Intel Migrates to Windows 7, with Compatibility Issues

Intel has been busily migrating to Windows 7, and embracing 64-bit computing as an internal standard, but with those changes have come some issues with application compatibility and administrative access. Intel and Microsoft have been working closely to solve these issues, with an Intel engineer insisting in a blog posting that the migration is on schedule. Intel could save as much as $11 million over the next three years by using Windows 7 in place of the aging Windows XP, formerly the operating system of choice after Intel shunned Windows Vista.

Intel's long-planned internal move to Windows 7 and 64-bit computing involves a lot of "heavy lifting," according to an Intel engineer in a lengthy Feb. 24 posting on the tech company's Open Port IT Community blog.
Intel and Microsoft have been partnered through the latter's TAP (Technology Adopter Program) to bring the operating system, which was released in October 2009, into Intel's enterprise in a security-robust and bug-limited way. Both companies partnered in the months ramping up to Windows 7's release to promote the operating system as offering better processor performance and battery life than its predecessor, Windows Vista, which Intel infamously refused to deploy internally in 2008.
During the Intel Technology Summit in July 2009, an Intel spokesperson confirmed to eWEEK that the company had already been working on the adoption of Windows 7 for internal use.
While the deployment is apparently progressing as planned, Intel senior systems programmer Roy Ubry suggested in the blog posting that application compatibility with Windows 7 remains a challenge to overcome.
Ubry termed the "most significant" issue as involving UAC, or User Account Control, which was apparently causing applications not written by the user to shut down without an error message. Microsoft solved the problem by having Intel users click an icon to "Run as Administrator," which allowed applications to run with full administrative access.
Another issue came with Intel's decision to upgrade to 64-bit computing as part of its Windows 7 migration.
"However, 64-bit computing brings with it some significant challenges for application compatibility," Ubry wrote. "The primary challenge is that 16-bit applications are no longer supported." While that might not seem like a big deal, "many legacy applications still exist in an environment such as ours that is required to support older operating systems; in addition, many applications have been packaged using 16-bit installers."
Intel also faces challenges in a new requirement to use Internet Explorer 8. Ubry added: "IE 8 does offer an IE 7 compatibility mode, which can mitigate some issues, but other applications are written to require IE 6, and mitigation of these issues must be addressed." Other issues exist in areas such as Office Web Components, IE plug-ins, and Java versions.
"What does all of this mean?" Ubry asked. "It means that a significant amount of work needs to be invested to prepare for Windows 7 application readiness." Despite any issues, however, Ubry added in a bolded update that "Intel's deployment has been moving along routinely with no changes to either of our expectations for total success."
Intel expects Windows 7 to reduce its operating costs by $11 million over the next three years.