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Windows 7: No Virtual Tricks 

Microsoft has used virtualization for years to ensure compatibility. Windows NT ran on RISC chips like Alpha, even though it was native to Intel. The solution was the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL), a thunking layer that more or less let NT run on different processors.

Some gurus saw this approach and thought a somewhat similar approach could work with Windows 7 to help it run the software and drivers Vista failed to support. The idea was to use a virtual layer that mimics older OS architectures. The newest OS -- say, Windows 7 -- would be the leader and underneath would run the virtual layer. If done elegantly, you wouldn't even know the virtual layer is there.

Microsoft hasn't chosen this approach with Windows 7, and so far the compatibility reports are pretty good. These virtual pundits may be smart, but the Windows 7 dev team may be even smarter.

Posted by Doug Barney on March 16, 2009 at 11:53 AM