Microsoft's Windows 7 developers have discovered the best way of testing the forthcoming operating system with the gamut of software available worldwide is to go out and buy a copy of each key title to see if it works.
In a lengthy post from the ever-reliable Engineering Windows 7 blog, the team explains how they are trying to ensure that that a whole range of programs that did not run on predecessor Vista, will work on Windows 7.
The team manage this by compiling a list of programs that they feel are vital from each of their 25 target markets and then, in many cases, buying a copy to test.
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"We acquire applications in a variety of ways but many times we have to buy an application from a retail store just as any end user would," says the blog.
"Other methods we use to acquire applications include downloading full featured trial versions, purchasing software, and working with ISVs (independent software vendor) to acquire their applications to ensure compatibility."
One of the key problems in the extensive testing process is dealing with software that requires local specific information.
Can't test everything
"Now, we can't test every piece of every application and we do run into some interesting challenges when we focus on a worldwide audience," adds the blog.
"Many applications depend on location specific information (meaning if you aren't testing the application in that location – you aren't likely to have the information needed).
"We run into similar problems with SMS applications requiring active local mobile phone accounts."
Better than Vista
The key issue for the Windows 7 team has been that people do not have any problems with the software they have come to rely on.
Part of that requirement is ensuring that all programs that ran in Windows Vista, bar OS specific ones like firewalls, will still work in its successor.
"We started out with a goal of making sure if an application worked on Windows Vista it should work on Windows 7," concludes the blog.
"We have taken that further by bringing applications that never worked on Vista to work on Windows 7 and even future updates to Vista."