Most organizations opted not to deploy Windows 8 and many administrators had a bad experience migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7, and simply were not ready to repeat the experience by migrating to Windows 8. One of the biggest reasons why organizations largely held off on migrating their enterprises to Windows 8 is that operating system migrations have been costly, complex and risky projects. Without proper Application Readiness processes in place, there are often negative impacts to end users and critical business processes when there are issues with application compatibility.
System administrators are now facing a migration to Windows 10 that can present a number of challenges related to Windows 10 compatibility. Administrators are under pressure to migrate relatively quickly and Gartner indicates that over 50% of enterprises will be adopting Windows 10 this year.
Many organizations making the move to Windows 10 are doing so as a way of replacing older desktop operating systems. Windows XP reached its end of support in 2014 and main-stream support for Windows 7 SP1 ended in 2015. Windows 7 will reach its end of support in less than four years, which is not a lot of time to plan and execute such a large scale IT project.
Microsoft has been widely publicizing the benefits of its new universal applications, but has downplayed the issue of desktop application compatibility for Windows 10. Microsoft states that “most programs created for earlier versions of Windows will work in this version of Windows”. Even so, it is difficult to take this statement at face value. After numerous reports of incompatibilities as a result of the Windows 10 Update Service automatically installing patches that have caused systems to crash. These issues were largely related to driver issues or to hard coded version checks within some applications. While it seems that Microsoft is going to great lengths to minimize application compatibility issues, it is unrealistic to expect every application to work on the new OS. There are certain to be at least some compatibility issues, especially in enterprises with legacy and custom applications. From a service availability standpoint, application compatibility testing must become something that is completed on an ongoing basis as each new update is released.
To read more about Windows 10 Application Compatibility download the white paper
Windows 10 Application Compatibility – A Redmond Magazine e-Book by Microsoft MVP, Brien Posey