A Free Tool for Checking Windows Compatibility

Microsoft's OS and Your Current Software, Apps, Devices, and More

How to Upgrade to Windows 8 from Windows 7, Vista, XP
How to Upgrade to Windows 8 from Windows 7, Vista, XP. (c) Image Courtesy of Microsoft

Here's how you can check for Windows compatibility with your current software, apps, devices, and more.

Windows is Microsoft’s operating system may be the stage on which your desktop and mobile applications function. That means your operating system is pretty pivotal. Here is how to make sure it works as smoothly as possible.

How to Check Windows Compatibility with Software

Microsoft is continually releasing so many products at once, that it pays to check on compatibility before adopting a new operating system version, software, or device.

Even if all these things were made by Microsoft, sometimes the timing may cause you to hit a snag.

After all, what if you assume you will be able to utilize a full version of software that is only in preview? That could really trip up your productivity.

Windows Compatibility Center

Rather than spending arduous amounts of time studying the rules of what is and is not compatible with the version of Windows you use, Microsoft has a wonderful tool you can use.

The Windows Compatibility Center offers user review scores with comments, as well as whether a given tool is compatible with the operating system.

Example 1: Checking Windows Compatibility for Your Version of Microsoft Office

For example, when I entered ‘Microsoft Office’ in the search box at the top of the screen, I saw a lot of versions that are voted to be at least somewhat compatible with my version of Windows.

When I ran the check, I noticed that one option at the top, Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010, had the Windows Compatible Logo symbol showing it is officially approved by Microsoft for this operating system.

On the other hand, I saw a big red X next to older versions like Office 2003 Professional and Office 2010 Starter, so I know that I may need to put off switching to a newer version of Windows if I am not willing to upgrade to a newer version of Office.

Example 2: Checking Windows Compatibility for Alternative Office Suites

I tried checking on some of the major office suite alternatives.

What I found is, while many are compatible with Windows, be sure to check which version you have been using on your current setup. Better to know now if Windows supports the version you like.

Example 3: Checking Windows Compatibility for a Device

Unfortunately, this Windows Compatibility Center does not really list device compatibility for tablets, smartphones, PC’s, and laptops. The devices you can look up include peripherals like keyboards, printers, cameras, scanners, or networking gear. 

Example 4: Checking Windows Compatibility for an App

As you go about checking Windows 8 compatibility for your favorite apps, keep in mind that web-based apps do not depend on the operating system.

In summary, using the Windows Compatibility Center really is the more sane way to check whether a given product, app, or device is compatible with Windows. Give it a try!