5 Ways To Hold On To An Old Version Of Windows

Tina Sieber 08-07-2014

Your new computer came with the latest version of Windows. While you really like the added speed and storage space, you cannot come to terms with the new OS. Or maybe some of your hardware or software isn’t compatible Is Your Software & Hardware Compatible With Windows 8.1? Windows 8.1 is much more than a simple service pack! Upgrading could mean you're stuck with a buggy OS. Don't be fooled into upgrading to Windows 8.1 before checking whether your current setup is compatible! Read More . Here is how you can combine the best of the old with the new Windows.


Try Compatibility Mode

In many ways, Windows hasn’t changed that much over the years. If your strongest reason for wanting to hold on to an old version is issues with running older software or games How to Run Old Games & Software in Windows 8 One of Microsoft's big strengths -- and weaknesses -- is their focus on backwards compatibility. Most Windows applications will work just fine on Windows 8. This is especially true if they worked on Windows 7,... Read More , try compatibility mode.

To enable compatibility mode in Windows 7 or 8, right-click the respective program shortcut, select Properties, and switch to the Compatibility tab.

Windows Compatibility Mode

In Windows 8, click Run compatibility troubleshooter, which will aid you in identifying settings to fix issues. In Windows 7 you can click Help me choose the settings, which opens a Help and Support window with suggestions; from there you can also launch the troubleshooter.  In both Windows 7 and 8 you can check the button to Run this program in compatibility mode for a matching operating system.

Dual Boot Your Old Operating System

The advantage of a dual boot is that you’re running full versions of both operating systems and can share files between them. The compromise is that the only way to switch between the two Windows versions is to reboot. You will also need a legal copy of Windows 4 Cheap Ways To Obtain A Legal Copy Of Windows 7 It seems like Microsoft is hitting the nail with Windows only every other version. Windows 7 was one of them. Thing is, Microsoft doesn't sell Windows 7 anymore. Here are your options. Read More  to install into the dual boot setup.


Setting up a Windows dual boot is surprisingly easy. Basically, it’s a matter of installing the second operating system on a separate partition Manage Your Hard Disk Partitions Like A Pro With EaseUS Partition Master [Windows] When you ask a tech crowd about disk partition managers, many people will agree that EaseUS Partition Master is the best tools for the job. Why? Because it offers many great features, yet remains easy... Read More and Windows will automatically take care of the rest. Note that this separate partition could be an external drive. Once installed, you will be asked which version of Windows you would like to boot whenever you start your computer.

Windows Dual Boot Choose OS

Depending on which versions of Windows you want to dual boot, you might run into different issues or subtleties, which is why it’s worth looking into the following setup guides: Microsoft on setting up a Windows multiboot, SevenForums’ guide to dual booting Windows 7 and XP, our guide on how to dual boot Windows 8 with Windows 7 Not Sure About Upgrading? Then Why Not Dual Boot Windows 8 With Windows 7? Are you interested in Windows 8, but don’t want to abandon Windows 7 just yet? Well, why not dual-boot Windows 8 and Windows 7, selecting the operating system you want to use each time you... Read More , and EightForums’ dual boot installation guide for Windows 8 and 7 or Vista.

Run It In A Virtual Machine

With a virtual machine What Is a Virtual Machine? Everything You Need to Know Virtual machines allow you to run other operating systems on your current computer. Here's what you should know about them. Read More you can run one operating system from the desktop of another. This is a great way to test a new operating system 6 Quick Ways To Get Familiar With A New Operating System In the past, the only consumer operating systems that mattered were Windows and maybe Mac OS X and Linux. Now, we also have Chrome OS, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone to worry about. And new... Read More or run certain programs in an older version of Windows. While you don’t have to reboot to switch between one OS and the other, the drawback is that virtual machines are often resource intensive and could end up being slower than a proper installation.


One of the best tools for running an old version of Windows on your new computer is VirtualBox. The open source tool is completely free and supports all current versions of Windows, as well as Linux and Mac. If this sounds like a good deal, read our full VirtualBox review VirtualBox's Guest Additions: What They Are and How to Install Them What are Guest Additions in VirtualBox? Here are the benefits of adding Guest Additions to VirtualBox and how to install them. Read More or our guide to installing Windows 7 on VirtualBox How to Install Windows 7 on a VirtualBox Virtual Machine Microsoft will soon stop support for Windows 7. One way of keeping it running is through a virtual machine with VirtualBox. Read More .

Run Windows In Virtual Machine

Install XP Mode

XP Mode is a type of virtual machine for running Windows XP SP3 on a virtual hard disk. It’s freely available for Professional versions of Windows 7, although a license for XP will also let you enable XP Mode otherwise.

To run XP Mode on Windows 7 How To Run Windows 7 In XP Mode & When You Need This Read More , you need to install Windows Virtual PC. We have previously outlined the XP Mode configuration How To Configure & Use Windows 7's XP Mode Read More .


Windows Virtual PC

Installing XP Mode on Windows 8 Forget the End of Life Woes: Windows 8 Has an XP Mode Windows XP mode is restricted to Professional versions of Windows 7. But there's a way to get Windows XP Mode running on Windows 8 anyway. All you need is a computer running Windows 8. Read More requires a hack, which my colleague Chris outlined in his article.

