Category: Compatibility

Help improve app compatibility in Windows 7

Microsoft is working more active than ever to improve application compatibility in Windows 7. Recently two Swedes announced Microsoft’s willingness to help improve application compatibility in general but also for non-English applications.

First Jesper Holmberg, working with localization at Microsoft in Redmond, announced the face that Microsoft actively wants applications in non-English languages to test with Windows 7. Second Danwei Tran, a new IT evangelist at Microsoft Sweden, offered everybody to send emails to a specific address to report compatibility issues with applications. Microsoft will then contact the developers to see how they can resolve the problems, to everybody’s benefit.

These two actions will of course make compatibility for Windows 7 superb, but never to forget, compatibility for Windows Vista will improve as well as a direct result of these actions.

Just a final note, Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 got released yesterday, more about this later on.

“Fix” the compatibility problems with IE8 beta

Some time during the third quarter this year the next beta of Internet Explorer 8 will be released. Microsoft is already asking people, webmasters specifically, to update their web sites to be Internet Explorer 8 compatible. IE8 follow web standards in a new way and this causes quite a few web sites to look not so good in Internet Explorer 8 native mode.

Of course the best option is to make your web site follow the standards but in any cases where this is not possible, due to lack of time, money or knowledge there is a snippet of code that you can add to your web sites to make Internet Explorer 8 render them as if they were interpreted in Internet Explorer 7.

The below snippet of code must be placed directly after the <head> tag.

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=7">

Adding this tag is equal to running Internet Explorer 8 in the “Emulate IE7” mode.

More information: Your Web site may not display correctly in Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1

How to disable Vista UAC for certain applications only

As a follow up to my previous posts about application compatibility this support article from Microsoft came right to my attention. It is a step-by-step guide on how to make disable User Account Control prompts for certain applications only, without turning off UAC. The guide is called How to disable the User Account Control Prompt for certain applications, do not miss it!

Application compatibility in Windows Vista

Windows Vista contains a nice utility called Program Compatibility Assistant which tracks the applications which might have problems with running in Vista. When you start an application which is detected to have problems with Vista you will be presented with a box like the one below, and the necessary compatiblity settings are automatically applied. In some cases the Program Compatibility Assistant solution to a compatibility problem is to set it to run as in Windows XP with Service Pack 2. What the Program Compatibility Assistant do in my example case is to determine that an application need to start with elevated privileges when using User Account Control. Of course this is a problem when the user running the application is just a standard user as he or she cannot start and use the application.

Compatibility Assistant

Regardless of what the Program Compatibility Assistant do the compatibility settings are stored per user and application in the registry. Have a look at this registry key to manually remove or just to have a look at what compatibility settings have been applied on your computer: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers.

The solution to resolve the problem with running certain applications elevated can in many cases is resolved by turning off User Account Control as a last way out, if you have not already disabled it.