Mike asked: Some time ago I bought a netbook. I was told it ran Windows 7. I asked about compatibility as I use Microsoft 1997-2003 and was assured by the assistant at Curry’s that there was no problem.
Imagine my amazement and anger when I found that Windows 7 Starter does not support older versions of Office and that my netbook does not support compatibility mode on Windows 7.
Since then I have found other programs, like Photoshop Elements 2, do not run, as well as a host of programs written using older versions of Visual Basic. Is there any solution?
Which? Computing helpdesk supervisor, John Bogue, responds:
What a frustrating situation for you. I’m assuming you mean that you use MS Office 1997 and MS Office 2003. All MS Office versions up to the year 2000 are not supported by Microsoft in any case irrespective of the operating system, be it Windows XP or Windows 7.
The other issue you have is that you are not going to be able to run anything other than the starter version of Windows 7 because netbooks are not powerful enough.
The Microsoft marketing people (in their wisdom) decided to call the very basic version of Windows 7 on netbooks ‘starter’ instead of ‘basic’.
To complicate things further, even if you had a laptop with Windows 7 ‘Premium’ (which is still pretty basic), you would not have the ability to run older programs using their bolt on of ‘XP mode’. This is a bit cheeky as I expect this has been set up like this to sell more netbooks and laptops with Windows 7 by keeping the cost down with a trimmed-down operating system.
As you pointed out, to be able to run ‘XP mode’ you will need to upgrade to a laptop with the ‘Professional’ version of Windows 7 or the ‘Ultimate’ version of Windows 7.
Your other option – and probably the best one in your case – would be to purchase MS Office 2010 Home & Student which would run on your netbook and will give you access to your old documents from Office 1997 and 2003 versions. This is likely to be the most cost effective solution.
Have you been sold a computer only to find out it doesn’t run on your chosen operating system? Would you have made a different purchase if you’d known?