Hardware + Windows 7 Pro + XP Mode?
April 13, 2010 5:36 PM   Subscribe

Can I use a Keyspan USB-to-serial adapter with a Windows XP 32-bit application running within XP Compatibility Mode within Windows 7 Professional 64-bit?

(That's a mouthful. So many different versions and complications, Microsoft.)

My dad has some software that connects to a motorcycle ECU through a proprietary cable that turns into a 9-pin serial DIN plug. I had this working through a Keyspan USB-to-serial adapter to an old Toshiba laptop running XP.

The laptop is toast so he wants to replace it with a new laptop. They don't sell Windows XP laptops, so I need to find some way for him to run his stuff under Windows 7 Professional via its XP Compatibility Mode Plug-In Add-on. Does this XP Mode allow use of hardware, like a USB-to-serial port adapter?
posted by Blazecock Pileon to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
I have the Keyspan adapter (USA 19-H) with me in my laptop bag on the road, and my system at home has Win7x64 with XPmode32. If this goes until I get back (Friday) without getting answered, I'll definitely try things out. I think you can map a port through like you could with VirtualPC, but I've not had to try it out.
posted by deezil at 5:51 PM on April 13, 2010

Assuming it's just a stock USB-to-rs232 adaptor and you can find drivers, the app might work just fine on windows 7 as-is - most legacy 32 bit software has worked flawlessly under Win7 64 bit (much to my surprise).

I don't have much experience with Virtual PC (the VM software that XP Compatibility Mode runs on), but VMWare has decent serial support including in the free versions (server and player).
posted by samj at 6:09 PM on April 13, 2010

I also don't have much experience with Virtual PC, but in the unlikely case that whatever it is won't run with what MS provides - either natively in Windows 7 or via XP Compatibility virtualization - I'd be reaching for Sun's VirtualBox, whose support for client system access to host USB hardware works very well indeed.
posted by flabdablet at 7:12 PM on April 13, 2010

They don't sell Windows XP laptops

Are you certain about this? My local computer shop still has netbooks on offer with XP Home preinstalled.
posted by flabdablet at 7:14 PM on April 13, 2010

My dad is not a young 'un, so a netbook screen is out of the question unless I get him a magnifying lens. In other words, it's going to be Windows 7, unfortunately, or nothing given what the Best Buys etc. are selling.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:27 PM on April 13, 2010

I'm also interested specifically in the XP Mode, because otherwise I have to buy him a Windows XP license and install disc to use with VirtualBox or VMWare, and I'm already putting out a fair amount of money for Windows 7 Pro alone.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:28 PM on April 13, 2010

VMWare isn't free, either, and my experiences with VirtualBox performance are not so great. I think XP Mode is pretty much my only option, realistically.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:34 PM on April 13, 2010

If you're really stuck they sell USB-Serial adapters that are Win 7 compatible, e.g. this one. Under $20. I don't know how Win XP compatibility mode interacts with devices like that though.
posted by GuyZero at 7:55 PM on April 13, 2010

I think Windows 7 Professional now bundles Keyspan drivers into the OS.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:19 PM on April 13, 2010

While it probably will work just fine in windows 7 (I've found all usb->serial adapters I've used so far have worked flawlessly), to answer your quesion, yes, XP mode does have a USB passthrough mode, i.e. you can allocate a USB device to the XP install, and it will be 'disconnected' from windows 7 and exclusive control given to the virtual XP install. You can even run an app from within XP mode directly, i.e. it'll show up as an (XP styled) window in your win 7 windows, rather than an XP desktop in a window with a program running in it, though you can do it that way too if you prefer.

Note, if you're feeling particularly nutty, you can always install XP directly yourself - windows 7 professional and ultimate/enterprise have a 'downgrade right' included; you'll need to find your own XP media, but you can ring up microsoft and exchange your windows 7 licence for a XP licence key, though your supposed to go to your computer OEM first. Alternatively, businesses with volume licence agreements automatically get downgrade rights so your work IT people may be able to supply you with a burned XP pro disk and/or key.
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:47 PM on April 13, 2010

Also, XP is still only available at retail as Home, preinstalled on netbooks - it's been withdrawn from sale in all other channels. The only way to get it these days is via a downgrade rights program provided by an OEM, and they're also getting pretty rare, so rolling your own is becoming the only option. Given XP is in extended support, and is a 9 year old OS, it's probably about time it was retired...
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:52 PM on April 13, 2010

Aha. Finally, something listed! (It never usually works). The USA 19HS is supported under windows 7 x32 and x64, so assuming that's also your keyspan adapter, you should be fine without needing XP mode, assuming the app runs of course!
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:57 PM on April 13, 2010

Given XP is in extended support, and is a 9 year old OS, it's probably about time it was retired...

Except for the all the XP software that's out there, I'd agree with you entirely.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:03 PM on April 14, 2010

« Older I want to feel pretty but not itchy   |   Left expensive watch in hotel, any help? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.