Stories by Randall C. Kennedy

Windows 'XP mode': The new DOS box

An October surprise -- that's how many are interpreting Microsoft's 11th-hour revelation that it will be providing a virtualized copy of Windows XP as a free compatibility add-on to Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions.

The mightiest ThinkPad

"The Beast" is the nickname I've picked for the Lenovo ThinkPad W700ds, which has dominated my test bench for the past two weeks. A massive machine -- my test unit measures a healthy 16.1 by 12.2 by 2.1 inches -- the W700ds is what you might call a LINO: laptop in name only. No sane businessperson would haul one of these 11-pound monstrosities around (13 pounds with the power brick), which is just fine with Lenovo. The W700ds isn't aimed at the run-of-the-mill ThinkPad crowd, but at the extreme mobile customer: hard-core graphics artists and power users who need to run high-end 3-D workstation applications. For these rarefied souls, the W700ds provides an attractive slate of unique features.

Windows Vista SP2: Second time's the charm

Good news, Vista users: Microsoft finally seems to be getting a handle on the Windows code base. First we learned that Windows 7 would not introduce any new performance hits (see " <a href="http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/11/10/46TC-windows-7_1.html">Windows 7 unmasked</a>" and " <a href="http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/12/02/49FE-windows-7-great-debate_1.html">Flame war: The great Windows 7 debate</a>"), which was a major achievement, given Microsoft's abysmal track record in this department. Now, preliminary testing shows that Vista is actually getting faster, courtesy of the upcoming Service Pack 2.

Find out if your PC can run Windows 7

Windows 7 is coming. Will your PC be ready? InfoWorld's Windows 7 compatibility calculator, a feature in the free <a href="http://www.infoworld.com/winsentinel">Windows Sentinel PC monitoring tool</a>, will tell you. Note that we've based our Windows 7 compatibility calculator on the October 2008 prerelease version of Windows 7.

Test Centre benchmarks: Windows 7 unmasked

It's here! After months of speculation, Windows 7 was finally unveiled last month at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference (PDC). Through a series of well-orchestrated keynote presentations and supporting breakout sessions, Microsoft walked conference attendees through the highlights of its new desktop OS: better performance, an improved user experience, and some nifty media-sharing features. Overall, Microsoft's pitch was quite compelling, and the PDC crowd was practically salivating at the chance to play with Microsoft's latest and greatest.

Thinstall app virtualisation grows up

A wallflower: That's how I used to describe Thinstall when discussing the movers and shakers of the application virtualization party scene. With its chief competitors already paired off and dancing up a storm, Thinstall looked more and more like the lonesome loser, dateless and stag at the junior prom.

VirtualBox challenges VMware Workstation

What a difference a year makes! When I first reviewed innotek's VirtualBox, in version 1.3, I found a product with tremendous potential marred by some annoying stability and performance issues. Since then, the company has retooled VirtualBox, improving performance and reliability while also adding some compelling new features found nowhere else.

Thin vs. Fat: Google's plan to kill Microsoft Office

The long battle of "thin versus fat" has commenced. From all appearances, Google is angling to end Microsoft's hegemony by disrupting fat client computing on the desktop. The target: none other than Microsoft Office. The weapon of choice: browser-based, thin client applications.