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Windows Vista Hardware Assessment tool

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The Windows Vista hardware assessment tool is an inventory, assessment and reporting tool that can help you determine the number of computers on a network that are ready to run the Windows Vista operating system. The data provided by the tool helps to simplify the migration process, in other words, it tells you if the machines on your network are good enough to run Vista or not, and can also give you a nice word Doc to give to your boss along with an impressive XL spreadsheet.


To skip all the technical details and to see the tool in action, click here for the 10 step guide to see are your networked computers Vista ready


To install the tool you'll need Microsoft SQL server 2005 Express Edition (available on MSDN downloads), it's a required component of installation of the tool and is used to store the inventory and assssement data.


You can download the Windows Vista Hardware Assessment tool from Microsoft.


The webpage above will prompt for registration but it is not necessary to download the tool.


The download page will list the following files:-


Getting Started guide.doc

Windows Vista Hardware Assessment Readme.htm

Windows_Vista_Hardware_Assessment_Setup.exe <--- this is the tool



Before using the tool, read the Getting Started guide.doc


You'll have a choice when you run the tool to generate custom reports (word doc and excel spreadsheet) however word/excel 2003 sp2 or word/excel 2007 must be installed *see more about the MUST word below, the tool just won't install otherwise*.


Note: The below Test is the results that I got when I tried to use this tool in Windows XP SP2 connected to a Windows 2003 SP1 server (Active Directory) domain. Your mileage may vary (with a bit of luck!).



Real World test below:-


I've installed the tool on a Windows XP SP2 box (which in turn is connected to a Windows 2003 server sp1 Domain), and the first thing it prompted for was the .net framework version 2.0 package, so get that from Microsoft and install it and try again.


Once I tried the install again, this time the file ran, and popped up a Wizard which informed me that if I hadn't installed Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition (didn't mention whether it had to be that version or the SP2 version also on MSDN), that I would need a valid internet connection to download the required installation files.


I clicked 'next'.


Required Software Not Found


Ok, now it's telling me


To install the Windows Vista Hardware Assessment, you must first install prerequisite software. Install the following software and rerun the setup wizard.


What does it want ? Microsoft Word 2003 Sp2 or Word 2007, same for Excel.


So I installed Both Word 2003 sp2 and Excel 2003 sp2...


Finally, after doing that and re-running the setup.exe I was presented with a License Agreement.


Clicking next you'll be prompted where to install the tool, then clicking next again, it'll ask you to either


* download and install SQL server express 2005

* install from a previously downloaded installation files


I chose the second option as I already downloaded it.


Thankfully that gave me another license agreement (for SQL Server 2005 Express Edition), I was getting somewhere.


I clicked install and..... got an error.


'The Windows Vista Hardware Assessment Setup Wizard failed while install SQL Server 2005 Express Edition. Microsoft Windows Installer 3.1 is not installed. To proceed, please install the Windows Installer 3.1 and run the setup again.'


So I downloaded the Windows installer 3.1 redistributable.


That required a restart of XP.


Once restarted, I ran setup again.


This time, it installed with no errors *phew*.


'Installation Succesful' !


Next, you are greeted with the Windows Vista Hardware Assessment Wizard, click next to continue.


(It tells you that you'll need local admin priviledges on each computer on the network and the remote administration and file and printer sharing will need to be enabled, in addition, windows firewall exceptions as defined in the Getting started guide must be implemented on each computer.... So easy really.


Clicking next will 'configure Microsoft Office professional' followed by a Inventory database screen asking you to create a database or use an exisiting one. I chose 'create' and gave it the name 'test' (how original).


The next set of options were all ticked, so I continued on....next up was what workgroup and domains to collect info from, i chose next.


Next up it asked for the domain name, and user (with LOCAL admin privs)/pass, I entered those details.


I click next and wait.... as it does it's magic.


Now it wanted me to enter Inventory Accounts (the wizard will connect to each computer using WMI. Specify domain or local accounts that are a member of the local admin group on the computers being scanned, by default the domain admin group is added to each computer. (It goes on..)


For testing purposes only, I enter the following info


* domain name (not specified as using local account)

* account name (administrator)

* password **********

* confirm password **********

* account use 'use on all computers'


and click 'save', followed by a summary of what I did (excluding all the errors above) and clicking 'start' (in the wizard, not the start menu).


Up popped a screen with the following info:-


'Collecting and preparing Information'

Now Completing the specified wizard actions.


Which almost sarcastically beeped at me with yet another error.


'Windows Vista Hardware Assessment 'A Socket operation was attempted to an unreachable host'.

I clicked ok., and was given the option of 'The wizard cannot continue' and 'other things you can do' which comprised of 'view summary details of the wizard options'.


After reading the Getting started guide again, I realised that I had to have 'file and printer sharing' enabled on the clients, and firewall rules set, I did this, re-ran the tool (via start/programs/windows vista hardware assessment) and went through all the steps, except this time instead of creating a new database i used the second option (use existing database, test2).


This time it worked and it generated a report for my clients on the test network. When you examine the XLS spreadsheet, you'll see a 'clientassessment TAB'. Under the WMI status, you may see the following errors:-


Failed - Machine not found (if this is the case, check the firewall settings as per the Getting Started Guide)

Failed - Access Denied (make sure the local USER you specified, has a password).



The Word doc and Excel spreadsheet are attached here for you, and below please find a '10 step guide' of screenshots to show you the wizard in action.


If you find this article useful, then please Digg it.






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below are the steps from start to finish to get the Windows Vista Hardware Assessment tool to complete it's reports.


1. Start the wizard.



2. Enter new Database name or use existing.




3. Select the Actions to perform.




4. Specify the Windows Workgroups and domains to include in the inventory (no screenshot)


5. Enter the username/pass for Active Directory inventory




6. What local account should I use ?






7. Show summary of performed selections




8. Collecting and Preparing data (this is where it goes to actually find other computers and see if they are Vista ready)




9. Report is ready !




10. All done, time to view the reports :)



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