Microsoft looks to instill app-compatibility confidence in Windows 7 users with Desktop App Assure

Microsoft's new program for Windows 10 Enterprise and Education customers is designed to help them resolve any application compatibility issues they find in attempting to move from Windows 7 to 10.

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Credit: Microsoft

One of many reasons that Windows users are often unwilling to move to a newer version of the operating system is application compatibility. But Microsoft's contention is this may not be as big a problem as many users fear, at least when it comes from moving from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

In an attempt to quell app-compat fears, Microsoft announced in September 2018 a new program called Desktop App Assure. In unveiling this program at Ignite last year, Microsoft officials said that based on customer and Windows Insider information, 99 percent of existing Windows 7 apps were compatible with new Windows 10 updates, and they were willing to back that claim with this new program.

Desktop App Assure -- which Microsoft officials said on January 14 is now globally available -- will allow users who encounter any app compatibility issues after a Windows 10 or Office 365 ProPlus Update to file a ticket through Microsoft's FastTrack program and have a Microsoft engineer work with them until the issues are resolved.

So far, during preview, out of 41,000 applications, customers have requested Microsoft evaluate 7,000 applications for potential compatibility concerns. Of these, 49 apps required Microsoft's assistance, officials said this week.

"Another way to look at this is that only 0.1 percent of all the apps that customers who have worked with the Desktop App Assure team to evaluate have had a compatibility issue," according to Microsoft's January 14 blog post.

Through the program, Microsoft will make sure the following types of apps that work on Windows 7 also work on Windows 10

  • Customer-developed apps targeting a supported version of WIndows 10 
  • ISV apps targeting a supported version of Windows 10 
  • Office 365 ProPlus apps targeting a supported version of Windows 10, including macros and add-ins 
  • Microsoft products and services targeting a supported version of Windows 10 
  • Windows 10 desktop and web apps 

FastTrack engineers won't handle the app inventory and testing to determine what does/doesn't work on Windows 10 or research which third-party ISV apps are compatible or not. They also won't provide help for app packaging-only services. (Microsoft has other tools and services, like Modern Desktop Assessment, which handles some of these tasks.

Desktop App Assure is free to Windows 10 Enterprise and Education customers and is available to Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Education customers. 

Microsoft will no longer provide security updates and support for Windows 7 after January 14, 2020.