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Windows 7: XP software issues and Windows 7 Pro


11 Dec 2011   #1

Win 7 Pro 64
 
 
XP software issues and Windows 7 Pro

My XP computer crashed with a motherboard issue recently and I'm looking at some new system options. One thing I'm considering is the available XP refurb systems that might allow for my placing my old XP HDD into them and get up and running.

My big question is... Just how backward compatible is Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate with XP software??? I've seen some of the literature discussing "runs XP productivity software" but the fact is, I have a pretty big investment in XP software and much of it hasn't run in my Win 7 Home Premium laptop so when I pick up a new desktop with Windows 7 Professional (or Ultimate), I'm going to have some expectations that it runs XP software fine.

Any experience or thoughts on this?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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11 Dec 2011   #2

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

The question is rather sweeping. There are several levels for XP apps that don't just install and run like they are supposed to. There's built in compatibility mode. You can set it to run as XP SPn where n is the service pack number. With Ultimate you can use XPMode which loads a VM image you can get from MS. Beyond that, before picking which machine to buy see if you can get XP drivers for all the hardware. If so, and you have an XP install disc, you can create a partition and install XP as dual boot.

It's not that difficult to install XP as dual boot on a single HD if you know how to recover from errors. Most people get frustrated because they follow all the steps, then when they try to boot XP from the boot menu they get "ntldr missing or corrupt" error message. If you have the XP install CD that can be fixed in 5 minutes. Just boot the CD to command line. Change to root dir like "cd \" and hit enter. Do "dir ntldr /s" to find where ntldr file is. The other file you need, ntdetect.com will be in the same directory. CD to that directory. Copy both files to the partition that has XP installed. Reboot.

Here's the general procedure for the dual boot install:

Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP

Also in follow-ups to that thread the 'ntldr missing" error fix is discussed.

Make sure you can get XP drivers though, if you think you may want to dual boot.

The other consideration, if you have a few specific apps you have to use check them for Windows 7 compatibility:

Windows 7 Compatibility: Software Programs & Hardware Devices: Find Updates, Drivers, & Downloads

Also go to their support forums and see if they've been run successfully on Windows 7. There are too many thousands of apps for me to say x% run no problem on Windows 7. Depends on the app. Also if you get a 64 bit Windows Seven then 16 bit apps are a no go. You'd have to run them under an emulator.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Dec 2011   #3

Win 7 Pro 64
 
 
Emulator thoughts

Good information and thank you very much for the reply. Regarding the emulator, that's pretty much all I would expect or hope for. Windows 7 Home Premium 'supposedly' does this pretty well but I was pretty let down when using it on my laptop. I don't mind ponying up for Win 7 Professional or Ultimate but would expect that the emulator actually works well (versus what I received with Windows 7 Home Premium).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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11 Dec 2011   #4

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

There are also 3rd party emulators you can get free such as VirtualBox. Also for really old 16 bit programs you may be able to get them to run in DoxBox. I haven't tried XPMode myself but many on the forum here swear by it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Dec 2011   #5

Win 7 Pro 64
 
 

Thanks again for your help, MilesAhead. Appreciate your helpful pointers very much.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 XP software issues and Windows 7 Pro




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