Customers looking to tailor an application to Microsoft’s latest iteration of the Windows client now have a new tool at their disposal. In collaboration with Microsoft, ChangeBASE has introduced AOK4SMB, a Cloud-based offering designed to perform application-compatibility testing and remediation for apps that need to be adapted to Windows 7 Professional. AOK for Small and Midsize Businesses (AOK4SMB) is available for free until the end of July 2010. SMB customers, developers and IT professionals can upload their app into AOK4SMB, and have the tool assess Windows 7 Professional compatibility but also automatically remediate problems, free of charge.

“The ability to ensure application compatibility when migrating to a new operating system is crucial for any organization,” Colin Gray, global sales director, ChangeBASE, noted. In fact, one of the largest impediments associated with businesses embracing a new OS is related to incompatibility worries. Microsoft offers a range of resources capable of allowing customers to evaluate potential compatibility problems, but the twist added by AOK4SMB is that the automatic remediation of issues is also performed. More »

With the advent of Windows 7, Microsoft introduced a range of virtualization features and capabilities previously unavailable in Windows client platforms. The latest iteration of Windows supports Boot from VHD, has its own virtualization technology that integrates seamlessly with Windows Explorer, namely Windows Virtual PC, and even allows users to access a free, activated copy of Windows XP SP3 via Windows XP Mode.

However, in certain scenarios, such as virtual-machine duplication, the default resources offered by Microsoft put users through unnecessary pain. XP-More is a free tool offered through CodePlex, designed to simplify the duplication of XP Mode items, but also additional VMs for Windows 7.

“Have you started to utilize Windows 7 XP Mode to get past Application Compatibility issues? This is a great tool for SME customers but one of the issues some people experience is setting up the VM’s for each user with the required applications on them, installing virus scan, etc. More »

When it launched Windows 7 Release Candidate Build 7100, Microsoft also introduced the last two features it had kept safely up its sleeve until then, namely Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode. Essentially, the Redmond company revealed that it was planning to provide a fully activated copy of Windows XP Service Pack 3 to all Windows 7 users running the Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate SKUs.

Five months after the availability of Windows 7 RTM, Windows XP Mode RTM and Windows Virtual PC RTM, an update delivered by the software giant is synonymous with the evolution of the free virtualized copy of XP SP3 for the latest Windows client.

When Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC were initially introduced, they came with a set of requirements. First off, the technologies would only be available to customers running the Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate editions of Windows 7. At the same time, Microsoft had made hardware-assisted virtualization capabilities mandatory, meaning that users had to run Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC on machines equipped with CPUs with HAV support and that had HAV enabled in the BIOS. KB977206 comes to correct this aspect.
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Microsoft is offering free downloads of all its supported Windows clients, including Windows 7 RTM, Windows XP and Windows Vista. Starting with the advent of Vista, customers, partners, IT professionals and developers have been able to take advantage of a variety of offerings involving free releases of Windows from the Redmond company. Furthermore, the software giant has made somewhat of a tradition from making sure that XP, Vista and now Windows 7 are available as free downloads in order to streamline various testing, training, planning and adoption programs.

Various releases of Windows, packaged both as ISO and VHD images can be grabbed from the company, and installed into testing environments immediately. In this regard, it is critical to note that one downside of the free Windows OS downloads is the fact that the bits cannot be deployed into production.

On December 29th, 2009, Microsoft has updated the virtual hard disk images of Windows Vista and Windows XP. Initially delivered following the release of Internet Explorer 7, the VPC Hard Disk Images of XP and Vista are designed for testing websites in accordance with multiple Internet Explorer versions. There are three copies of XP SP3 and two of Vista available at no charge via the Microsoft Download Center. More »

Windows XP Mode is an optional download for the Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions of Windows 7. It provides a licensed copy of Windows XP with Service Pack 3, saved in Virtual Machine Hard Drive Image (.vhd) format. When run in Windows Virtual PC, or another compatible program, this virtualized installation of Windows XP lets you run applications that might not run well in Windows 7. Windows XP Mode is also handy if you have an older device with a proprietary driver that hasn’t been updated for Windows Vista or Windows 7. If it worked great in Windows XP but doesn’t work in Windows 7, give it a try in Windows XP Mode.

NOTE: Windows Virtual PC requires a computer with hardware-assisted virtualization. That means the CPU has to support either Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT) or AMD Virtualization (AMD-V). In addition, hardware virtualization must be enabled in the BIOS. Both Intel and AMD offer an array of processor options, some that support hardware virtualization and some that do not. If you’re buying a system expressly for the purpose of running Windows XP Mode, be sure it meets these requirements. More »