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WCL201 Windows Vista Application Compatibility and the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.0 (WCL201) PowerPoint Presentation
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WCL201 Windows Vista Application Compatibility and the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.0 (WCL201). Peg McNicol Product Manager Application Compatibility Toolkit Microsoft Corporation. Suma SaganeGowda Program Manager Application Compatibility Toolkit

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WCL201Windows Vista Application Compatibility and the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.0 (WCL201)

Peg McNicol

Product Manager

Application Compatibility Toolkit

Microsoft Corporation

Suma SaganeGowda

Program Manager

Application Compatibility Toolkit

Microsoft Corporation

  • Windows Vista – Innovation and Compatibility
  • Top Compatibility Issues in Windows Vista
  • Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.0
  • Call To Action
  • Resources
  • Question and Answer
innovation and compatibility
Innovation and Compatibility

Windows Vista Pillars

  • Security
  • Reliability
  • Application Compatibility (most applications just work)
  • Performance
  • Feedback and Supportability

Improvements in Windows Vista occasionally break compatibility. Microsoft has created these tools and services to help with Application Compatibility

  • Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.0 (ACT)
  • Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor 1.0
  • Vista Readiness Assessment Tool
  • Application Compatibility Factory
  • Windows Logo programs
  • SWAT team and on campus labs
  • Windows Vista – Innovation and Compatibility
  • Top Compatibility Issues in Windows Vista
  • Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.0
  • Call To Action
  • Resources
  • Question and Answer
top compatibility issues with windows vista
Top Compatibility Issues With Windows Vista
  • User Account Control (UAC)
  • Windows Resource Protection (WRP)
  • Internet Explorer 7 Protected Mode
  • Windows Vista 64-bit
  • Windows Filtering Platform
  • Deprecations/GINA/Session 0 (High Impact/Low Frequency)
  • Operating System Version Change
  • Overall, high compatibility in Windows Vista
user account control uac
User Account Control (UAC)


  • Enabling users to run with a standard user account
  • Security feature to reduce introduction of vulnerabilities (Malware, Trojan, Viruses)


  • Custom installers and updaters need administrator privileges
  • Unnecessary administrator checks
  • Writing to file or registry locations that are not virtualized


  • Some common shims - Virtualization shims, Force Admin Access
  • Relax ACL's on files and folders
windows resource protection wrp
Windows Resource Protection (WRP)


  • Increase system stability by protecting Windows resources (files, folders, registry).


  • Application installers that attempt to replace, modify, or delete OS files and/or registry keys that are protected will fail with an access denied error message because the resource could not be updated.


  • Never repackage Microsoft redistributables (use the Microsoft provided redistributable package instead).
  • Do not write to system files and registry keys.
internet explorer 7 protected mode
Internet Explorer 7 Protected Mode


  • Internet Explorer 7 runs in Protected Mode, with greatly restricted privileges


  • IE cannot modify user files, registry keys
  • Applications may not know how to handle new prompts requesting user permissions


  • Add the site in question to the trusted sites list.
windows vista 64 bit
Windows Vista 64-bit


  • Windows Vista fully supports the 64-bit architecture processors from AMD and Intel.
  • The 64-bit version of Windows Vista can run all 32-bit applications with the help of the WOW64 emulator.


  • Applications or components that use 16-bit executables, 16-bit installers or 32-bit kernel drivers will either fail to start or will function improperly on a 64-bit edition of Windows Vista.


  • Remove all 16-bit components.
  • Convert 16-bit installers to 32-bit or 64-bit installers
  • Ensure that all 64-bit drivers are digitally signed


  • Deprecations – removal of APIs or DLLs from Windows Vista that existed in Windows XP


  • Applications lose functionality or don’t start up correctly


  • Search MSDN to look for replacement of API
graphical identification and authentication gina
Graphical Identification and Authentication (GINA)


  • Windows Vista introduces a new authentication model (new Credential Provider API)


  • Users will not be able to logon using Custom logon applications. These may include:
    • Biometric devices (fingerprint reader)
    • Custom UI for logon
    • Virtual private network (VPN) solutions for remote users with custom logon UI


  • The applications or components that use the GINA technology will need to be re-authored to use the new logon authentication model for Windows Vista
  • For all credential provider information and questions, send e-mail to the Shell Credential Provider alias:
session 0
Session 0


  • Services are isolated to run in their own private Session (Session 0) to enhance security.
  • Users no longer share this session


  • Services with user interaction may hang as UI is not visible to the user


  • Update Apps, to ensure services do not display UI
  • In-box mitigation where notification is sent to current user when there is UI in Session 0
operating system version change
Operating System Version Change


  • The internal version number for Windows Vista is changed to 6. The GetVersion function will now return this version number to applications when queried.


