How-to Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 Guides, How To Tutorials

Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit is a lifecycle management tool that assists in assessing compatibility issues in your overall application/device/computer portfolio.  This tool helps in,

  1. Gathering Inventory for software, hardware, and device assets
  2. Compatibility evaluation and Get Vendor Support Statements
  3. Recommendations for fixing applications
  4. Tools to apply compatibility fixes or “shims” to applications

The Application Compatiblity process can be easily defined in 3 Steps – Collect-Analyze and Mitigate.

To facilitate Readers/ People who plan their first steps towards Application Compatibility, I have written these 6 Part Series on various tools which are a part of the ACT. These articles will provide information on how to start the appcompat process in an organization (or even as an individual) and fix applications!

Application Compatibility Process (ACT 5.5)

Install and Setup the Application Compatibility Environment

This article will give you detailed instructions on how you can setup up the ACT 5.5 Environment, configure the Application Compatibility Manager and start the AppCompat Process. This is the first step towards solving Application Compatibility Issues with Windows 7.

Creating and Deploying a Data Collection Package (DCP)

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. This package will start the ACT Data Collector Service to monitor the machine State. You will also learn options to schedule the Data Collection.

How to Analyze the Application Reports Collected?

In this article, we will look at how to categorize and prioritize applications in the ACT report which we get from the Data Collection Packages. We will also look at how to send/receive reports to get hints and support from the Community on solving AppCompat Issues.

Testing your applications as a Standard User

During Develop / Deploy phase of an application, its very important to test the functionality of an app as a Standard User. Especially when the organization has a locked-down environment. Standard User Analyzer tool exactly helps you in this purpose!

Identify Website Issues with Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool

This Tool collects your Web-based issues from Internet Explorer 7 / Internet Explorer 8, uploads the data to the ACT Log Processing Service, and gives the details about discovered compatibility issues. It also provides you links for more information about each of this compatibility issues.

Creating Shims to Fix Broken Applications

This article explains the Compatibility Administrator tool which enables you to resolve many of your potential application compatibility issues. It also explains you on how to create customized compatibility fixes, modes, AppHelp messages, and compatibility databases.

Shims for Specific scenarios:

Do lemme’ know your comments and Thoughts.!

How-to Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Identify Website Issues with Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool (IECTT)

Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool (IECTT) is a part of the Application Compatibility Toolkit. Its a freeware tool from Microsoft to solve and address AppCompat Issues.

You can also emulate your website to solve the Website Compatibility Issues – Read here

This Tool collects your Web-based issues from Internet Explorer 7 / Internet Explorer 8, uploads the data to the ACT Log Processing Service, and gives the details about discovered compatibility issues. It also provides you links for more information about each of this compatibility issues.

To know more on how to Install and setup the Application Compatibility Toolkit Environment, i would recommend you read this article!

Step 1: Invoke the tool from the Start Menu -> All Programs -> Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 -> Developer and Test Tools -> Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool

Internet Explorer Compatibility Test (IECT) Tool

Once the application is launched, you will see the below dialog;

Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool

Step 2: Close all of your active Internet Explorer browser windows; and then click on the Enable button in the Toolbar.

Enable - Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool

This will start monitoring your Internet Explorer session. In the Internet Explorer Compatibility Tool, you can view the potential compatibility issues, filter your results, save an issue report, and open an existing issue report, and upload all data to your ACT database.

Step 3: Now Open the website on the Internet Explorer (This would be the website, which you would need to check the Compatibility for)

Report Gathering - Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool

Step 4: Press the Disable Button. This will stop the monitoring of the Website.

Disable - Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool

You will now see the complete information which was collected. You can also opt to save this report (.cet) file, so that you can review your issues at a later time, or for archival purposes.

Data Collected - IECTT

You can also filter the reports based on the issue occurances.

Filter Report

Step 5: You have an option to Upload these data to your ACT Database and rationalize and review it using the ACM (Application Compatibility Manager). Click on the Upload Button. This will create an XML file and bucket the data.

