While app compatibility remains top of mind for many potential Windows 7 upgraders, Microsoft is trumpeting statistics showing impressive numbers of applications that run without hiccup on Windows 7.
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And analysts agree that the problems with Vista -- partly or entirely-non-running device drivers and apps -- that burned many users and contributed to Vista's poor adoption haven't cropped up.
"I haven't run into any corporations who said, 'Gee, because of application Y, we can't deploy Windows 7,'" said Michael Cherry, an analyst with the independent firm, Directions on Microsoft. He gives Microsoft credit for "working hard -- very, very hard" to ensure that application and device compatibility wouldn't be an issue.
Last week, Microsoft released its most up-to-date spreadsheet for IT professionals ( download here) listing information about which applications are compatible with Windows 7 or not.
Of the more than 13,000 apps on the list, 82 percent are compatible with Windows 7 today. That includes the 23 percent that have been certified compatible under Microsoft's Windows 7 Logo program.
That follows a blog posted by Microsoft last month in which it claimed that more than 800,000 unique apps run on Windows 7 (including multiple versions of the same programs, 32- and 64-bit editions and a variety of language editions). Of those, more than 9,000 apps and devices have been certified as compatible under the Windows 7 Logo program. More information can be found at Microsoft's Windows 7 Compatibility Center.
By comparison, Microsoft only had 800 unique apps certified as being Vista compatible in February 2007, one month after its release to consumers.
Granted, ensuring application compatibility for Windows 7 was a much easier task than it was for Vista. With Vista, Microsoft made major changes to the kernel to improve security, such as removing administrator rights by default for users and installing a feature called User Account Control (UAC) that prompted users to verify whenever a new application or driver was about to be installed. Those changes broke many XP apps.