Joshua Hoffman

What's the most unusual excuse you've ever heard for not upgrading the operating system in your organization? Sure, we've all heard comments about expense, complexity, and end-user training, all of which are completely valid. Certainly an enterprise-wide desktop infrastructure upgrade can be time-consuming and challenging. But who forestalled upgrading to Windows XP because the CEO liked the way his taskbar looked in Windows 2000? Who held off because of that one business-critical application that couldn't be upgraded—not because the application was too sensitive, but because the developer who wrote it (and never documented the code) quit? Or was fired? Or died?

I spent a number of years in Microsoft Consulting Services focusing on desktop engineering and deployment, and trust me—I've heard every reason in the book. The truth is, no matter how ridiculous the excuse, it doesn't matter any less. A business-critical application that can't be upgraded is still business-critical. No matter what advantages a new operating system may offer, if that's the one application needed to bill your customers or manufacture your widgets, it has to work. It's all got to work.

The good news is, there's help to be had. This month we're joined by two experts on application compatibility—Chris Corio and Chris Jackson. Chris & Chris take us through two equally important topics. The first is how to plan an application compatibility project. When you're dealing with one or two applications, planning may not be such a big deal. But, as we all know, that's rarely the case. When you're evaluating tens or hundreds or even thousands of applications, real planning is required, and Chris's article provides an essential foundation. After the planning comes the doing, and that means digging into the Application Compatibility Toolkit, the powerful framework that Microsoft supplies for solving the most common application-compatibility problems. Our experts take you through the ins and outs of the toolkit, helping you ensure that your business-critical applications are ready for the next upgrade.

Knowing your appetite for great technical content, though, there's no way we would stop there! Group policy expert Darren Mar-Elia joins us to discuss automating group policy with Windows PowerShell. John Policelli is back this month with a walk through of using a catch-all subnet in Active Directory. And Iqbal Khan discusses tips for improving the scalability of ASP.NET applications.

We'd love to hear your application compatibility stories, challenges, and questions. Drop us a line anytime at, or visit our blog at Enjoy!

—Joshua Hoffman

Thanks to the following Microsoft technical experts: Ajith Alexander, Prabu Ambravaneswaran, Eric Charran, Joe DeFazio, Aaron Dunnington, Uday Hegde, Stephen Kreyenbuhl, Jingmei Li, Greg Lindsay, Scott McArthur, Mitch Prince, Brent Scallan, and Kimberly L. Tripp.