Windows Live Essentials Wave 4 – NO Support for Windows XP

It was bound to happen. Microsoft wants to sell lots of licenses of Windows 7, and it seems it will do anything it can to see that happens.

I don’t find this to be a very good scenario, as the company has problems with the Wave 3 of Live Essentials, that still doesn’t work properly on Windows XP. When you are Microsoft, and you say you support something, you should fully support it.

Never mind that the company is committed to extended support of Windows XP through 2014, and beyond that, Windows XP is still used by over 60% of the computers on Earth.

But complaining is not going to do much, the choice has been made – no matter how poor a choice it was.

I’ve been reading some Windows Team blogs, and had seen nothing about this lack of support; perhaps it was simply something that anyone reading was to have taken for granted. The story on the site devoted to these programs, and run by Long Zheng and his crew said nothing about it either (of course, they are probably, to a man, running Windows 7). The story from Ars Technica was the first word -

Microsoft has finally announced the next major release of Windows Live, referred to as Wave 4. The software giant has had “several thousand people” inside the company running internal builds for the last few months, and has decided it will soon let a small group of testers get a taste. After that, the company will roll out updates to its Web services, followed by more broadly available betas for Windows PCs, Macs, and phones.

When the first leaked Wave 4 build of Windows Live Essentials surfaced recently, we noted that it did not work on Windows XP. Microsoft is now ready to discuss operating systems, saying that XP is being cut off from client application support in Wave 4 (the Web services will still work, of course):

As some have noted on this blog, Windows XP is nearly 10 years old and simply doesn’t provide the same level of platform support for graphics, and we recognized early in our work on Wave 4 that we could do much more in our software on a modern graphics platform. As a result our new version of Essentials will require the new graphics platform and controls that are only available on Windows 7 or Windows Vista and therefore will only run on these platforms.

Last month, Microsoft suggested that Internet Explorer 9 would not be supported on Windows XP. The ancient OS still has over 60 percent market share, but it is rapidly declining, and Microsoft is doing what it can to speed that process up.

The story is still changing at Microsoft, and the good guy parts of the changing company are not yet in full charge of things it’s appearing. Though there won’t be many villagers with torches, up in arms, screaming about the problem, Microsoft does itself no favors in thinking that this will force people to the use of Vista or Windows 7.

If a reason was already there to upgrade, it will nudge a little more; if the mind was set against change for the short run, it will only further annoy those who want the features of Windows XP. I truly believe that we will either see more of the removed features from Windows XP reappear within Windows 7, or there will be a cottage industry formed consisting of putting the things back into Windows 7, so that it finally can be the best Microsoft has produced – much as I like it, Windows 7 is far from that in my mind. [For those wondering, I have been using Windows 7 as a primary machine with a very fast dual core AMD processor, which could be easily overclocked if I wish, so the problem is not one of speed. There are simply too many little things which annoy me, and are not being fixed as fixes come through every month.  As an example, the opening of many windows in the middle of my dual monitor setup, so that I must mentally stitch them together, instead of my being able to have them centered on one monitor or the other, because that capability was taken out of the GDI, is a very big problem for me – and it does not represent progress.]

If Microsoft wants to be that company that I have been extolling the virtues of recently, because we have all seen signs of change, it should at least fix the Wave 3 product so that the users staying with Windows XP will have a finalized completely working version.

After that, I’ll welcome Wave 4 on the machines I can use it on, noting that I wish it could be different, but holding no enmity for the company that produced it.

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