)

jvd (874741) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878485)

You know people like to complain a lot. Specially when it's about Microsoft. :-)

Somehow they have this weird logic of upgrading to Windows 7 to use Windows XP.

Re:Who Cares? (2, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878505)

Because enterprises that have millions invested in software have the clout to beat vendors over the head to make them support the latest technology du jour. Its all us little people that, individually will get told to fuck off when we call to complain that our apps don't run on Vista or W7 native mode.

Re:Who Cares? (1)

Aggrajag (716041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878687)

The big deal is that with this move Microsoft may have ensured that those enterprises will upgrade to Windows 7.

How to figure it out (5, Informative)

bflong (107195) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878289)

When running Linux, open up a terminal and run this:
echo -n "Does my cpu support virtualizaiton? "; if `cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep -q svm || cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep -q vmx`; then echo Yes; else echo No; fi

Another issue you may have is if your system has the virtualization functions disabled in BIOS. Some laptops do this, and have no way to turn them on. My Dell D820 works fine.

Re:How to figure it out (2, Informative)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878571)

echo -n "Does my cpu support virtualizaiton? "; if `cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep -q svm || cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep -q vmx`; then echo Yes; else echo No; fi

This is even easier:

echo -n "Does my cpu support virtualizaiton? "; if `cat /proc/cpuinfo | egrep -q '(svm|vmx)'`; then echo Yes; else echo No; fi

Re:How to figure it out (4, Informative)

bu1137 (979245) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878819)

This is even easier:

egrep -q "(svm|vmx)" /proc/cpuinfo && echo yes || echo no

Re:How to figure it out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27878855)

And this version is even spelled correctly:

echo -n "Does my cpu support virtualization? "; if `cat /proc/cpuinfo | egrep -q '(svm|vmx)'`; then echo Yes; else echo No; fi

Re:How to figure it out (5, Informative)

pthreadunixman (1370403) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878987)

You both win the useless use of cat award.

Re:How to figure it out (4, Insightful)

entrigant (233266) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878775)

cat foo | grep ...

seriously?

Re:How to figure it out (1)

Prototerm (762512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878891)

Who says Linux is difficult to use?

Re:How to figure it out (1)

prograde (1425683) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878913)

I find it interesting that my copy of Fedora running in a VirtualBox VM reports that the cpu supports neither svm nor vmx. (I although I guess that virtualization *inside* a VM is overkill.)

Oh, it's a goof all right (5, Interesting)

localroger (258128) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878315)

The only reason MS is putting this silly scheme into 7 is the large number of corporate interests who have apps that will not run on Vista or 7 natively, and which they do not want to rewrite. The virtual machine was supposed to get them to stop demanding XP from their vendors since there would be a solution. Only it might not be such a reliable solution, particularly on those millions of boxes which won't be quite new but also won't be quite old enough to discard which are in use today.

This is a very critical problem for Microsoft. I have heard people who would never have even looked at a non-MS solution two years ago whispering about Macs and Ubuntu. If migrating is going to involve a vast amount of unscheduled pain, reinstallation, down time, and retraining, do you migrate to the next level of the company which is screwing you or look for an alternative?

Seven has to solve the problem of legacy apps that don't run. If it doesn't, the Mexican standoff will continue with Seven in Vista's place, and one or two Fortune 100 shops throwing their hands in the air and switching FOSS could start a stampede. The unlikeliness of that, while high, decreases just a bit for every day the current situation persists.

Re:Oh, it's a goof all right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27878661)

Only it might not be such a reliable solution, particularly on those millions of boxes which won't be quite new but also won't be quite old enough to discard which are in use today.

Except that those boxes are almost certainly not going to be upgraded from XP anytime soon ANYWAY.

Where I work now, when a machine's been imaged with XP, it stays XP until it's replaced. A new machine with Vista? There aren't many of those around (Our account with Dell defaults to XP), but they stay Vista unless they're willing to part with it for a few days while we reimage it (Such requests are extremely low priority).

