Getting Ready for Windows 7 Part 2: Microsoft Programs to Help Get Apps Compatible

windows 7 bl h Windows 7 is on it’s way. Windows 7 will be generally available (GA) on October 22. The version that goes public in October will be available for you in late July.

In Getting Ready for Windows 7 Part 1: Why Be Ready for Windows 7?, we explored the business case.

The first order of business is to be sure your applications are compatible with Windows 7. The steps are straightforward. And there’s plenty of help. This post will help guide you through the various programs and help you make the most out of being ready for Windows 7.

Readiness for Windows 7 includes first being compatible and then taking advantage of some of the features in Windows 7. We’ll explore those in the later postings:

The first order of business is to be sure your applications are compatible. Generally the compatibility of your existing applications with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is high. Yet some compatibility breaks are inevitable due to innovations, security tightening, and increased reliability.

Here are the main steps:

  1. Be sure it works. Whether or not you participate in the software logo program, you can test your applications using the Compatible with Windows 7 software logo toolkit. The test provides a good level of testing and provides steps and resources to resolve any issues that it might find.
  2. Publicize. You can declare your intent to support Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 at Compatibility Center Submission Form. You can submit your applications one at a time or uploads lists. The Center is open to all ISVs regardless of size or locale. Also add Windows 7 to the list of operating systems that your application supports on your Web site and product marketing materials.
  3. Certify. Optionally, you can earn the Compatible with Windows 7 software logo and earn partner points toward your Microsoft Partner Network. No longer do you need to certify for Windows 7 through a third-party test. You can do it yourself and submit the results.

That said, Microsoft has several programs to get you up and running with Windows 7. Some have additional marketing benefits.

App Compat Programs

For companies inside and outside the US, you can find the details and steps you can take to insure compatibility and can register your application on ISV App Compat. Tech support is offered worldwide at an MSDN Forum Application Compatibility for Windows Development.

frontrunnerlogo ISVs in the United States can join Front Runner, a program from MSDEV. Front Runner program provides

  • Details of the steps to insure your applications are compatible.
  • Tech support for your app compat issues.
  • A place to list your application as being or will be compatible
  • Additional marketing benefits.

Marketing benefits include use of the Front Runner logo, marketing materials, and funds that can be applied to your marketing efforts supporting your Windows 7 adoption. Listings in Front Runner are fed to the Compatibility Catalog and Pinpoint.

In both ISV App Compat and Front Runner you can declare your application does or will work on Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 by a specific date.

For a video on Windows 7 Compatibility, see Windows 7 Compatibility on MSDEV. For details on application compatibility issues, see Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Application Quality Cookbook.

For a video on moving your application from Windows XP to Windows 7 including understanding how to work with User Access Control (UAC), see Developing Compatible Applications for Windows 7.

Compatible with Windows 7 Software Logo

Windows-7-Client-Software-Logo-Program You can optionally take compatibility to the next step and earn the Compatible with Windows 7 software logo. You’ll test your applications using the Compatible with Windows 7 software logo toolkit. Chances are that if your application runs under Windows Vista, it will work with Windows 7. The test will give you a list of items to check and provide information on what you should to insure compatibility. ISVs set up a virtual machine with Windows 7 and the toolkit installed, and the do your own self testing. The test consists of running the tool from the command line while you install, run, and uninstall your application. After you pass the test you submit an XML file to Winqual that is created by the logo toolkit, then register your application, sign a couple forms. You can use the Compatible with Windows 7 software logo right away.

For a video on how the process worked for one ISV, see How Attachmate Earned Windows 7 Software Logo.

You can opt in to receive email notices about the software logo toolkit.

Some applications may have business reasons for not meeting every compliance test. You can get a waiver for certain issues. To learn more about waivers, see Guidelines for Waivers in Compatible with Windows 7 Software Logo.

To learn more about how the Compatible with Windows 7 software logo test works, see Compatible with Windows 7 software logo.

There are several benefits from getting the logo:

  • By passing the Compatible with Windows 7 software logo, you earn 30 partner points that can be applied toward the Microsoft Partner Network ISV Competency and can be listed in the Compatibility Catalog.
  • You get priority listing in the Compatibility Center.
  • Logo artwork is provided to display on your packaged product and websites to help communicate to your customers that they can be confident your product will be compatible and run reliably on Windows 7.
  • Once in market, access to Windows built-in error reporting (WER) enables you to monitor issues being experienced by your customers and respond pro-actively.

Finally, if you’re moving from XP, check out Windows XP to Windows 7 – A Developer’s Reference Application. This application shows you how to take advantage of the new Windows 7 features while keeping backward compatibility with older windows versions

Internet Explorer 8

Internet Explorer 8 IE logo h Internet Explorer 8 is the browser that ships on Windows 7 in most locales. For a video on Internet Explorer 8 compatibility, see Internet Explorer 8 Compatibility. Light up your application with Web Slices, Accelerators, Search Suggestions. For information on how to get started with any or all of these features, see New Features To Slice, Store, And Accelerate Your Web Applications. If you require IE8 as part of your application for locales where IE8 might not be part of Windows 7, you should see Windows 7 E Best Practices for ISVs.

For you need to support the Windows 7 E edition that does not include internet Explorer 8, see Windows 7 E Best Practices for ISVs.

A Few Words About 64-bit

One question that I’m asked about is whether you’ll be able to certify your 32-bit application will be able to be considered as Windows 7 compatible. Even if you’re not going for the Windows 7 logo, you should be ready to ship your applications on 64-bit computers. Your 32-bit applications can run on top of an emulation of a 32-bit operating system that is called Windows on Windows 64, or WOW64 for short. WoW64 intercepts system calls to the operating system made by a 32-bit application.

In fact, you can earn the Compatible with Windows 7 software logo by being able to install and run in WOW.

If your application is otherwise compatible, it will work out of the box in WOW. But if you have device drivers as part of your application, you may need to do some work to be sure they work. Details of what you should look for are in the Windows 7 Software Logo Program requirements.

For more information about WOW for applications written in managed code, see How does WoW64 work?

Next Steps

You can get details in how you can be compatible and incorporate Windows 7 features in your applications in a series of videos on MSDEV. You can view the videos in the series main page, A Developer's First Look at Windows 7.

Next up in the series are the list of things that are easy for you to implement. You can support Windows 7 in just a few lines of code. See Getting Ready for Windows 7 Part 3: Three Must Do Features For Your Users.


Bruce D. Kyle
ISV Architect Evangelist | Microsoft Corporation

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Special thanks to Jason De Lorme for adding to this posting.

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