Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Using CorrectFilePaths Shim to Fix Broken Applications

In this article, we will look at how to create a File redirection and make the application point to a new File Path instead of the old one!

The Compatibility Administrator tool enables you to resolve many of your potential application-compatibility issues before deploying a new version of Windows in your organization. This tool enables you to create customized compatibility fixes, compatibility modes, AppHelp messages, and compatibility databases. To know more on how to create one and implement it, Read – Creating a Shim/Fix Using Compatibility Administrator.

Scenario: When I launch this application, and press on the update button, i get this below error dialog which says “Access to a certain path is denied”. This can occur in a locked down environment or as a part of the User Account Control, where the user works as a Standard User unless he elevates explicitly.

File Access Error

This application stores the configuration preferences in an ini file which gets saved in the folder C:\Windows\Downloaded Program Files\. This is a protected folder and a Standard User will not have permissions to write on it. We will need to change the path to a folder where a normal user will have the access, the %APPDATA% (User Profile’s Application Data) folder.

In this post,we will change this file path; make this application to point to the new folder, so that when this file tries to get saved…we do not get an access denied error. CorrectFilePaths Shim exactly helps us in doing so!

Step 1: Launch the Application Compatibility Administrator, and create a new Application Shim. Select CorrectFilePaths Shim and press the parameters button. This will give you options to configure the paths. You will need to use the ADDREDIRECT command.

CorrectFilePaths Shim

Step 2: Give the parameters for this shim.

General Syntax: “oldpath”;”newpath” . In this case, we will give it as  “C:\Windows\Downloaded Program Files\StockViewer.ini”;”%USERAPPDATA%\StockViewer.ini”

Parameters - Correct File Path Shim

Step 3: Apply the shim and test the application.

Now, when I click on the Save Preferences button, the configuration File gets saved. What happens in background is that, the hard-coded path is redirected to the new one. The User Application Data folder has the write access and hence the file gets created!

Redirected File gets Created in the User AppData

This mitigation technique can be used for any file path redirection. If you have any application which is hard-coded and writes to a particular restricted file paths, this technique can make it refer a new path and hence give you access.

If you have issues with Hard-coded registry key paths, then do read this article!

Microsoft Tools Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Standard User Analyzer (SUA) – Tool to Test Applications

Many of us work with Applications; either we develop or deploy them! While doing so, its important to test the developed application as a Standard User. Especially when the organization has a locked-down environment or the New Generation Operating Systems with UAC.

This helps in understanding the application behavior better. Standard User Analyzer tool exactly helps you in this purpose! This tool is a part of the Application Compatibility Toolkit.

Step 1: Install the Application Compatibility Toolkit and Start the Standard User Analyser. You dont need to run this as administrator; you can just launch it.

Standard User Analyzer

The application launches as below,

Standard User Analyzer - Application Launches

If you are aware of the SysInternals Tools Filemon/Regmon, this tool pretty much does the similar job. When you launch an application, it will monitor all the files, registries, INI files modified, the name-spaces which the app calls, the credential Privilages Process calls etc. This will give a detailed analysis on how this application behaves as a standard user.

You also have an option to run the same application as an administrator user and compare these 2 reports. This can be done, by marking the checkbox “Elevate” in the Launch Options.

Step 2: In the Target application tab, browse to the executable which the application will be launching. In this example, it is StockViewer.exe. Click on the button Launch. (You can also specify any command line arguments / parameters for this executable)

Launch Executable in the Standard User Analyzer

This tool needs a pre-requisite “Application Verifier”. If you have not installed this application, you will get this below dialog. Download and install this app.

Application Verifier is designed specifically to detect and help debug memory corruptions and critical security vulnerabilities. This is achieved by monitoring a native application’s interaction with the Windows operating system, profiling its use of objects, the registry, the file system, and Win32 APIs (including heaps, handles, locks, etc), and indicating issues when and where they are discovered. Application Verifier also includes checks to predict how well an application may perform under various account privileges. You can download it here

Application Verifier

Once Application Verifier is installed, This will actually start monitoring your application usage.  You may also get this below warning message,

Warning Message

Step 3: Start your application which you want to monitor; you can perform all the operations which an end-user would do!

