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Just a question in between. A friend of mine brought me a laptop that does not work anymore and wanted me to check whether I can do something. She told me it's Windows 7, and startup screen and login screen look like it. However, as she gets a bluescreen on startup it is only possible to boot in safe mode where the system pretends to be Windows XP SP3. The system also may have 1 GB of RAM but the system itself states that it has 954 MB of RAM which is a value I've never seen before.

Is everything corrupt from operating system to hardware, or am I just a newbie that does not know that Windows 7 pretends to be Windows XP SP3 in safe mode? Or is this laptop just the victim of an illegal, crazy copy of Windows XP sold as Windows 7? Maybe some strange Chinese stuff? I also recognized that the startup screen of Outlook Express reads "Outllok Express" (no typo) I´m kind of confused, maybe someone could put light into this ;)

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migrated from May 22 '10 at 18:07

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My guess is it's a dual boot machine with both Windows 7 and XP installed, and XP is the system that gets "chosen" over 7 in the boot process for some reason. – Pekka 웃 May 22 '10 at 18:03
The memory figure most likely comes from the fact that integrated graphics hardware tends to use a part of system memory for its video memory. Pekka: you mean SU, I guess :-) – Joey May 22 '10 at 18:04
Anyway, the 954 MB of RAM are hardly surprising: no doubt the graphics subsystem is "stealing" 70 MB or so for its own uses -- such systems (stealing system RAM for video & processing thereof) are very common. – Alex Martelli May 22 '10 at 18:04
only one OS installed that pretends to be Win7. no dual boot system btw. – Joachim Kerschbaumer May 22 '10 at 18:04

How is it "pretending" to be Win XP SP3?

It sounds to me like Windows 7 was never on the machine.

What does the output of systeminfo |find "OS Name" and systeminfo |find "OS Version" from the command prompt say? It should come back with some version of Windows 7 and Version 6.1.7600. If it says version 5.1, you have XP installed. When you open a command prompt it should say Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7600] on the first line.

Also, Windows 7 doesn't come with Outlook Express, It was renamed after XP to Windows Mail. It sounds like your friend got hustled.

As for the RAM, it's probably just shared with the video card.

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no, it's more likely that it's a dual-boot system, and somehow, it chose XP over 7 in the safe mode boot. like which ever OS was the 'default' booted into its safe mode. – studiohack May 31 '10 at 22:38
@studiohack - I would agree with you, except for the fact that the OP said in a comment "only one OS installed that pretends to be Win7. no dual boot system btw." It is pretty easy to see if the system is dual booting, as you see both volumes in My Computer. – MDMarra May 31 '10 at 23:00
Actually, you're right about the dual boot. a very interesting question, that's for sure. that's for the clarification! :-) – studiohack May 31 '10 at 23:26
@MDMarra: Nitpicking: You can install and multi-boot multiple Windows installations from the same partition (it's probably not officially supported, though). So only having one volume does not mean it's not a multi-boot system. Plus, each installation might be set up to only see its own partition. – sleske Jan 23 '14 at 12:37

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