Windows 7 / Getting Started

Understanding Compatibility

Since the arrival of Microsoft Windows as a ubiquitous application platform, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and internal developers have created thousands of applications for it. Many are mission-critical applications-some of which aren't compatible with the latest version of Windows. Types of applications that might not be compatible include the following:

  • Line-of-business (LOB) applications, such as enterprise resource-planning suites
  • Core applications that are part of standard desktop configurations
  • Administrative tools, such as antivirus, compression, and remote-control applications
  • Custom tools, such as logon scripts

What Compatibility Means

Applications designed for earlier versions of Windows have been carried forward for a number of reasons. Maybe the application is a necessary tool that is used daily to accomplish some otherwise tedious task. Maybe users have learned the application and are reticent to move to another, similar application. Maybe the application has no replacement because the original creator either is no longer in business or has left the company. All these issues make application compatibility a critical issue that you must consider when deploying a new operating system such as Windows 7. In this tutorial, you learn the many issues that affect application compatibility, how to discover the applications on which the organization depends, and what you can do to ensure that mission-critical applications work with Windows 7.

An application is compatible with Windows 7 if it runs as designed in Windows 7-that is, the application should install and uninstall correctly. Users should be able to create, delete, open, and save any data files that are native to the application. Common operations such as printing should work as expected. A compatible application runs on Windows 7 out of the box, without any special assistance. If an application is not compatible, you might find that a newer, compatible version of the application is available or that using one of the tools that Microsoft provides to remediate the compatibility problem is all you need. You might also find that an application will require a combination of fixes to run properly. This tutorial discusses all these scenarios.

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