Windows 7 Compatible Sticker Will Mean 64 Bit

Apparently Microsoft has managed to learn at least a little bit from the Vista compatibility disaster, although I still don’t think that they’re going to win any cigars for the way they’re handling Windows 7’s compatibility ratings.

The key quote from an item on PCPro reveals that if a machine has a “Compatible with Windows 7” sticker, then it is a 64 bit computer.

So what tests have Microsoft set for Windows 7 compatibility? The software giant states that any machine carrying the sticker will have to “work with all versions of Windows 7”. That includes the 64-bit versions of the operating system, which Microsoft claims “is an important change since 64-bit systems are becoming more mainstream”.

In some ways this isn’t bad news because 64bit systems really are becoming more “mainstream”. The bad part is, like the change from 16 bit to 32 bit, the change from 32 bit to 64 bit is going to be a big source of confusion and difficulty for a lot of people.

Obviously I’m not talking about the more tech minded, up to date people, rather a lot of “Joe Average” types that are going to run into an assortment of problems.

Just one good example is Windows 7’s “Windows XP Mode” that I’ve seen an increasing amount of talk about. The downside is that it requires a CPU / Chipset that has VT (Virtualization Technology). Where you get bitten in the backside there though is that even though you might have it, that doesn’t mean it’s enabled on your particular chip.

One slashdot commenter had this to say about it:

You have an E7400, do you have VT? Well, do you have an E7400-SLGQ8 or an E7400-SLGW3? It’s nothing that your IT department couldn’t slog through for you(and if you are really lucky, they’ve been speccing for it for some time now); but I pity the plight of the adventurous but dubiously detail oriented guy who learns that XP mode isn’t going to happen because he has the Q8300-SLB5W rather than the Q8300-SLGUR.

As you can see there’s a very real source of confusion here and that’s just with Intel chips, I have no idea where AMD and other chip makers stand on the issue. In the end only time and I”m sure a lot of unpleasant experiences will get things sorted out. For me, I consider things like this to be one of the very few benefits of being five to seven years behind in computer technology. By the time I can afford it, my stuff just works. It may not be able to do some of the whiz bang features of the latest state of the art stuff and it may not be as fast as I’d like but it does what I need it to do just the same.

Then there’s the fact that Microsoft has been claiming for a long time that any hardware capable of running Vista will be able to handle Windows 7. That may be (and in my opinion remains to be seen to be believed) but then there’s the Windows XP mode and the whole mess about VT. I also have no doubt that once machines start showing up in stores with Widows 7 bundled we’re going to be hearing about all manner of crap.

[Tags]microsoft, virtualization, virtualization technology, windows 7, windows 7 compatible, windows 7 compatibility, 64 bit, 32 bit[/tags]

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