Windows 7 security primer, part two

XP Mode can solve app compatibility issues that arise when migrating to Windows 7

Application compatibility is one of the most difficult obstacles users face when migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7. Fortunately, Microsoft offers some solutions, including XP Mode. This week, as part of my continuing series about major security changes in Windows 7, I'll focus on XP mode.

I should add that I'd planned on discussing both XP Mode and AppLocker this week but didn't want to skimp on either by cramming both into a single post. Thus, I'll discuss the latter next week. Also, as I noted in part one, I'm a full-time Microsoft employee.

[ InfoWorld's Roger Grimes explains how to stop data leaks in an enlightening 30-minute webcast, Data Loss Prevention, which covers the tools and techniques used by experienced security pros. ]

XP Mode is but one option for dealing with app compatibility issues that might arise once you've deployed Windows 7. Microsoft does offer an excellent Application Compatibility Toolkit for troubleshooting and resolving compatibility issues, but many organizations lack the expertise or time to investigate every little problem. Alternatively, you may find that an application that worked with Windows XP simply will not work with Windows 7.

Enter XP Mode, available for Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions of Windows 7, as a free, downloadable, licensed virtual copy of Windows XP Service Pack 3. It's a pre-packaged VHD (virtual hard disk) that auto-logons when launched, although this feature can be disabled. When applications are installed in XP Mode, they appear as stand-alone apps in Windows 7, showing up under the menu bar. You also place them as regular desktop icons on the host desktop.

Most users probably won't notice that they're running a particular app in virtualization mode, other than the conspicuous slowness they'll experience the first time after booting up. It's pretty cool to see Internet Explorer 6 running alongside Internet Explorer 8 on the same desktop, which is a fairly common need for application compatibility (and XP Mode).

1 2 3 Page 1
Page 1 of 3
Subscribe today! Get the best in cybersecurity, delivered to your inbox.