Can I run my current Windows XP software programs on Windows 7?

Dear CNET members,

Happy Saturday! Time sure flies; my son is back in school and in San Francisco we are finally getting some real nice warm weather. For those of you who are new to this newsletter, I welcome you! I know that as a new subscriber, this whole newsletter may be a bit abrupt and confusing. To get caught up, check out the community newsletter archives. You'll see that each week's Q&A comes from the previous Friday's newsletter. So check them out and join the rest of CNET's community members in helping each other out and voicing your opinions--it's all good fun, and I hope you stick around. Now let's see if we can put Bryan's concern about running Windows XP programs on Windows 7 to rest.

Before we jump into this topic, I just wanted to put out there that our forum moderator John Wilkinson has put together for you a comprehensive and up-to-date list information on Window 7 for you folks who may be curious or interested in moving to Windows 7, so have a read and get informed. Thanks John!

Well, Bryan, a lot of great suggestions trickled in for you, and it looks like most members who have posted in the forums said that most XP programs should run on Windows 7 without any assistance at all, and where you may run into some problems is if you are running 64-bit version of Windows vs. 32-bit Windows. And for those folks who are running Vista already, those software programs should run on Windows 7 with no issues. Many members also advised to run the Microsoft compatibility wizard for software, which is currently only available for Vista (7 version should be out soon), but it should work just fine.

Now for the programs that just will not run on Windows 7. First the good news. In Windows 7 there is a Windows XP compatibility mode (called Windows Virtual PC and will require a download from Microsoft), that will allow you to run XP programs. However, as a few members pointed out, the bad news is this feature is only available on Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions. And there are also PC hardware requirements that must support virtualization software. So that is a bit of bummer, as I'm sure many of us at home will most likely be running the Home edition of 7. But if you have those incompatible programs Windows 7 Pro may be the answer for you. But run the Windows adviser just to be sure you'll need it.

Well, I've gone over just a few quick points to Bryan's questions, but for more in-depth details, please read through our members' suggestions and advice. I have a few picked out to start you off in the Q&A section, so please read on, as Windows 7 release is right around the corner--and what better time to get informed than now. Thank you all for your great contributions! Have a spectacular weekend, folks!

- Lee


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