Windows 8 XP Mode

Change The Interface

If the sole source of your frustration is the new interface, change it. You can make Windows 7 look like Windows XP How To Make Windows 7 Look Like Windows XP Some people have a hard time letting go of Windows XP. If you know someone like that, follow this tutorial and they won't even know you upgraded them to Windows 7. Read More by switching to a different theme.


In Windows 8, you can also change the theme Amazing Windows 8 Themes You Need To See Windows has always had an active community of enthusiasts who customize everything about it, including its desktop theme. Although Microsoft tries to prevent this, Windows 8's desktop can be themed just like Windows 7's. We've... Read More . Furthermore, Windows 8.1 allows you to avoid the modern interface by booting straight to the desktop (Windows 8.1 Update 1 Windows 8.1 Update Is Here! What It Is & How To Get It Now Curious about the latest Windows 8.1 Update or not sure what this is about? KB2919355 is a cumulative update that comes with useful features. It can also be removed in case it causes issues. Read More does this automatically for destkop computers). Briefly, go to the desktop, right-click the taskbar, select Properties, and switch to Navigation. Under Start screen, check the box When I sign in or close all applications on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start.

Windows 8 Boot To Desktop

Don’t Hold On Too Long & Go With The Times

Holding on to an old version of Windows isn’t worth it in the long run, especially if it’s for sentimental reasons 5 Reasons Why You Love Windows XP & What You Sacrifice Nearly 30% of computers are still running Windows XP. It was a stable and reliable system for years, but all good things come to an end. Almost no good reasons to keep using Windows XP... Read More . Eventually, you’ll have to bite the bullet and upgrade to a new operating system Which Operating System Should You Choose for Your Next PC? Buying a new PC? You have more operating system choices than ever. Which is the best operating system for your computer? Read More .

Are you still sticking to an old version of Windows or are you helping someone do so and what’s the reason? Is switching to Linux The Best Linux Distributions For Windows XP Refugees Read More or Mac easier than accepting changes in Windows?

Image credits: Multi Boot Screen by Mitch Garvis

Related topics: Software Updater, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows XP.

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  1. penulis surat lamaran
    August 14, 2014 at 2:16 am

    thanks for this article..
    in Indonesia we still depend on windows xp on many software

  2. A41202813GMAIL
    July 9, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    In The SUMMER Of 2009, After Some M$ Update(s) Turned My Machine Into A Snail, I Uninstalled All M$ Updates I Could Live Without, And Have Never Ever Ever Installed Newer Ones Since ( Only M$ Updates ).

    Meaning - I Am Fully Exposed To The XPocalypse Since Then - 5 Years And Counting.

    Th(at/ose) M$ Update(s) Bothered Me A Lot More Than All The Malware In 20+ Years Put Together.

    I Continue NOT To See Any Reason Big Enough To Change My Mind.

    And Yes, I Use The Internet Every Single Day.


    • Tina S
      July 20, 2014 at 8:04 am

      Somehow I haven't seen this comment up until now...

      How have you secured your XP installation? Do you use anti malware software or do you run your browser and other software with Internet access in a sandbox?

    • A41202813GMAIL
      July 20, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      No Sandbox Whatsoever.

      A - XP Own Firewall Without Any Exceptions,

      B - MCAFEE Virusscan Enterprise 8.8 Religiously Updated Every 6 Days.

      CHROME Is My Main Browser.

      I Use IE8 For Video Streaming And Popup Blocking - It Is The Fastest I Know For Those Two Tasks - Credit Where It Is Due.

      I Changed IE8 Download/Prompting Default Settings, Because I Believe They Are Wrong.


      ( Five Years And Counting )


  3. ????? ?
    July 9, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Cool story !

  4. dragonmouth
    July 9, 2014 at 12:02 am

    Spoken like true fanboi. Corporate clients get Windows support because they pay through the nose for it. When was the last time you got free support from M$?

    BTW - I got a newsflash for you. Red Hat and Canonical are making loads of money on Enterprise grade Linux and support of it.

  5. dragonmouth
    July 8, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    Yes, TaxAct does have an online version. However, I don't trust their security. With banks, department stores, credit card companies being hacked into, I don't want to be one of the first victims of somebody hacking 2nd Floor Software (TaxAct). Besides Linux needs a native version of tax software.

    • Tina S
      July 20, 2014 at 8:08 am

      Is your XP machine online? If yes, how do you make sure your tax information doesn't get hacked into?

  6. dragonmouth
    July 8, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    I have been 99.99% Linux user for at least the past 10 years. The other .01% has been XP just so I can run TaxAct income tax software. Linux has nothing comparable.

    Theoretically, I could/should upgrade to Win 7 or (SHUDDER!) Win 8.x. However, the practical side of me wonders why should I waste my money on a new O/S and new hardware, when my old O/S (Linux) works very well on the hardware that I have.

    • Ed
      July 8, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      Doesn't TaxAct have an online version? Or is it not as good as the installed software?

      I use TurboTax online, and it gives me everything I need for self-employed/small business taxes too.

      With Windows 7 support ending in Jan 2015, it will soon be time for more people to consider Linux or hang on until Windows 9 in Spring 2015.

    • hamss
      July 8, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      Linux can't replace Windows in any business environment. There is no money to support it if it gets bigger. I would rather buy Windows 8 and get professional software and support.

    • Tina S
      July 20, 2014 at 8:08 am

      Why upgrade your computer hardware if you're happy with your old one and why spend money on an O/S when you can get one you like for free? There's absolutely no reason. More power to you!