If you were wondering when Microsoft plans to publish an official list of applications that don't work well with Windows Vista, the answer is never.
When Microsoft released Windows XP Service Pack 2, the company subsequently published a list of applications that didn't work properly (or at all) with the SP2 update. But with Windows Vista, Microsoft has decided not to issue a public list.
Instead, the company is advising both business and home users with compatibility concerns to get a copy of the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT), which includes technology that will allow users to log compatibility problems and cross-check (privately, with Microsoft and other customers) compatibility results for selected applications.
Until this month, Microsoft officials had been noncommittal when asked about plans for publishing a full Vista app-compat list, like they did with Windows XP SP 2. But just over a week ago, when I asked Brad Goldberg, Microsoft's general manager for Windows client product management, about Microsoft's plans to make such a list public, I got a more definitive answer.
"We have no plan for publishing a (Vista compatibility) list," Goldberg said. "Instead, we are trying to do things differently than we did with XP SP2, such as releasing the ACT earlier."
Goldberg said the decision in the summer of 2004 to publish the XP SP2 list, which needed constant revisions, created considerable customer confusion. Because Microsoft and software/hardware vendors are continually releasing Vista fixes, Vista drivers and new Vista-customized products, a definitive Vista compat list would be next-to-impossible to keep current, Goldberg added.
As Houston Chronicle tech columnist Dwight Silverman says, your software probably will work with Windows Vista. But there are no promises. And currenty, a number of Microsoft's own products, from the Zune MP3 player, to SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 1, are incompatible with Vista, as Microsoft itself has admitted.
If you'd like to do a preliminary (non-Microsoft-sanctioned) check, you can start with the regularly updated Vista-compat list over on the iexbeta site.