A Windows XP Rant PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tim Wray   
Thursday, 07 October 2010 01:59


This is a tale of a software vendor that cannot keep up with the times. I shall, hereafter, have to allow one of these vendors to remain nameless as to protect the business I work for.


As of this writing, the evening of September 28th, 2010, Windows Vista, with NT Kernel Version 6, has been in the PC world officially for nearly four years (RTM: 11/8/2006.) Windows 7, with NT Kernel 6.1, has been available since July 22, 2009. With several beta releases before the official release, you would think that software vendors of certain software would have time to fix very minor issues in their software.


The software I am dealing with is a form of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software. The host OS is Windows 7 Professional x64, running on an AMD Phenom II x4 955 processor.


This particular situation popped up when trying to print an invoice from within the software. The end user required duplicates of each invoice printed from the software. The ERP software has a field to indicate that you need 2 copies of the printed “report”, in this case, said invoice. Easy peasy.


So, I enter two in the field, I verify in the printer properties window that appears that it also is set to print two copies. Yet, no matter how many copies you put in the quantity box, and no matter where you change it (in software or in the printer box), you still get only one copy.


Having a support agreement with the software manufacturer, I dropped them a line. They give me a reply that pretty much says I’m out of luck, as the problem is an issue between Crystal Reports and Microsoft. Nice. I work with my boss and we find out that this company is supposedly using Crystal Reports XI, which is supposed to be the latest and greatest. You would think a company as large as Business Objects, owned by SAP, could fix Crystal Reports’ printing feature. I mean, IT IS A REPORT GENERATOR for the love of Pete!

After some investigation, I determined that Crystal Reports XI is not the latest version, Crystal Reports 2008 is.  So now I feel like the vendor is ignorant of reality or trying to rake us over the coals somehow.


So, we have been left to suffer through this problem with three options:


  1. Install the ERP in Windows XP Mode within 7
  2. Have the ERP vendor supply us with a custom module (their offer) to fix the problem. (What, and they can’t update the main program to fix it?)
  3. Have the end user make copies of the reports needed (time consuming when you have, say, 100 at a time that have to go out NOW)
  4. Downgrade the workstation to Windows XP Professional.


I wanted to try installing the ERP in XP Mode first, bound and determined to make it work. What became the issue with that is that the program resides on a network share by design, and XP mode won’t allow you to add such a program to the XP Mode Launcher from the Windows 7 start menu. I promise you that this alone renders the whole idea of XP Mode useless for some 50% of end users, who don’t want the extra steps of starting XP mode manually and working through the virtual machine window.


So, technically, the ERP ran in the virtual machine fine. It was too many extra steps for the end user, which is understandable in the view that the end user has the computer as a tool, not as something that is fun to figure out, like us in the IT group.


In the end, I prepared another identical PC with Windows XP Professional and swapped it out. It is sad that I had to do so, as the machine was running at least 30% faster with 7 x64, and everything aside from the ERP just worked.


Developers, particularly developers who are selling their product for a hefty price, listen up: it is time to get with reality. Windows 7 AND 64 bit operating systems are the future. It is really, REALLY time to move on from relying on the fact that all of your end users are insisting on Windows XP. That might have been the case in late 2007 and early 2008 with the Vista woes, but it is not reality today, in 2010.