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July 15, 2009

An Ecosystem Update for Windows 7

Hi, Mike Nash here from the Windows Platform Strategy Team.

Earlier this week, I was in New Orleans at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC). It was amazing to see the strength and scale of the Windows ecosystem at this event, particularly as we get closer to the launch of Windows 7.

As I return to Redmond, I’d like to give an update on our approach to partner outreach and enabling the Windows ecosystem.

Driving early engagement

Our partners have been clear from the outset that they needed access to stable Windows 7 builds as early as possible. So we started our ecosystem readiness journey by delivering an API complete pre-release developer build of Windows 7 in October at the PDC, a year before our scheduled General Availability (GA). We followed that with Windows 7 Beta at CES in January, and Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) in May.

This access has enabled partners to be in a great position to complete final testing of their products and services when Windows 7 is released to manufacturing (RTM) later this month.

Focusing on application and device compatibility

When we designed Windows 7, we worked to minimize changes in the way applications and devices interact with Windows. As a result, the work done by 3rd party software and hardware developers to make their products work on Windows Vista generally carries forward for Windows 7. In most cases, the same software and hardware that works on Windows Vista will also work on Windows 7 today.

Some software that is written to very low levels of the operating system, like antivirus and disk imaging software, may require some updates. We have been able to engage closely with those partners and have addressed compatibility issues earlier in the process. As a result, today 10 antivirus companies offer beta versions of their flagship products that are compatible with Windows 7 RC.

New content and programs for partners

Millions of developers and partners have been able to get detailed technical guidance, white papers, tools and code samples from the Windows Developer Center, so they can plan, build and test on Windows 7 sooner. Moreover, thousands of partners are participating in the Windows Ecosystem Readiness Program, which has reached nearly 45,000 software and hardware developers. And over 6 million people have checked out the content at Ready. Set. 7 about how many of our partners are preparing for and innovating on Windows 7.

How customers can get ready for Windows 7

We’ve also been working to ensure customers can take advantage of all of this great work by the Windows ecosystem.

We have created the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, an end-user tool designed to help customers assess their ability to upgrade their Windows XP or Windows Vista-based PCs to Windows 7. A Beta version of the can be downloaded here.

We also have the Windows 7 Logo Program, to help customers know what is compatible with Windows 7. While many products will work with Windows 7, products that carry the “Compatible with Windows 7” logo have passed testing for compatibility with Windows 7 – and because 64-bit support is a logo requirement, logo’d devices will work with both 32 and 64 bit!

Compatible with Windows 7

Business customers can also use the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, but they need more information on compatibility for enterprise applications. So we’ve also put together a comprehensive list of the most widely used enterprise applications, which we have continuously tested on Windows 7 throughout the product cycle. In addition, there is the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) to help customers assess compatibility of software.

For internally developed line-of-business (LOB) applications, Windows 7 provides a number of in-box compatibility tools. For example, if an application fails to install because of a hard-coded version check (some software installers check the version of Windows you’re running), the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter can troubleshoot the problem by using a version number expected by the installer and running the installer again, with user consent.

How developers can get ready for Windows 7

If you’re a developer and you haven’t yet started testing for Windows 7, I recommend you do 5 key things:

  1. Go download the Windows 7 Release Candidate and try it out.
  2. Get compatible and test your products.  You can visit to learn more about getting ready for Windows 7.
  3. Test for the Logo Requirements with our Windows Logo Kit for software and hardware.
  4. Tell the world!  Make a statement of support on the Windows Compatibility Center.
  5. Unlock your creativity and innovation with the new features in Windows 7. Get started by taking advantage of new opportunities in Windows 7 by evaluating the Windows 7 Developer Guide and Windows Hardware Developer Central.

Being at WPC is a good reminder of all the work it takes across tens of thousands of companies and millions of developers and IT professionals to get ready for a new Windows release. So let me conclude by saying THANK YOU to all of our partners from around the world for your engagement, testing, innovation and feedback – all which will help make Windows 7 a great release for our mutual customers.


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