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Windows 7: Do I need to be a tech expert to use XP virtual w/Win 7 Pro?

17 Feb 2013   #1
msmisfit

Windows Home Premium 64 bit
 
 
Do I need to be a tech expert to use XP virtual w/Win 7 Pro?

I am thinking of buying another laptop to hopefully get the ability to play the games for XP, that I can no longer buy. However, what I've been reading elsewhere, makes me think I may not be able to use virtual XP, if it's not already in place in Win7 Pro.

Is it difficult to use or install if necessary? I have no one around to help me, if I mess it up, and it would be a big waste of money, if I can't use it.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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17 Feb 2013   #2
MSchild

Windows 7/8/8.1 x64 &&& Debian-Based Linux
 
 

Are you talking about a VM (virtual machine) of Windows XP, running on a Windows 7 machine?

All versions of Windows 7 have a built-in XP emulator for compatibility (Im pretty sure anyways), which is what runs when you select "Run in Compatibility Mode for XP". This is not the same thing as a Virtual Machine though, which will most likely be your friend if XP mode doesn't do it for you. In this case you can use Virtual PC by Microsoft, which I believe is free. It is fairly simple, as long as you are comfortable installing an OS.

If your games require internet connectivity, you may have to use something like VMware, as Im not sure if Virtual PC has networking features.
A free (and very capable) alternative for VMware is VirtualBox. They are all virtual machine management programs, but Virtual PC is pretty basic.

I would not say you'd have to be an expert by any means. Just look up a video of someone installing and/or using Virtual PC or VirtualBox, and see if you think you can handle it.
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17 Feb 2013   #3
msmisfit

Windows Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

In answer to your first question, it's "Yes". I used WinXP for over 6 yrs., and after a year, I'm still having a problem finding things with Win7, and would just like to get back my WinXP GUI if possible, and a few less layers of stuff to wade through to find the things I need.

It may be that VM won't simplify things as I want, and that's why I'm here. :/ My games are on disks and compatibility on Win7 doesn't help.

I also just realized that the Win7 Pro laptop I was looking at only has x64... would that be a problem for these old games?

I was hoping a new laptop would have the software to handle the XP VM in Win7 capabilities I had read about.
Another reason I was considering this is I don't want to move to Win8 ever, and fear Win7 systems will be gone before this laptop dies.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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17 Feb 2013   #4
MSchild

Windows 7/8/8.1 x64 &&& Debian-Based Linux
 
 

1) Windows 7 is quite an overhaul from XP, and if you're not used to it, it can be a hassle. I tell people to just get familiar with the new control panel, and then use the search in the start menu to find everything (since it will search all the control panel items, that way you don't have to go to the control panel every time and try to crack the da vinci code).

2) It won't matter if Windows 7 is x64, you can still run an x86/32-bit VM inside of it. If you can, I would go with x86 XP. Some games (like Dune 2k) are 16-bit DOS, and if I remember correctly, those are incompatible with x64 Windows versions.

3) The only problem I could foresee is whether or not the laptop's CPU and RAM will be sufficent, because now they must carry the load of two OS's.

- Windows 7 needs at least 1 GB of RAM, but does a lot better with 2 GB (however, if you're gaming on the XP VM, I doubt youll be using much resources on Windows 7). XP doesn't need much RAM, but if you're gaming on it, it may need a little more. In other words (in regard to the laptop), 1 GB might work but I would not even try it. 2 GB will work, but you won't have a lot extra, you'll have to basically use either XP or 7, one at a time. 4 GB would be plenty.

- As for the CPU, it HAS to support virtualization. I think AMD calls it AMD-V on their processors, and Intel calls it VT on theirs. Honestly though, I havent seen a CPU that DIDNT support virtualization in a long time. It's a setting in the BIOS, very easy to turn on. Other than that, I would say any 2 GHz and up dual-core processor would be adequate.

(I've had Win 7 x64 Pro on a laptop with an AMD Turion 2 Ghz dual core x64 CPU and 2 GB of RAM, and was able to run an XP x86 VM inside it with no problems.)

A neat feature of VirtualBox is that it allows you to change the amount of RAM you want your VM to have. So if you only have 2 GB, you can safely set it to give XP 1 GB and leave 1 GB for Windows 7 (assuming of course you're not really using Windows 7 at the time). As soon as you exit the VM, you regain the lost RAM. Also, having all of your games on discs is a lot easier, because you can just tell VirtualBox to look for the CD drive and give it to the VM as well, then install.
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18 Feb 2013   #5
gregrocker

 

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18 Feb 2013   #6
msmisfit

Windows Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by MSchild View Post
1)

- As for the CPU, it HAS to support virtualization. I think AMD calls it AMD-V on their processors, and Intel calls it VT on theirs. Honestly though, I havent seen a CPU that DIDNT support virtualization in a long time. It's a setting in the BIOS, very easy to turn on. Other than that, I would say any 2 GHz and up dual-core processor would be adequate.
This is the kind of thing I was worried about. Thanks so much for all the great information! I spent some more time today trying to learn more, so I could discuss this intelligently, and lo and behold, I found a Dell laptop that comes configured with the XP mode installed at their web site.

