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Overview of Testing and Deploying Applications

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Before you move from your current version of the Microsoft® Windows® operating system to Windows XP Professional or Windows Server 2003, you need to test your applications to ensure that they are compatible with the new operating system. An organization can have as many as several thousand applications installed across distributed networks. Compatibility problems with one or many of these applications can cause costly work stoppages.

Although most applications developed for earlier versions of Windows probably will perform well on the new versions, some applications might behave differently because of new technologies within the new versions. The applications that you need to test to ensure compatibility include core applications that are part of your standard desktop configurations, such as office productivity suites; line-of-business applications, such as enterprise resource-planning suites; administrative tools, such as antivirus, compression, backup, and remote-control applications; and custom tools, such as logon scripts. Low-level applications — such as antivirus applications, kernel-mode drivers, and filter drivers — are especially likely to pose problems. You also need to ensure that your server applications are compatible.

This chapter is designed to help IT professionals in medium to large organizations test and deploy applications. It explains primarily how to test and deploy desktop applications that run on client computers. However, many of the concepts and techniques for application compatibility testing and deployment apply whether an application runs on Windows XP Professional or Windows Server 2003. For specific information about server application compatibility, see "Planning for Server Application Compatibility" later in this chapter.

This chapter does not describe how to test applications that will run on Microsoft® Windows® XP 64-Bit Edition Version 2003 or the 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003 family. Testing 16-bit and 32-bit applications on these 64-bit operating systems is beyond the scope of typical application compatibility testing. This is because the 64-bit versions of these operating systems do not support 16-bit applications, and because you must use the x86 emulator, known as WOW64 (Windows32 on Windows64), to run 32-bit applications on the 64-bit versions of these operating systems. For more information about porting 32-bit applications to 64-bit operating systems, see the Porting 32-bit Applications link on the Web Resources page at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/reskits/webresources.

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