Virtual XP Sales Pitch Scam for Windows 7 (Vista2)Mon 10 August 2009
I keep hearing this in Futureshop, a store I go to look at things before I go buy them at stores like ncix.com or pcvonline.com. Salespeople selling computers frequently mention "Virtual XP" mode that will run XP applications.
What they NEVER mention is that the majority of the PCs they are selling can't do it. I have watched them outright lie to people, saying a specific machine can "run their XP programs" in Virtual XP mode. If you're looking at a new computer and do have an XP app that is critical here are three things to consider:
Vista and Windows 7 can run programs normally in an XP-compatibility mode. For many programs this is all that's needed. Virtual XP has massive overhead compared to this method.
Also - this isn't new. The ability to run a virtual XP , DOS, OS/2 , 386BSD is already available for free. People have been doing it for few years now. Were it not for this ability I wouldn't be able to use Linux as my desktop - free virtualization lets me run windows apps I have to use for work in a window in Linux - so when the piece of shit OS crashes I just restart the window, Linux happily chugging along. It's probably a real time saver for windows devs who can run a solid OS like RHEL as their main host and go between crashing windows virtual machines without having to wait for the whole machine to reboot. Many of the programs that do it are free or cheap, and will run on Mac, Windows and Linux . VMWare, KVM, Parallels, VirtualBox all let you do this, some of them will even do it if you don't have a CPU with the virtualization support. Microsoft's Virtual XP is a similar program which they bought from another company. Keep in mind you need tons of memory to do this, 4GB or more is a good idea. It's also quite painful if you have a single-core CPU.
Finally if you are considering using virtualization on any new computer, check that the CPU has the VT feature. There's a list for Intel CPUs here:http://ark.intel.com/VTList.aspx and for AMD CPUs check here: http://www.amd.com/us/products/Pages/processors.aspx