What does "Run many Windows XP productivity apps in Windows 7" mean?! Sorry for the noob'ish question, but I haven't been following the development of Windows 7 closely.
On the upgrade chart, comparing the Win 7 Home Premium vs Pro (vs Ultimate) versions, there's a line item entitled "Run many Windows XP productivity apps in Windows 7".
What does this really mean? If an (older) app runs on Vista Home Premium 64, will it continue to work with Windows 7? What apps -wouldn't- work in Win 7 without having the Pro version + the "free downloadable emulator"?
Paul isn't exactly correct. This is more powerful that virtualization in that it allows you to run XP applications and they appear as native apps (they appear in your start menu, and run in a virtual machine, but look and act like native apps). And it isn't limited to XP, although a lot of the info about it online doesn't make that perfectly clear. Read up about it here: http://community.winsupersite.com/blogs/paul/archive/2009/04/24/secret-no-more-revealing-virtual-windows-xp-for-windows-7.aspx
I would still like the answer to the original question. I too have programs I run on XP - RAdmin, my software with printing scanning, software with my camera, educational software etc. Will this run on Windows 7 or does Windows 7 only run special Windows 7 type programs? I'm would prefer the cheaper Home edition but if none of my programs actually run without this special XP mode, the operating system would be worthless for me.
Windows 7 will continue to run most applications written for Windows XP and newer with out having to do anything special. Some applications you will just need to run in compatibility mode. A few applications you will need to run in Virtual XP mode. Microsoft has a site for looking up Application Compatibility.
It is recommended that you also look into upgrading your applications as well as your OS. While Office 2003 will run in Windows 7, Office 2007 runs better.
For hardware, you will need to find Windows Vista or Windows 7 compatible drivers.