Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Virtual PC 2007 instead of XP Mode for Windows 7

Not technical?   Did you just say Huh?

Ok, Microsoft is being generous to us who still have XP or want to keep what we have in XP.   Windows 7 doesn't like a lot of software although everything I personally run works on Windows 7.  I have moved from a trusty and rusty old Dell Inspiron 600m Laptop that pretty much doesn't want to be a laptop any more since the Left Mouse Button isn't working well.  Sound familiar?  That's what happens to laptops after a couple years, the Left Mouse Button dies and your Battery fails to take a charge for more than a quick run across the house to plug it in somewhere else.   I've been there, trust me.

If you have a new PC that was build with a newer processor, you can still run XP within a window in XP Mode.   I've done it on a newer laptop at work, and it works real well.   There was a posting I did a few days back that explained all that and what to download.   You'll want to find that post that I wrote on November 8th if you think you qualify.

On the other hand, if you are like me on this older but still useable Acer Aspire 5610 then you can go a different route.   That will mean you will have to install Virtual PC 2007 at that link.   Virtual PC will let you install a completely new copy of XP within a software window.   Works great, I've used it for years now... well various versions of  it.   Its free. 

How this will help you and I run XP on our shiny new copy of Windows 7 is that you tell it to install that new copy of XP that you have somewhere lying around and you can use it like you would any other PC.   It's not perfect since you're running it in "Emulation".  You might not be able to run EVERY piece of software you have now, but that you will have to check that on your own.

There's one last helpful hint here.   Somewhere you have an older XP computer.   You don't want to throw it out because there's something on there or some piece of software that you've installed that you don't have the discs.   Here is why you want Virtual PC.  You can make a full copy of that machine, as long as you have the hardware to do it (Get yourself a big external drive, you'll be happy you did), and be able to run that PC within a window just like any other XP machine.

Without going through a lot of fiddly details, the software you can use is all over the web, it makes a big image that is as big as the used space on your old machine.  You put that image (Called a VHD file) on the new Windows 7 machine and run it in Virtual PC 2007 and you're back where you were.

The imaging software is at this link among others.   I haven't used that one, or have I used this one, but there are a lot of them out there.   Good luck at finding one that works.  The google search that I used to find both was this one.