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Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.0

The Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.0 is a lifecycle management tool that assists in identifying and managing your overall application portfolio, reducing the cost and time involved in resolving application compatibility issues, and helping you quickly deploy Windows Vista and Windows Updates.

For more information about the underlying ACT 5.0 technology and compatibility evaluators, click here.

With it, you can:

  • Analyze your portfolio of applications, Web sites, and computers.
  • Evaluate operating system deployments, the impact of operating system updates, and your compatibility with Web sites.
  • Centrally manage compatibility evaluators and configuration settings.
  • Rationalize and organize applications, Web sites, and computers.
  • Prioritize application compatibility efforts with filtered reporting.
  • Add and manage issues and solutions for your enterprise-computing environment.
  • Deploy automated mitigations to known compatibility issues.
  • Send and receive compatibility information from the Microsoft Compatibility Exchange.

Click here for a demonstration of ACT 5.0

Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.0 Features

Inventory and Collect your Data

ACT 5.0 provides a way to gather inventory data, through the use of distributed compatibility evaluators and the developer and tester tools. Data can be collected around operating system changes of various magnitude, from large events (such as an operating system upgrade), to medium events (such as a browser upgrade), to smaller events (such as a Windows Update release). Having the ability to collect compatibility data into a single centralized store has significant advantages in reducing organizational risk during platform changes.


Distributed Compatibility Evaluators

The Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.0 and Application Compatibility Toolkit Data Collector (ACT-DC) use compatibility evaluators to collect and process your application information. Each evaluator performs a set of functions, providing a specific type of information to ACT.

  • Inventory Collector: Examines your organization's computers to identify the installed applications and system information.
  • User Account Control Compatibility Evaluator (UACCE): Enables you to identify potential compatibility issues that are due to permission restrictions enforced by the User Account Control (UAC), formerly known as Limited User Accounts (LUA). Through compatibility logging, UACCE provides information about both potential application permission issues and ways to fix the problems so that you can deploy a new operating system.
  • Update Compatibility Evaluator (UCE): Provides insight and guidance about the potential effects of a Windows operating system security update on your installed applications. The UCE dynamically gathers application dependencies and is deployable to both your servers and client computers in either a production or test environment. The compatibility evaluator collects information about the modules loaded, the files opened, and the registry entries accessed by the applications currently running on the computers and writes that information to XML files uploaded to the ACT database.
  • Internet Explorer Compatibility Evaluator (IECE): Enables you to identify potential Web application and Web site issues that occur due to the release of a new operating system. IECE works by enabling compatibility logging in Internet Explorer, parsing logged issues, and creating a log file for uploading to the ACT Log Processing Service.
  • Windows Vista Compatibility Evaluator: Enables you to identify issues that relate to the Graphical Identification and Authentication (GINA) DLLs, to services running in Session 0 in a production environment, and to any application components deprecated in the Windows Vista operating system.


Development Tools

ACT 5.0 provides new tools for developers to test setup packages, Web sites and Web applications with Internet Explorer 7, and applications running as standard users in Windows Vista. The following section provides information about the development tools.

Setup Analysis Tool (SAT): Automates running application installations while monitoring the actions taken by each application's installer. The Setup Analysis Tool detects the following potential issues:

  • Installation of kernel mode drivers
  • Installation of 16-bit components
  • Installation of Graphical Identification and Authentication (GINA) DLLs
  • Modification of files or registry keys that are under Windows Resource Protection in Windows Vista


Internet Explorer Test Tool: Collects your Web-based issues from Internet Explorer 7, uploads the data to the ACT Log Processing Service, and shows your results in real time.

Standard User Analyzer (SUA): Determines the possible issues for applications running as a Standard User (SU) in Windows Vista.


Analyze Your Data

After collecting your compatibility data, ACT 5.0 provides features and tools to help you organize, rationalize, and prioritize the data.

  • Organize your data: Create custom compatibility reports, assign custom categories and subcategories to your applications based on geographies, departments, internal line-of-business applications, or any custom application tags, and analyze your compatibility data using three types of quick reports, including the Operating System Deployment reports, the Update Impact Analyzer Application reports, and the Internet Explorer 7 reports.
  • Rationalize your data: Locate and share your compatibility information, issues, and solutions with industry peers using the Microsoft Compatibility Exchange and the ACT Community, filter your data to eliminate non-relevant applications, applications with specific issues, applications with no known issues, and applications with no compatibility information, run standardized reports for specific operating systems, risk ratings of applications, computers, and custom reports, and manage issues and solutions for each application in your company.
  • Prioritize your data: Assign priorities to your applications, track the status of your application testing, by identifying their position in the deployment process, and run standardized reports for understanding your current deployment status based on your prioritizations.

    Updates to the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit, Version 5.0 (November 6, 2007)

    Support for .NET Framework 2.0 and removal of the MSMXL 6.0 dependency: ACT 5.0 now supports .NET Framework 2.0, replacing the previous requirement of .NET Framework 1.1 and no longer requires the installation of MSXML 6.0 on the computers that are running the data collection packages.

    Support for the creation of data collection packages as MSI packages:ACT 5.0 now creates MSI packages for your data collection packages, replacing the executable (.exe) files created previously. This change enables you to quickly deploy your data collection packages within your organization, through GPO or other deployment technologies. 

    Standard User Analyzer compatibility: ACT 5.0 now creates MSI packages for your Standard User Analyzer (SUA)-recommended compatibility fixes, replacing the executable (.exe) files created previously. This change enables you to quickly deploy your compatibility fixes. SUA now allows the ability to rollback SUA mitigations applied easily thru menu options from within SUA. A new SUA Wizard is added to quickly run thru the application with the ability to provide mitigations thru shims.

    Additional application filtering: ACT 5.0 now enables you to filter your applications by domain, which enables you to better sort your compatibility data by location or business. 

    Additional reporting based on Windows Vista SP1:ACT 5.0 now enables you to view reports based on the Windows Vista with Service Pack 1* (SP1)-related compatibility issues.

    * The data for Windows Vista SP1 will not become available until after the application is released to the public.
  • Updated documentation: ACT 5.0 now provides more in-depth documentation for the known compatibility fixes in the Compatibility Administrator, it provides new walkthrough topics that can walk you step-by-step through the three main customer scenarios, and it provides detailed information about the SUA tool.

Download ACT 5.0.

For more information about the underlying ACT 5.0 technology and compatibility evaluators, refer to the Enterprise Guidance page.

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