Upload the Reports

Saving the Issues Cab File

Step 6: Save the Cab file in the parent level of your ACT log file directory; This will be automatically processed by the ACT Log Processing Service the next time it runs. If you have not created the LogShare – Check this out

Save the cab file in the Root Folder of the Log Share

Step 7: Start the Application Compatibility Manager (ACM) –(right click and run as administrator). Now you will see the Internet Explorer reports also. If you do not see the collected data., open services.msc, stop the ACT Log Processing Service and Restart it.

IE Reports in ACM

Now you can Send-Recieve the data on ACM, so that you can get the suggestions from the community / Microsoft on this issues. If you are an IT Pro, you can also forward this report to the website developer, to fix these issues.

Send Recieve IE Reports

To understand on how to analyze these reports on the Application Compatibility Manager – Read this article

Also Read:

How-to Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Analyze Data Collection Reports in Application Compatibility Manager

Earlier, we have discussed on how to Setup and Configure the Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 and Creating the Data Collection Package to start analyzing the Applications. In this article, we will look at how to analyze this report,  and how important is to rationalize and priorotize the applications. We will also look at how to get hints and support from the Community on solving the AppCompat Issues.

Step 1: Once the data is collected, the Report of applications would look like this. As mentioned earlier, ACT has an active Community/Microsoft relations which checks and monitors all the applications and provide you ready suggestions to ease the AppCompat Process. For which you will need to Send/Recieve the Reports. Click on the button as shown below.

Send Recieve the ACT Reports to the Microsoft / Community

Once you hit the Send and Recieve button, you will be prompted with a confirmation message, which would list all the information which you will be sharing with the Microsoft Team.  You can have a look through it and then confirm. You can also review the data before sending. If you have an in-house application, and you do not want to share that report with Microsoft, you can also do that.  (The instructions are given in the later part of this article) 

Send Recieve the ACT Reports - Data

Step 2: Once when you hit the Send Button, the Report Data Exchange will start and you will see the report now with all the community/Vendor assesments. (as shown below)

Data Collected - Analyze Phase

This report will give you information on all the applications which were gathered during the Data Collection Phase.  After the data exchange, you will find all the information on Community/Vendor Assesments, Issue reports, Mitigation tips etc.. You also have options to Prioritize issues and apps.

Step 3: Lets sort this report upon the active issues now. I see that, there is an application (System Center Configuration Agent) which has 2 active issues.

Application with Active Issues

Step 4: You can rationalize application and set the priority on the same.  Right-Click on the My Assesment Tab, you will see the below options.

My assesment - ACT

You can set these below Priorities for this application. (As the name suggests). For eg: If this application is business critical for you, you can priorotize the same, so that the Application Compatibility team knows this and they take the action first on this!

Priority Lists

You also have options to categorize the application as, whether is it an in-house, Microsoft or even a Third Party Application. This would be very useful to contact the support / Technical Account Manager to check with the compatible version software.

Assign Category

You can also set the deployment Status in the report for periodic updates and references.

Set Deployment Status

As I had mentioned earlier, you can control the reports before being shared with Microsoft / Community. For eg: If you have a confidential in-house application and you do not want to share the information about that particular software with Microsoft you can opt to do that.

Restrict - Send Recieve the ACT Reports

Step 5: Now lets see some detailed instructions on what that active issue is all about. Double click on the application row. It will open another dialog, which provides you information on the Assesment, Issues, Application Attributes, the computer from which this application was fetched.

Investigating an Application

Step 6: Goto the Issues tab. This will list the 2 issues which was found. Double click one of them. This will give you information on the Priority, Severity, Symptoms and causes as well. This will give enough hints on how to fix the issue / work with this application.

Issue Description

If you know or come across a solution, you can add your description and method to mitigate an issue.  Goto Actions – Add Solution. Similarly, you can also file a new issue and ask the community for answers and opinions.

Adding Solution to an Application - Analyze

 Step 7: Once you complete the work on it, you can also set the Assesment State for that particular application. Right click on the My Assesment Area, select “Set Assesment”.

Set Assesment

Following this process, you can identify all the issues and rationalize the applications as per your organization/personal need.

Community Activities General How-to Microsoft

How to become a Microsoft MVP – Most Valuable Professional?

