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Microsoft: devs shouldn't build in version check

PostPosted: 08 Aug 2009, 20:29
by Blín D'ñero
Version checking is probably the most common application compatibility issue that users as well as developers face when an application fails upon checking the operating system version. A lot can go wrong when version checking is misused. A user might experience a “silent fail” where the application simply fails to load and nothing happens. Or, a user might see a dialog box indicating something to the effect of “you must be running Microsoft Windows XP or later” when in fact, the computer is running Windows 7. Many other consequences to poor version checking can inconvenience users as well.

Applications fail due to version checking for two main reasons:

  • A flaw (bug) in the version checking code, which fails if the minor version is decreased, even if the major version is increased, for example, changing versions from 5.1(Windows XP) to 6.0 (Windows Vista), or if the expected service pack (SP) is not installed, even if you're running a newer operating system (for example, changing versions from Windows XP SP 2 to Windows Vista SP 1). We recommend that you check functionality rather then checking version, as you can read in this post.
  • An intentional blocking that prevents the application from running on operating system versions not tested by its developers. We recommend that you do not block applications from running on future operating systems.
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