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Application Compatibility Resources for IT Pros and Developers

Effective March 31, 2013, the Windows Server 2008 R2 Logo Program will no longer be accepting submissions. Windows Server 2012 is the preferred platform for current Application Development Competencies and Certified for Windows Server Logo.

Application compatibility is a key factor in the experience customers enjoy on Windows Server 2008 R2. Microsoft offers free, downloadable test tools that help enterprise IT professionals, custom application developers and independent software vendors test third-party and custom in-house applications for compatibility with Windows Server 2008 R2.


  • Enterprise IT professionals can now test any server application for compatibility with Windows Server 2008 R2 using free, downloadable test tools. Continue reading for details about the free tools, how to get them and what test scenarios they cover.
  • Developer resources can help you build and test custom applications for compatibility with Windows Server 2008 R2. Continue reading for compatibility for custom applications.
  • Third-party applications may require changes to be compatible with Windows Server 2008 R2. Continue reading for details about sharing compatibility tools and information with independent software vendors to help make sure their applications deliver a technically superior experience.
  • The Windows Server Catalog has information on third-party applications that are certified for Windows Server 2008 R2. Learn more about how Microsoft can help ISVs issue public support statements to customers.

Test Custom and Third-Party Applications for Yourself

Enterprise IT professionals can use free, downloadable test tools to evaluate any custom or commercial application in a Windows Server 2008 R2 environment. Originally designed for ISVs preparing to certify applications, you can download and use these test tools to help your team:

  • Determine an application’s impact on the server environment.
  • Predict how applications will behave under load.
  • Systematically detect security vulnerabilities.
  • Assess an application’s basic compatibility with the OS.
  • Troubleshoot an application’s unpredictable behavior while awaiting support.
  • Guide custom application developers toward a technical bar.
  • Augment in-house evaluation before a software purchase decision.
  • Gain familiarity with tests performed on applications that are Certified for Windows Server 2008 R2.

The Enterprise IT Guide to Windows Server Software Certification offers a thorough review of the Software Certification Toolkit components and usage suggestions for IT professionals.

Test Scenarios

The Software Certification Toolkit contains tools covering nearly 100 test cases that help you assess whether an application complies with Microsoft-recommended practices for security, stability, reliability, availability and basic compatibility.

Full details on the test scenarios are available in the Windows Server 2008 R2 Software Test Framework. Here’s a summary of what the tools will help you test.


Chapter 1: Windows Fundamentals

1.1 Perform primary functionality and maintain stability

1.2 Check Windows version correctly

1.3 Driver related requirements

1.4 Identify all non-hidden files in the application

1.5 Execute appropriately in multilingual environment

1.6 Degrade gracefully when services are unavailable

1.7 Support 64-bit version of Windows running on multiple processors

1.8 Work properly in Safe Mode

1.9 Requirements for applications publicized for running in ‘Server Core’

Chapter 2: Install/Remove

2.1 Installer/ Technology

2.2 Do not require a system restart

2.3 Uninstall cleanly

2.4 Comply with Windows Resource Protection (WRP)

2.5 Allow User control of installation location

2.6 Comply with Kernel mode component requirements

2.7 Install shared components to correct location

2.8 Do not overwrite non-proprietary files with older versions

2.9 Support User Account Control for installation

2.10 Correctly configure package identity

2.11 Follow Best Practices for creating custom actions

2.12 Follow component rules

Chapter 3: Security

3.1 Follow User Account Protection Guidelines

3.2 Support Smart card login and secure credential management

3.3 Network connections must be secure

3.4 Do not make non-secure additions to the secure desktop

3.5 Services running as LocalSystem must not present a UI

3.6 Compatibility with virus scanning of I/O write-to files

3.7 Clustering support

3.8 All executables must be signed

3.9 Run in a highly secure configuration

3.10 Follow Anti-Malware Policies

3.11 Active Directory support

Chapter 4: Reliability and High Availability

4.1 Demonstrate high stability under stress

4.2 Crash recovery & downtime avoidance

4.3 Use Resources and handle Exceptions appropriately

4.4 Debugging symbols/tools must be available

4.5 Do not cause services to become unavailable

4.6 Follow best practices for Windows Error Reporting, IPV6, and Firewall

Chapter 5: Client Components

5.1 Download the Windows 7 Compatibility Logo self-test toolkit.

5.2 To achieve 'Compatible with Windows 7' Logo, test your client components using the Windows 7 Compatibility Logo toolkit

Chapter 6: Hyper-V Virtual Machine Compatibility

6.1 Recover after Save State and Restore of virtual machine

6.2 Recover after a Pause and Resume of the virtual machine

6.3 Do not prevent Shutdown

6.4 Survive Snapshot process


The Enterprise IT Guide to Windows Server Software Certification offers a thorough review of these test scenarios and their relevance to enterprise IT professionals. The Windows Server Catalog is a directory of applications that have passed these test cases in extensive testing by an independent third-party test lab.

Microsoft is interested in your feedback on the test tools and scenarios. Please visit the MSDN Developer Forum for Windows Server 2008 R2 and join the conversation about Windows Server software certification testing.


Get Custom Applications Ready for Windows Server 2008 R2

Build and Test for Compatibility

Custom applications should be tested for compatibility with Windows Server 2008 R2 prior to deployment. If you’ve already tested your applications on Windows Server 2008, you’ll find fewer compatibility issues when testing your applications on R2.

The R2 release includes changes to the kernel and APIs to support virtualization, scalability, performance and networking enhancements. As a result, your application may require a hotfix or a more specific update, particularly if the application has kernel drivers.

Microsoft provides free, downloadable test tools and resources to help you:

  • Empower your build/test teams with more comprehensive test scenarios in a clear, intuitive Software Certification Toolkit.
  • Test your application’s security, stability, compatibility, reliability and availability in a Windows Server 2008 R2 environment.
  • Improve supportability by ensuring applications meet the rigorous technical standards of certification before releasing to market.

Learn more: Whether you are specifying and building a new application or assessing necessary changes to an existing custom solution, these test tools will help developers and testers adhere to a standard technical bar determining application readiness for Windows Server 2008 R2 deployment.

Compatibility Resources for Developers

Help Third-Party Applications Get Compatible

By sharing the following information with your software vendors, you can show ISVs that you are counting on a technically superior experience deploying their applications on Windows Server 2008 R2.

For more information about specific applications that are already certified for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2, please visit the Windows Server Catalog.