Microsoft is throwing in XP mode as a way of saying "You can buy a new computer with 7, and your XP software WILL run on it with no problems". It's not there to encourage corporate (or home) users to upgrade existing machines. Which, since most large setups are already running site licenses, wouldn't net Microsoft much (any?) money anyway.

Re:Oh, it's a goof all right (1)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878699)

Indeed, and if Windows 7 replaces Vista in that slot, ie the one that users don't want....what does that do to Microsoft's reputation among the non-tech savy users who only see a HUGE corporation who must have gotten where they are by being the best in their field. One major failure in their two key product lines followed by another. They can bluff their way right now by claiming Windows 7 will fix everything that was wrong with Vista, but the more we hear of Windows 7 it appears not to be that much of an improvement, other than a flashier UI.

On a side note, I'm really hoping Microsoft stick with the crippled Starter Edition for netbooks, it will only help drive people away from them even faster.

Re:Oh, it's a goof all right (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878701)

Seven has to solve the problem of legacy apps that don't run. If it doesn't, the Mexican standoff will continue with Seven in Vista's place, and one or two Fortune 100 shops throwing their hands in the air and switching FOSS could start a stampede. The unlikeliness of that, while high, decreases just a bit for every day the current situation persists.

There's also another matter to consider. IT trends are cyclic and I think we're at the end of the PC-centric phase, everyone is going to want to go put the power back on the server again. That's not to say that we're all going thin-client, just that we're going to see more citrix-type or web-based apps. This allows management to be relatively platform-agnostic. My 7 year old computer can run a remote desktop session just fine. So long as the web apps are developed intelligently, mac and PC can play in the same garden. The upshot of all this is that we could see the end of the era of Complete Microsoft Dominance. Office used to the king gorilla and if you couldn't run that, businesses wouldn't switch. Open Office is a very nice alternative these days.

To take hypothetical company ABC, Inc, let's say they ditch a Microsoft-only solution. They manufacture widgets and have manufacturing, sales, and accounting all in one building. They use commodity PC's on the factory floor running Linux and the management system is all web-based. In accounting, most everyone is running the same Linux PC setup and use the accounting module of the management system. A couple guys who do finance stuff insist they love Excel and won't part with it. No problem. They run PC's with Windows and Excel and still use the same accounting module screens as everyone else since it's through a web browser. Sales guys are running Macs because they're trendy weenies. (yes, I kid, but only a little.) Still, no problem. They can access the management system through a web browser, plus have all their little mac toys running.

Ten years ago this sort of thing wouldn't have been possible. ABC, Inc. may have been running their system on, say, AS/400 and used dumb terminals on the factory floor but everyone else in the company would have standardized on Windows and Office. They'd use terminal emulators to access the management system. Linux would have been too clunky and inconvenient in comparison.

Re:Oh, it's a goof all right (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27878739)

If corporate interests do not want to switch from XP to 7 due to rewriting apps, what would make them switch from XP to Macs or Ubuntu?

mono... mono.. what's the word? (0, Flamebait)

sohp (22984) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878329)

Perfect solution for the two 800lb gorillas of the Wintel partnership. Microsoft gets another lever to force people still using XP to pay for an upgrade, and Intel gets a lever to force corporate buyers who prefer to hold on to machines until they die to upgrade. Dell and HP benefit, too, because of the force hardware/OS upgrade.

This is how a monopoly operates.

Conspiracy theory?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27878361)

FTFS:
'With Windows 7 due to be released in 2010, and Redmond apparently eager to move on from XP, perhaps this is not really a 'goof' at all?'

I know that it is popular around Slashdot to either love or bash Microsoft unconditionally (so I expect to get modded down by both camps for this), but never ascribe to malice that which can be sufficiently accounted for by incompetence. I just get sick of seeing wild conspiracy theories - 'Ooh, I know how we will get people off our best selling product ever - offer a virtualization mode in our latest product, and make it flawed so people can't use it!!'

2010? (1)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878383)

Microsoft is pretty much ready to release Windows 7 now. All they need is a back to school or a holiday time-frame to kickstart the PC shopping spree. That's when they like to release. Not really insider info - ask any MS employee (except the one who uses chairs to build up his arm muscles).