‘How do I become an MVP?’ is one question which keeps ringing in most of our minds. Quite a few of you had also sent me an email asking the same. Well, I must agree that the awareness of the MVP program is less among the tech folks. Let me start explaning.. The thoughts which are mentioned in this article are just my understandings about the program, being an MVP for few years!

Update: 9th March 2016: Microsoft plans to shuffle up the MVP program, and its for good! – Read more here.

If you are looking at Springboard Series Technical Expert Program, read here

First of all, Most Valuable Professional (MVP) is not a certification., Its an Award! – Its a mode of recognition which Microsoft gives for individuals who are technology experts and most importantly, who play a role and are keen in sharing their expertise with the Community. So if your question is, “I have completed my MCTS or MCAD.. what are the next steps towards being a MVP?” – You must re-think on your question.!

MVP LogoMVP awards are usually given every quarter and it’s an annual award, which means that your award is valid only for a year. At the end of the year, your contributions of the previous 12 months undergoes a strict validation process before you are awarded again. MVP awards are given in various categories and technologies. The product teams in Microsoft evaluate your expertise and contributions; Once they feel, your contributions are vital and important.., you are awarded an MVP!

MVPs are definitely not a part of Microsoft. MVPs are independent of Microsoft, with separate opinions and perspectives, and are able to represent the views of the community members.

I would recommend, Identify your strong technology and work towards it.  As I mentioned earlier, being a Tech expert is one of the important parameters.  Let me not comment or give you ideas on how to improve on that. However, I would like to emphasize on other factors which you can work on.!

How to Approach an MVP Award

Sharing Knowledge – Is one important ‘Mantra’ for being an MVP. As far as I have seen, people choose any of these below methods to share their expertise.

Contributions which Lead to be an MVP

1. Technical Forums – This is one of the most common places where a lot of people discuss about technology. It can be on Issues, Current Trends, Cutting Edge Technologies, Queries etc.. Contributing in this portal always has an edge; as you know that, the solution which you provide is validated and implemented. You also get a chance to solve real world scenarios and problems.  There are many Tech Forums, but notables ones are MSDN, TechNet, Appdeploy, Windows Club, Neowin etc.. I would recommend, you take part in these discussions, provide solutions to people and gain a good online presence.  You can also choose to play a role in filing bugs and fixes in Microsoft Connect website.

2. Blogs / Website – I don’t need to explain the significance of having a blog, as most of you know how important medium it is. However, one point which I would like to emphasize here is – Blogging is not just mere sharing your thoughts / comments. You should also be concentrating in providing solutions to people like writing a code snippet, How To Articles, Technology Reviews, Case Studies, Design Solutions etc.  This will help in valuing your expertise.

Also, It’s always good to have your own blog. However, if you are not keen on maintaining one, you can also choose to write on some popular portals. This way, you can ensure that.. your solution reaches those developers / IT Pros / Consumers who are looking for information!

The points discussed above mostly concentrates on your online presence. However, if you do not want to be an online person, UG Communities is the way.

3. User Group Communities – User groups are typically independently run, volunteer groups that meet on a regular basis to discuss and share information on a variety of technical topics. Participation in a user group is an excellent, inexpensive way to receive technical content, education and to meet with your peers to get more out of the Microsoft platforms, products, technologies, and resources which you are interested in. Most of the cities have an User Group Community which does regular meets, sessions and events covering various technologies. In Bangalore, we do have BDotnet and BITPro which are one of the top UG communities in India.

I would recommend, Identify the Local User Group in your city, (..and if you do not have.. you can indeed start one too.! ) You can contribute by taking sessions on Technology Concepts, Productivity Tips etc. Also participate in regular discussion meets and share your ideas and experiences. This will help you go gain an offline presence in the community.

4. Books / Guides – There are very few people who write and author books. This needs great expertise in technology and you should know the right approach in writing the same. If you are skilled in it, contact any of the publishers and write a proposal on what technology can you write on.  You can also prepare How to Guides, Author White Papers, Podcasts and Screencasts. These materials can help a lot of people, who are in need for guidances.

