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Microsoft Rolls Out App Compatibility Support Line

Microsoft started a new pilot help program last week for IT professionals and developers facing application compatibility issues.

The program, which is part of Microsoft's Advisory Services, provides phone support for those having difficulties with "product migration, code review or new program development," according to a Microsoft blog.

However, those beset by such problems need to be prepared to open the wallet to get such support. Microsoft's Advisory Services help costs $210 per hour, and is available for up to 20 hours. The program doesn't provide any on-site support.

Details on the new application compatibility support program are described here. Before providing assistance, Microsoft typically asks IT pros or developers a series of questions about the type of applications involved, operating systems used and the compatibility problems experienced.

Microsoft's engineers then run a series of tools to try to determine why the application compatibility problems are happening. One of those tools, the Application Compatibility Toolkit, checks on third-party applications running on Windows Vista or Windows 7. Another tool, the Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool, checks IE 7 and IE 8 compatibility.

The Application Compatibility Toolkit can be downloaded for free.

Microsoft also runs a Setup Analysis Tool to check Windows installers and third-party installers. A Standard User Analyzer tool is used to check application programming interface compatibility with a Windows 7 security feature called "user account control," or UAC. Finally, to test if applications will work with the next version of Windows, Microsoft provides its Compatibility Administrator Tool.

Microsoft has already released Windows 7 to equipment vendors, partners and IT pros who subscribe to MSDN and TechNet services. The general public release of Windows 7 is scheduled for Oct. 22.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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