Author Topic: Is it possible to enable backwards compatibility with XP?  (Read 2931 times)

Offline Rupert

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Is it possible to enable backwards compatibility with XP?
« on: November 27, 2014, 07:27:34 PM »
My local branch of U3A uses a fairly old laptop, namely a Samsung P28, specs as follows:

Processor:  Intel Celeron M
Clock Speed:  1.5GHz
Memory:  512MB
Hard Drive:  40GB
Graphics:  Integrated
Graphics Memory:  Shared with System
Operating system:  Windows XP
Optical Drive:  CD-RW/DVD-ROM
Screen Size Inches:  15

It's principally used at meetings as a means of running a PowerPoint presentation, although occasionally a CD or a DVD will be played.

Whenever I run a PowerPoint through it myself, things run perfectly smoothly, but the other day we had a guest speaker who popped his flash drive in and couldn't get it to 'work'.  Since I wasn't there myself I am reliant on others who tell me that they believe his version of PowerPoint wasn't compatible with XP (always assuming that his presentation was actually saved as a PowerPoint).

I myself use MS Office 2007 with Windows 8.1 x64 bit and when go to save I always get a list of options of versions in which to save.

Our U3A committee is reluctant to spend money on a new laptop if it's not necessary, which personally I don't think it is.  However, I've been asked the question about compatibility with XP and I thought I'd throw it out here.  So, if we ask a prospective guest speaker if their flash drive contains a PowerPoint that is compatible with XP, is it possible that it might not be?  If that is the case, is there anything we can do to enable 'backwards compatibility' in some way?

Offline Willabong

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Re: Is it possible to enable backwards compatibility with XP?
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2014, 09:13:47 AM »
There are a lot of variables in your question that make it difficult to give a definitive answer, for example, you don't know what was really on the flash drive?
Secondly, your laptop specs are very low end, and 512 meg of ram is barely enough to run Windows XP, never mind running a modern program using an integrated graphics system that must be struggling even with old versions of Power Point.

I think it is very likely that versions of Power Point above 2010 will fail on an XP system, but as I don't use PP I could be wrong?
But your biggest problem with your laptop is ram and graphics, both of these will struggle or fail to run if any real processing power is needed!

Sorry I can't be more specific!
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Offline Willabong

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Re: Is it possible to enable backwards compatibility with XP?
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2014, 06:37:47 PM »
You could try increasing your virtual memory?  I think this is under System settings/performance (or similar), look for virtual memory and change the amount available to at least 2500 MB.
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Offline Rupert

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Re: Is it possible to enable backwards compatibility with XP?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2014, 04:47:08 PM »
Thanks for your replies Willabong.

I posted the same query elsewhere and among the similarly helpful responses was one that suggested a compatibility pack might be the answer, if the committee is unwilling to buy a new laptop at the moment.

I looked on the MS site and came up with this link: http://products.office.com/en-us/microsoft-office-compatibility-pack-for-word-excel-and-powerpoint

Could you advise whether this would work with our poor old machine, even with its lowly 512MB RAM?

Offline Willabong

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Re: Is it possible to enable backwards compatibility with XP?
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2014, 06:16:07 PM »
All that pack will do is enable older file versions from PowerPoint/Ecxel/etc to work in later versions of Powerpoint/Ecxel/etc and vice versa.
What it won't do is make your ancient laptop into a high res super duper do it all machine. It will still be a laptop with dubious graphics potential and only enough ram to run Windows XP and simple presentations that do not have enhanced graphics as the latest versions of Powerpoint support.

If you can find out what type of RAM your laptop supports (download Belarc advisor from here:  http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html  )  You could probably still buy a stick of 512 ram or 1 gig ram (depending how many ram slots your laptop has) and it should be relatively easy to upgrade the ram!
But even if you do that, you may still find that some PP files will just not run on your old system.

You could also go to one of those shops that buy and sell second hand PC's/Laptops, and get a reasonably better specified laptop for 150 pounds sterling (or less).
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Offline Rupert

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Re: Is it possible to enable backwards compatibility with XP?
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2014, 12:04:54 PM »
Thanks again Willabong .. I've passed this entire thread to the committee chairman for his perusal.  The obvious thing is clearly to buy a new machine, whether that be a more recent model that's been refurbished, or a brand new one.

I'll let you know what transpires!

Offline Rupert

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Re: Is it possible to enable backwards compatibility with XP?
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2014, 02:44:14 PM »
Hi Willabong ..