  • Any application that specifically checks for the OS version will get a higher version number which it may not be designed to handle
  • Application installers may prevent themselves from installing and applications may prevent themselves from starting.


  • Use compatibility administrator and apply XP SP2 layer or version lie shim
  • Windows Vista – Innovation and Compatibility
  • Top Compatibility Issues in Windows Vista
  • Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.0
  • Call To Action
  • Resources
  • Question and Answer
application compatibility toolkit
Application Compatibility Toolkit

Customer Target

  • Medium/Large Businesses and Large Enterprises


  • A lifecycle management tool that assists in identifying and managing your overall application/device/computer portfolio, reducing the cost and time involved in resolving application compatibility issues, and helping you quickly deploy Windows Vista and Windows Updates.


  • Help detect, diagnose, and mitigate compatibility issues found in Windows Vista
  • Microsoft Compatibility Exchange to facilitate exchange of compatibility data between ISV/IHV, Microsoft, and customers
  • Deliver tools that are timely and relevant to Windows releases
act 5 0 high level architecture
ACT 5.0 - High Level Architecture




North America









Compatibility Exchange

Desktop Topology


Log Processing Service



Agent Framework/Compatibility Evaluators


Application CompatibilityManager



act methodology
ACT Methodology

Collect Data



Prioritize and Categorize

Synchronize data with Microsoft Compatibility Exchange

Identify high-level issues

In-depth testing with dev/test tools

Log test data

Build and test mitigations

Inventory Applications and Devices


high-level compatibility evaluator



Inventory and Compatibility Data


act data collection architecture
ACT Data Collection Architecture

Application Compatibility Manager

Data Collection Packages

Inventory Collector

IE Evaluator

UAC Evaluator

Vista Evaluator

Desktop Topology

Log Processing Service

ACT Database


compatibility evaluators for vista
Compatibility Evaluators for Vista
  • Inventory Collector
    • Gathers data on a computer regarding applications, devices (device manager), and system information.
  • User Account Control
    • Detects which applications may have issues with running as Standard User on Vista
  • Windows Vista
    • Deprecations - identifies applications that are loading binaries or using APIs that will be removed in Vista
    • GINA - identifies applications that installed a Graphical Identification and Authentication (GINA) DLL
    • Session 0 - identifies applications with interactive services
  • Internet Explorer
    • Detects compatibility issues with web applications due to IE security features
compatibility evaluator for updates




Compatibility Evaluator for Updates
  • Detects applications impacted by Windows Updates

Windows Updates

Enterprise Desktop Topology

Update Manifest

Update Compatibility Evaluator Data

Application Compatibility Manager


Prioritize, Categorize, Rationalize, Synchronize and Manage compatibility data


microsoft compatibility exchange

1. Community

IT Pro (Enterprise A)

See risk rating and/or issues summary

IT Pro (Enterprise B)

Works for me!


Compatibility Exchange

App Compat Testing

Microsoft Logo

and Certification

Certify app works


Publish issues


and Reporting


2. Authoritative Sources

Microsoft Compatibility Exchange


  • IT Pros helping each other out by sharing of application compatibility rating with community
  • Secure and privacy compliant transactions
  • Simple and easy to share
  • Submission can be anonymous or by user name
  • Partner with MCS and deployment specialist in building and seeding community data
  • Scalable solution


  • Feedback mechanism to vendors on most requested applications
  • Authoritative data compliments community rating
  • Leverage existing Microsoft data repositories (test, certification, logo, vendor portal)
  • Limited data due to dependencies on Vendor Portal and test team
test and mitigate

Test, Debug, Resolve, Deploy Solutions


developer and tester tools
Developer and Tester Tools
  • Standard User Analyzer
    • Provides a way for testers to further test the LOB applications to determine what will fail as Standard User on Vista
  • Internet Explorer Test Tool
    • Provides a way for testers to further test the intranet web applications to understand the exact issue and determine which of their web applications will not work with IE 7
  • Setup Analysis Tool
    • Detects issues such as WRP, installing of 32 bit kernel mode drivers, 16 bit components to flag any of your packages which could run into this issue
  • Compatibility Administrator
    • Helps IT Admins, Developers, Testers create and test compatibility shim/fixes (no code changes required)
call to action
Call To Action

Download ACT 5.0 RC Now!!


