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I am helping an older gentleman with his new computer. He is a scholar, and he wants to use scholar programs that are not compatible with Win 7. In addition, he has a scanner and a printer that does not have a driver for Win 7. He currently switches between his (really) old computer and his new one, and would like to eventually use only the new computer. Right now, he's not as productive as he likes to be because he switches from his old and new computer, and he cannot do as much on the new computer (due to incompatible software).

I rarely recommend this, but I would like to revert him back to XP. That way, he has compatibility for most, if not all, his programs and hardware (at least more compatibility than Win 7 has to offer). In addition, he can transfer his documents and such from his old computer to his new one so he can stick with one workstation and say good riddance to his old one. He is willing (to an extent) to purchase productivity software, but he's adament about using the scholar programs he's used for so long.

Do you have a recommendation? I'm asking because I want second opinions for his best interest. I'm all for keeping him with Win 7, but I think reverting him to XP is best. I want him to be productive, not frustrated.

New Computer Specs: Win 7 Home Premium, 4 GB RAM, AMD Athlon X2 3.00 Ghz, 500 GB HD

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3 Answers

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Why not try "XP Mode"? This is a free download from Microsoft that provides a virtual machine running XP within Windows 7. From the Microsoft site...

Windows 7 has several built-in tools to help with program compatibility and Windows XP programs should be installed directly on Windows 7. Windows XP Mode runs many older Windows XP productivity programs and that are not natively compatible with Windows 7, thus helping realize cost savings and reduce possible operational downtime by extending the life of existing software. Visit the Windows 7 Compatibility Center to find software that works with Windows 7.

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Thought about that, but I wasn't sold on it. Perhaps I can mimic his old computer environment using this. I'll take a look into it. Thanks, Dave. –  edmastermind29 Mar 11 '12 at 7:11
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There are a few things to keep in mind here. Just because he has a license for XP on his old machine doesn't mean that you can transfer the XP to the new machine without violating Microsoft licensing.

Also, you will want to check with the manufacture of the computer to see if they have Windows XP drivers available for download. If they do not then Windows XP may not be a viable alternative to Windows 7 for that machine.

However, there are a few solutions that may work for your client. They could run Windows XP in a virtual environment with software like VirtualBox from Oracle. They would be able to install their software and port USB devices (Printer and Scanner) to the virtual machine. The printer could be shared and then mapped within Windows 7 as a networked printer. I don't know how feasible of a solution this would be since some people don't adapt to change very well.

As far as the scanner and printer within Windows 7, if the drivers are not online from the respective manufacture, you may want to Google their model numbers with Windows 7 to see if anyone else has gotten it to work.

Your other option for the Scholar software would try to run it in compatibility mode. You may also want to try this with the drivers to see if they will work. I use to have an older Canon scanner that did not work under Windows 7, but was able to get around it by using Compatibility mode. I was able to do the same thing with an older motherboard and the video drivers.

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Tried this dialog, didn't work in my case. I know there are Win 7 specific drivers out there. I am worried about having network drivers falling into this category to start with. I plan to backup so I can redeploy if such issue arises. –  edmastermind29 Mar 11 '12 at 7:13
    
bummer. it's a hit or miss sometimes. –  kobaltz Mar 11 '12 at 7:15
    
Virtual Machine was my other option. As I stated in the other answer, perhaps I can mimic his old environment, but the setup for such things might get crazy (especially the hardware setup). I'll continue to look into it. Thanks, kobaltz. –  edmastermind29 Mar 11 '12 at 7:23
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I have a friend in a similar situation. I've taught her to use a virtual machine, one with windows 7 and one with windows xp. I configured it for her so that the windows xp vm would always show up on one monitor and rerouted the xp document/pictures/videos/downloads folders to vbox networkshares so her documents folders stay in synch. She can just move her mouse and keyboard from on monitor to the other without any issues, and in most instances she can drag and drop.

This is slightly tedious to set up, and far more tedious to teach to someone not computer inclined, but virtual machines are an excellent workaround for situations like this, if you absolutely can't get required programs to work in a current os.

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