Compatibility and Reliability
Windows 7 is designed to run on the same hardware as Windows Vista, and to be compatible with applications and device drivers that work with Windows Vista.
Windows 7 is the most reliable version of Windows yet. Designed on an improved technology foundation, Windows 7 allows users to reliably start up, shut down, or hibernate their computers without having to worry about losing valuable work. Furthermore, Windows 7 makes it easier than ever to back up and restore data to network drives or digital video discs (DVDs). Windows 7 also improves upon print reliability and performance. (See Windows 7 Application Quality Cookbook.)
To help ensure compatibility, Windows 7 has been designed in close partnership with software vendors and PC manufacturers. Early engagement has enabled Microsoft to build a comprehensive list of the most widely used applications. Automated testing cycles ensure that compatibility issues are detected and fixed early in the development cycle. (See Windows Application Compatibility.)
The Windows Driver Kit (WDK) version 7.0.0 provides the build environment, tools, documentation, and samples that developers need to create quality drivers for Windows. The WDK 7.0.0 supports static source code analysis, using PREfast to detect certain classes of C and C++ coding errors. PREfast includes a specialized driver component, known as PREfast for Drivers (PFD), which detects errors in kernel-mode driver code. In addition, the WDK has been enhanced by annotating all kernel header files for PFD support. New sample drivers have been added that demonstrate new technologies, and the documentation has been expanded.
Windows 7 supports a large variety of software and hardware products designed to integrate seamlessly with the platform. Drivers that were created for Windows Vista should not require updating to run correctly in Windows 7. (See Windows Driver Kit.)
Windows 7 provides flexible, robust support for a wide variety of applications and devices, including music players, storage devices, mobile phones, and other types of connected devices. Automatic testing of these devices is used to ensure that compatibility issues are fixed early in the development cycle. (See Windows Device Class Fundamentals.)
Reliability Analysis Component is an in-box agent that provides detailed customer experience information on system usage and reliability. This information is exposed through a Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) interface, making it available for consumption by Portable Readers Systems. By exposing Reliability Analysis Component through a WMI interface, developers can monitor and analyze their applications, increasing reliability and performance.
Windows 7 uses the built-in Reliability Analysis Component to calculate a reliability index which provides information about your overall system usage and stability over time. Reliability Analysis Component also keeps track of any important changes to the system that are likely to have an impact on stability, such as Windows updates and application installations. You can use the Reliability Monitor snap-in to see trends in your system's reliability index correlated with these potentially destabilizing events, making it easy to trace a reliability change directly to a particular event. (See MountVHD Function.)