These are just few contributions which i can think of; if you have any other approach towards sharing knowledge.. thats appreciated too!

Potential MVPs are nominated by other technical community members, current and former MVPs, and Microsoft personnel who have noted their leadership and their willingness and ability to help others make the most of their Microsoft technology.

The moment you feel, your presence among the community is valued and many people are benefited from your solutions, you can apply for the MVP program. You can choose to submit the nominations yourself or even send it across to an MVP who can pass your nominations to his lead.!

Advantages / Benefits of Being an MVP

Though the award, memento, certificate and the recognition itself is a biggest asset, you do get some nice benefits from this program once you are an MVP.

MVP Award Kit

Following is a brief introduction to them. I would also put across my experiences which I had.

1. MVP Open Day (Depends on your region) and Global Summit – You are exclusively invited to meets like this, where you get an oppurtunity to learn and connect with lot of like minds. You also get a chance to interact with the Microsoft Product Teams and they are really interested in taking your feedback about their products. Also, you are involved in various discussions about their future products and technologies.

Last time, when I had been to the MVP Open Day, I did get a chance to be a part of the round table meet with the Windows 7 Product Team guys, to be specific the team which brought in the WindowsXP Mode. This was one very important discussion for me, where I could understand the future plans of the Windows Operating System. (Ofcourse, its NDA and I cannot share it here..)

Engaging Oppurtunities - Virtualization Team - The team behind WinXP Mode

Also, I had this opportunity to discuss with lot of other bloggers /Experts like Amit, Pinal, Suprotim, Anand, Ramesh etc.. This below picture was taken during the South Asia MVP Open Day, which was held at Microsoft IDC.

South Asia MVPs Meet during the Open Day 2010 - Microsoft IDC

Summing up, Networking and meeting people is one great benefit being an MVP.!

2. First hand Access: Being an MVP, you do get access to first hand information and Technical previews of softwares.

3. MSDN/ Tech Net Subscriptions: MVPs are given one-year online priority access to products and expert advice. There are also few other softwares which you get as a part of the 3rd Party Offers.

4. MVP Product Group Interaction (PGI) Feedback – allows MVPs a direct channel to submit comments, suggestions, and reports of abnormal behavior or potential viruses related to Microsoft products and technologies through the MVP Member’s Web site.

5. MVP Private Newsgroups / Discussion Lists – This provides forums for MVPs from around the world to share ideas on Microsoft products and technologies with fellow MVPs and Microsoft employees. You also get access to virtual learning center delivers timely instructor-led online courses that help Microsoft MVPs gain more knowledge.

6. Being Valued – This is something which i found really impressive.  Being an MVP from past 2 years, i did get an opportunity to attend various technical conferences like Tech-Ed. One point to mention is, during both the Tech-ed events (Hyderabad ’09 and Bangalore ’10), MVPs were given free entry to this event and to add, we had 2 Rows Seats Reserved for us. We are sitting right in front during the Keynotes.  This was a “aaha” moment for most of us.

I did take this below picture during the last Teched., where I was watching Soma Segar giving his keynote address and launch Visual Studio 2010.

Watching Soma Segar's Keynote at Teched India 2010

Microsoft MVP LogoThese were few of the benefits which I got being an MVP. There are many more recognitions which you get. Keeping it simple, you are valued for the contributions you make..! If you have made some kind of contributions and you think, you deserve this award; apply for this award now. You can also contact me, and I will pass your nominations to my lead.

If you are looking at Springboard Series Technical Expert Program, read here

LinkedIn and other Discussions

I had also posted this on LinkedIn Discussions and have got some quality responses for the same – I will extract some information from there and post it here so that, you can get all the information at one single place.

