When talking to ISVs about moving their applications developed for Windows XP and/or Windows Server 2003 to the Windows Vista platform, the developers immediately start questioning the application compatibility for Windows Vista. This compatibility is of course very important for the ISVs, not only for development but also for the application support. While I've been experiencing myself that Windows Vista is highly compatible with most of the applications written for Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows Server 2003, and their service packs, some amount of compatibility breaks are inevitable due to new innovations, security tightening, and increased reliability.

Microsoft has now released an application compatibility cookbook that will application developers give the opportunity to become familiar with how to verify the compatibility of their applications.

The document contains guidance on:

  • Thirty-Minute Compatibility Check
  • Operating System Versioning
  • User Account Control
  • Windows Resource Protection (WRP)
  • Internet Explorer Protected Mode
  • Windows Vista 64-bit
  • Microsoft Graphical Identification and Authentication (GINA)
  • Session 0 Isolation
  • Networking: TCP/IP Stack and the Windows Filtering Platform
  • Networking: Kernel Mode IP Helper APIs
  • Networking: IPv6
  • Compatibility Risks

All this topics are covered starting with the feature impact and a brief description. Next is the manifestation and the remedies. Finally some links provide additional guidance on the discussed feature.

Check this document at http://msdn.microsoft.com/windowsvista/default.aspx?pull=/library/en-us/dnlong/html/AppComp.asp if you're willing to learn more about Windows Vista application compatibility.