Understanding the Application Compatibility Problem

Organizations typically have hundreds, if not thousands, of applications installed on all the computers in the network environment. This includes multiple versions of the same application, and even different updates applied to a single application version. Many of the applications and versions will be compatible with Windows 7, but some may have compatibility issues with Windows 7 or with other installed applications or device drivers. The problems resulting from these incompatibilities can range from losing functionality in a single application (such as no longer being able to use a single command on a particular menu in the program) to critical kernel-level faults resulting in a stop error.Where do you start the process of evaluating the application compatibility challenges your Windows 7 deployment may face? Best practices show that a successful process will include the following steps:

  1. Collect information about current applications.

  2. Prioritize and rationalize the applications to test and support.

  3. Test the applications.

  4. Mitigate Issues (remediate, upgrade, migrate, retire).

This document describes the first two points on the list: Collect information about your current inventory, and determine how you can begin to prioritize and rationalize your application inventory. The reference section at the end of this document provides links to in-depth information on tools, testing, issue remediation, and deployment in Microsoft® Deployment Solution Accelerator.