I like the Windows 7 experience and I have no regrets having left the Windows XP world behind, at least on my laptop. I’ve still got other computers that run Windows XP, and will for some time.
However, it’s not all "milk and cookies time." Sometimes, it’s difficult to get programs, at least those that were written for earlier version of windows, to work completely in the 32-bit version of Windows 7.
The 64-bit version of Windows 7 is "the coming thing" but there’s still little software written specifically for it. Device drivers continue to be an issue with the 64-bit operating system, although its supposedly a big step forward from the Windows Vista 64-bit driver problems.
So far, with the 32-bit version of Windows 7, I’ve been able to work out all the issues I’ve had with older software. Let’s look at an example of the problems and solutions in running older programs on Windows 7.
My email program of choice is Eudora, which was last updated in 2006. It’s still available, but for new users, I would suggest that you try Thunderbird instead. Eudora has been discontinued and many of its functions are being added to Thunderbird (just not one that I really like).
Everything in Eudora worked fine except for two things, both of which have now been solved.
First there was a minor problem, but it generated an error message every time I started Eudora. My Eudora option for MAPI was set to the default, where Eudora uses its own MAPI server. Eudora wanted to make a backup copy of Microsoft’s MAPI server and then write over the original.
Windows 7 wouldn’t let Eudora write its MAPI server program file into the Windows directory. No problem. I turned off that option and have seen no impairment in Eudora’s functionality or ease of use.
The other problem was a little more complicated, but again easily solved.
When Eudora starts, it checks to see if it’s the default email client. If it’s not, it tries to change the Windows Registry to make itself the default.
Unfortunately, the latest version of Eudora is from early 2006, before software manufacturers really learned that we prefer to get a choice. Eudora did not have any option to turn off the "make me the default" function. I wanted it as the default, so that wasn’t the real issue.
The problem was that Windows 7’s "Program Defaults" window gives you a list of programs to choose among. There’s no Browse button — it does not allow you to pick a program to be a default other than the ones it lists, and it didn’t list Eudora.
The solution took a few steps, which I did because I’ve run Eudora so long that I trusted it.
First, I turned off Eudora’s auto-checking for new emails. That way, Eudora would not check for email (and possibly download any malware) unless I manually clicked the Check Mail button.
Then, I right-clicked on the Eudora shortcut and clicked on "Run as Administrator." this, temporarily for this execution only, gave Eudora high privileges (high security clearance).
Eudora started up, but it didn’t give the error message about not being able to make itself the default email program, so it was successful in updating the Registry.
Finally, I immediately stopped Eudora, and started it again normally, not in Administrator mode — and did not get any error message this time — and then I turned on the automatic checking for new emails. Hurray! All solved.
Could I just have turned on the Windows XP compatibility mode and solved the problem that way? Honestly, I don’t know. It never dawned on me to try that until I was writing this article.
That’s a test for the future…