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Maybe running your old XP programs after April 2014 is not so easy after all

I have a client that is running a business critical piece of software on an old XP system.  I had a meeting with them last week about their transition to Windows 7 (they hate Windows 8) and the main point of contention is what happens to this software.  They would like to keep it running (the new subscription for the software is £800 per year so I don’t really blame them) so I suggested virtualizing the XP system and running it on the new Windows 7 system when required.  Sounds like a plan.


Virtualizing the system was pretty straight forward using VMWare P2V Converter and because I tend to use Oracle Virtualbox to run my virtual machines I had to tweak the settings a bit.

NOTE: If anyone is going to run a virtualized XP system on Virtualbox you need to set the IDE Controller as PIIX 4 or you will get blue screens when you try and boot.

Once the virtual machine started it was time to test it and this is when the problems started. The business critical software will not run inside a virtual machine!!  I have come across this with games inside a virtual machine but never commercial software before.  I am guessing it is due to copyright laws but whatever the reason it will not run fullstop.  Even Google couldn’t help on this one.

The clients only options are to run the old system (without internet access) on the network and use it only for this software or stump up the yearly subscription fees.

If you have a piece of XP software you need to keep going past April 2014 then I suggest you check if it can be run inside a virtual machine before you get a nasty surprise when it can’t.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

Is Windows XP dead? Not by a long shot!!


April 8th 2014. Put that date in your diary as it is the date all support for Windows XP ends. You must be thinking “so what consumers and businesses will have upgraded to either Windows 7 or 8 by then surely”. Or will they?

Current statistics show that Windows XP is currently the second most used operating system on the planet with 37.17% share. Yes its share is dropping month on month but at the current rate it could still be the second or third most used operating system when support ends next year (depends on if Windows 8 finally starts making inroads). So why is that?

In most peoples minds XP “just works”.  They have become so used to it that they don’t want to upgrade unless their hardware dies and they have no choice.  I regularly see PC’s with XP installed which are 6-8 years old which the customer would rather clean up and keep working rather than upgrade to a new one and lose XP.

In the business environment things are much different.  Here applications have been written specifically for XP and businesses are very loathe to upgrade and possibly lose them.  At present Windows 8 is no goer for a lot of businesses so Windows 7 is their only upgrade option.  Even though they have an upgrade option a lot of businesses will still turn to running Windows XP inside virtual machines just to keep their old software running.

A lot of this problem is down to Microsoft themselves.  When Vista turned out to be a complete disaster they extended Windows XP’s lifecycle to counteract the possibly of consumers and businesses turning to OS X and Linux. It worked but it also had the side effect of making people reluctant to upgrade when Windows 7 came out.  If Microsoft has any sense it wont make them same mistake with Windows 8 (even if it turns out to be a dog like Vista).

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more!!

 

 

 

 

My little eeepc 701 lives!!

It lives!! About a month ago my trusty Asus Eee pc701 developed the ‘click of death’ – bugger.  Initially I thought the hard drive was the soldered SSD type which would have meant game over (new motherboard required) but after checking I realised it wasn’t.


Next stop was ebay and I managed to find a new SSD hard drive (16 Gb) for the lovely some of £25 – not to bad.  It arrived the next day and after much rejoicing was fitted.  Now what software to run on it? Initially it had a mighty 8Gb SSD so Windows XP fitted but Windows 7 was a struggle.  Turning to Linux I settled on Lubuntu and it ran smoothly until the hard drive started to fail.  This time around I wanted to see how it would cope with Windows 7 installed so I installed Home Premium first.  With only a 900 Mhz processor under the hood the eepc 701 was never going to be a speed freak but it does run Windows 7 smoothly enough (it is upgraded to 2 Gb RAM) but it is restricted to a resolution of 640 * 480 which is not great.  Due to this limitation I turned back to Linux and currently run it on Linux Mint 13 with the XFCE desktop.  It runs quickly enough for the tasks I need to use it for.

Now why would I go through all this hassle for a netbook which is now 5 years old? A couple of reasons:

1. I hate throwing out old kit.  If I can reuse a piece of computer equipment I will.  The Eeepc 701 still has life in her yet!!

2. Configuring routers and troubleshooting wifi issues.  This is the mainstay for the eeepc 701.  It is great for configuring routers on existing networks and troubleshooting wifi issues. As much as I love my Blackberry Playbook this is one area the netbook trumps it.

