A: Plenty of IT shops are considering making the move to Windows 7. Quite a few are already there. A big hurdle for some companies is the pool of mission-critical applications they're already using that aren't compatible with Windows 7. As a stopgap for the problem, Microsoft provides its no-cost Windows XP Mode add-on feature. This feature seamlessly presents applications in a Windows XP virtual machine (VM) into the user's Windows 7 desktop.

As an alternative to Microsoft's built-in solution, the no-cost VMware Player can also provide a similar experience by using its Unity feature. To enable the seamless presentation of an application, activate Unity mode by clicking VM, Enter Unity in VMware Player. Additional settings for Unity mode can be found in the properties screen for a VM. Select the Options tab, then Unity to configure how Windows XP's windows are seen in Windows 7.