Since the emergence of Microsoft Windows up to the Windows XP the users have been provided with backward compatibility features. Personally, I think that this is one of the main reasons why Microsoft Windows is still on the market. It is because Windows never forced you to change all the software in your computer to be able to work. Of course, you can find several exceptions to this, but in general, especially on Windows XP, we can run plenty of old applications. Supporting old software creates a very big overload on the operating system because it has to port old libraries keeping new ones as well. So how Microsoft plans to keep it for next decade?
Windows 7 XP Mode a new way to ship backward compatibility
Already Windows Vista was built on two cores- old NT4 and new Longhorn to keep everyone happy. Of course, that was not the case but the effort Microsoft made to make it happen was really big. Microsoft newest baby – Windows 7 will be built fully on Longhorn core which is not supporting old applications. So how Microsoft will make everyone happy again? As Peter wrote in this post, Windows 7 will be shipped together with XP Mode. Not all Windows 7 versions will have XP Mode on board. You will have a Windows XP license when you buy at least Windows 7 Professional. XP Mode is a very neat workaround for all kind of backward compatibility issues. When you turn on the XP Mode it will run a separate Virtual PC instance on which you will have Windows XP running.
Working on XP is fully transparent
When you turn on XP Mode you still see the same application window as it was launched in Windows 7. The difference is that all operations will be passed to Windows XP Operating System making it fully independent. Of course, if you want to install a program you have to move it to XP Virtual Machine and launch it there but, all in all, the whole solution is quite nice and clean. XP Virtual image supports hardware CPU support so your processor will not be virtualized. However, the biggest drawback is that XP Mode is not supporting Hardware Graphics Card acceleration so the old 3D games will not work, or will be very slow.
Windows XP has been 9 years on the market
This means that Windows 7 will have to manage to survive on the market until at least 2017. This is a long time. However, the new Longhorn core opens a brand new gate for Microsoft. By providing XP Mode Microsoft made a silent breakthrough to finally resign from supporting old applications in your operating system.