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Windows Vista Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT)

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The Windows Vista Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT 5.0) was created in part to address customers needs to assess whether there applications will work in Windows Vista.


The following areas of Windows Vista are likely to cause areas of concern when considering Application Compatibility:-


User Account Control (UAC)

Windows Resource Protection (WRP)

Internet Explorer 7 Protected Mode

Windows Vista 64-bit

Windows Filtering Platform

Operating System version change

Depreciations/GINA/Session 0 (high impact/low frequency)


Where can I get this toolkit ?


You can download the Windows Vista Application Compatibility toolkit from Microsoft's download centre.




Part 1 - Installing the Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.0


In addition to the MSI download above, you should download the ACT 5.0 Product evaluation Guide and the ACT 5.0 readme. If you don't have the Windows installer 3.1 installed, you will be prompted to install it prior to installing the toolkit.


The ACT 5.0 toolkit can be installed on the below operating systems:


Supported Operating Systems

ACT requires one of the following operating systems:

� Microsoft� Windows� XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2)

� Microsoft� Windows� 2000 with Service Pack 4 (SP4) Release Update

� Microsoft� Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)

� Microsoft� Windows Vista



You will need a SQL database installed also,


Supported Database Components

ACT requires one of the following database components after installation:

� Microsoft� SQL Server 2000

� Microsoft� SQL Server 2005

� Microsoft� SQL Server 2005 Express Edition



In addition to the above, the toolkit requires the .net framework version 1.1 installed. Once the toolkit is installed (at the end of the installer) you are given the option to watch a short video/demo about the product. You can view that video here.


To configure settings so that the ACT Log Processing Service can access the SQL database, provide the Computer Account (not the user account) with both Read and Write permissions on the SQL database.




Note: It is the Computer Account, not the User account that uploads the log file.


On your SQL server, locate the ACT database, expand it so that you can see Security, Users, then Grant the ACT computer account db_owner permissions to that DB.




To launch the toolkit, click on Start/Programs/Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.0/Application Compatibility Manager


It'll take a few minutes to start and then present you with the three things it is about to do:-


* configure an ACT database (sql server)

* configure ACT log share

* configure ACT log processing service account


Next you will be given the choice of configuring it for


* Enterprise configuration (configure this computer to view log files and reports)


* View and manage reports only.


Obviously if you want to test the tool, choose the first option above.


In the next screen, you are given the options to choose your SQL server, and database name (or to create a new database). If you get a database creation error similar to this one then reinstall SQL server express edition and do NOT choose the 'default' setup (remove the tick from 'hide advanced options' ) and when you get to the name of the server, make sure it's not selected on the 'default' option, but rather 'named'.


Once the database is created it will prompt you to create a log file and it will automatically share this folder to the domain, next it will prompt you to configure your ACT log processing service account, I went with the default setting of 'local system'.


If all goes well you will be presented with a Congratulations screen and you can click on 'finish' to start the application.


Once the gui presents itself, we are nearly ready to test.


Verify that the ACT log processing service is running

After the ACT 5 has been installed, you need to make sure that the ACT5 log processing service is running. The service continually scans the directory defined in the configuration settings looking for unprocessed log files.


To verify that it is running, click on start/run and type 'services.msc'. In the list of services, check the ACT Log Processing service and verify that it's reporting 'started for status, and Automatic for startup type. IF it is not running, manually start it.


Ok, now we are ready to Collect data.



Part 2 - Collect an application Inventory.


If it isn't running already, click on Start|All Programs|Microsoft Application Compatibility toolkit 5.0|Application Compatibility Manager.


Click on 'Collect' in the lower left end of the GUI. From the file menu, select New to create an ACT DCP package. Type ACT_001 in the Package Name text box. Verify that 'Deploying a new operating system or service pack' is selected under the 'Evaluate compatibility when' choice.


Set the duration to 60 minutes under the 'When to monitor application usage' choice. This should be enough time for the agent to collect information and monitor our use of IE and other installed applications. In a production environment, you'd typically want to set this for at least 3-5 days to capture sufficient detail.


Click on the 'Advanced' tab, and make sure the following are selected.


Internet Explorer Compatibility Evaluator (IECE)

Inventory collector

User Account Control Compatibility Evaluator (UACCE)

Windows Vista compatibility Evaluators (detects issues related to GINA, Session 0, and depreciated components usage in applications on Windows Vista).



Click 'ok'. Then from the file menu, select 'save and create package' and save it in c:\act_packages (which if you havn't already created and shared, then please do so).


ACT packages can be deployed via login scripts, email, AT commands or software distribution solutions like SMS server 2003.



Once you have done the above, verify that you can actually write to the ACT_log directory from another pc, otherwise the reports will not get written. To verify simply create a new txt file in that directory from the intended test machine, if it fails with 'access denied' then right click on the 'ACT_log' share, and click on properties/sharing/Permissions. In addition check the Security tab and make a note/adjust the settings for 'everyone'. Give 'Everyone' the access you require for this test. Failure to do so may leave you with an error similar to this one on the event viewer of the test system that you run the package on.


The description for Event ID ( 1017 ) in Source ( ACT-DC ) cannot be found. The local computer may not have the necessary registry information or message DLL files to display messages from a remote computer. You may be able to use the /AUXSOURCE= flag to retrieve this description; see Help and Support for details. The following information is part of the event: [uploader.exe] copying file C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Application Compatibility Toolkit 5\DataCollector\Logging\AM-COMP-{BE010BCD-0B10-4dc8-9D7D-B78690A7DBD1}\BKT-RIS7-000-{6B118479-BB48-4B19-B31D-3D075F3974C9}.xml.cab to \\NP0013722CBA3D\act_log\BKT-RIS7-000-{6B118479-BB48-4B19-B31D-3D075F3974C9}.xml.cab fails, error details: Access is denied.




Deploying an ACT 5 agent.


In production, you may need to deploy multiple agent packages on your clients, but do keep in mind that only one package can be installed and running at a time on a client.


Find an XP client computer to do the test deployment on and navigate to the act_packages share in the network.


\\servername\act_packages\ACT_001 (Win32 Cabinet Self Extractor file)


The servername above is the computer that we installed the ACT on in Part 1 above. To verify that the package installed you can check 'add/remove programs' in Control panel and you should see the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit Data Collector 5.0' listed.




If you now start IE7 on the XP client computer, you will see a small pop-up telling you that the IE compatibility evaluation logging is turned on. Now that you've got it running, start using IE7 and peruse some sites that will send a popup in IE7. We are doing this to which we will analyse later.



Part 3 - Organizing your inventory.


The Microsoft Application Toolkit 5.0 will produce an application portfolio which we can sync with information from the ACT online community exchange.



Part 4 - Reports


To create a report that would display the updates that may cause compatibility issues, you would use one of the following standardized reports:


Update Impact Reports - Applications, or Update Impact Reports - Updates.


Either of these reports will display information regarding the updates that could cause compatibility issues and the applications that are affected by them. The information for these two reports is gathered by the Update Compatibility Evaluator (UCE) tool included with ACT 5.0.


You can see a very good walkthrough of ACT 5 here

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