Vista compatibility with legacy software wouldn't be so much of an issue if Virtual PC 2007 and users could run older versions of Windows on Vista PCs. The problem is that while Virtual PC 2007 is a reasonable virtualization environment given the price ($0), is a good arms reach away from being the product that it should be.
The problem with Virtual PC 2007 isn't so much the application's user interface (although compared to a pro product like VMware Workstation, VPC 2007 is lacking in some very basic features), and it's not performance and reliability (although again, compared to VMware Workstation, VPC 2007 is without a doubt more sluggish and unreliable), and it's not software support (VPC 2007 is a Microsoft tool aimed at Microsoft users wanting to run virtualized copies of Microsoft operating systems), it's hardware support that lets VPC 2007 down.
If I could impress on Microsoft the need to improve two aspects of VPC 2007, these would be:
- USB support If my PC existed in a vacuum, the idea of not having USB support would be just fine, but it doesn't, and without USB VPC 2007 really isn't more than a toy. A perfect example if you need one of how Microsoft fails to hit the mark.
- Graphics driver When I look at what Parallels can do over on the Mac platform, I'm appalled when I realize just how basic the graphics drivers for Windows-based virtualization software actually are. On a Mac you can run Vista with full Aero through Parallels, as well as play 3D games through it. Why on earth isn't this possible on the Windows platform? In this respect, VMware is no better than Microsoft in the kind of support it can offer.
I should add to these issues the fact that Microsoft has made virtualization licensing for Vista far more complicated that it need be - what was wrong with taking an unified approach to virtualization across all versions of Vista rather than trying to play some vague (and frankly farcical) security card to cover up the fact that Microsoft really wants anyone who wants to virtualize Vista to have to pay as much as possible for the privilege.
With Windows Vista gaining dominance as XP slips into the history books, customers are telling Microsoft that support for legacy hardware and software is a high priority (after all, who wants to trash perfectly good hardware and software, and worse still, workflow) and Microsoft is going to need to take this on board and either build backward compatibility into the next version of Vista, or offer more realistic virtualization tools to users.