App-compatibility tool kit for Windows 7 due in April
Microsoft says it will give users a head start on testing applications on new operating system
IDG News Service - Microsoft Corp. next month plans to release a tool kit to help business users begin testing their existing applications for compatibility with Windows 7.
In a virtual roundtable that Microsoft hosted this week to field questions about the upcoming operating system, Mark Russinovich, a Microsoft technical fellow, said the software vendor would release the Application Compatibility Toolkit to support Windows 7 prereleases in "the April 2009 time frame."
Microsoft also will release another version of the tool kit to correspond with Windows 7's commercial release, which is expected to begin later this year. The company has said it is on track to release Windows 7 three years after shipping Windows Vista, which was made available to business users in November 2006 and consumers in January 2007.
Microsoft used to release application-compatibility tool kits after the general release of a new version of Windows. But it released the tool kit for Vista at the same time that the operating system was made generally available in order to give customers more time to begin testing applications.
Nonetheless, early Vista users encountered application-compatibility issues — one of several problems that have prompted many companies as well as home users to hold off on deploying Vista and wait for Windows 7.
By comparison, companies will have a considerable amount of time to test existing applications for compatibility with Windows 7 ahead of its release. And it should be a less painful process if they've already done some Vista testing, according to the transcript of this week's roundtable. Applications that run on Vista should already be compatible with Windows 7 since the two operating systems "share similar design frameworks," Russinovich said during a Q&A session.
The Windows kernel "is updated with Windows 7 but is based on the same underlying architecture [as Vista]," he said, according to the transcript.
However, Russinovich noted that Windows XP and Windows 7 are built on different design frameworks, so the level of application compatibility between them is "not the same." As a result, businesses running XP will likely need more time to ensure that their applications are compatible with Windows 7 before beginning broad deployments of the new operating system.
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