In-Depth

Becoming a Vista-Certified App

Discover what it takes for an application to the Certified for Windows Vista or Works for Windows Vista logos.

Less than a month after the launch of Windows Vista, Microsoft has updated the list of applications that have passed its "Certified for Windows Vista" logo program testing requirements.

Given how long Vista was in beta test, the list is not comprehensive—only 104 total. Not surprisingly, 24 of those are Microsoft's applications, including a one-by-one listing of the individual applications in Microsoft Office 2007 as well as the individual editions of Office 2007.

On that list are products from Corel and Attachmate, as well as Nero. But most of the companies are relative unknowns in the Windows-app arena. The list is also very shy of business applications, much less security or anti-virus software products.

One exception was Trend Micro, which earned logo certifications for both its Client Server Security Agent and PC-cillin Internet Security 2007. Notably missing from the list of applications that provide the best compatibility with Vista are corporate competitors such as IBM, as well as other major security vendors including Symantec and McAfee, who have had their disagreements with Microsoft over access to Vista's kernel (see Resources).

Those same vendors are also missing from Microsoft's less-stringent "Works with Windows Vista" logo list, which has more than six hundred entries. This includes more corporate applications than in the "certified" group, but also more consumer fare such as Encyclopaedia Britannica offerings.

In order to earn the Certified for Windows Vista logo, the most stringent regime, vendors must submit their applications to independent firms for compliance testing. To garner the logo, an application must follow User Account Control guidelines, support x64 versions of Vista, sign files and drivers, and perform version checking properly, according to Microsoft documents. In addition, each app needs to support concurrent user sessions, avoid loading services and drivers in safe mode, and follow Microsoft's anti-malware policies

To earn the Works with Windows Vista logo, applications must pass a much less demanding suite of requirements. Tests must show that the application installs without errors on any PC running on Windows Vista, that the application works as well on Windows Vista as it does on Windows XP SP2, and it must deal with both clean installs as well as upgrade installation scenarios. The software vendor must also provide the same or equivalent support and warranties as they do for the application running under XP.

Both lists are available here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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