Have You Ever Heard of a Virtual PC?
As a remote designer, I sometimes think of myself as of a virtual person. Well, I must seem like such to customers that I work for. They never saw me, we never met. I am a voice on the phone. They send me work and I get it done… So for a virtual guy like me, who just bought a new PC with Windows 7, 64 bit and who finds it hard for some older applications to be run or even installed under the new Windows operating system, the idea of ‘Virtual PC’ sounded very appealing. I mean I liked the term ‘virtual’ right away – without really knowing what it means…
As I mentioned, I came home with this brand new computer and even thought I did some research prior to getting Windows 7 (and 64-bit in particular) about compatibility issues, I found out that some applications just won’t work. My biggest disappointment was that I was not able to install AutoCAD 2004 on W7. I use CAD 2004 for reading and marking up of plans (I wrote about that in my older blog: http://goulddesigninc.com/2012/02/13/electronic-plans-what-have-you-found-to-be-the-best-way-to-handle-multiple-files-at-once/). Turns out that CAD 2004 will not work on my PC – won’t even install. I tried a trial version of CAD 2012 but it did not meet my expectations. I needed my good old CAD 2004 back. I did some google-ing and found out that I may not be the only one with such a problem. To my surprise, I actually discovered that many people are having similar issues. Looks like there are other folks out there who need their old programs back – and that my friends, is the reason I am sharing this blog with you !
Apparently, there are programs that can be installed on your computer (in PC virtualization terms that would be host operating system) and they can emulate other operating systems (in virtualization terms, that would be the guest operating system). That means that you can have Windows 7 (32 or 64 bit), run it and at the same time, you can have Windows XP on the same machine and run it simultaneously! That is great. I have been doing that for some time and it works like a charm. I am using CAD 2004 again and even run older version of Alpine in XP mode on my Windows 7 computer.
As for the virtualization applications, there are several programs that you can use: VMware Player is one, Oracle’s Virtual Box is another and even Microsoft’s own Windows PC can be used. There could be more. Google is your friend at that point. Please note that if you have Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate versions, you already have the capability of XP mode built right in to your operating system.
I want to point out that I am not a computer geek (even though sometimes, I would like to be) and I am not going to explain all the details here. I will provide some links and you can read from the experts for yourselves. My point is to give you hope and show you that you can be running your old, reliable and familiar programs on brand new computers. In other words… in this virtual world, a virtual remote designer can run virtually any old program on a virtual machine that he/she installs… Neat, huh?
Here are the links:
Virtualization – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platform_virtualization
VM Ware Player – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VMware_Player
Virtual Box – https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch01.html
Windows Virual PC – http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/
Martin Horak – Gould Design, Inc.