“If there is anything that I have learned over the last year and a half since Microsoft awarded me SBS MVP, the award has very little to do with me and everything to do with how I participate in the community as well as what I share with the community. I see the award as Microsoft’s compliment for all of the above hard work that I have been doing for about four years now … well before any hint of an MVP award coming my way. However, the hard work has nothing to do with the MVP program and everything to do with sharing the knowlege gained over my years as an IT solutions provider. Ultimately, the hard work is based on an attitude. There is no real way to explain that attitude, but it is somehow tied into a feeling of being rewarded when I know someone has been helped both directly and indirectly by my various knowlegde sharing efforts.” Philip Elder | SBS MVP 2009+

“I have noticed that many try to ‘work towards’ getting the MVP Award. I dont think it works. There are no shortcuts ! Microsoft sees a persons last 12 months community participation and decides to award outstanding leaders the MVP Award. So my advice to all – forget about the MVP Award; just blog or participate in communtinty activities! If you do it from your heart with a passion; the MVP award will come walking to you! Anand Khanse | Desktop Experience MVP

“I’ve been one of the early Microsoft MVP nearly 15 years ago after Bill Gates released the Microsoft MVP Program in 1996. It changed during this years until today. MVP@work Corp was an initiate in 1999 to concentrate the business opportunities Microsoft MVP have worldwide. In the past years the approach for Microsoft MVP changed more to community activities. In the early days supporting Microsoft customers was the primary goal. So you knew you could rely on your MVP fellows regarding knowledge. So this was the basic of founding MVP@work Corp. I agree with several comments on the post in the other LinkedIn groups, that it is not the best approach to do what needs to be done to become a Microsoft MVP. But to catch the spirit of what it means to be a Microsoft MVP and to take part on one of the most successful technology environments, is what it makes. If you are or have been a Microsoft MVP, when people asking more about to become such, it is also a honor for a Microsoft MVP to encourage people to work for the community and give them a helping hand to find out what is the best way in their area.” Thomas K.H. Bittner | Windows Server System Reference Architecture (WSSRA) Expert

“I started working with the CRM 1.0 Beta. The deployment instructions were not very clear and after all it was a beta. But I figured out how to get it all working in the forest and solved a problem that I thought folks could be helped by knowing about it. So I posted it on a brand new NNTP based news group and wrote a Reader to Reader Article for Windows IT Pro magazine about it. I got really good responses from it and peope asked me where I read about the fix. I didn’t, I deduced it from the behavior and my experience with AD. Thus I saw how much joy came from helping people. I also learned more by solving problems with this new product at the time. I kept on talking and blogging about it and one day I got the email and then the letter. It was a great honor and surprise. It’s been an honor every since because I’m in a community that wants to help people. Also it’s in my best interest that the technology be adopted so my work experience can be of value in the market. So why not help people? There really is more joy in giving than in receiving. It’s also great to have Microsoft’s appreciation for our advocating their solutions. I worked for years on other platforms and I still recommend Micosoft Solutions for clients as opposed to others. Now being an MVP helps me bring even more value to my clients.” Curt Spanburgh, Microsoft Dynamics CRM MVP/Contributing Editor Windows IT Pro Mag.

How-to Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

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.

How-to Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Install and Setup the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.5

We all have this question in our mind. “Why does my application break when we change the Operating Systems?”

Typically, whenever a new OS is released, Microsoft makes every effort to ensure application Compatibility. Unfortunately, as the OS evolves and when reliability, security and performance improvements are made, there are some comprises which are made that ends up breaking some applications. Thankfully, when the changes are decided to be made, there is some mitigation planned to address the applications which are broken. Out of which, One of the mitigation tool is “Application Compatibility Toolkit”. In this article, we will look at how to setup this toolkit and Start the AppCompat Process.

ACT Toolkit is Collection of tools which can be used to gather inventory for software, hardware, and device assets. Get Vendor Support and community Statements, Recommendations for fixing applications and also tools to apply compatibility fixes or “shims” to applications. This tool is a free ware. As it has a capability to collect inventory, it needs a place to store these information. Hence, you will need a SQL Server as a pre-requisite. Even a SQL Express will do.

You can download the SQL Server Express edition and Application Compatibility Toolkit from these websites to begin with!

Step 1: Install the SQL Server on your machine. I already have SQL Express installed on my machine; I can see the SQL service running on my machine. (see image below)

SQL Server Express - Installation

Step 2: Start the installation of the Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 (Application Compatibility Toolkit.msi)

Application Compatibility Toolkit - Installation

Step 3: Continue the installation by pressing the Next Button and Install Button.