3. Sometimes I just want to type.  Surfing the internet on a tablet is great but sometimes I just want to type instead of using a touchscreen keypad.  Yes my Blackberry Playbook has a bluetooth keyboard which is great but it is not the same is it?

4. It is very portable, light and has very good battery life.

Now I could use a laptop but since I don’t own one I would have to go out and spend hundreds of pounds to get one.  The eeepc 701 cost me £25.  No contest is it?

Do you own one of these wonderful little machines?

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

Have you tested that software yet?

April 8th 2014.  You may want to add that date to your diary as it is the end of support date for Windows XP.  If you are still on Windows XP after that date you will not get any further security updates from Microsoft and your systems will be vunerable to all sorts of nasties if they are connected to the internet.


But that seems ages away so why should I worry right know?

True it is still a while away but it is always better to start planning these things early so you don’t end up struggling to make the switch right at the end.  Another thing to think about is will your software run on Windows 7 (or even Windows 8)? Getting systems for employees and training them up on the new operating system is one thing but not having a piece of business critical software running correctly (if at all) is a BIG problem.

If you start thinking about what software you use now, along with slowly upgrading your systems then the cost in terms of training and system outlay can be spread out.

OK so you know what software you currently have and what you will probably need in the future but how do you go about testing it with Windows 7?  You have the following choices.

1. Go out and purchase a system with Windows 7 and install the software on it.  Use the software over a period of time (personally I would say one month) and try to accomplish tasks you would do on a daily basis.  This should give you an idea how the software performs on the new operating system.

2. Install Windows 7 as a virtual machine on your existing system and test the software as described above.  The advantage of this method is that you only have to purchase a copy of Windows 7 and not a complete system.

3. If your software is not able to run on Windows 7 you can try either running it inside a Windows XP virtual machine, running it in XP Compatibility Mode or you may have to purchase a similar piece of software which does run on Windows 7.

Whichever method you chose I would strongly suggest you start thinking about testing your software sooner rather than later.  In doing this any teething issues that you weren’t expecting can quickly be resolved (my printer doesn’t work with Windows 7 — argh!!).

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

 

IPv6 for Windows XP


Like it or not IPv6 is coming and quickly too.  All modern operating systems have IPv6 installed and enabled by default – except Windows XP.  IPv6 is indeed installed but it is not activated.

Open up a command prompt and type:

ipv6 install

Then press enter. IPv6 is now enabled on your machine.

With the onset of IPv6 the way our computers identify each other over the internet will change.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

The internet is changing


Don’t worry it won’t be imminent but it will happening over the next 18 months or so.   You see the addresses that everyone uses at the moment are called IPv4 addresses (e.g 152.52.1.21) and they are running out.  A new standard of addressing called IPv6 is designed to replace IPv4 in the next couple of years (estimates range from 2012 – 2016). So what exactly is IPv6 and how is it so different to IPv4?

IPv6 is a 128 bit hexadecimal addressing system (e.g fe80::154d:3cd7:b33b:1bc1) where IPv4 is only 32 bits (e.g 192.168.1.1).  To put this in context if each address were a grain of sand , you could comfortably fit all the IPv4 addresses into the back of a small truck, however you would need 1.3 million Earths to fit all the IPv6 addresses in!!!

So there are more addresses anything else?  IPv6 also has built -in Quality of Service (QoS). This is the ability to provide different priority to different applications, users, or data flows, or to guarantee a certain level of performance to a data flow.  It also has improved security (IPSec is used by default), more efficient routing and simpler configuration.

So what does this mean to you?  Basically without some tinkering Windows XP will become obselete as this does not have IPv6 support enabled by default.  You would have to upgrade to Windows Vista or Windows 7 (possibly Windows 8 if it is released).  Windows Vista, 7, Server 2008, nearly all Linux distributions and Mac have IPv6 support enabled by default so running any of these is fine.  Chances are though that your router is not IPv6 enabled so you would have to buy a new one of these.  The way your computer gets its IP address would be exactly the same.  If like me you work in the IT sector you will need to become familiar with IPv6 and how to configure it.

There will be a transition period when everyone will be switching over so its not like someone will flick the switch and the internet will be turned off so don’t worry.  The change is on its way.

IPv6 is coming that much is certain.  Now is the time to start looking at your infrastructure and see if you are able to make the transition smoothly.  This is where ComTech can help.  I can advise on different setups, configure them where necessary and maintain them on a schedule dictated by you.  Go to www.comtech247.net/business-it for more information.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

CyberChimps
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