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How the Windows Compatibility Evaluator Works

Published: June 11, 2010

Updated: June 11, 2010

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Vista

The Windows® Compatibility Evaluator (WCE) enables you to identify issues that relate to the Graphical Identification and Authentication (GINA) DLL files, to services running in Session 0 in a production environment, and to any application components deprecated in the newest version of the Windows operating system.

This topic includes:

  • WCE terminology

  • WCE high-level processes

  • WCE supported operating systems

Vista Compatibility Evaluator Terminology

 

Term Definition

ACT Log Processing Service

The service that processes the log files uploaded from your client computers, adding the information to your ACT database.

Application Compatibility Manager (ACM)

The user interface (UI) that enables you to view reports based on the WCE information generated from the ACT database. This is also where you create the data-collection packages used to deploy WCE.

Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT)

A suite of tools that enables software developers, independent software vendors (ISVs), and enterprise IT professionals to determine whether their applications are compatible with a new version of the Windows operating system or newly-released Windows security updates.

Application Compatibility Toolkit Data Collector (ACT-DC)

A self-extracting executable (.exe) file containing your configuration manifest and installation file for the data collector and compatibility evaluators. After deployment, ACT-DC installs the compatibility evaluators, maintains their scheduling and data collection, and uploads the issue data to your ACT database.

application profile

A list of the system-state settings and files on which an application has been observed to be dependent.

compatibility evaluator

A command-line program launched by the ACT-DC and configured by the user through the data-collection package (DCP) settings. An evaluator might run immediately and exit, or continue to monitor system activity through the duration configured by the user.

compatibility-evaluator definition package

The collection of files and data created by a partner to define a compatibility evaluator.

compatibility-evaluator installation package

The installation package used by the ACT-DC to install a compatibility-evaluator module. The provider of the compatibility evaluator produces the compatibility-evaluator installation package that is included in the compatibility-evaluator definition package.

compatibility-evaluator module

A compatibility-evaluator component that is exposed to the ACT-DC. A compatibility-evaluator module generates data and can have dependencies on other compatibility evaluators.

component

A part of the ACT that specifies the compatibility-evaluator resources and settings.

configuration manifest

A file that contains all of the user-configurable settings, such as which compatibility evaluators will run, when, and for how long the compatibility evaluators will run, where to store the log files, and other parameters configurable in the Advanced Settings dialog box.

data-collection package (DCP)

A Windows Installer (.msi) file created in the ACM for deployment to each of your client computers. Each data-collection package can include one or more compatibility evaluators, depending on what you are trying to evaluate.

data collector

A set of compatibility-evaluator modules that produce or gather data and then store the data locally in a raw or nearly raw form. All compatibility evaluators act as data collectors, and are installed and deployed from ACT-DC.

deprecated objects

Objects from previous versions of the operating system that are going to be invalid or obsolete in the newest version of the Windows operating system.

Graphical Identification and Authentication (GINA)

A type of DLL component created by an independent software vendor (ISV) to modify authentication, such as that for a fingerprint reader. The component previously performed all identification and authentication of user interactions.

post-processor

A compatibility-evaluator module that takes volumes of raw data and produces data in a format that matches the ACT schema, with extensions supplied by the compatibility-evaluator provider. More than one post-processor might depend on a single data collector and a post-processor might depend on data from more than one data collector.

Session 0

The session that runs the system services.

Windows Compatibility Evaluator High-Level Processes

The process for the WCE depends on which part of the evaluator is running.

GINA

If the GINA part of the compatibility evaluator is running, the following process occurs:

  1. The WCE searches the registry files and keys for GINA DLL files.

  2. The evaluator writes its search results to a log file that the Bucketizer (bucketizer.exe) processes, enabling the association of the DLL file with an application or defining an application based on the DLL file.

    The Bucketizer is an executable (.exe) file that processes the raw XML data collected by the Update Compatibility Evaluator (UCE) and sends it to a centralized location.

  3. The ACT Log Processing Service uploads the log file that lists the files processed by the Bucketizer and adds it to the ACT database.

  4. The evaluator results appear as report data on the Analyze screen of the Application Compatibility Manager.

Session 0

If the Session 0 part of the compatibility evaluator is running, the following process occurs:

  1. The WCE searches the registry files and keys for all services marked as interactive.

  2. The evaluator writes its search results to a log file and generates a Session0 dynamic-property element for all of the interactive services in each file element.

  3. The Bucketizer processes the log file and attempts to associate the service with an application. If the Bucketizer cannot make the association, it creates a new application based on the static property element of the service file.

  4. The ACT Log Processing Service uploads the log file that lists the files processed by the Bucketizer and adds it to the ACT database.

  5. The evaluator results appear as report data on the Analyze screen of the Application Compatibility Manager.

Deprecated Objects

If the Deprecated Objects part of the compatibility evaluator is running, the following process occurs:

  1. The WCE monitors file access, registry access, and the use of selected application programming interfaces (APIs) within your organization. It then compares the collected data with a list of known deprecated objects.

  2. The evaluator writes its search results to a log file. The evaluator includes a file element for every executable file that has dependencies, and a Deprecation dynamic property for each deprecated object on which the executable file depends.

  3. The Bucketizer processes the file and attempts to associate the executable file with the most appropriate application.

  4. The ACT Log Processing Service uploads the log file that lists the files processed by the Bucketizer and adds it to the ACT database.

  5. The evaluator results appear as report data on the Analyze screen of the Application Compatibility Manager.

See Also

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