Pat's Windows Development Blog

Tips for Developers about Windows Development and Application Compatibility

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  • Blog Post: THE “App Compat Guy” - Still Crazy After All These Years

    Believe it or not, way back when Windows Vista was in beta, there were a bunch of “app compat guys”. Over the years, many of us have moved on to other things but one guy has stood the test of time.  Chris Jackson has earned the title of “The App Compat Guy” hands down. Chris is always a joy to watch...
  • Blog Post: Troubleshooting Interactive Services Detection

    My earlier post on Interactive Services Detection is very popular. It was targeted toward developers. Based on the comments I receive, I think most readers are users looking for some help. If you’re a developer, make sure to check out my previous post . If you are just a user trying to figure out...
  • Blog Post: Troubleshooting Application Compatibility Issues – Tools, Tips, and Tricks

    When I need to troubleshoot a compatibility problem, there are a handful of tools that I use that are very helpful. In this post, I’ll talk about some of my favorite tools and how to use them to identify compatibility issues. Most applications do a poor job of reporting unexpected errors. A...
  • Blog Post: Leveraging Windows 7 Client Software Logo Toolkit to Test Your Application

    You may have heard of Windows 7 Software Client Logo .  Did you know that it has an automated test? Did you know the toolkit was designed to be scripted so you can add it to your testing process? In this post, I’ll walk though how you might want to leverage the logo toolkit in your development or...
  • Blog Post: If I’m an Administrator, Why Do I Get Access Denied?

    User Account Control (UAC) can seem mysterious. After all, if I’m a member of the Administrators group, shouldn’t I have access to everything? If you’re a developer, you’ll run into a UAC issue sooner or later. In this post, I’ll cover the basics that every developer should...
  • Blog Post: What is Interactive Services Detection and Why is it Blinking at Me?

    UPDATE : If you're a Windows user trying to figure out what's wrong with your PC, please check out my other post: Troubleshooting Interactive Services Detection . If you are a developer (or want nerdy details), please read on. Have seen this button flashing on the taskbar? When you click...
  • Blog Post: Why does a High DPI Setting Make My Application Look Fuzzy and Have Clipped Text?

    If you increase your DPI setting in Windows 7 (or Vista), you may notice your application doesn’t look the way you intended. What’s the Big Deal? You may say, “Nobody changes the default DPI, right?” Well, Windows 7 might. Windows 7 may increase the default DPI setting based on the resolution the...
  • Blog Post: Where Should I Store my Data and Configuration Files if I Target Multiple OS Versions?

    Over the past few releases of Windows, you may have noticed common folder locations have moved around a bit. What should you do if you want your code to target multiple OS’s? Perhaps you are updating an application from XP to Windows 7 and wondering where those old directories went. Hopefully,...
  • Blog Post: Solving Compatibility Issues with Internet Explorer 8’s Built-in Developer Tools

    IE8 has some outstanding developer tools built-in and can be accessed by pressing F12. If you happen to be viewing this in IE8, go ahead and press F12 now. After pressing F12, you may be really excited and have stopped reading this or you may be wondering how this could help you. I’ll cover some of my...
  • Blog Post: Getting Started with IE8 Compatibility

    I frequently get asked about IE8 compatibility.  I usually point people to the IE8 Readiness Toolkit’s developer section .  This is a good resource but there are various topics and resources that I’d like to summarize in this post. Three Browsers for the Price of One If you’re in the browser...
  • Blog Post: Common Application Installer Issues on Windows 7 (and Vista)

    There are some very common application installer issues developers run into due to UAC .  Most of the issues are easy to fix.  I’ll cover the most common issues in this post. Per Machine Installers Need Admin Privileges Unless you have a ClickOnce installer, your installer probably installs...
  • Blog Post: Common Problems with Checking OS Versions in Code

    When a new OS is released, a high percentage of applications don’t install or don’t run because they check for a specific OS version. The application or installer checks for a specific version number and exits if it isn’t what is expected. I’ve heard claims of up to 50% of incompatibility...
  • Blog Post: Using the “secret” Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder to Create Step by Step Screenshot Documents

    When I show this tool to developers or QA guys, their eyes light up with excitement. When you work in Application Compatibility, you spend a lot of time documenting problems ;-). In this post, I’ll talk about some of the tricks and tools I use for documenting issues. There’s a slick new tool called...
  • Blog Post: Common Issues with 32-bit Applications Failing on 64-bit

    In most cases, 32-bit applications execute with no issues on 64-bit thanks to WOW64 . However, there are a few cases that you may need to make modifications to your application in order for it to work on 64-bit. I’ll cover the common issues and possible solutions in this post. 64-bit OS Basics...
  • Blog Post: Tales of Application Compatibility Weirdness – Demystifying UAC Virtualization

    We had a customer in the lab recently and they were quite certain their application was Windows 7 ready. To their surprise, it had several issues in certain situations.  In this post, I’ll talk about one of the situations they encountered as well as other stumbling blocks you might run into with...
  • Blog Post: Answers to Several Application Manifest Mysteries and Questions

    Recently, someone asked me this question in e-mail -- “How do I get my application to run elevated when someone launches it?” Instinctively, I responded with a “You need to manifest it.” I got a nice long e-mail in return. ;-) I quickly realized that application manifests appear simple but are quite...
  • Blog Post: Questions from the Developer Booth at TechEd Europe 2009

    I had the opportunity to go to Berlin for TechEd Europe 2009 .  I delivered a presentation on Application Compatibility and the rest of the time I hung out in the “Test your app on Win 7” and “Win 7 Developer drop in center”. I got some great questions from attendees.  I thought I’d blog some...
  • Blog Post: Windows 7 Application Compatibility Testing Guidance document

    If you have an existing application, you may be wondering if it’s going to work on Windows 7.  If it works on Vista, you have a good shot at it working on Windows 7. As a developer or a tester, you may be wondering if you have tested your application to uncover potential issues on the new OS. We...
  • Blog Post: Displaying the UAC consent dialog on the desktop

    I had written a draft of this post a while ago (last year).  I use Live Writer as my blog editor.  Between Live Writer and Intellimirror ,this draft has survived multiple reloads of interim builds of Windows 7.  So, I think in some ways, it deserves to be resurrected and posted. :-) ...
  • Blog Post: Developing Compatible Applications for Windows 7 webcast

    I know I could talk all day about application compatibility topics and not cover everything that can be discussed. Here’s a one hour webcast I did that focuses on the top issues and most confusing topics for Application Compatibility. I do some of my favorite demos showing UAC architecture, data redirection...
  • Blog Post: Windows Server 2008 Application Compatibility presentation

    In the compatibility labs, we always give an big overview presentation about Windows application compatibility. There's a lot of overlap between Vista and WS08 AppCompat but we call out some specific areas that mostly affect WS08. We've recorded the WS08 specific section of the presentation and posted...
  • Blog Post: Detecting what Server Roles are installed on Windows Server 2008

    I think there is always a nugget of information that inspires a blog. This is the idea that inspired my blog. By default, Windows Server 2008 has no server roles installed. This isn't intended to make you do more work (it's a feature). The goal is to be secure by default. After the OS installed, you...
  • Blog Post: Where do I start?

    When you work on a given subject for a while, you tend to jump right in and forget to start at the beginning. In the Application Compatibility lab, we kick off the week with an overview presentation and cover the basics of common compatibility issues. Those topics are probably a good place to start with...
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