Windows Vista Deployment - Part 2 - Application Compatibility

It's been decided, good choice, you are going to deploy Windows Vista in your environment. Now you have to make sure that all those applications that you have running around in your infrastructure work within Vista. But before you keep on reading I just have to make sure your expectations are set correctly:

This guide does not contain technical guidance on application remediation. It provides guidance on the process of application compatibility.

Having said that it is worthwhile to keep on reading as this guide will let you understand what needs to be fixed and how to organize your application compatibility project.

There are 3 major steps in the application compatibility process:

  1. Collect
    • Which Applications do I have?
  2. Analyse
    • Which Applications do I want?
  3. Test & Mitigate
    • Which Applications work?

In the Collect part of the process you can use tools like System Centre Configuration Manager 2007 or a free tool available called the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) both are agent based and scan the current applications that are in the users computers.

If you have a highly organized infrastructure there might be a central repository of applications of which you know exactly what they are, which ones are critical, how many users access them, etc...

As soon as you have gathered this information you need to analyse it and probably cut some of the applications out (if it is not in a highly managed estate) a good workflow for this is the following:


After this you will have a much more real list to work with. From this list you can action the 6 R's of remediation, which are:

  • Retire
  • Replace
  • Recode
  • Replatform
  • Repackage
  • Reduce

But how do I decide how I will remediate the application? Which questions do I need to ask? Below is a simple workflow to help you move along these decisions. There are two workflows I want to share with you, the first one is the basic test workflow:



This is a very high level view on testing, but if you identify power users that can help you test the applications instead of the IT team testing them themselves it makes for a much more fruitful process. If the applications do not work and have to go into the remediation phase there are other important considerations that you need to make in order to have your applications working in the new operating system. Below is another workflow that follows from the one above and will define what is going to be your remediation technique.


As you can see the first breaking point is whether the application is provided by a 3rd Party or is it made in house. Once you have identified that, a very important decision needs to be made. Is it necessary for the vendor or the team to support the application? If not you can proceed with changes in the configuration or even the shims.

Now, if you are asking where you can find guidance for all of this, we've compiled a set of links to aid you:

Hopefully this very high level article will give you the starting point to organize your effort. It is recommended that you start this process as soon as you can in your deployment effort as it is a blocker and will define your rollout schedule.

Part 3 - Hardware Suitability is next