Microsoft Moves to Reduce App Compatibility Woes

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-02-25 Print this article Print

To aid move to Windows XP and Office XP, Microsoft creates desktop deployment portal and upgrades Baseline Security Analyzer.

In an effort to further reduce application compatibility issues for enterprises considering a move to Windows XP and Office XP, Microsoft Corp. has updated some of its tools and created a new desktop deployment portal. Microsoft on Tuesday will announce its new Desktop Center portal as well as its updated Baseline Security Analyzer 1.1, which can be found on the portal. The analyzer scans corporate desktops for missing security updates and service packs and also identifies common system misconfigurations. Once the scan is complete, the analyzer provides an individual XML security report for each desktop scanned. To perform local or remote scans of Windows systems, the analyzer includes a graphical and command line interface for IT managers.
"The analyzer will now also check for security configurations for Exchange 5.5 in addition to Windows XP. It has also been updated to include the security elements, configurations and issues related to the first Windows XP service pack," Rogers Weed, Microsofts corporate vice president of Windows product management, told eWEEK in an interview on Monday.
In addition, Microsoft has updated its Windows XP Application Compatibility Toolkit 2.6, which is also available on the portal. The tool kit is designed to not only help users evaluate and test applications, but also to assist IT administrators in tailoring adjustments to the applications so they are optimized for Windows XP. The tool kit, which also incorporates the changes made in the first Windows XP service pack, can be downloaded at no cost from the Desktop Center or can be ordered on CD. "We decided that all this information needed to be easier to find. So we moved to consolidate all the material customers needed when considering upgrading, as well as updating the tools, under one simple URL," Weed said. "This information was previously dispersed all over our Web site, and customers were telling us they wanted it all together in one place. The tool kit will also alleviate much of the burden of testing applications and streamline the process by addressing compatibility issues before the operating system is deployed across the organization," he added. Application compatibility has long been one of the biggest bugbears for both users and Microsoft itself with the release of each new product upgrade. Even before the release of Windows XP in late 2001, the application compatibility monster reared its head. As was the case when Microsoft upgraded users from Windows 3.x to 95/98 and then to Windows 2000, software developers and users found that some of the applications that ran on previous versions did not run well—or at all—on the new XP platform.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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