Introduction to Upgrade Readiness and Application Compatibility with Windows 10


Hello! My name is Nandan, I am a Premier Field Engineer in the Windows Platforms team with Microsoft UK.

With this article, I would like to give you a quick introduction to Upgrade Readiness before we start talking about how to set up Upgrade Readiness and how to use the data that the solution collects.

Application Compatibility

Historically, application compatibility (AppCompat) has been a source of delays (and headaches) when organisations look at migrating their users to a new operating system. Think Windows XP to Windows 7, and you know how much of a pain AppCompat can be. The good news is, with Windows 10, AppCompat is more predictable, and because the application security model has not changed drastically, we don’t anticipate a lot of problems from an application compatibility point of view. It has been repeatedly mentioned that businesses can expect above 90% compatibility for applications that already work with Windows 7 or Windows 8 and 8.1. I have personally seen a business take a system running their corporate Windows 7 image, upgrade the operating system to Windows 10 and test their applications – only to find that no applications stopped working or broke in functionality post the upgrade. The only application that did not work was the antivirus, which was a documented issue on the AV vendor’s website, and for which an updated, compatible version available for download.

However, that does not mean that organisations won’t face any AppCompat issues at all. There might be a few applications that may not work, and a set of applications used within the estate that may need to be tested further before the move to Windows 10 can start.

Most customers I work with tend to have some form of application inventory mechanism that is being used within their estate, and generally have a very good idea of what applications are in use. Many organisations also use software metering and have an idea of how they can rationalise their applications by standardising application, application versions and eliminating duplicate functionality, a scenario where there are multiple applications that serve a similar purpose. For example, different software to view PDF files.

What these on-premise tools lack is identifying if the applications that are being used on Windows 7 or Windows 8 and 8.1 will work if they are installed on Windows 10. That is understandable, since application inventory and software metering are not tools to address compatibility issues for software. Windows 10 includes functionality to provide telemetry information to Microsoft and with Upgrade Readiness, we use this inventory data to help you identify potential application issues in advance of your Windows 10 Upgrade.

Ready for Windows

The first item we need to talk about is the Ready for Windows Portal. This website collates all the application data collected through telemetry from devices running Windows 10. Using this portal, you can search for an application or an application vendor and view information relating to applications compatibility with Windows 10.

www.readyforwindows.com

In the screenshot below, I ran a search for “Adobe Reader” as an example and we see a list of Adobe Reader entries and what their adoption levels are with Windows 10.

readyforwindowsportal

 

Adoption levels are broken up into the following categories:

  • Highly Adopted – Installed on at least 100,000 computers
  • Adopted – Installed on at least 10,000 computers
  • Insufficient Data – There isn’t enough data to categorise adoption levels
  • Contact Developer – There might be known compatibility issues, so vendor/developer engagement is recommended

This information allows end users and businesses to identify if there are any applications they rely on that won’t work with Windows 10.

You can get some more information around this solution using the FAQ link at the top of the page.

Upgrade Readiness (previously known as Upgrade Analytics)

Great, so there is a tool that helps identify what information is available to make decisions around application compatibility with Windows 10. The next question is: Can this be referenced in an automated way to make upgrade decisions easier?

Answer: Yes, this is where Upgrade Readiness fits in. Upgrade Readiness is a part of the larger Windows Analytics offering, and is primarily meant to be used for making decisions around upgrading systems from Windows 7 or Windows 8 and 8.1 to Windows 10. It enables customers to rationalise their application portfolio, and determine application compatibility issues in advance of upgrading their systems to Windows 10. We understand that businesses may want to go with a traditional wipe and load deployment as the first step in to the Windows 10 world, so Upgrade Readiness can be used to only evaluate the application portfolio, ignoring the other information that gets collected.

Upgrade Readiness uses telemetry to collect application data from systems running earlier versions of Windows (specifically Windows 7, 8 and 8.1), and feeds this information in to a Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) workspace for your organisation. Once imported OMS then pulls information from the Ready for Windows portal to tell you how much work will be needed to address application compatibility issues and what applications are already known to work correctly on Windows 10.

You get insights around how widely specific applications are deployed within your estate, what different versions of the same software are installed on the systems you manage. You can also determine if you have software that provide duplication of functionality, how many instances of an installed application are being used actively, etc. in addition to the compatibility status you get from the Ready for Windows portal. This insight and data helps you make informed decisions on how you want to work with your application portfolio before you start rolling out Windows 10 systems within your estate.

With SCCM current branch, you can also tie in to the Upgrade Readiness solution and use this information to create device collections to target your OS upgrades to, but we’ll talk more about that in a different post.

I hope that piques some interest in Upgrade Readiness. I’ll see you later with another post on getting started with Upgrade Readiness.

For more resources on Upgrade Readiness, you can view the Microsoft documentation on:

Another good place to start is the product blog – this is where a lot of breaking announcements are published first:

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