Why ARE there new Intel CPUs without VT-x? (2, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878387)

What I wonder is why there's still NEW processors coming out from Intel WITHOUT the VT-x extensions? These extensions have been around at least since the original Core Duo days; shouldn't they be standard on all Intel CPUs by now?

I boggled when I learned there were still new CPUs being sold without the extensions. It's not like it's something that's hard to implement; the work is already done.

Re:Why ARE there new Intel CPUs without VT-x? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878493)

Price discrimination/market segmentation.

Disabling that feature is an easy way to make an otherwise adequate product unsuitable for corporate buyers(IIRC, some of Intel's "Active Management" sauce either depends on, or is bundled with, VT extension support). By disabling the feature on some chips, they can capture more of the surplus value. Pretty much the same reason that all versions of Vista aren't Ultimate.

Re:Why ARE there new Intel CPUs without VT-x? (2, Informative)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878503)

Only the low-end CPUs don't have them.

So if you bought a machine aimed at corporations, it will have the VT extensions. For example, all current ThinkPad R series and Tseries have them, and all Lenovo M series and ThinkStation products also have them.

All bets are off if you bought one of those shitty 699$ 17" laptops with horrible screen resolution ;)

XP Mode can't play games, it's a lot of work to maintain (seperate domain account, seperate users, seperate AV, seperative firewall). It's aimed at small businesses - not at home users (they don't need it), and not at big corporate environments (There's MED-V for them).

Re:Why ARE there new Intel CPUs without VT-x? (1)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878615)

VT-x has been around since some of the later Pentium 4 chips released in November, 2005. The only Core 2 chips missing the feature are the low end ones - the ones branded Celeron and Pentium as well as the lowest end Core 2's. Still, it's pretty annoying, especially consdering all new AMD chips have AMD's version enabled.

Re:Why ARE there new Intel CPUs without VT-x? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878789)

On the intel side there are a few motherboard manufacturers who disable it.

Last I looked nearly all laptop manufacturers disabled it.

The problem with the intel version vs. the amd version is that the BIOS can disable it at boot and there's nothing the end user can do to reenable it.

Re:Why ARE there new Intel CPUs without VT-x? (1)

sricetx (806767) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878963)

Well, the Atom 270 and 280 processors they are using for most netbooks don't have VT-x. I assume they left the feature off these chips to save on power draw.

Determine whether your processor is supported (1)

JamJam (785046) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878403)

This free app will tell you whether your processor will support XP Mode in Windows 7 or Not:

Securable [grc.com]

Re:Determine whether your processor is supported (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27878491)

Even better than that is PC Wizard [cpuid.com] . It will not only show you if your CPU is VT enabled, but a shitload of other useful info too.

I know this is slashdot, but why is this MS issue? (1)

jvd (874741) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878415)

Why is this Microsoft fault or problem for that matter? They made up their minds on something, whether its good or bad, that's really beyond this discussion. Chip makers have to adjust to that decision, and so happens that Intel isn't quite prepared for that kind of strategy. It seems that the only company in trouble here is Intel.

Re:I know this is slashdot, but why is this MS iss (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878537)

Good point, but 100% backwards. This is an MS problem, or a customer problem. If MS suddenly decides you need a 3.0GHz processor to run Windows 7, is it Intel/AMD's fault that not all of their processors are 3.0GHz or faster?

It's a moot point anyway, this requirement will probably go away by RTM.

Re:I know this is slashdot, but why is this MS iss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27878985)

Kind of a stretch there. They aren't requiring you to have this to run 7. If you need to have this feature then you need to have the requirements hardware and otherwise. I doubt that this is a strictly business decision. It sounds like the technology is using the hardware virtualization to help with performance. I assume that even if you can't use this with your existing hardware you can always use Virtual PC which I believe is still free.

what about the common denominator? (1)

Celeste R (1002377) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878435)

I just don't understand how Microsoft expects it to be a practical replacement for companies when it's so limited to high-end hardware; unless, of course, it's not intended as a commonly practical XP replacement.

