Collect Computer details: ACT Data Collection Package (DCP)

Earlier, we have discussed on how to Setup, Install and Configure the Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 on a machine to start the AppCompat process. If you have not read it, I would recommend if you can have a glance through this article first.

In this article, we will look at how to Create and Deploy a Data Collection Package (DCP) to gather inventory for software, hardware, and device assets.

Step 1: Launch the Application Compatibility Manager, from the Start Menu (Right click and Run as Administrator)

Invoke Application Compatibility Manager

If you see the below dialog, you have configured the ACM correctly, If you see a wizard, then you need to follow these steps before you can continue.

Application Compatibility Manager

Step 2: By default, this window lands up in Collect Option. Goto File Menu, Create New Data Collection Package. Once you do this, you will get the below dialog.

Creating a Data Collection Package - Application Compatibility Manager

Step 3: Name your DCP. For the ease of remembering, I have named this DCP as “DataCollector_May2010”.  Now you have lots of options here to choose from. The DCP also has an ability to identify Windows Updates. You can choose that, if you want to assess the updates. One of the important point about the DCP is Scheduling.

Scheduling a Data Collection Package

The Application Compatibility Manager provides you with various options, to schedule the execution of the DCP. You can choose whether, this Data Collection should start immediately as soon as the package is installed.. or even Schedule it. For eg: If you are trying to collect the data from a site in different region, it makes sense to start the data collection at their working hours. So you can schedule it that way!

Step 4: This is another important step, where you will mention the duration the Data Collection should happen. This is the period where the ACT Data Collection Service will be running in the machine. As you see in the below image, you can choose Days, hours or even minutes.

Scheduling a Data Collection Package - Duration

In the next section, you will observe that the Log share which we created earlier will appear. This is the location, where the app log files will be written.

Step 5: Now save the Data Collection Package. This will create an msi file, which you can use it to trigger the Data Collection Service. In an individual machine, you can just double click and trigger the msi. In an enterprise environment, you can even deploy this msi using any of your deployment Tools.

Data Collection Package is Created

On invoking this package (DataCollector_May2010.msi), you will see that the ACT Data Collector Service is started.

ACT Data Collector Service - Started

This service will run for the duration, you had set earlier. (Step 4). This service will monitor all the changes and applications in your computer during this period. After this duration, you will see that this service will now be stopped and removed (see below image). (For demo purpose – i had kept it as 3 minutes)

ACT Data Collector Service - Stopped and Removes

Step 5: Once this service Stops, you can launch the Application Compatibility Manager again, and goto the Analyze Tab. Here you will see the report which were collected.

Application Compatibility Manager - Analyze Phase

Now when you click on the Applications (left side) under the Windows 7, you will get to see a list of all the applications which were gathered.

Data Collected - Analyze Phase

If you are on a good bandwidth or you prefer to see this as a Video, Check the same below.

This completes the Data Collection Process. In the next article, we will look at how to Analyze this report and work on it to mitigate applications.


  1. Hi Vijay

    Do you know what is the Account this DC Package uses in the desktop to run ?? Do i need to create a additional service account and grant access to the LOG file Location

  2. Hi Vijay,
    Very usefull information you're sharing, keep it coming.
    I'm looking at ACT 5.6, the setup went fine. SQLExpress and ACT are on the same W2008 server, Created a DCP package and deployed it a to a W2008 server where users can run local apps, apps from networkdrives and URL's.
    After collecting I noticed that only the local installed apps show up in the AppCompat Manager. Can DCP also collect info about apps ran from networkdrives and URL's?

  3. Hi Mars, ACT is a tool for the enterprise as well. Hence, it definitely has the capability to fetch the data from different machines. You just need to ensure that, you give an appropriate file share for the log files.

    Also, check the Analyze, Computers tab – to get details as in which app lives where.

    I am not sure, if you can get information from Network Drives and URLs. ACT always gets information from apps which are currently installed / run in a machine or a network.

    Hope this clarifies.

  4. Hi Vijay,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I'm investigating a way to NOT have to examine every app with Process Monitor, but we probably have to for the ones running from network drives. These apps were once installed on a workstation and then copied to a netwerk drive to be able to update from a central location/share. So they're not installed on a machine or listed in ARP.

    Here's my case. I would like to collect/analyze apps that are installed on Citrix MetaFrame/W2003 servers to prepare the transition to Citrix XenApp/W2008. About 40% of the apps are installed with MSI's on those servers, but the majority runs from a network share on a SAN or websites. The URL's I will test with the Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool, although most of them are already working with IE8.

    I hoped ACT would collect all apps, but it only collects the ones that are installed locally.

    Kind regards,

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