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Explore the Windows 7 Application Compatibility List for IT Professionals

Greg Shultz examines the Windows 7 Application Compatibility List for IT Professionals spreadsheet and provides you with an overview.

In the October 6 edition of the Windows Vista and Windows 7 Report, "The Windows Ecosystem Readiness Program Ensures Compatibility for Windows 7," I explained that in addition to improving performance of the new operating system, Microsoft put a great deal of effort into making sure that Windows 7 is extremely compatible with new and existing hardware and software.

To boost this effort, Microsoft established the Windows Ecosystem Readiness Program, which is designed to help Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs), Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), developers, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), and Original Device Manufacturers (ODMs) work toward compatibility with Windows 7 by providing them with access to all kinds of resources and more direct contact with Microsoft, including access to application testing labs through Microsoft Connect.

Also in that article I mentioned that Mark Relph, the Senior Director with the Windows Ecosystem Team, reported on the success of the Windows Ecosystem Readiness Program by pointing out that over 50,000 developers from 17,000 companies are taking part in the program. He also highlighted the fact that more than 6,000 hardware and software products have received the Compatible with Windows 7 logo.

To highlight the results of the Windows Ecosystem Readiness Program, the company created the Ready. Set. 7. Web site where you can find a list of companies and detailed descriptions of the products that have received the Compatible with Windows 7 logo. Microsoft also launched the Windows 7 Compatibility Center Web site to assist you in finding detailed information about compatible products. While both the Ready. Set. 7. and the Windows 7 Compatibility Center site are great resources, they both require you to wade through a lot of material as you conduct your investigations.

To make these compatibility investigations more productive for IT professionals, this week Microsoft released the Windows 7 Application Compatibility List for IT Professionals, an Excel-based spreadsheet that provides one-stop access to a complete list of software applications (more than 5,500 applications) that have undergone the Windows 7 Logo Program testing program for compatibility with 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7.

In this edition of the Windows Vista and Windows 7 Report, I'll examine the Windows 7 Application Compatibility List for IT Professionals spreadsheet and provide you with an overview of what you can find in it.

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a free TechRepublic download.

Get the spreadsheet

You can download the Windows 7 Application Compatibility List for IT Professionals spreadsheet from the Microsoft Download Center. The spreadsheet is saved as a Microsoft Excel 97-2003 worksheet, so it is easily accessible regardless of what version of Office you are using.

Examining the content

When you open the spreadsheet and access the Application List worksheet tab, as shown in Figure A, you'll discover that the worksheet is arranged with column headings that provide the Application Name, Major and Minor Version numbers, the Company Name and Home Page address followed by the compatibility columns: 32-bit Windows 7 Compat Status and 64-bit Windows 7 Compat Status.

Figure A

The key columns are the 32-bit Windows 7 Compat Status and the 64-bit Windows 7 Compat Status columns.

In these columns, you'll find one of the following status classifications:

  • Compatible - Windows 7 Logo — Of course, this classification is the Holy Grail and means this product met Microsoft's testing requirements for compatibility with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7. To earn the Compatible with Windows 7 logo, software and hardware must pass Microsoft designed installation, performance, reliability, and security tests.
  • Compatible — This classification indicates that the software publisher has stated this product works with 32-bit and/or 64-bit Windows 7. However, applications marked only as Compatible have not undergone the Microsoft Windows Logo Program compatibility tests.
  • Not Compatible — This classification means that the software publisher has stated that this product is not compatible or does not work with 32-bit and/or 64-bit Windows 7. (You are directed to check out the company Web site for updates and more information.)
  • Free Update Required — This classification means that the software publisher has stated that there is a free upgrade to a newer version of the application that is compatible with 32-bit and/or 64-bit Windows 7.  (Whether this free update has earned the actual logo is not specified, and you should check out the company Web site.)
  • Paid Update Required — This classification means that the software publisher has stated that there is a fee-based upgrade to a newer version that is compatible with 32-bit and/or 64-bit Windows 7. (Whether this paid update has earned the actual logo is not specified, and you should check out the company Web site.)
  • Future Compatibility — This classification means that the software publisher has stated that they plan to have a compatible version of this product for 32-bit and/or 64-bit Windows 7 at a future date. Microsoft provides this information as a service for your information only.
  • Information Coming Soon — This classification indicates that Microsoft is currently working with the software publisher to confirm the product works with Windows 7. (You are directed to check out the company Web site for updates and more information.)

The last two columns on the worksheet indicate the dates on which the status was last updated for both the 32-bit and 64-bit version of Windows. These dates will be of particular importance to you if your application has a status of Future Compatibility or Information Coming Soon.

Regular updates

It is very important to keep in mind that many software publishers are actively involved and working with Microsoft on compatibility testing and that a product's status may very well change. As such, Microsoft will be updating the Windows 7 Application Compatibility List for IT Professionals spreadsheet on a regular basis, so it is important to keep checking the Version and Date Published dates in the Quick Details section of the download page, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

The spreadsheet will be regularly updated, so keep checking the Version and Date Published dates in the Quick Details section.

What's your take?

What's your take? Will you download and use the Windows 7 Application Compatibility List for IT Professionals spreadsheet? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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