20 May 2009

Windows 7: Virtual XP or the key to indefinitely support legacy applications

Windows 7 VPC

In a recent post I commented that I was using Windows 7 and I must add that I’m liking it a lot. It feels a lot snappier than Vista even when I compare the Quad Core – 4 GB desktop machine running Vista with my Dual Core – 2GB laptop running Windows 7 RC.

I’ve only found an incompatibility with iTunes 8. I don’t know why it can’t sync my iPOD nano. I’ve tried installing the x64 version and the x32 version and both have the same problem.

Then, I remembered that Windows 7 has a new feature called Windows XP Virtual. It’s a Windows XP SP3 Virtual PC image. You can download it from here. First you need to install Virtual PC and then download the XP image. One thing to note is that this image is a Windows XP licensed.

If that is not enough, the new version of Virtual PC allows you to run any application installed on your guest operating system (XP) without opening Virtual PC. Well, it is opened by the operating system under the covers, but you just get a window running in your desktop. How cool is that?

I installed iTunes on this VM and create a shortcut on my Windows 7 desktop. It worked just fine. The only problem I’ve found is that the iPod doesn’t appear in the XP image, I have to go to the USB menu and attach it manually.

Windows itunes on XP

I think that this could potentially allow Microsoft to get rid of the problem of ensuring backwards compatibility and therefore leverage new concepts and ideas.