There appears to be a lot going on behind-the-scenes for Windows 7 than meets the eye. Effective next week, June 1 2008, original equipment manufacturers who wish to get their new PCs certified by the Windows Logo Program for the “Certified for Windows Vista” label will have to get their hands dirty with Windows 7 when it’s available.
The policy document (PDF) writes,
Customers have a need to ensure compatibility with the new releases of the OS and that hardware (systems and devices) are fully functional after an upgrade. This will enable Microsoft and partners to evaluate the results and correct issues in the new OS and the associated hardware as part of the release plan.
Beginning with the release of the first beta of the next operating system, all Windows Vista client and Windows Server 2008 submissions must include a complete CPK with test logs for the new beta OS. The test logs generated from the beta OS are not required to pass. Issues with hardware, system BIOS or drivers must be investigated and resolved by partners prior to the launch of the logo program for the new OS.
The tests should be run after performing an upgrade from Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 to the beta OS. Testing on the new beta OS must be done with drivers that are intended to install on the beta OS.
Design and Implementation Notes
Beginning with the first beta of Windows 7 all Windows Vista submissions must include a complete CPK with test logs from Windows 7. The test logs generated are not required to pass.
Now for those who haven’t seen such poorly formatted tables before, I’ll just explain briefly what it’s trying to imply. This policy requires computers of all classification (desktop, mobile) for all purposes (consumer & business) and running all SKUs of Windows Vista (Home Basic, Home Premium) to comply with its “future requirements” when the Windows 7 beta is released. To comply, such OEMs much upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 and export a set of automatically generated driver test logs to submit with their application, regardless of whether they pass or not.
Whilst I don’t think the first beta of Windows 7 will come out on June 1, it’s a Sunday anyway, but this does mean throughout the Windows 7 beta testing process Microsoft will have a very thorough understand of what works and doesn’t work with Windows 7, probably far more than they did with Windows Vista. The end result should be much better degree of drivers compatibility by release.