I expect that this is something that they intentionally designed this for, so that they're not competing with the lower-end virtualization products. After all, they should be learning at least a few lessons from the EU repeatedly burning them.

With this in mind... I'll be the first to say that the companies that use legacy software will hurt. They will have to either replace legacy software (which is difficult for some clients) or buy a high-end computer just to get a decent upgrade for Vista/XP.

Catering to the small-business legacy software needs is a losing proposition though. This should be correctly labeled as a developer tool, and not a regular XP virtual machine.

Re:what about the common denominator? (2, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878589)

They will have to either replace legacy software (which is difficult for some clients) or buy a high-end computer just to get a decent upgrade for Vista/XP.

Or just stick with XP.

Just more problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27878443)

I'm surprise that despite all the delays, duct tape, security issues, performance problems, PR B.S. and hardware contingencies that there is still a user base out there waiting for Windows to get it right.

I believe someone else got it right (0, Flamebait)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878451)

Maybe they should have studied how Apple did it, thrice:
    - transition from 68K to PPC
    - transition from MacOS 'Classic' to MacOS X
    - transition from PPC to Intel

On the other hand with VMWare, Parallels and VirtualBox, there are certainly work arounds.

From the... (2, Interesting)

zarmanto (884704) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878671)

From the "Department of redundant redundancy department".

(For those of you who actually read all three linked articles... or is that, all two?)

Are the slashdot editors getting desperate? (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878729)

Seriously, this Windows 7 stuff is getting silly. That Slashdot isn't a pro MS site is fine. How about more Linux news, less MS news then?

It gets tiresome to see all these bullshit "OMG Windoze sux!!!1111one" stories any time a new version is coming out. Just leave off it already. If you don't like Windows 7 that is totally fine, but that isn't any reason to try and spread FUD about it. Make no mistake, that's what all this is too. They are trying to find minor things to pick on and make them out to be major problems. They are trying to say "Oh this will be a horrible OS!" They are trying to seed fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

Also I kinda think it shows the opposite: If all you can find to report bad are extremely minor things, then I guess it really isn't that bad, is it? I mean let's see what criticisms they've tried to blow up lately"

1) Windows doesn't show extensions by default.
2) Windows 7 isn't all that much faster than Vista SP1, and the release version of Vista was slower than XP.
3) An optional Windows 7 addon, that most people will never download, requires a CPU addon that not all CPUs have.

Oh gee wow, what a problematic list. I mean really, if that's all you can come up with, if that's the worst of the worst, the stuff that's headline worthy, I think really that shows that 7 is a good OS, not a bad one, because it's all a bunch of BS. As a quick example for each point:

1) So what, every version of Windows since 95 has been like this, and in Linux, anything can be an executable. You can have any extension or no extension and run it.
2) This is a fake comparison. Vista at release was slower than Vista now, a better comparison is Windows 7 to XP directly, in which case 7 does pretty well. Also, new OSes are usually a bit slower, due to new features, what else is new? DOS is screaming fast, but rather worthless.
3) Very few people will ever get this, because it just isn't needed. Native compatibility is extremely high in Windows 7. This is for businesses who have some odd old apps. It is just a nice, free, addon is people want it.

So please, can we stop with the FUD? If there's real news worthy 7 stuff, post it. If not, then just ignore it, because right now it seems like they are grasping at straws to try and find things wrong with 7.

Right idea, wrong technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27878731)

And I was told that 'ideas are cheap, its the implementation that made the difference'. And here we see that people are able to appreciate an idea as is. Most of the times implementation is required to show an ideas worth simply because not many have the vision to see it through.

Just run a REAL OS (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878837)

If you have a real computer, you should forget 7. And stick with a real man's operating system [facebook.com] . On a real PC, one with sixteen cores and 8GB RAM and enough fans to lift the building. ACCEPT NOTHING LESS.

I don't get it (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27878897)

Linux can do virtualization and backwards compatibility at the API level, as in user mode linux, via virtualization with a JIT, and via hardware virtualization. Why can't Windows 7 do any of those with XP?

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