Over and over again we keep hearing from customers that are planning their Windows 7 migration that their biggest roadblock is not cost. It isn’t hardware refreshes either. It is the fact that many of their business critical applications require Internet Explorer 6 (IE6), and as we all know, Windows 7 does not support IE6 (or IE7 for that matter). So the question is, how can customers handle IE6-based apps in a Windows 7 world while still remaining complaint with Microsoft licensing?

As you expected, I am here to tell you that Citrix and Microsoft have a proven solution for this problem! And really, we have for the past 20 years! Citrix XenDesktop with its on-demand application technology – specifically, our session-based applications – decouples the applications from the OS to enable applications to be delivered to any OS (Windows, Linux, Mac, Web OS, Chrome, etc.). This means that your users can run all of their incompatible Windows applications in conjunction with Windows 7 making your migration possible.

So, here’s how it works. Citrix XenDesktop, with its on demand application technology, enables IT to host their applications on a server in the datacenter and give remote access to users on any device. This is done using Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Services technology (formally Terminal Services) combined with Citrix XenApp. Once an application is hosted on a server, that application is now available to users regardless of what OS they are using – this is because that application is being run off a Windows server in the datacenter and hence completely independent from the users OS.

Here is a screenshots of IE running on my Mac – notice how IE becomes just a standard icon in my dock so that it seamlessly integrates with my OS, in this case my Mac, despite the fact that IE does not run on a Mac:

Going back to the topic at hand, migrating to Window 7 may be difficult for a variety of reasons – application incompatibilities, specifically IE6, shouldn’t be one of them. Using XenDesktop with on-demand apps, organizations can deliver any Windows app to any device (with any OS) without the worry of business critical applications not making the trip. And as I said before, we have been doing this for years. Here is a blog from 2010 about how to deliver IE6 to Windows 7 desktops. Here is a video so you can see it in action.

And best of all, this is a fully Microsoft-supported way of delivering your incompatible applications. Citrix has been working with Microsoft for the past 20 years to deliver Windows apps to users. We have been doing it so well that we have again, been named the 2011 Microsoft Alliance – Advanced Infrastructure Partner of the Year.

With IE6 out of the way, your Windows 7 migration should be simple. At least for those of you using XenDesktop. Just ask Brian from the State of Alaska!