Has Microsoft learnt its lessons with Windows 7 stickers?

New "compatible with Windows 7" scheme avoids the mistakes of the Vista Capable fiasco

Barry Collins
30 Sep 2009

Microsoft has started certifying PCs as "compatible with Windows 7" in a bid to reassure PC buyers.

The new logo will appear on devices that "have passed Microsoft designed tests for compatibility and reliability with Windows 7."

However, many will doubt whether they can take Microsoft's word for it following the fiasco of the Vista sticker scheme. Microsoft found itself on the wrong end of a long-running lawsuit in the US, after the company allowed PC makers to put Vista Capable stickers on machines only powerful enough to run Vista Home Basic, which didn't include many of the advanced features such as the Aero Glass interface.

Court documents revealed that Microsoft lowered the requirements at the last minute at the behest of Intel, whose 915 chipset was originally set to be omitted. Even senior Microsoft officials admitted the company "really botched" the scheme.

So what tests have Microsoft set for Windows 7 compatibility? The software giant states that any machine carrying the sticker will have to "work with all versions of Windows 7". That includes the 64-bit versions of the operating system, which Microsoft claims "is an important change since 64-bit systems are becoming more mainstream".

Microsoft also claims that "products that receive the logo are checked for common issues to minimise the number of crashes, hangs, and reboots experienced by the user," although it gives no further details of what such tests involve.

The software giant is also at pains to state that it reached out to hardware manufacturers much earlier than it did with Windows Vista, no doubt to avoid a repeat of the Intel fiasco.

The situation is also eased by Windows 7's relatively lightweight demands on PC hardware. Microsoft has long stated that any hardware capable of running Vista will cope with Windows 7 - a claim borne out by PC Pro's own tests. That means hardware manufacturers are unlikely to be leaning on Microsoft to certify borderline kit, as they have in the past.

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