Mac users have long known the benefits of running software not available on the Mac, within a virtual machine on their Mac. All they have to do is purchase and install virtual machine software, such as VMware Fusion or Parallels, and a full version of Microsoft Windows. Windows 7, in the Professional and Ultimate versions, offers this capability as a free download from the Microsoft web site.
Why would I want to run windows XP on a Windows 7 computer? If you have legacy hardware or software that will not work in Windows 7, you could save a significant amount of money. For example, say you have prior versions of Adobe Creative Suite and Pagemaker that will only run on Windows XP, or have an expensive printer that won’t work on Windows 7, XP mode could save your bacon.
CPAs and bookkeepers may need to use legacy financial software that requires Windows XP. Personally, I needed to install Coreldraw, and it refused to install on Windows 7, but worked flawlessly in XP mode. Your needs may be different.
What’s the downside? You have another computer operating system to maintain. This means installing and maintaining security software, installing Windows updates, and maintaining any other software you have installed in XP mode. Additionally, when XP mode is in operation — you only use it when you need to — it takes away computing resources from Windows 7. In other words, your racehorse becomes a much slower workhorse!
What’s the upshot? If you do not have a simple, inexpensive solution to your software or hardware compatibility problem, Windows 7 XP mode could be just the ticket!