Saturday, September 05, 2009

XP Mode: I Love You, I Love You, Not

One of the biggest advantages of Windows 7 is that the Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise versions come with the ability to run Microsoft's XP Mode virtualization software. So, we get the best of all worlds. The Windows 7 desktop, Vista Kernal, and the ability to run legacy enterprise software like TCF programs that require IE 6.0.

My first attempt at installing the software was a blazing success. I was able to create a 512 MB Windows XP machine that could use all of the internet connections within my primary test PC and run legacy enterprise software without any of the bugs that were present with Vista and hiccups using IE7 or IE8. Brilliant!

So, lets continue on this success and see where things go with a little less powerful PC and less robust version of Windows 7 (32 bit). Then the pain of of the upgrade began to hit home.


My first test was built around Monster PC which has an Intel Core2Quad Q6600 processor. Because this CPU was a "high end" processor in 2007 when I made the purchase, it supports virtualization. When I moved on to install on my backup box it would not work because I was running an E7200 Core2Quad CPU I purchased last summer for less than a hundred bucks which is considered an Intel entry level CPU which does not have the VT coding built into the CPU. So this means that my upgrade of SpareParts from a leftover E6400 processor (purchased in 2006 and supports VT) to the budget beater E7200 CPU (which is a Core2Quad CPU built with only 2 of the four cores present) I downgraded my CPU by upgrading in performance because of its placement in Intels CPU lineup at the time. I cannot say that I am mad, ticked, or any other means of angered, but I can imagine that IT pros are going to have a hard time trying to implement this technology in the enterprise where more times than we like to admit that budget constraints control the type of hardware that is purchased.

So where is this list of CPUs? Ed Bott did lots of research to put together a list of Intel CPUs and compatibility that can be found here. Page 2 has the desktop CPUs and Page 3 has Mobile processors.

Good luck with XP mode if you choose to make the adventure and may your CPU be compatible.

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