I’m tired of installing random mediocre software drivers on my computer. All this testing of packet sniffers and delving into protocols stresses the windows driver model. Win 7 is better but still…
Also, a lot of this stuff doesn’t run 64 bit or they don’t support windows 7.
I finally found a solution with Windows XP Mode. This is great. Microsoft now offers a free version of their VirtualPC product with a Windows XP client.
If you don’t know what XP Mode is, it’s a Win7 application that uses a folder on your drive to simulate an partition/installation of Windows XP. It runs in a window and looks like remote desktop. You can copy the folder to keep an archive or delete it and start over any time as a fresh XP installation.
This has a number of great advantages.
- I can run applications that don’t run on my Windows 7 x64 installation.
- I can install random stuff then close the XP Mode session and it doesn’t bother my computer or OS.
- I can install random stuff and delete the XP Mode partition when I’m done then go back to a fresh partition (or an archived one).
The USB packet sniffer, for example, does strange things on my win7/64 desktop but works great in windows xp mode. Same is true for some of the TI sample software. My TI USBFet programmer software doesn’t run at all on my desktop but again is fine in XP mode.
The hardware emulation seems good given the usb support. To use a usb device in XP mode you need to unplug/replug it once XP Mode is running. The USB menu at the top then lets you attach the device to the XP mode session.
When you resize the window it resizes the session, so you don’t get lame scroll bars like remote desktop. Finally, it has support for something called an undo disk which saves the session’s changes in a different place so you can undo them immediately. Perfect for testing unstable drivers.
You can tell from my desktop (squinched) that this has become useful.
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