I’m sure you’ve read already that Service Pack 2 for Windows XP is going to break some software in the name of enhanced security. And I’m sure you’ve read lots of howls of protest. And maybe some smug snide asides too.
What I’m sure you haven’t read is what to do about those compatibility issues.
Keep reading.First and foremost, you should keep your main Windows installation up to date. For everyday functions like word processing and e-mail, Windows XP SP2 should do just fine. It’s the old stuff that’s likely to break. And the old stuff is likely to be the stuff you only use occasionally.
So here’s what you do. Dual-boot Windows XP SP2 with an older version. That older version could be Windows XP SP1, or it could be something older.
How? The easiest way is to use a bootloader like XOSL. There might be others out there, but XOSL is proven, and it’s great. People have used it to install literally dozens of OSs on one computer.
If you’ve got software that hasn’t run right since you upgraded to XP, this is your chance to correct it too. With XOSL, lots of versions of Windows can coexist. You can even install Windows 3.1 if you can manage to locate drivers for your new hardware. (Though I can’t imagine why…. Windows 3.1 was so bad it drove me to run OS/2 for three years.)
After you get your old versions of Windows installed, boot into them and install your old software that doesn’t like XP SP2. Badda bing, badda boom, you can run your old stuff, and when you’re doing your everyday stuff, you can do the socially responsible thing and be up to date. Everybody wins.
Or, if lots of old software’s going to quit running anyway, you could just take it as your cue to switch to Linux…