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I am a developer and have a XP laptop that I use to dev a SQL 2005 database and MSAccess 2003 frontend database as well as VS2003 website.

I want to upgrade to Win 7 using XP mode to install the software above. This is because I still want to install Office 2007 on Win7 etc.

Do you think XP mode on Win7 will be reliable enough for this? Also do all xp mode apps have to run in the xp mode window? Is it possible to access xp mode SQL db from Win 7 mode?


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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes it is reliable enough (well about as much as you trust MS), a colleague runs the same setup for a VS 2003 and 2005 project, development works great.

XP Mode is basically a Microsoft Virtual PC pre-installed with XP SP3, bundled and configured with Windows 7. So yes you should be able to connect to your XP mode SQL Server from the host, as the VPC allows host-guest networking.

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I'm using the XP mode everyday for development and it's actually better than using Virtual PC. Most everything is seamless, from cusors to typing to drag and drop. Quad cores and gigs of memory do help the overall experience though. – Chris Feb 10 '10 at 22:01

As far as I know:

if your computer is powerful enough to run that software in another VM, XP-mode is as good as any other (theoretically)

Apps installed under your XP Mode will run "seamless" (so no Window around it), but off course are crippled since they aren't natively on your system. They also won't support the Windows 7 eye-candy as far as I can test it now.

To be sure: create an image or vhd of your current XP installation, then switch to Windows 7. If it all doesn't work out, you can easily switch back!

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Assuming you have the appropriate hardware, this should work just fine. XP Mode can either run the applications seemlessly and look like native Win7 applications, or you can open the VirtualPC image directly and interact with them in their native environment.

One of the great uses of XP mode is to be able to side-by-side install applications that otherwise wouldn't co-exist on a system. This is a great use of that ability.

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Assuming you have the appropriate hardware,

There is more to this than just having enough horsepower. The CPU must have "virtual" capabilities and it may have to be enabled in the BIOS. If your machine is too old you may not have this option.

See this thread for all the details.

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