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Published by: Pearltrees2 on Mar 23, 2011
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InstallFree Application Compatibility White Paperwww.installfree.com Page 1
Don’t
Let Application Compatibility Issues Hold Back YourWindows 7 Migration
Window 7 is the latest version of the Microsoft Windows operating system and is widely regarded as animportant upgrade for customers that are using Windows XP or Windows Vista. Many organizations areeither considering migration to Windows 7 in the next 12-18 months, or already have migration projectsin place. However, large portions of these organizations are finding that many of their applications arenot natively compatible with the new OS. In fact, recent studies have shown that most customers willexperience compatibility problems with as many as 50% of their applications. These problems rangefrom minor errors in functionality to complete inability to either install or run applications on Windows7.
The Root Causes Of Application Compatibility Issues
The leading causes of application compatibility issues with Windows 7 fall into three broad categories:
 
Internet Explorer conflicts
- Internet Explorer (IE) is different from other web browsers in that itis tightly coupled with the Windows OS. Due to the popularity and longevity of Windows 2000and Windows XP, many organizations have standardized on critical line-of-business applicationsthat rely heavily on older versions of Internet Explorer, especially Internet Explorer 6 and 7. Theproblem is that neither Internet Explorer 6 nor Internet Explorer 7 can be installed on Windows7, which in many cases prevents these applications from working on Windows 7.
 
System and component dependencies
- Windows 7 includes many changes to system-levelcomponents, which creates issues with applications that depend on older versions of thesecomponents. Good examples include Windows Media Player, Dot Net and the MicrosoftManagement Console (MMC), which are used by many applications. When these componentsare replaced with newer versions as part of an OS migration, applications that depended onthem may stop working. Worse still, because these dependencies are part of the OS, customerscannot simply deploy the old versions of the components on the new operating system.
 
Operating system security
- Windows 7 features a new security model which includes UserAccount Control (UAC) and changes to default user permissions. By default, applications that runon Windows 7 do not have write access to protected operating system directories such as theWindows folder and the Program Files folder, and cannot modify certain areas in the Registry. Inaddition, the recomm
ended way to use Windows 7 is by logging in as a “standard” user, rather
than a user with full administrative privileges. The problem is that many applications that werewritten for Windows XP were not designed to operate in a secure OS environment.
 
InstallFree Application Compatibility White Paperwww.installfree.com Page 2Such applications may not run on Windows 7, or may require full administrative privileges inorder to function correctly, consequently compromising the overall security of the OS.
 Traditional Compatibility Tools Introduce Other Headaches
Customers that are facing application compatibility problems have traditionally looked to solving themusing server-based or virtual-machine-based solutions. While these methods can get the problematicapplications to work, they are often very expensive to implement, result in tremendous performancehits, and may not deliver the desired end-user experience.
 
Server-based solutions
, such as Citrix XenApp or Microsoft TS/RDS, run the problematicapplications on servers and enable the Windows 7 clients to access them through remotesessions. These solutions require heavy investment in server infrastructure, cannot supportdisconnected (offline) users, prevent the remote applications from interacting with locally-installed applications (e.g. remote CRM application will not be able to create a proposal usingthe locally installed copy of Microsoft Word) and may result in very serious performance hitsespecially over low bandwidth network connections.
 
VM-based solutions
can be used to run the problematic applications in Windows XP virtualmachines. The VMs can run locally on the Windows 7 machine (e.g. Windows 7 XP Mode, MED-V) or accessed remotely (e.g. VDI solutions). In both of these cases however, the applicationsresiding in the VMs will not be able to interact with locally installed applications, and end-usersmay experience serious performance hits. In addition, this method will make it more difficult forIT to update and deliver applications, as it will now need to continually manage full Windows XPVMs that are considerably larger than the applications and require frequent updating andpatching. In the case of VDI solutions, most of the problems of server-based solutions also apply,making them even less adequate for solving application compatibility problems.
An Optimized Solution For Application Compatibility
InstallFree provides an optimized solution for solving application compatibility problems. Rather thanrun problematic applications on remote servers or inside virtual machines, InstallFree creates alightweight virtualization layer that enables applications to use their own set of private resourcesirrespective of the underlying OS. InstallFree virtual applications run locally on the Windows 7 machinewith full performance, are available for offline use and can fully interact with locally-installedapplications. InstallFree fully supports the virtualization of Internet Explorer and most other user-modeapplications (e.g. Microsoft Office, Java, etc), solves system and component dependency issues, andruns applications using limited privileges even when the applications themselves do not support it.Better still, InstallFree does not require heavy investment in infrastructure, does not require system-level agents on client PCs and enables IT to incrementally and efficiently deliver, update and manageapplications.In most cases, InstallFree can solve application compatibility problems in less than 30 days and at afraction of the cost required for implementing server-based or VM-based solutions. Once the solution is

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