One reason for Windows Vista's poor reception was the way in which Microsoft approached backwards compatibility. With the next iteration of the operating system, though, the company has been hard at work to ensure that the development of every element of Windows 7 has application compatibility at its core and plans to release a toolkit next month for developers and business users to begin testing their programs.

Microsoft has had versions of its Application Compatibility Toolkit for years but they were usually released after the general availability of a new version of Windows. However, this time around the company intends to synchronize the next iteration of ACT with the development of Windows 7. In this context, versions of the toolkit will be made available for pre-releases of the operating system and there will also be a version corresponding with Windows 7 RTM, giving companies a considerable amount of time to test out any compatibility issues.

The company is also taking other steps beyond ensuring that any application that worked on Windows Vista also works on Windows 7. Specifically, the company claims it has taken about 30 international applications that were broken in Vista and made them work with the new operating system, rescuing things like the Spanish-language IKEA Home Kitchen Planner and a German version of QuickTime.