Software could ease pain of Windows 7 migration

InstallFree says its technology is less about virtualization and more about problem-solving.
InstallFree says its technology is less about virtualization and more about problem-solving.

The migraine-inducing process of migrating Windows from XP to 7 could get easier now that virtualization developer InstallFree has released InstallFree Bridge 2.0, a program that reportedly eliminates software compatibility issues.

InstallFree said this latest product should help speed up the migration of schools and businesses to Windows 7. Bridge 2.0 does this by giving users the ability to run older versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer and other applications on Microsoft’s newest operating system—a process the company calls the “application repackaging business.” (Read “School IT chiefs mull Windows 7.”)

InstallFree says its software creates isolated, modular, and portable virtual applications that can run on any version of Windows and be updated on the fly. These applications integrate seamlessly with the user’s environment and communicate with the operating system (OS) and other applications without making any changes to the underlying OS file system or registry, according to the company.

“The typical problem is that you install an app, and it isn’t compatible with another app or program or breaks that app or program. By isolating these applications, these problems won’t happen anymore,” said Alon Yaffe, director of marketing for InstallFree.

Even though Windows 7 has an “XP Mode,” which allows users to run a virtual edition of XP from inside Windows 7, Yaffe said this mode is more of a “one-off, or niche solution,” that isn’t effective if you have multiple conflicting applications.

“We are hearing from customers that … they don’t want to start dealing with VM-based solutions because they are trying to get rid of XP, not perpetuate it—they need something that will preserve the end-user experience and performance, while at the same time reduce the overhead for IT,” he said. “InstallFree [Bridge] does not require a full Windows XP VM to be deployed to every machine.”

(For a detailed analysis of how InstallFree’s solution is different from Window’s XP Mode, click here.)

Yaffe pointed to ANGEL Learning, a learning management system (LMS) used by several by schools, to show how InstallFree can help.

“ANGEL Learning has web-based apps, but these apps have a dependency on plug-ins and different browser versions. By isolating these apps, they still think they’re running on XP,” he said.

InstallFree supports full virtualization of Internet Explorer and can run multiple versions of the browser side-by-side on a single OS. For example, virtualized versions of both IE 6 and IE 7 can run at the same time on Windows 7, and each InstallFree Virtual (IFV) app can be configured to use its own specific version of Internet Explorer for full compatibility. What’s more, URL Redirection rules can be defined to open each application in the right version of the browser automatically, Yaffe said.