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Windows 7: How effective are virtual OS's?

14 Aug 2017   #1

How effective are virtual OS's?

I've got a hankering to run some old software that was built for XP.

I could create a partition and install XP, but, according to the manual, my motherboard doesn't support it.

I understand you can run other OS's within W7 in a kind of sandbox.

Is this an option? I've never tried it before.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Aug 2017   #2

Windows 7/8.1/10/XP multiboot

Depends on what you're using them for, but virtual machines can be extremely useful for certain purposes. If your old software won't run on Win7, then you're a good candidate for virtualization.

If you haven't explored the subject of virtualization before, I've got a webpage that may perhaps help you wrap your head around just what a virtual machine is. I've been using VMs for a long time, and I wrote the webpage over a decade ago to help explain what they are to people who couldn't quite grasp what the heck I was talking about.

Of course, I'm using more modern VMs these days, but I still do most of my websurfing via VMs. I also use a VM with my trusty old scanner, whose software won't run on Win7. And I use VMs to trial-run software before deciding whether to commit it to my main machine.

For the sake of performance, you'll want to use a computer with hardware-assisted virtualization (fortunately, that seems to be common nowadays), lots of ram (minimum 8GB, but more is better), and a 64-bit host OS (to make use of all that ram).

On the PC platform, the most common virtualization programs are Microsoft Virtual PC, Oracle VirtualBox, and VMWare. The first two are free, but I'm not sure about VMWare.

Microsoft has changed VPC since I wrote my webpage and you now have to jump through a few hoops to get it working. It's also only good for running other Microsoft OSes, so doesn't support linux.

The latter two will run either linux VMs or Microsoft VMs equally well.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Aug 2017   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64

VMWare Workstation is free.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

14 Aug 2017   #4

win 8 32 bit

Virtual box is free virtual PC have been around for many years the great thing is they use virtual hardware so you can copy them to any of and they run. If you rent a webserver most now are virtual servers one of may run a few virtual machines
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Aug 2017   #5

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)

Have you tried to install and run it directly in Windows 7? It will probably work, because XP was around not that long before 7. However, if it installs but doesn't work, you could try using Compatibility Mode. Right-click on the program's icon and choose Properties. Then click on the Compatibility tab. Here you can pick the version of Windows that will be best for running the program -- this will make sure Windows follows the rules for that version of Windows when running that program.

If that doesn't do it, then you can try Microsoft XP Mode for Windows 7:

XP Mode has two parts: free virtual machine software, and a free copy of XP to run in the virtual machine. Running XP Mode will be like the "sandbox" idea that you mentioned in your post.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2017   #6


Folks, thanks for your inputs - I'll take them all onboard.

FYI, the stuff I want to run won't do it properly in W7 (using the inbuilt converter) so it really needs a good VM.

Virtual Box seems OK. Anyone tried it?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2017   #7

Windows 7/8.1/10/XP multiboot

Virtual Box is very popular, so I'm sure you'll find plenty of people here with VBox experience. I've been a fan since v2.

Two tips to keep in mind:

(1) Remember that a virtual machine is effectively a different "machine", with its own "hardware", albeit virtual hardware. That means that it needs its own separate license. If your host machine has an OEM product key, don't expect to be able to reuse that product key for the VM's OS. The VM won't have the same "hardware" as the host machine. (This is not unique to Virtual Box--the same is true for VMs created in any other virtualization program.)

(2) Virtual Box comes with "VM Additions" software, which you should install on the guest OS after it is installed. "Additions" are special virtual drivers that enhance the guest OS, such as giving it the ability to drive higher resolution displays.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Sep 2017   #8

Windows 7 home 64 bit

From my experience every OS I have ran on virtualbox has run flawlessly except for windows 7 with a few visual artifacts and windows 10/8 and a few versions of Mac OS especially Sierra
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How effective are virtual OS's?

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