Windows 7 Compatibility

The SocketTools 8.0 .NET assemblies, ActiveX controls and dynamic link libraries (DLLs) are fully compatible with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, and are supported on those platforms. If you've already updated your software to work with the least-privilege user account (LUA) security model in Windows Vista, you'll find the transition to Windows 7 to be a simple and straight-forward process. While there have been some significant improvements in terms of performance and usability with Windows 7, it uses the same kernel architecture as Windows Vista and has a high degree of compatibility with existing software.

If you're using an earlier version of SocketTools, it is recommended that you upgrade to the current version ensure compatibility with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Until you have upgraded your application to use SocketTools 8.0, you should test the applications that you have developed and have the Windows XP compatibility option enabled, or run the application under XP Mode if necessary.

Upgrading to the current version of SocketTools is a simple process and does not generally require any significant coding changes. In most cases, all you will need to do is reference the new version of the components and/or libraries and rebuild your application. The application interface has been extended to maintain backwards compatibility with source written for previous versions.

Windows XP Mode

One of the new features for the Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate Editions is the XP Mode compatibility feature that will allow you to install and run your applications on virtualized Windows XP system. To use XP Mode, you must have a processor that supports hardware virtualization (such as Intel's processors with VT-x) and not all software will work correctly in the virtualized environment, particularly applications that require extensive 3D graphics or high-performance video and audio.

For developers, XP Mode can be useful for installing older development tools that have compatibility problems under Windows 7. SocketTools 8.0 is supported in virtualized environments for development and testing purposes. You can download Windows XP Mode from http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/

Visual Studio 2010

If you're developing applications using Visual Studio 2010, including the Express Editions, you won't have any compatibility issues with Windows 7. If you are using an earlier version of Visual Studio on Windows 7, it is recommended that you upgrade to this current version. Current versions of Visual Studio can create projects which target multiple versions of the .NET Framework and existing projects should migrate with either no changes, or very minimal changes. More information about Visual Studio can be found on Microsoft's Visual Studio site.

Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Studio 2005

If you're developing applications using Visual Studio 2008 or Visual Studio 2005, including the Express Editions, you shouldn't have any compatibility issues with Windows 7. However, it is important to note that Microsoft's Windows Compatibility Center lists the Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition as not compatible.

It's recommended that you download the .NET Framework 3.5 and current of the Windows SDK. If you are also using older versions of Visual Studio or other third-party development tools that aren't directly supported under Windows 7, it's recommended that you install them in XP Mode. Also, if you use third-party plug-ins for Visual Studio, check with the vendor to make sure that they support Windows 7.

Visual Studio .NET 2003 and Visual Studio 6.0

If you are using Visual Studio .NET 2003 or Visual Studio 6.0, it is recommended that you install and run it in XP Mode which provides a virtualized Windows XP environment. Make sure that you download and install Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2003 and/or Service Pack 6 for Visual Studio 6.0. If you're using third-party plug-ins, make sure that they're still supported. Because Microsoft won't support older versions of Visual Studio on Windows 7, some vendors may choose to only support Visual Studio 2008 on the platform.

Note that although Visual Basic 6.0 is no longer supported, Microsoft will continue to support the Visual Basic 6.0 runtime under Windows 7. This means that the legacy applications you've developed using Visual Basic 6.0 will continue to run and can be maintained normally.

Third-Party Languages

There are a large number of third-party languages available for Windows, and many of them will continue to work under Windows 7 without a problem. The two key areas that are most likely to encounter problems are debugging and support for ActiveX controls or Automation. In some cases it may be required to run them with elevated privileges, either from the command line or from within their IDE. If you experience problems, select the shortcut to the program from the Start menu and right-click on it. Select Properties and the property sheet for the shortcut will be displayed. Next, click on the Compatibility tab and make one or more of the following changes:

1. Enable compatibility mode and select Windows XP. If the compiler is performing operating system version checks, it will continue to think that it's running under XP.

2. Check the option to disable visual themes. This will disable theme support in the application, and is a good choice if you're noticing problems with menus or buttons not being drawn correctly.

3. Check the option to disable desktop composition. This will disable the advanced features in the Aero Glass interface, such as transparency. This is a good choice if you notice problems with windows not being drawn correctly. For example, if the IDE includes visual tools to create and edit forms or dialogs, you may find that controls are drawn very slowly or aren't redrawn in the correct position. Disabling this feature will often correct the problem, however it will force the entire desktop (not just the application) to disable the Aero UI until the program terminates.

4. Check the option to run the program as an administrator. This will allow the IDE or compiler to run with elevated privileges. If you are experiencing problems debugging your application or using third-party ActiveX controls, enabling this option may correct the problem. You should only enable this option for programs that you trust because they will be given full, unrestricted access to the operating system.