Microsoft makes habitual empty promise: Win8 will run well on Win7 hardware

The new OS always needs more power, graphics and features older business PCs don't have

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Windows XP machines had to have a full new install, which means losing all the user's data and applications.

April 8, 2014 is death day for Windows XP, after which Microsoft won't ship any more new security patches or hotfixes although, Rose wrote.

Which means the time is coming to move on to the new, untested, barely even demo'ed new operating system

"Two-thirds of business PCs are still on Windows XP. Moving these users to Windows 7 is important and urgent work for us to get after together," according to Tami Reller, corporate VP and CFO for Windows, whose "us" meant Microsoft and the resellers in the audience at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles.

The number of machines running Windows 7 outgrew the number running Vista in April, after Microsoft sold 350 million licenses; Windows XP was bigger than both, running on half of all installed PCs worldwide, according to IDC.

Since both Microsoft and its resellers net huge windfalls when customers upgrade to new operating systems – especially in an IT economy in which more and more software is available for rent rather than purchase – it's hard not to suspect her evaluation of what is "urgent" is based on criteria different from those that have kept all those businesses running XP all this time.

It's also hard not to suspect there's some fudging or unwarranted optimism in the real milestone Reller set yesterday by saying Windows 8 will run just fine on any machine currently running Windows 7.

Microsoft has said that about the upgrade of every version of its operating systems I can remember, from the earliest editions of DOS for Clay, With Cuneiform Tablet Interface right through XP, Vista and Windows 7.

Microsoft has always been careful to spec the new OS just within the upper end of the high end specs of the previous OS, and to trim down the code bloat of the new version so it will launch on older hardware, though more than one customer has been starved or bored to death waiting for the screen to change.

A friend of mine who insisted Windows 95 would run on his aging PC spent so much time staring at the little "wait-for-it" hourglass icon the image was burned permanently into his left cornea.

He uses tinted contact lenses with glitter to highlight it; it looks good.

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