I'm considering it, but I've had friends who have had a lot of trouble with their Dell's, so I've always been kind of wary about them. I guess all mfrs. have their problems at times, but do you have an opinion about their Latitude 5530?

Thanks again for your help!
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18 Feb 2013   #7
msmisfit

Windows Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
No, but I've thought about it. I'd have to upgrade my present laptop to Win7 Pro though first. Since I'd like to have a backlit keyboard, I put that option on the back burner, but thanks for your response!
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18 Feb 2013   #8
MSchild

Windows 7/8/8.1 x64 &&& Debian-Based Linux
 
 

Quote:
In answer to your first question, it's "Yes". I used WinXP for over 6 yrs., and after a year, I'm still having a problem finding things with Windows 7, and would just like to get back my WinXP GUI if possible, and a few less layers of stuff to wade through to find the things I need.
There are various tweaks around these forums that can really transform the desktop, start menu, and GUI into either Windows Classic or Windows XP style. Haven't tried any of them myself, but I perused the posts - they look pretty comprehensive. Just a thought, if you're interested.

Quote:
I'd have to upgrade my present laptop to Windows 7 Pro though first.
There is also the option (if you have the extra hard drive space) to do a dual-boot install of Windows 7 side-by-side with Windows XP. In this configuration, you would just select which version of Windows you'd like to load at boot time. This would mean you'd have to reboot to play XP games, and reboot again to get back onto Windows 7, but I still find it very viable of an option. Of course, your computer would have to be capable of running Windows 7. I believe there is a free Microsoft utility you can download that will benchmark your hardware and tell you if it will be compatible.

Quote:
I'm considering it, but I've had friends who have had a lot of trouble with their Dell's, so I've always been kind of wary about them. I guess all mfrs. have their problems at times, but do you have an opinion about their Latitude 5530?
I think that when Dell was first getting their start, they used a lot of proprietary stuff, so that if a component went bad, you had to buy a Dell brand component for replacement. I have a friend who owns 3 Dell desktops, and I've worked on them replacing various hardware components - they definitely don't do that anymore. I think they make some decent Desktops (maybe a little slacking on the power supply, but most mfrs do). Admittedly, I've not had a lot of experience with their laptops, but remember this: Alienware is Dell's gaming line. Also, even the dell XPS laptops are some serious little machines. I think they get a bad rep a lot, but they definitely have some good products - I wouldnt write them off.

I gave a brief look over the Latitude E5530's on the Dell website. I think they have a lot of features that make it a good option. They offer some customization options as well, and if I may, my two cents is this:

- Dual-core is plenty. 4-cores is great, but Intel really makes you pay for it, and I'm a bit of a cheapskate I suppose lol.
- 2GB of RAM is okay, but it's only another $25 to upgrade to 4GB. You might want to make that investment, especially if you plan to use VMs.
- Choosing "Windows 7 Pro x64 (with XP mode)" only adds about $20 as well. The 64 bit speed is nice, but Pro over Home editions is almost a must IMO. And of course, you'll probably want the XP Mode pre-installed
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18 Feb 2013   #9
pbcopter

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1, Windows 8.1 Pro x64, Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

Just a couple of points.

Xp mode was designed to allow the running of legacy business type applications not games.

It uses an emulated graphics card not the actual hardware on the system. The resolution is adequate for these applications but not for most games.
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20 Feb 2013   #10
msmisfit

Windows Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

[QUOTE=MSchild;2297474]
Quote:
There is also the option (if you have the extra hard drive space) to do a dual-boot install of Windows 7 side-by-side with Windows XP. In this configuration, you would just select which version of Windows you'd like to load at boot time. This would mean you'd have to reboot to play XP games, and reboot again to get back onto Windows 7, but I still find it very viable of an option. Of course, your computer would have to be capable of running Windows 7.
My present laptop is an Intel i5, with 6 GB RAM, 640 HD. I hadn't thought about a dual boot system, but since I have such a hard time with Win7 (Home Premium), I'm not sure I could handle that installation/setup. (My short term memory is shot!) Sounds like a great fix though!


Quote:
I gave a brief look over the Latitude E5530's on the Dell website. I think they have a lot of features that make it a good option. They offer some customization options as well, and if I may, my two cents is this:

- Dual-core is plenty. 4-cores is great, but Intel really makes you pay for it, and I'm a bit of a cheapskate I suppose lol.
- 2GB of RAM is okay, but it's only another $25 to upgrade to 4GB. You might want to make that investment, especially if you plan to use VMs.
- Choosing "Windows 7 Pro x64 (with XP mode)" only adds about $20 as well. The 64 bit speed is nice, but Pro over Home editions is almost a must IMO. And of course, you'll probably want the XP Mode pre-installed
LOL! That's exactly why I was looking at it, it's the only one I've found I could order with XP Mode installed. (About the configuration, I'm a bit of a cheapskate too. AMD on my previous laptop was just fine!)

Plus this Dell has a backlit keyboard, which I would really like to have. The keys on my Gateway laptop may as well be blank, they have grey lettering that's invisible in dim light. I don't need them for the alphabet, but I do for the function keys.

Thanks for all the great info! Now I just need to decide if I can waste $700 on a laptop, when I have one which works fine, and is only a year old.
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 Do I need to be a tech expert to use XP virtual w/Win 7 Pro?




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