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Close-Up: Windows 7 XP Mode

Old Habits Die Hard

Most of us remember Windows Vista's debut—along with the hype, anticipation, and incompatibility with legacy applications that went with it. Is it any wonder that at the beginning of this year, two whole years after Vista’s launch, that enterprise adoption of the OS still hovered at the 10% mark—while nearly all other Windows deployments were with XP?

And beyond compatibility, let’s be honest, there just wasn’t much about Vista that could turn heads. The much-lauded Aero interface was a total dud. Who in their right mind would pay $100 to $300 for opaque edges plus a bit of glow and be happy about needing to pay more for beefier graphics hardware in order to support the user interface?

Well, we could spend all day beating the Vista piñata. But at the end of the day, legions of users, corporate and consumer alike, have made do with XP and still have no complaints about doing so. Now we have Windows 7 around the corner, which looks much the same under the hood as its predecessor. If you’re still using XP because of incompatibility problems with Vista, the new boss will be met much like the old boss—with a cold shoulder.

Say what you like about Microsoft, but the company rarely makes the same mistake twice. Microsoft has too much riding on the Windows 7 launch for business users to take another pass. That’s why we now have the arrival of Windows XP Mode (XPM), an add-on for Windows 7 that delivers a virtual Windows XP experience.