Application Compatibility Toolkit - Installation Location

Application Compatibility Toolkit - Installation Complete

Once the software is installed, you can see these tools as a part of the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.5. (We will look more in detail about these individual tools in the future videos.)

 Application Compatibility Toolkit - Programs and Softwares

To configure the Application Compatibility Manager, First launch the program as an Administrator. (Right click and Run as Administrator).

Step 4: When you launch this shortcut for the first time, you will get a wizard to configure the program. This is necessary so that, the inventory of your apps can be gathered.

Application Compatibility Toolkit Configuration Wizard

Leave it as the default Enterprise Configuration, Click Next,

Application Compatibility Toolkit Enterprise Configuration

Step 5: Now configure the Database; Click on the Combo Box, you will see the SQLServer Engine. (as shown below) . Click on the Connect Button. This would allow the ACT tool to connect to the SQL Database.

Application Compatibility Toolkit Configurating your ACT Database

Step 6: Name your Database and click on the Create Button. For the demo purpose, i have entered ACTDEMO. Click Next to continue,

Application Compatibility Toolkit - Naming your ACT Database

Step 7: This is another important Step, As this application would gather the inventory of the apps (from different machines also), you need to create a Writeable Share where the logs can be stored. Create a Folder and give Write permissions for everyone on this! Now mention that Shared path in this below dialog. (for eg: \\vj-pc\ACTLogs)

Application Compatibility Toolkit - Log File Location Configuration

Step 8: Complete the Configuration. By clicking on the Finish Button.

Application Compatibility Toolkit Configuration Wizard - Completion

If you observe in the above dialog, you have an option to join the ACT Customer Experience Program. By being a part of this, you can share and exchange your learnings and compatibility reports with the Microsoft.

This completes the Installation and configuration of the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.5. For more detailed Demonstration -If you are on a good bandwidth or you prefer to see this as a Video, Check the same below.

Best Practices How-to Microsoft

Microsoft Security Awareness Tools and Tips – Effective Guides

The Microsoft Security Awareness Toolkit provides guidance, sample awareness and training materials, checklists, templates, and examples from Microsoft IT to help security managers quickly build an awareness and training program that will achieve results.

The Effective Security Practices Whitepaper Series

The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report

Provides an in-depth perspective on the changing threat landscape including software vulnerability disclosures and exploits, malicious software (malware), and potentially unwanted software.

The Microsoft Security Update Guide

Designed to help IT professionals better understand and use Microsoft security update release information, processes, communications, and tools.

Online Safety Toolkit for Enterprise and Organizations

This kit offers tools that you can use to help your employees learn the skills they need to work more safely on the Internet and better defend company, customer, and their own personal information

Microsoft SDL – Developer Starter Kit

This kit offers content, labs, and training to help you establish a standardized approach to rolling out the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) in your organization.

Privacy and Governance

General How-to Microsoft

Silverlight Deployment Guide v4 is available for Download

Early last week the new version of the Silverlight Deployment Guide went live and can be found on the Silverlight Resources page.

This guide is great for any enterprise who wants to deploy, manage, or troubleshoot the installation of Silverlight version 1-4 in their corporation.  The previous version 2 of the guide has more than 100,000 completed downloads to date.

Silverlight LogoThe major new additions since the previous versions of the guide are:

  • Deploying and managing Silverlight out of browser (OOB) applications
  • Links to the Updated Group policies and template (ADMX/L files) which includes new capabilities to lockdown:
    • Silverlight Trusted Applications — allows users to install out-of-browser applications via the Install dialog
    • WebCam and Microphone — allows webpages/applications to access the microphone and webcam
    • UDP Multicast Networking — allows webpages/applications to do UDP multicast networking
    • Updated the verbiage to include Silverlight 4 and new system requirements

You will also be interested in reading this –

How-to Microsoft Tools Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Understand Microsoft Volume Licensing and Activation Management Tool 2.0

Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) User Guide

This user guide shows step-by-step instructions for how to register, view account details, download products and more from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC). It also includes screenshots, technical support information, and a glossary. Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) User Guide.

