Reader and friend Sam Boggs wrote recently to say that he was finally going to upgrade from Vista to Windows 7. It’s about time…
I’m interested in upgrading from Vista to Window 7, and am considering the extra cost of the Professional version for one specific reason:
In addition to being consistently unstable, Vista, which I have on my desktop, doesn’t run a number of programs that will run in XP. Much of the blame lies on the program vendors who haven’t provided compatibility patches to make their programs work with Vista.
Microsoft is claiming that some “productivity” or businiess XP programs will run in Windows 7 in “XP mode”. I specifically wonder about Lotus suite and Palm PDA software, which don’t work on Vista. Do you know if this is a simple process, or requires jumping through hoops and extra downloads to make this work?
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Shortly afterwards, he wrote with some additional information:
I just did a check and found that my computer doesn’t have a a “CPU with support for hardware visualization” (whatever that means!), a check recommended by Microsoft , so the XP Mode feature might not work with my computer.
FYI, my computer is a HP Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q8200, 8G RAM, Vista Home Premium 64-bit SP2.
Sam meant "hardware virtualization," not visualization.
I wrote back to Sam to tell him that Microsoft’s FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/support/faq.aspx said:
Is hardware virtualization a must-have to run Windows XP Mode?
No. Windows XP Mode can be run on a CPU without hardware virtualization.
Regarding his desire to run Palm PDA software, my experience with Palm Desktop 4.1 (the Windows desktop version that linked to the PDA) ran on my old notebook running 32-bit Windows 7. However, it wouldn’t run on 64-bit Windows 7. It would install and would run, but the HotSync function wouldn’t sync via USB. I had to make the conversion to the iPhone when I built my new desktop and installed the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Ultimate.
I haven’t tried to see if PDA Desktop would work in XP mode. It didn’t really bother me too much, as my critical apps were a calendar, a book reader that reads .pdb files, and HandBase — all of which were available for my iPhone. Plus, my PalmOS PDA was getting pretty old…
I downloaded XP mode about a month ago, figuring I ought to try it sometime. I’ve been running Windows 7 for a long, long time, first the Release Candidate and then the release version. I have not found any reason I needed to use XP mode.
Sam also asked about the Windows 7 Professional Upgrade itself:
Is it an upgrade from Vista, or is it only an upgrade from a basic version of W7? i.e., can I use it alone to upgrade my Vista to W7 pro?
I wrote back to tell Sam that you can do an in-place upgrade from 32bit Vista to 32bit Win7 or 64bit vista to 64bit win7. Upgrading from 32bit Vista to 64bit Win7 requires a clean install. Upgrading from XP required a clean install. I did a clean install.
The clean install is a little tricky, as described in these two articles
The latter is one example that tells the steps for a clean install — which are the same that you’d have to do in reinstalling on a new hard drive.