Applications Compatibility – Part 2

The Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT)

The Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) is a collection of tools that helps you create an inventory of all applications running in your organization and identifies which applications are incompatible with Windows 7. With ACT you can test applications that are running across a variety of computers and operating systems within an organization. Hence, you can easily identify which applications require further testing before deploying Windows 7.

At the time of writing this article The Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit version is 5.6 and it can be downloaded from Microsoft’s download page.

We find the following components in ACT:

Application Compatibility Manager

With the Application Compatibility Manager you can collect and analyze data in order to resolve compatibility issues prior to deploying Windows 7 in your organization. The database back-end that stores all the information and interfaces with ACT must be Microsoft’s SQL server. Therefore, you need an instance of MS SQL server running in your environment when setting up the Application Compatibility Manager. Briefly, the Application Compatibility Manager is the front-end application that creates and deploys data-collection packages. Data-collection packages collect data about hardware, software and device information for a specified set of client computers. Through the Application Compatibility Manager you can analyze the contents of the database for compatibility issues.

Compatibility Administrator

The Compatibility Administrator is the actual tool that you use to resolve compatibility issues. It provides a collection of fixes and compatibility modes that can resolve problems with existing software. Within this tool you find a list of known applications with compatibility fixes that allow them to run on the Windows 7 platform. Always check this list first as your problem may be already fixed.

If luck is not on your side, then you need to create your own compatibility fix, compatibility modes and compatibility databases. The fix you create intercepts the incompatible application API calls and returns a compatible response. A compatibility mode is a group of compatibility fixes.

Setup Analysis Tool

The Setup Analysis Tool (SAT) monitors the actions taken by application installers and detects any compatibility issues such as, the installation of kernel mode drivers or 16-bit components.

Standard User Analyzer

The Standard User Analyzer (SUA) tests applications for User Account Control (UAC) problems. Basically, it determines the possible issues for applications running as a standard user in Windows 7.

Note: Microsoft removed the Internet Explorer compatibility Evaluator (IECE) since ACT version 5.5. IE 8 compatibility issues can be tested using the Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool (IECTT) as a separate utility.

The ACT is a great tool for testing a wide variety of applications within an organization.