Download Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) User Guide [.pdf format]

Download Volume Activation Management Tool 2.0 (Beta)

Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) 2.0 (Beta) is a managed MMC plug-in with support for Office 2010 Beta. Administrators may use it to manage volume editions of Windows and Office 2010 Beta installed with a Key Management Service (KMS) client key or a Multiple Activation Key (MAK). A convenient command line interface (CLI) allows automated, scheduled VAMT tasks without UI interaction.

Download Volume Activation Management Tool 2.0 (Beta) [.msi format]

Manage Activation Using VAMT 2.0

VAMT can be an important tool to help you centrally manage and automate a range of activities related to Windows activation. Core benefits of VAMT include:

  • The ability to protect product keys by retaining them only in the VAMT console, vs. including a key in an image or distributing it in plain text
  • Perform activations without each system having to connect and activate with Microsoft activation services
  • Inventory and monitor systems in the environment from an activation and licensing standpoint VAMT enables you to remotely activate managed systems. You can perform MAK, KMS host, KMS client, and retail activations. VAMT uses WMI to remotely manage activations and other related tasks on managed systems. VAMT also can assist with license compliance, letting you monitor license state for the systems under management

Download Manage Activation Using VAMT 2.0 White Paper here[.docx format]

Product Activation Using VAMT 2.0

This document explains how to perform the following activation-related tasks using VAMT 2.0: 1. Discover computers and installed products 2. Remotely install a product key on those products 3. Remotely complete typical product activations that you might use in your environment—online, proxy, and Key Management Service (KMS) client activation 4. Save the Computer Information List, and perform local reactivations using that list These tasks can be performed for Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Office 2010 client suites and applications, Visio 2010 and Project 2010 clients.

Download the Product Activation Using VAMT 2.0 [.docx format]

Manage Product Keys Using VAMT 2.0

VAMT helps adminsitrators to manage keys acquired through a Microsoft volume license agreement, subscription programs such as MSDN, TechNet or Microsoft Partner Network, or the retail channel. VAMT 2.0 enables management of the following product key types, for Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Office 2010 client suites and applications, Visio 2010 and Project 2010:

  • Key Management Service (KMS) host keys (CSVLK)
  • KMS client setup keys
  • Multiple Activation Key keys (MAK)
  • Retail keys

Download the Manage Product Keys Using VAMT 2.0 Guide [.docx format]

Reporting Activation Information Using VAMT 2.0

VAMT 2.0 can be used to track and report activation data for Windows operating systems activated using Key Management Service (KMS), Multiple Activation Keys (MAK), and retail keys. VAMT 2.0 supports Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008, Office 2010 client suites and applications, Visio 2010 and Project 2010 clients. VAMT can provide information on license status, and whether installed software is genuine. This information also can help you with license compliance. VAMT can be used in addition to any tool you already may be using for the purpose of software asset management or license management.

Download the Reporting Activation Information Using VAMT 2.0 guide [.docx format]

Also read – New Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) to manage Multiple Activation Key(MAK)

How-to Microsoft Virtualization

Download SuperFlow for Application Virtualization [App-V] Sequencing

The Microsoft Application Virtualization (or App-V) Sequencer is a component of the App-V suite used to package your applications to be deployed to systems using the App-V client. Properly sequencing applications is the key to a successful App-V implementation. This SuperFlow provides detailed information about the Application Virtualization Sequencing process and covers information on setting up the sequencer, Sequencing an application, Configuring the application while sequencing and Validating Successful package creation and Sequencer troubleshooting with Windows Installer Logging

Application Virtualization Sequencing SuperFlow

Download the Application Virtualization Sequencing Superflow here [.msi format]

The SuperFlow interactive content model provides a structured and interactive interface for viewing documentation. Each SuperFlow includes comprehensive information about a specific dataflow, workflow, or process. Depending on the focus of the SuperFlow, you will find overview information, steps that include detailed information, procedures, sample log entries, best practices, real-world scenarios, troubleshooting information, security information, animations, or other information. Each SuperFlow also includes links to relevant resources, such as Web sites or local files that are copied to your computer when you install the SuperFlow.

Also you will be interested in downloading these SuperFlows: