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How the Standard User Analyzer Works

Published: June 11, 2010

Updated: June 11, 2010

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Vista

The Standard User Analyzer (SUA) enables you to test your applications and to monitor application programming interface (API) calls to detect potential compatibility issues due to the new User Account Control (UAC) feature.

UAC, formerly known as Limited User Account (LUA), requires that all users (including members of the Administrator group) run as a Standard User, until the application is deliberately elevated. However, not all applications can run properly as a Standard User because the application requires access and privileges for locations that are unavailable to a Standard User. SUA provides specific information about the potential issues as they relate to files, registry keys, .ini files, tokens, privileges, name space, processes, and other issues.

There are two ways to use the Standard User Analyzer:

  • Standard User Analyzer (SUA) tool. A fully functional version of the tool that enables you to perform an in-depth analysis and to mitigate your issue.

  • Standard User Analyzer Wizard (SUA Wizard). A lightweight tool that enables you to follow a step-by-step process to locate and to mitigate your issues without the analysis options.

This topic includes:

  • SUA terminology

  • SUA processes

  • SUA and virtualization

  • SUA and elevated privileges

SUA Terminology

 

Term Definition

ACT Log Processing Service

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

Application Compatibility Manager (ACM)

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

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.

Built-in Administrator (BA)

The default Administrator account, created during a clean installation of the Windows operating system.

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 defining 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 by ACT-DC.

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 one post-processor might depend on data from more than one data collector.

Protected Administrator (PA)

An account in the Administrators group. Users with this account type must consent to perform administrative activities.

Standard User (SU)

An account in the Standard Users group. Users with this account must supply credentials to perform administrative activities.

User Account Control Data Collector (UAC Data Collector)

The compatibility-evaluator module that produces or gathers data related to the User Account Control (UAC) functionality. The UAC Data Collector stores the data locally in a raw or nearly raw format.

User Account Control post-processor (UAC Post-Processor)

The compatibility-evaluator module that processes the raw data from the UAC Data Collector in order to generate data that matches the ACT data schema, including the extensions defined by the UACCE.

SUA Processes

This section provides information about how each of the SUA tools work.

Standard User Analyzer Tool

The SUA tool enables you to analyze an application, review a detailed report about the UAC-related issues, and then apply the suggested and selected application mitigations, as shown in the following flowchart.

Standard User Analyzer Tool workflow diagram

Standard User Analyzer Wizard

The SUA Wizard enables you to follow a guided, step-by-step process by which you can analyze an application and then apply the suggested and selected application mitigations, as shown in the following flowchart. The wizard does not enable a review of the detailed UAC-related issues.

Standard User Analyzer Wizard workflow diagram

SUA Tool and Virtualization

Only the SUA tool enables you to turn the virtualization feature on and off. By turning the virtualization feature off, the tested application will behave more like when it is functioning on the Windows XP® operating system.

SUA Tool and Elevated Privileges

Only the SUA tool enables you to turn the Launch Elevated feature on and off. The Launch Elevated feature enables the selected application to run as an Administrator or as a Standard User. Depending on your selection, you will locate different types of UAC-related issues. If you clear the Launch Elevated check box, your application will run with full Administrator privileges, which enables SUA to predict the issues that might occur for a Standard User. If you select the Launch Elevated check box, you will see errors that result from the application actually running and generating errors.

See Also

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