Why is upgrade from Windows XP® to Windows 7 not supported?

There are many changes in how PCs have been configured (applets, hardware support, driver model, and so on), and a clean installation yields the highest quality. The User State Migration Tool provides support for moving files and settings, but you must reinstall applications. For a set of customers this tradeoff may seem less than perfect, but the upfront time is well worth it. For more information about this topic, read the blog Engineering Windows 7: Delivering a quality upgrade experience. For more information about how to migrate data from Windows XP to Windows 7, see Step-by-Step: Windows 7 Upgrade and Migration.    

What specific changes are there in Windows 7 compared to Windows Vista that could affect application compatibility?

What specific changes are there in Windows 7 compared to Windows Vista that could affect application compatibility?

Compatibility between Windows Vista and Windows 7 is very high. There are relatively minor changes that affect application compatibility, including the following:

  • Operating system version   The internal version number for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is 6.1.
  • Removal of Windows gallery applications   Windows Mail, Messenger, Address Book, Photo Gallery, and Movie Maker are deprecated in Windows 7.
  • National Language Support changes   The National Language Support (NLS) functions help applications support the different language-specific and locale-specific needs of users. Windows 7 includes some NLS changes.
  • Internet Explorer 8 user agent string   The user agent string is the Internet Explorer® identifier that provides data about its version and other attributes to Web servers. Many Web applications rely on the Internet Explorer user agent string.
  • Removal of Windows registry reflection for 64-bit operating systems   The registry reflection process copies registry keys and values between two registry views to keep them in sync.
  • New low-level binaries   To improve engineering efficiencies, Microsoft has relocated some functionality to new low-level binaries.
  • File library replaces document folder   Libraries provide a centralized folder for file storage, search, and access across multiple locations, both local and remote.
  • User interface high DPI awareness   The goal is to encourage end users to set their displays to native resolution and to use DPI rather than screen resolution to change the size of text and images.
  • Internet Explorer 8 DEP/NX   Internet Explorer 8 enables DEP/NX protection when run on an OS with the latest service pack.

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