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Application Compatibility

Application Compatibility

Windows Vista® and Windows Server® 2008 introduce the next-generation operating system technology and software development platform that will be used by application developers and enterprises worldwide. As part of enhancing the security and user experience of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, many new features have been introduced, and existing features have been improved.

While Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 are highly compatible with most of the applications written for Microsoft® Windows® XP, Microsoft Windows Server® 2003, and their service packs, some compatibility breaks are inevitable due to new innovations, security tightening, and increased reliability. Overall, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 compatibility is high, and Microsoft is continuously striving to achieve the best possible compatibility solutions for existing applications for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.

This document is the first step for application developers to become familiar with how to verify the compatibility of their applications. This document also provides an overview of the few known application incompatibility issues in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 and provides links to detailed white papers and other developer guidance.

There are several new features that will enable developers to troubleshoot and work around applications that do not function properly under Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. Two such features are particularly useful:

  • The Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) compatibility mode allows an application to work as it did on Windows XP SP2. To run an application in this mode, right-click the application's executable file or icon and open the Properties property sheet. Click the Compatibility tab and select Run this program in compatibility mode for Windows XP (Service Pack 2).

  • Security restrictions enforced by User Account Control (UAC) might prevent applications that require administrative privileges from running properly, even if the user is a member of the Administrators group. To override UAC, a user with administrative privileges can run an application with elevated privileges by right-clicking the application's executable file or icon and clicking Run as administrator on the popup menu. The system displays a UAC dialog box, and the user can then click Allow to run the application with appropriate privileges.


All items in this document are appropriate for both Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 unless otherwise noted. There are no architectural changes for Windows Vista SP1. Applications that are compatible with Windows Vista RTM should continue to be compatible with Windows Vista SP1.

Issues Relevant to Windows Vista

The following topics provide detailed information on how to test for and solve known application incompatibility issues in Windows Vista:

  1. Application Compatibility: Quick Compatibility Check

  2. Application Compatibility: Operating System Versioning

  3. Application Compatibility: UAC: Standard User Changes

  4. Application Compatibility: UAC: Application Update Guidelines

  5. Application Compatibility: UAC: COM Per-User Configuration

  6. Application Compatibility: Windows Resource Protection (WRP)

  7. Application Compatibility: Internet Explorer Protected Mode

  8. Application Compatibility: Windows Vista 64-Bit

  9. Application Compatibility: IIS7

  10. Application Compatibility: Microsoft Graphical Identification and Authentication (GINA)

  11. Application Compatibility: Session 0 Isolation

  12. Application Compatibility: Networking: TCP/IP Stack and the Windows Filtering Platform

  13. Application Compatibility: Networking: Kernel-Mode IP Helper APIs

  14. Application Compatibility: Networking: IPv6

  15. Application Compatibility: Compatibility Risks

  16. Application Compatibility: Windows Driver Display Model

  17. Application Compatibility: Default Programs

  18. Application Compatibility: Program Compatibility Assistant (PCA)

  19. Application Compatibility: Graphical Device Interface (GDI)

  20. Application Compatibility: Named Pipe Hardening

  21. Application Compatibility: SPAP Deprecation (Pstore)

  22. Application Compatibility: WMI Providers: Default Security Hosting Model

  23. Application Compatibility: Volume Shadow Copy Service

  24. Application Compatibility: Standard User Analyzer

  25. Application Compatibility: DHTML Editing Control

  26. Application Compatibility: Help Engine Support

  27. Application Compatibility: Junction Points and Backup Applications

  28. Application Compatibility: Application Compatibility for Backup and Recovery

  29. Application Compatibility: Integrating with the Search the Internet Feature

  30. Application Compatibility: MMCs Must Be Data Execution Protection (DEP) Aware

  31. Application Compatibility: Networking: Turning Off the Windows Firewall

Issues Relevant to Windows Server 2008

The remainder of this document contains items that are applicable only to Windows Server 2008 and not to Windows Vista.

  1. Application Compatibility: Read Only Domain Controllers (RODC)

  2. Application Compatibility: Windows Server 2008 Roles

  3. Application Compatibility: Windows Application Experience in Windows Server 2008

  4. Application Compatibility: Windows Server 2008 Server Core

  5. Application Compatibility: Windows Server Failover Clustering on Windows Server 2008

  6. Application Compatibility: Networking: Windows Firewall Enabled by Default on Windows Server 2008