- by Jack Doyle
I have a 9 year old desktop PC that has been through it all. It's had the motherboard replaced, CPU replaced, RAM replaced, hard drives replaced, you name it, it has been replaced. It has an ATI All-In-Wonder video capture card that I have been using to convert old VHS tapes of home movies to MPEG videos. The problem is, ATI never wrote drivers for Vista or Win7 for this card. So, I scoured through the forums, searching high and low, for a solution but came up empty. I knew I didn't want to continue to use Windows XP and wanted to upgrade to Windows 7 but I didn't want to lose the functionality of video capturing. I decided to dual boot!
If you are not familiar with dual booting, it is the act of installing and booting to two different operating systems on a single computer, and the ability to choose which operating system to load when the computer starts up. A perfect example of why one would dual boot is the scenario I stated above. Sometimes it is still necessary to use old legacy hardware that is not supported by newer operating systems. In these cases, you may choose to dual boot your PC.
If you don't have multiple hard drives in your PC, you will need to partition the drive so that you can install each operating system on separate partitions. Next, you should install the operating systems in the order they were released. In my case, I installed XP on a small 8 GB partition, and installed Windows 7 on the remaining unallocated space. Now, when you start up your PC, you will be prompted to choose the OS you would like to load.
Maybe you have an old software package that either won't install or run correctly under Windows 7. Instead of dual booting in this case, you can utilize the power of virtualization. Windows 7 integrates with Virtual PC extremely well, allowing you to run a legacy application in XP mode. The best part of XP mode is you don't actually have to start up the virtual machine and run the app. XP mode stays hibernated until you need it. And, you never see the Windows XP instance after you install and publish your legacy application. You simply see your application running in a Windows 7 window!
As you can see, you don't have to throw out that old piece of hardware or software just because it isn't supported on your new PC. There are several ways to provide compatibility whether it be through virtualization or dual booting. However, sometimes it is better to let go of the past and buy new gear!
Mmmm, new gear. If you'd like some more tips on dual booting and grabbing some new gear for your small to mid-size business in the Philadelphia area, drop us a line!