In order to make the transition to the next version of Windows more smooth, Microsoft decided hardware makers will now need to test their drivers on the beta version of Windows 7 before they can get Vista approval.
The Windows Logo Program specifies that device drivers must be tested starting June 1. It doesn't appear that the requirement is retroactive.
The tests, submitted using the Winqual Submission Tool, are part of the qualification process Microsoft demands of peripherals and PC makers that want to use the "Windows Vista," "Certified with Windows Vista" or other similar logos on their products or packaging.
Drivers don't necessarily have to pass those tests in the first beta of Windows 7, said Microsoft, but the results must be turned over to the company. And Microsoft reminded the hardware makers and system sellers that it will hold them to account when Windows 7 nears. "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," Microsoft said.
When asked why it is requiring device driver makers to run tests in Windows 7, Microsoft released a statement via e-mail in response: "We continue to work closely with our industry partners to ensure that products and services that have obtained the Windows Vista logo certification will also be compatible for successful upgrades to Windows 7."