• Welcome to OnlyTech Forums
    An online community for the tech enthusiasts!
    Log in or Register

Get ready for Windows 7

Biswajit.HD

Guru
Member
Joined
5 Aug 2011
Messages
2,290
Reaction score
281
Are you looking forward to Windows 7, but unsure whether an upgrade is the best idea? We’ll show you how you can make sure all your hardware and software is compatible.
Important tools for upgrading to a new OS
SecurAble: shows, whether hardware virtualization is possible
VirtualBox: starts XP on a virtual PC
Driver Collector: displays all existing drivers
Outlook Backup Assistant: secures all settings
TBBackup (Thunderbird): saves mails and contacts
MozBackup: preserves all Firefox settings
PERSONAL BACKUP: TRANSFERS PERSONAL DATA

Microsoft Office, PowerDVD, and Photoshop – these are just a few examples of programs on which CHIP readers have spent lots of money. Many have even customized and optimized these applications, since they spend lots of time on them. Their effort should not go to waste if they have to start all over again with a new operating system. Those who skipped Vista clearly showed Microsoft that they want a new version of Windows, but only if their old, dear applications run flawlessly, if existing hardware continues to function, and if their personal settings do not need to be saved for a second time.

Windows 7 is now supposed to be able to do all that. The switch is not only promised to be more comfortable and simpler than any other Windows version upgrade before, but it should not give rise to any additional costs for new hardware and software either. While XP in its day needed “only” a lot more system processing power and memory than its predecessor, Vista changed the entire driver model, which hardware vendors sometimes didn’t bother to update to. The result —from scanners to sound cards, a host of peripherals and components had to retire prematurely. Compared to that, Windows 7 is promised to not need more resources than Vista and even the driver architecture has not changed. Therefore, every device that worked with Vista will also work with Windows 7. Should there however be problems, then these can easily be overcome by working with Vista drivers. Windows 7 basically has XP and Vista compatibility modes ready for such cases.

Windows 7 vouchers are already being given out free to those buying

new PCs or notebooks , saving them the cost of the upgrade which is just weeks away. The cherry on the icing is that Microsoft promises that in Windows 7, all the existing software can be used just like it used to be. In a special XP-mode, it is in fact also supposed to make programs which failed in Vista work too. Sounds too good to be true? It is. Over several days, CHIP tested dozens of applications and ascertained that the brand new XP-mode is actually a deceptive marketing tool. In the end, we finally developed a free, more efficient alternative for you. With this, you can use all applications in the new Windows 7.

XP Mode: Expensive fake padding.

Before we present our alternative, we will have a look at the original and show where the faults lie in Microsoft’s new XP mode. The first trap is that Microsoft only provides this luxury for a price. XP mode is included only in the Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate versions of Windows 7. Users of the less expensive Home Premium version, which will be preinstalled on most PCs, go empty handed. The second trap is that in a test using the Windows 7 Release Candidate, XP mode program worked with only 65,536 colors. This was apparently important to prevent programs from consuming too many system resources. The third trap is that you might even need a new CPU and/or motherboard, because technically, XP mode is implemented with the help of Microsoft’s Virtual PC 7. This tool runs in a special mode in the background, giving you the feeling that you are still working with Windows 7 when you actually launch a virtualized instance of Windows XP. This, in turn, requires hardware-based virtualization through the CPU (AMD-V or Intel VT) and also needs the corresponding option to be activated in the BIOS. If this is not available, a BIOS update usually helps. Using the Tool SecurAble, which is given on this month’s CHIP DVD, you will be able to find out whether your system is capable of running a virtual machine. The program works with Intel and AMD processors. Start it by simply double-clicking its icon. If you get a “No” as the result of “Hardware Virtualization”, then the only thing that can help is changing the CPU—or our CHIP alternative for the XP-mode!

A Way out: The homemade XP mode

With the help of VirtualBox, which is also available on the issue CD/DVD, you can simply create your own XP mode. The advantages: our solution also runs on the Home Premium version of Windows 7, a new CPU is not required, and you get the full 1.6 million colors at whatever resolution you need. And if your PC does support hardware virtualization, you will not experience any loss of speed. You only need a valid license for Windows XP, which you might have since you are upgrading.

First install VirtualBox. After starting it, create a virtual PC through the “New” button. In the wizard, select “Microsoft Windows” as the operating system under Version ‘Windows XP”. In addition, you must name the virtual machine, e.g. “XP Mode”. As the working memory, assign at least 512 MB; more if you have enough. The virtual hard disk can make do with 30 GB. After closing the wizard, insert your XP setup disc in the drive and enter its letter in VirtualBox through “CD/DVD-ROM”. Alternatively, you can also specify an existing XP ISO file here. Now “Start” the virtual PC and install XP as usual.

Once this process is over, it is time for the real trick. Select “Devices | Install Guest Add-ons” in VirtualBox and follow the instructions of the set-up wizard. Once that is done, you can switch between the virtual PC and Windows 7 using the mouse cursor. Now select “Machine | Wireless Mode”. That is what will let you really simulate the Windows 7 XP mode. Once the virtual PC is active, above the Windows 7 taskbar you will see the taskbar for Windows XP. You can open Start menu from there as usual and execute programs. The VirtualBox control window stays in the background. If you wish to open the VirtualBox window again, press the right-side [Ctrl] key and [L].
Networking: Find Windows 7

Luckily, establishing a network connection in VirtualBox or in Windows 7 is simple enough. Simply proceed step by step.

Connect Through a Network: In the VirtualBox window, configure the virtual machine as follows. In “Network”, select the entry “Network bridges” in the tab “Adapter1” under “Connected to”. With this setting, the virtual computer obtains an IP address from the LAN and can then also access network resources and the Internet like the host-computer.

Setting Up Network Drives: After that, click on “Start | Computer” in Windows 7 and then right-click on a hard disk which you want to access in the virtual PC. In most cases, this can be the Windows 7 root drive. Through “Share with | Advanced Sharing | Advanced Sharing | Share this folder" define the hard disk as a networked drive.

After entering a name for it, go to “Authorizations” and decide whether the virtual PC should have “Full access” or “Read-only” access. Now start the virtual PC and select “Devices | Shared folders”. Click on “Add” and select the entry “Change” in the next dialog under “Folder path”. Open the directory path “Network”. If there are several computers available there, select Windows 7 and then the created network drive. Confirm all unconfirmed dialogs with “OK” and open “My Computer”. Through “Tools | Connect Network drive”, assign a drive letter to the Windows 7 hard disk. Using “Browse | VirtualBox Shared Folders” activate the network drive. From now on you can see, change and manage all the data on it like a normal hard disk.

IF YOU ALSO WANT WINDOWS 7 TO BE ABLE TO ACCESS XP, FOLLOW THE SAME PATH IN REVERSE. RIGHT-CLICK IN XP ON THE “C:” DRIVE AND SELECT “SHARING AND SECURITY | CLICK HERE IF YOU STILL WISH TO SHARE THE DRIVE”. NOW, UNDER “NETWORK SHARING AND SECURITY”, ASSIGN THE DRIVE, SWITCH TO WINDOWS 7 AND SHARE THE XP DRIVE THERE THROUGH “START | COMPUTER | CONNECT NETWORK DRIVE”. NOW THE APPLICATIONS WORK TOGETHER PERFECTLY, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHICH OPERATING SYSTEM THEY HAVE BEEN INSTALLED ON.

Source : Chip magazine.
 
Top Bottom