There is still a cheap way you can run a Windows XP computer
Share on Twitter.
Get the most reliable SMTP service for your business. You wished you got it sooner!
April 11, 2014
As you probably all know by now, Windows XP's expiration date of support and security updates officially ended as of Tuesday
this week. With about 21 percent of all personal computers still running Windows XP, there's a good chance you are among those whose computer
is now running an unsupported operating system. That could leave the door open to some serious hacking down the road.
And doing an upgrade to Windows 7 isn't a good option either. Yes, it will keep all your apps and settings, but it'll also
preserve all the clutter and some very bloated files that slows down an old Windows install, and you're still limited to 32-bit
What you need to do is to reformat the hard drive, start all over, and reinstall all your programs and software.
But you'll be happy to learn that there's another, albeit little-known secret to replace your old, unsupported XP operating system
with a new one that's fairly secure, current, gets regular Microsoft security updates and comes free of charge.
The solution is to simply run Windows XP as a 'Zombie OS' on something else. Chances are you're already using Windows XP for a particular
application that's incompatible with 64-bit Windows. Backwards compatibility with legacy code was dropped to keep the size and complexity of
the OS down.
In fact, Vista was the first 64-bit version of Windows to see some adoption, even if that OS never won the hearts of nobody, when its
users suddenly found that some of their beloved but ancient apps didn't work any more.
So, MS' Windows 7 introduced a workaround-- run in Windows XP Mode. This is a free download for Windows 7 Pro and above, comprising
two files-- a compressed virtual machine containing a complete, pre-installed copy of XP Pro, and a copy of Microsoft's free desktop
Hypervisor Virtual PC, preconfigured to run that copy of XP with desktop integration.
In that manner, Windows XP appears on Windows 7's desktop and so on. This has been dropped in Windows 8.x – the newer OS has its
own built-in hypervisor, and by now, you're meant to be running 64-bit native apps anyway.
But Windows XP Mode still remains a free download, and with a little work, you can get it running on the cheaper editions of
Windows 7, or Windows 8.x – and even on Linux Ubuntu. All you need is a different hypervisor.
If you're a committed VMware user, then the freeware VMware Player will do, but otherwise, Oracle's Virtual Box is free and open source
You only need proprietary code for the extension pack, which adds USB2 support among other things – but it's still free!
You can download the XP Mode VM freely from Microsoft's website, but to do so, your PC needs to pass Windows Genuine Authentication.
Once you have the file, you'll need an archiver to unpack it.
You need an XP licence, of course – the copy in the VM is keyed against Virtual PC's emulated hardware and will fail when running on
VirtualBox, so you're going to need a valid XP Pro licence key.
Microsoft handily includes a key in the download file ("sources\XPM\KEY"), but the chances are it won't work. Of course, you may well
have one on a sticker on your PC case or knocking around somewhere.
Once you've unzipped the downloaded file, you'll find another archive ("sources\xpm") inside it. Extract that, too. In there, there is a
VirtualPC VM image and its virtual hard disk ("VirtualXPVHD").
Next, create a new Windows VM. Move Virtual XPVHD into your new VM's folder ("~\VirtualBox VMs\XP Mode"), insert a full stop
in the appropriate place ("VirtualXP.VHD"), and when VirtualBox asks whether to create a new virtual HD or use an existing one,
Now you can boot your new virtual machine. It has to go through the final stages of setup – that's your chance to set it to the proper keyboard
of your choice, etc and then it will finish loading.
The catch is that the VM has the "VirtualPC Integration Components" pre-installed, and they won't work under VirtualBox, meaning
that the VM will lock up.
You'll have to forcibly power off the VM, restart it, uninstall the VirtualPC files, try to shut it down, watch it freeze again, close
it, and reboot it again.
However, it should still restart OK, at which point you can install the VirtualBox additions and reboot it again. Now, you're
in business, and you'll also probably remember why you wanted to get rid of XP in the first place.
In other IT news
Fujitsu said earlier this morning that it's in the process of bringing its system-on-chip (SoC) designs to the next level for
two new super computers it says get 40 percent more processing capacity while consuming less than 50 percent of the power required.
The company also says that its GS-21 2400 and GS-21 2600 SoCs need 70 percent less data centre space. The SoC devices at the heart of
the two servers consolidate 14 chipsets, Fujitsu added.
The new servers can run up to eight cores, a 256 KB primary cache, 24 MB of secondary cache, I/O processor, memory controller and
The new units, due to ship in September 2014, include software enhancements supporting up to 10 virtual I/O configurations per cluster,
rather than the three original configurations per cluster of the current generation systems, with as many as 20,000 virtual I/O devices per
There's also various software enhancements-- standard SQL interfaces in the GS-21sx that features Fujitsu's “Data Utilization Pack”
providing server access to GS-21 network databases and relational databases.
The new design also features a Web interface that provides mainframe access from mobile devices and an access management UI that
offers design support, user authentication, and ID management.
Additionally, the company announced that it has won a contract to upgrade the supercomputers at Japan's space agency JAXA. It's
currently developing the planned 3.4 Petaflops machine, a successor to its PRIMEHPC FX-10, which will have 24 times the capacity of
JAXA's current super computer.
It's clear now that Fujitsu is competing headon with the likes of CRAY and other super computer makers. We'd be tempted to say
that Fujitsu is liking the higher margins on those SCs.
In other IT news
Seagate's fully owned subsidiary LaCie is announcing new storage solutions using 6 TB disks and Thunderbolt connections for faster performance.
That’s 12 TB in the 2-drive 2 big system, 30 TB in the 5 big enclosure and 48 TB in the 8 big rackmount shelf itself.
LaCie says the 8 big is its first rackmount Thunderbolt 2 connect product so far, but that others could be in the works soon.
The 2 big transfers data at up to 420 MB per second with its two Thunderbolt 2 ports. It can use USB 3.0 for more everyday connectivity.
It has a hardware RAID controller and a pair of hot-swap 6 TB Seagate drives spinning at 7,200 RPMs. The RAID provides 0 (striping) and 1 (mirroring)
levels with a JBOD facility allowing the two disks to be used independently.
LaCie suggests up to five 2 bigs can be Thunderbolt 2 daisy-chained with a 4K display to a MacPro to create a 4K video workstation with 72 TB
of raw storage capacity.
The 30 TB model can transfer data at up to 1,050 MB per second and has hardware RAID 0, 1, 5 and 6, and the JBOD facility is present
as well. There are dual Thunderbolt 2 ports again.
The spec sheet says users can reduce power consumption by pressing the front button to spin down disks without disrupting daisy chain
The 1U rackmount 8 big will cost more. LaCie says forget Fibre Channel, Thunderbolt 2 is better, and the system can deliver up to 1,330 MB per second-- “Unlike Fibre Channel,
Thunderbolt 2 is truly a plug and play and single-vendor solution. No port mapping or multithreading is required to achieve this performance.
Thunderbolt technology even supports optical cables, which means you could connect a LaCie 8 big rack system to a computer located up to 200 feet away.
There’s a hardware RAID controller with levels 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 and the JBOD setup option. With that kind of speed, videographers can work directly
from RAW files in Apple Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere, get maximum quality from footage, and see edits in real time.
Get the most dependable SMTP server for your company. You will congratulate yourself!
Share on Twitter.
Need to know more about the cloud? Sign up for your free Cloud Hosting White Paper.