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Reader Feedback: Windows XP Lives!

As expected, our entry last week about Windows XP slowly dying brought XP fans out with claims that the operating system is very much alive and well. (And it must be, considering your editor is using it right now.) Frank writes:

Hey, I'm running XP until I can't. Vista and Windows 7 both have network issues connecting to multiple domains. Until someone can tell me how to:

1) Login to one domain
2) Connect to file shares in another domain
3) Did I forget to mention that the domains cannot directly trust each other or become part of the same tree, directory, etc.? (Whatever the new buzz word is for Active Directory, NDS, etc...)

I haven't played with the Windows XP compatibility in Windows 7 yet, but it would not be enough to allow all applications to see the drive shares. Ah, the fun of having someone else in charge of a large part of my work space and the ability, or rather lack thereof, to do something about it.

I hate the control changes when browsing files. I used to be able to use backspace (very fast and quick 'look Ma, no mouse needed!' in Windows XP) to change up directory levels. In Windows 7, it gets into a round-robin and doesn't come out! And don't get me started about that horrid ribbon in Office 2007 and 2010. Yuck to the core! Dang, Microsoft, just pull the rug right out from under me and give me nowhere to land. I do like some of the speed differences in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 to get to a desktop. But that's about it.

Maybe Linux desktops will be a thing of the future.

Frank, we know that you meant that last line as a joke... (Seriously, he originally put a smiley on the end of it.) As great as Windows 7 is, it can be, as the English say, too clever by half. Many of the new capabilities are great, but the OS also breaks processes and shortcuts that are familiar from XP -- and that did and do still work just fine. It's hard to undo nearly a decade of OS habits.

As for Mike, he'd love to move a client to Windows 7, but it's not going to happen:

I would love to move my biggest client to Windows 7, but here's the catch: My client is running SBS 2003 and with the economy, especially in California getting ready for another down-turn, we will continue with SBS 2003. It is working just fine; we have had no issues and no security threats (like everyone else, so far). But the biggest thing is that Windows 7 does not function with SBS 2003 \\servername\client\setup.exe, which must be run when connecting a machine to the SBS 2003 domain so that it provides the necessary hooks into the desktop OS for Exchange, MS Fax and the intranet Web page.

Even with the users as member of Windows 7's local "Administrators" group, that SBS client setup.exe will not run. I have been working with Microsoft now for more than three weeks for a solution and based on most things I read, I am not the only one having this same issue. The standard answer is upgrade to SBS 2008. But wait, wasn't one of the big soap-box shouts that Microsoft touted was that Windows 7 is more backward-compatible than Vista?

Here is also more proof that this is statement is incorrect. You set up your users to have a home directory "\\servername\users\%username%" (which is also where their roaming profiles are located). You have a Windows 7 machine join the domain, log on as a user and try to get your roaming profile, but all you get is a temporary profile. You look at the server, and guess what? Windows 7 has created a new home folder called "\\servername\users\%username.V2%" and that folder has NO permissions assigned to it.

We are looking at replacing 23 machines. Guess we will have to go out and dig up copies of XP that are still available since Windows 7 won't work.

Mike, that sounds frustrating beyond belief. As you said, you surely aren't alone in having that kind of problem. Sometimes, Microsoft forgets that businesses don't just move to the latest version of a product as soon as it comes out. Microsoft has gotten much better about backward compatibility, but clearly there's still work to do in that area.

Thanks to Frank and Mike for their contributions and to everyone who has taken the time to write recently. We're going to get back to running reader e-mails more often, so send your thoughts on all and sundry topics to

Posted by Lee Pender on September 16, 2010 at 11:56 AM