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Windows 8.1, lack of backwards compatibility

  1. Jul 23, 2013 #1

    For all of my complaints about Microsoft I used to think they were pretty smart. But I see that in the past six or seven years they've just been stupid. I thought they understood that backwards compatibility was a big part of the reason for Windows' longevity. By dropping it, one would think they don't understand that or don't care.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 23, 2013 #2


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    Windows XP was probably the best version ever.
  4. Jul 23, 2013 #3


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    Win NT was the best professional version, IMO, but I loved XP at home.
  5. Jul 23, 2013 #4
    I've played around with Windows 8 a bit, and honestly, I have yet to run into compatibility issues with it. From what I can gather, there's always going to be camps that scold the latest version of Windows. No matter how good it is. I've watched it happen with '95, '98, 2000, Vista and Win7. Even XP! Microsoft dedicates a huge amount of resources towards backwards compatibility. Much more than people are led to believe. The issue is that they can't cover every single base. Who is even worse than Microsoft when it comes to backwards compatibility? Apple. Brand loyalists just seem inclined to turn a blind eye to the issues and deal with it.

    Anytime I've had an issue with a program or piece of hardware running on a newer version of Windows, it requires investigation and trial and error. More time and effort than what your typical 'plug-in and go' user is willing to dedicate and therefore, shrugs it off as completely incompatible.

    The number of times that I have been entirely unable to make something work are few and far between. Extremely rare, actually.
  6. Jul 23, 2013 #5


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    Huum... that article by John Dvorak is quite strange...

    A device driver is typically written by the device vendor. It’s not up to MS keep this stuff updated.

    It’s not the first time MS change the model for device drivers. The 16-bit VxD was replaced/coexisted with the 32-bit Windows Driver Model (WDM) in Windows 98, which was replaced by the Kernel-Mode Driver Framework (KMDF) in Windows 2000, and the latest is User Mode Driver Framework (UMDF) was introduced with Windows Vista.

    Both KMDF and UMDF is a part of the Windows Driver Foundation (WDF) that works from Windows 2000 to Windows 8, with the aim is to make it easier/safer to write drivers.

    The main reason for BSoD is driver/hardware malfunction, and it could hardly be a bad thing to make this interface safer/generic/scalable.

    And who knows, maybe the next Windows version will be 64-bit only...

    My tip to Johnny is to keep the old XP wreck with NAS, printers, etc. Setup a LAN and connect the new PC with Windows 8 to the network. It will work.

    P.S: Funny he mentions Mac... a whole universe of competing peripherals! :tongue:
  7. Jul 23, 2013 #6


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    XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 are all versions of Windows NT.

    Most people are just complaining about the UI. Each version has been a vast improvement over the last for everything that actually matters.

    Like Devil said, it's not Microsoft's responsibility to keep drivers compatible with a new operating system. Keeping backwards compatibility for so long is a major reason why windows is so bloated and insecure.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2013
  8. Jul 23, 2013 #7


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    P.S. This is another reason why open source development is important. When a vendor no longer supports ongoing maintenance of an older peripheral there is usually some hacker out there who will write a new driver or wrapper for it . Some will even go so far as to reverse engineer it.
  9. Jul 24, 2013 #8


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    JD is somewhat cryptic as to why his Epson printer doesn't work with Windows anymore. It's certainly not because a driver is not available for Windows 7 or 8, because a simple google search turns up drivers for his printer. Did he drop a brick on it? Is it some sort of cable issue? Who knows?
    Whatever Windows faults may be, I'll say that they do a pretty good job of supporting older printers, especially if these were produced by the major printer suppliers like HP and Epson. AFAIK, Windows and HP still support all the way back to the first Laserjets from what, 25 years ago now?
  10. Jul 29, 2013 #9


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    Microsoft has always tried to make sure that old SOFTWARE would work, and this remains the case with Windows 8. I can still run Doom on it just fine.

    Hardware such as printers depends on updated drivers being created for Windows 8, and the printer and scanner and camera software does not usually get new drivers written when operating systems update. No operating system can fix the fact that a company does not update its hardware drivers for devices over time.

    You CAN still run Windows XP within Windows 8 (or 7), and while working in the XP virtual machine, you can probably get your old devices to work. But you'll only be able to use them while running in the (free) XP virtual machine on Windows 8.
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