When Win7 ships you’ll need to buy all new software

… like not.  There’s one thing that consistently bothers me about Windows 7.  The very much obvious “hiding” of the compatibility issues of software.  When you look at what Windows 7 does to ensure that you can run your old apps it does two major things.. one it tweaks the compatibility settings for you by running a compat wizard.  And two, if you have Win7 Professional or higher and hardware that will run virtualization you can run a virtual XP mode.  Oh yeah, and the UAC is lowered down so it won’t throw up yellow warning windows.

Why does this annoy me?  For several reasons. 

One, Win7 is just adding a compatibility wizard to walk you through the steps needed to make older software work on Win7.  It does EXACTLY the same steps that I do on Vista, it just runs a wizard to do the steps for you.  But the compatibility tweaks are not unique.  I’ve done them before in Vista.

Two.  If your software is so old that you need to install it on XP, the chances are that it sucks in the security department as well.  Okay okay I know business is key but just keep in mind that if it flat out will not run on anything but XP and demand administrator rights and the firm has not released a new version, that firm is proabably out of business.  If you can’t afford a new version, that’s one thing.  If the new version doesn’t provide your business with value, that’s another.  But if the firm hasn’t come out with a version that supports Vista, or Win7 and will only support XP … and it’s been this many years since Vista came out?  How healthy is that company anyway?

Three.  That pesky UAC.  Personally I liked the annoying warning windows.  Because each time that app threw up a yellow warning window that’s shorthand for “I’m a sucky coder”. If the driver installer throws off a UAC error, that’s a sign that they are not signing drivers and will keep you in the 32bit world. 

With XPMode in systems that are Win7 professional or higher it means to me that we will have XP around for a long, long time.

Now this is the time to investigate if you can make the jump from 32 bit to 64 bit.  Most of our core apps at the office run in 64 bit just fine.  Really really old tax software that runs in 16bit hates 64bit.  Mind you this is like 1988/1989 vintage software and the statute has closed on those tax years anyway, so it’s a bit of a moot point.  That’s not to say that you won’t find clients that have really old 16bit only software, but for the vast majority of your software that we run,  even if it was bought in 2004, it will run just fine on Windows 7.

But the idea that you have to now buy all new applications and can’t use your old crappy ones… unfortunately they’ll be around for a long long long time.

One Thought on “When Win7 ships you’ll need to buy all new software

  1. Joe Raby on July 25, 2009 at 9:02 am said:

    “if the firm hasn’t come out with a version that supports Vista, or Win7 and will only support XP … and it’s been this many years since Vista came out? How healthy is that company anyway?”

    I’ve been saying this ever since Vista went into public beta knowing that XP’s days were numbered for customers buying new computers.

    Some businesses don’t care about gaining any new customers (or existing customers updating their IT stack with new computers with new OS’s)…

    They just lay off their entire dev team after product launch, and contract out a support team and expect that their customer base will stay on their existing hardware and software forever because a call center (especially an overseas one) is much cheaper than paying for developers.

    Those businesses don’t stay in business too long.

    If you want good software, get it from a company that is an active Microsoft partner, and look for a Certified for Windows seal, because it’ll mean that it works equally well on both 32-bit and 64-bit.

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