Windows Vista Application Compatibility Training

  • 2.5 days of intense learning to detect, troubleshoot and mitigate Windows Vista application compatibility issues

Day 1: Windows Vista Application Compatibility Fundamentals - Lectures and demos to recognize and resolve the most common Windows Vista app compatibility issues: User Account Control (UAC), Windows Resource Protection (WRP), Session 0 Isolation, IE7 protected mode and more

Day 2: Application Compatibility tools and techniques - Lectures and hands-on-labs about ACT 5.0, Standard User Analyzer, LUA Buglight, Shims and other troubleshooting techniques

Day 3: Debugging Demystified - Hands-on-labs for setting up a debugging environment, debugging failed apps with WinDbg, and handling crash dumps

  • Provided free of charge by the AE SWAT team
  • Contact:

Leverage services provided by Microsoft and Partners

  • Application Compatibility Factory, On campus labs, Windows Logo Program
application compatibility resources
Application Compatibility Resources

For IT Professionals:

Application Compatibility in Windows Vista

Business Desktop Deployment Solution Accelerator

Download ACT 5.0 RC

For Developers:

Application Compatibility Cookbook

Windows Vista Application Development Requirements for User Account Control

Questions related to SUA

ACT Newsgroup:

related sessions
Related Sessions
  • Breakout Sessions/Chalk Talks
    • WCLCT07 – Windows Application Compatibility and the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT 5.0), Thu Nov 16 10:45 - 12:00
    • WCLCT05 - Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) 2007 and Vista Deployment Best practices, Thu Nov 16 13:30 - 14:45
    • MGTCT07 - Drilldown into SoftGrid Application Virtualization, Fri 17 Nov 13:30 -14:45
    • MGT324 - Vista and Office 2007 in a Flash: Accelerating your Vista and Office 2007 Deployments with SoftGrid and SMS 2003, Fri 17 Nov 9:00 - 10:15
    • MGT320 - Using Application Virtualization to Decrease Your Application Management TCO, Fri 17 Nov 15:15 - 16:30
  • HOL’s
    • WCLHOL09 - Application Compatibility Toolkit for Windows Vista (ACT 5)
ask the experts get your questions answered
Ask The ExpertsGet Your Questions Answered

You can find us at the Microsoft Ask the Experts area, located in the Exhibition Hall:

Thursday 16 November 14:45 – 15:45

Friday 17 November 10:15 – 10:45

Friday 17 November Lunch

inventory collector
Inventory Collector
  • Scans computer for devices, application, and system information
  • Locations we search for applications -
    • .Msi (Windows Installer database)
    • Add/Remove Programs
    • (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\*)
    • Windows Shell (Start menu)
    • App Path (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\*)
    • Locations pointed to by path environment variables (%PATH%)
    • Registered file extension handlers (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes\*)
    • Registry Run (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\*)
    • Service Control Manager (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\*)
    • (Filters out Windows Components/Features)
user account control compatibility evaluator
User Account Control Compatibility Evaluator
  • Detects what applications will have issues with running as Standard User on Windows Vista
  • Issues Detected -

File Operations

      • Lets the user know if the file will be virtualized
      • If not, lets the user know the access is restricted (e.g. locations like Program Files which only admins have access)

Registry Operations

      • Lets the user know if the registry key will be virtualized
      • If not, lets the user know the access is restricted (e.g. locations like HKLM which only admins have access)

Profile API operations

      • Checks if any applications are writing into any system ini files (including win.ini)

Elevation Detection

      • Detects applications that need to run elevated/ as administrator (i.e. setup.exe)
internet explorer compatibility evaluator
Internet Explorer Compatibility Evaluator
  • Detects Compatibility issues with web applications due to IE security features
  • Issues detected -
      • (IE6) - LMZL, Mime Handling, Windows Restrictions, Zone Elevation, Binary Behaviors, Object Caching, ActiveX Blocking, Popup Blocking, Download Blocking, CURL - Centralized URL Parsing, International Domain Names (IDN) Support, SSL, XDom Barrier, Manage Add-ons, Anti-Phishing, Cross Frame navigation, CSS fixes
      • (IE7) - All of the above plus: Protected Mode
  • More details about the issues
windows vista upgrade advisor
Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor

Customer Target

  • Consumer and small businesses


  • Assist customers in upgrading from Windows XP to Windows Vista


  • Scans a single computer to create compatibility report for upgrading to Windows Vista
  • Provide reports on system, device, and application compatibility issues
  • Helps you choose the edition of Windows Vista best fits the way you use your computer

© 2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.This presentation is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.