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If your application works with Windows Vista, odds are very good that it will work with Windows 7. And you would be testing it for Windows 7 compatibility using the Windows 7 Software Logo Kit. The beta is due out real soon, and you’ll be able use it to get the Compatible with Windows 7 Logo for use in your marketing materials.
But what are your customers using to test your applications? And what will the ITPros find when they test those few remaining application that work only on Windows XP?
Your customers will be using the Windows Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT).
For instance, one common problem is caused by a requirement in Windows Vista and Windows 7 that most users work in standard user mode rather than administrator mode. Because users in standard mode have fewer system rights, they are less likely to inadvertently install malware. But that also can break programs written for XP that assume users are running as administrators.
It also detects calls to Windows Mail aka Outlook Express. Windows Mail was deprecated from Windows 7.
Enter shims. They are small bits of code, shims don't try to tackle app compatibility problems head-on, but use tricks to sidestep them. In the Release Candidate for Windows 7, Microsoft is providing shims for 6,999 applications, with more added in every patch update. The toolkit helps IT pros diagnose app compatibility problems then apply the proper shims to get balky software running. The latest version 5.5 was released last month.
These shims are collectively included in the free Windows Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT). The ACT is used by ITPros. ACT 5.5 helps you customers understand their application compatibility situation by identifying which applications are compatible with the Windows 7 RC and Windows Vista operating system and which require further testing. ACT helps customers lower their costs for application compatibility testing, prioritize their applications, and deploy Windows more quickly.
Of course, you can help your customers by qualifying for the Windows 7 Software Logo. They’ll know you have already done the work.
For more information about what is required for Windows 7 Compatibility, see Application Quality Cookbook. For a video about application compatibility, see the Windows 7 Compatibility video in A Developer's First Look at Windows 7.
To see what you customer ITPros are using, download the Windows Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT). For more information about ACT, see Windows Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) on TechNet. For more information about how your customers will be using the Toolkit and how it works, see Windows 7 Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5: Interview with Jeremy Chapman.