The HP PhotoSmart S20 is an old model HP scanner for negatives, small prints, and slides. There is really nothing comparable out there any more for this sort of thing, especially at the consumer level pricing that this was sold as. My Dad has one and keeping this going is the main reason he is sticking with Windows XP. (We had tried to move him to Vista a couple of years ago and sent the Vista computer back when it couldn't run the S20). HP has not put out a driver
for Vista or Windows 7.
Anyway, I wanted to share a tip and confirm that the PhotoSmart S20 *will* work under Windows 7, but only with the Virtual XP mode. Getting that going meant upgrading the Windows 7 Home version to Windows 7 Professional (required for XP mode), which set me back $100 or so. Also, it's necessary to get the latest version of the HP drivers
for XP -- the CDROM that my dad had with an older set of XP drivers would not work under XP mode. There is also a little bit of fussing needed to tell the XP virtual machine to own the scanner, which enables some sort of proxy to forward IO requests into the virtual machine.
One thing that I did not figure out was how to make the PhotoSmart software something that one could just click on from Windows 7. In theory, the XP apps are virtualized and can be clicked from the Windows 7 start menu once they are installed, without needing to first start up the XP virtual machine. But that didn't work for the PhotoSmart S20 software - because when the software started, the device was not owned by the virtual machine.
So that maybe will save someone out there the many hours I put into figuring this out.