The committee have come back to me and reckon they can probably afford a new machine.  I should value your opinion on the item in this link:

http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/computing/laptops/laptops/asus-eeebook-x205ta-11-6-streambook-white-10071629-pdt.html

It will only ever really be used as a means of showing PowerPoint presentations and JPEG photographs, possibly even the occasional Excel spreadsheet, so massive memory or processing power aren't really necessary.  The intention would be to load it up with MS Office Home & Student 2013 for ?80, thus bringing the total outlay to ?250

I've not heard of Asus before; I wonder if it's a 'made for Currys' model by Acer or similar?

Offline Nick Peers

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Re: Is it possible to enable backwards compatibility with XP?
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2014, 04:36:16 PM »
Asus is a well-known brand, definitely not 'Made for Currys' (that was Advent, ditched earlier this year in a cost-cutting measure).

There's a new breed of laptops like this one - low-spec by modern standards, but definitely high-spec compared to your original laptop. It's worth Googling the name and seeing if there are any reviews of it out there - here's the first one I found: http://www.tlbhd.com/asus-eeebook-x205ta-19242/.

The biggest issue with these devices will be (a) storage space (32GB isn't much for storing files permanently on it, although you can obviously plug in USB flash drives for temporary use) and (b) the physical size of it. Hopefully the video review above will give you some ideas.
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Offline Rupert

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Re: Is it possible to enable backwards compatibility with XP?
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2014, 10:52:41 AM »
Thanks Nick, nice to hear from you!

The committee has asked me whether this particular laptop has a CD/DVD drive.  I can't see any mention of one in the specs, but perhaps it's a given these days and doesn't need to be identified specifically.

Are you able to clarify the general situation on this point, please?

Offline Nick Peers

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Re: Is it possible to enable backwards compatibility with XP?
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2014, 11:00:10 AM »
Ah good, email notifications are working I'm glad to see! Hopefully that means I'll be quicker to respond in future...

Sadly, it doesn't come with an optical drive. That would cost you around ?25 extra, if you bought from the same place - see http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/search-keywords/xx_xx_32047_xx_xx/dvd%2Bdrive/xx-criteria.html. I've got a similar drive for my Mac mini - they work well enough, and are powered from the laptop. Only possible stumbling block is that you may need two USB ports - one for the interface, the other for power. However, if you're lucky, the laptop can deliver enough power from one USB port so you'd only have to plug one of the cables in.

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Offline Rupert

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Re: Is it possible to enable backwards compatibility with XP?
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2014, 05:31:41 PM »
Thanks Nick.

In the event that an external optical drive did require both available USB ports, would it be OK to use a little multi-hub such as this to overcome the shortage of ports problem?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hama-USB-2-0-Hub-Bus-powered/dp/B0017X0R20/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417713948&sr=8-1&keywords=usb+port+hubs#customerReviews

Cheers,
Rupert

Offline Nick Peers

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Re: Is it possible to enable backwards compatibility with XP?
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2014, 05:43:56 PM »
My guess - and others may know better - is that it wouldn't work, because you need two separate power sources to draw from, whereas the hub would only be able to draw power from one. So, if you needed to go down the hub route, it would need to be a hub with its own power supply - ie, a power adapter to plug into the wall. Ironically, if that were the case I could envisage the hub only requiring one port for the optical drive.

Obviously the preferred solution would be that the laptop provides enough power to allow the drive to work using only one port. From my own observations with my own Samsung optical drive, the good news is that I've used it with just one port on my desktop, Mac mini and even an old Acer netbook running on battery power. And I see that model is still being sold too - Google 'Samsung SE-S084 (that's a zero) - and you'll see it's still available. Good price too.
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Offline Willabong

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Re: Is it possible to enable backwards compatibility with XP?
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2014, 09:53:17 PM »
All good ideas and good prices!  But I still think you would be better off going for a fully specified refurbished (second hand) laptop. That way you would avoid having to jump through hoops to buy bits and pieces to get it up and running, and the price should not be much more, maybe even less because it will have a DVD drive built in!
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Offline Rupert

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Re: Is it possible to enable backwards compatibility with XP?
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2014, 12:00:05 PM »
Thank you Nick and Willabong for all your help and advice.  I now have enough information to pass on to the committee for them to make an informed buying decision.

Many thanks again.

Offline Nick Peers

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Re: Is it possible to enable backwards compatibility with XP?
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2014, 12:11:54 PM »
No worries! I think Willabong's argument has merit, if you can find a suitable laptop for that price, which I'm sure you can. Mind you, if I was in the market for a laptop now, I'd want a SSD drive as a minimum - the thought of going back to the old platter-based drives for booting Windows from makes me shudder... Particularly having experienced both my parents' PCs recently (thankfully, they agreed to pay for an upgrade to SSDs and haven't looked back!)!
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