I haven’t played Age Of Empires 2 or the Conquerors expansion in a while so I was surprised when after installing it and starting my first game I ended up with strange colour issues, eg, red grass and purple water, the game would also crash occasionally when trying out different compatibility modes. So I tried my Windows Vista laptop, but the same thing happened with it, I tried using Wine on my linux laptop but 9 times out of 10 it causes x.org to crash and other times it just ran too slowly.
I had since deleted my VMWare virtual machine, so I looked for a quicker option and came across this to quickly convert an XP mode virtual machine to a working VMware image usable in the free VMWare Player, in total it took about 15 minutes to get up and running and at no cost other than a Windows 7 license that can use XP Mode.
The game works fine out of the box, here’s an example:
That example was for the expansion pack but it also works fine without.
There have been rumous mainly started by Paul Thurrott at his Windows SuperSite here that Microsoft are keeping under wraps a new UI.
It doesn’t seem that possible this late in the game, sure if they have all the UI coding already in Windows 7 then there are less chances of bugs, but there are still UI bugs that would need testing, visibility/overlapping problems etc.
My theory is a new theme to distance itself from Vista, there are less chances of bugs and they can keep it secret much easier, however looking at how refined the theme is currently (provided it was carried over from Vista and there wasn’t much work to do anyway) it doesn’t look like they would have done all this refining if they had a new theme ready. For example, Windows XP Watercolor wasn’t that refined before they switched over to the much refined Luna, of course refining the current UI to such an extent creates doubt and that’s necessary for a major announcement to gain full surprise.
On second thoughts: Paul Thurrott supposedly already knows what the big announcement is, or at least some of it, so it’s possible he’s just spreading this to get site hits, I see nothing wrong with that.
Earlier this week Microsoft stated that Vista’s Service Pack 2 will be released before Windows 7. As Windows 7 will be released in the second half of that year it has caused many to be worried that Microsoft are rushing SP2.
I don’t believe this will be a problem and I certainly don’t believe Microsoft would be rushing this, to release a Service Pack within a year was common before Windows XP and has happened since, things have changed and Vista SP2 is not focused on the amount of features and deep fixes that have been needed in Service Packs in the past 6 years.
Windows XP SP1 had a reasonable time frame of just under a year, however it was fairly rushed and rightly so, but there were no issues caused by rushing the update. SP2 of XP took quite some time (2 years since SP1) and this was due to the radical changes in the OS that were proposed, new device drivers had to be made, this led to more and more testing and in the end it was a significant change, but with the amount of changes you would expect from 2 Service Packs, released in the same amount of time. Windows XP SP3 is again more of a roll up release that was not necessarily needed due to Windows Update, it was delayed because Windows Vista needed more resources at the time.
Windows Vista SP1 was like the Windows XP SP1 in a way, there were necessary changes that needed to be implemented and they were implemented fast, just over a year from the Retail release date and it was finished and ready, no rushing was needed.
Here’s one I got the same day I wrote my Windows 3.1 article.
Released in 2000 right between Windows 98 SE (1999) and Windows XP (2001) it didn’t have too much going for it with such a reduced life compared to most Windows OSes, it had it’s fair share of controversy and is undisputed as the worst Microsoft OS to ever be released.