While this demo, i launched my application and found that this application asked for administrator rights while launching, and also gives some ‘access denied’ error. When I close this app, the Standard User Analyzer has fetched all the requirement information which the application has accessed.

Standard User Analyzer - Application Reports

These logs and reports will explain you on the application behavior. It will also help your developers to fix this application easily. Looking from the application Compatibility front, this tool also gives you an option which identifies the mitigations and provides you options to fix them.

Apply Mitigations

When you click on the Apply Mitigation, you will get the below dialog with the list of shims which would mitigate the issues identified.

Mitigations List

You can also export this mitigation as an msi, so that you can deploy the same using any deployment tools in your organization!

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.

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.

Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Problems with Orphaned Registry Keys in Visual Studio 2010 Installation

I was talking to one of my friend Ninaada, who was facing a strange issue while installing Visual Studio 2010. It sounded a little wierd for me, as he said that, most of the applications in the Visual Studio Suite did not respond after the upgrade. Do have a look at this and let us know your suggestions in the comment box!

He explains,

“Visual Studio 2010 has been released recently and I downloaded the iso image of the Ultimate edition DVD from my MSDN account. Eager to try it, I installed it by removing the Release Candidate of the same, which I had installed earlier. The RC was removed without any issues whatsoever. But after installing VS 2010, strangely, Visual Studio 2008 Pro started showing weird problems. At first, the designer view for ASP.Net project stopped working, it would just stop responding. I could not click anywhere in the window & had to close the IDE using the Task Manager.

Since I was not much into ASP.Net, and design view was working fine in VS 2010. This error was due to the fact that some .dll file required for rendering was replaced by VS 2010 installer with a newer version of the same dll & which was not compatible with VS 2008. Since it was fine in VS 2010, I did not bother much about it.

But situation started worsening after a few days. I had installed XNA Game studio which is an add-on to VS 2008 to create games in C#. VS 2008 not only stopped opening/creating the XNA projects, but also started to fail to open any C# project! I searched over the Internet to see whether anybody else had encountered the same problem. I did not get any such cases, and hence I decided to re-install both VS 2008 & VS 2010. I first removed VS 2010 and started removing the other components it had installed with it. I could remove almost all of them except for one or two. I had to remove the remaining components using the MS Installer Clean-up Utility which is available for download here. It appeared that I had successfully removed VS 2010. Then I re-installed VS 2008 which went well without any issue.

Then came the bigger problem. I tried Installing VS 2010 back again, which used to fail repeatedly. It was trying to install VC++ 10.0 Runtime without any success. VC++ Runtime is a prerequisite for installing VS 2010. I tried installing it separately by downloading from the MS website, which would actually install, but would not be detected as installed by VS 2010 Installer, which tried to install it again & would fail. Then I looked into the installation log of VS 2010 which was in my “Temp” folder located in C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Temp\ . There, I found that the installer was returning error code 1603, which meant “fatal error during installation”. I digged further and I got error code 1402, which meant that a particular Registry Key was not accessible to the installer. The error message in the log file read something like Error 1402. Could not open key:  UNKNOWN\Components\06A0D925C8932A8379FE28AFAF97A860\B45568A682984E035AC37D33679831D4. Verify that you have sufficient access to that key, or contact your support personnel.

So, I came to know that the installer has some problems accessing a particular key in the registry. I searched in the net & got a link on how to solve such type of registry inaccessible problems. As you can see, that particular Registry key had been “Orphaned”.

Issues with Orphaned Registry Keys in Visual Studio 2010

What happened here was that when VS 2010 was uninstalled, the uninstaller instead of removing those registry keys, had actually, Orphaned them. In the sense, that those Keys don’t belong to any particular user, & hence when the setup tries to create the key, it encounters another key with the same name & cannot modify the existing one since it doesn’t have any owner, rendering it inaccessible to any user/process. As indicated in this earlier link, I changed the permissions for that key & thought Installation would be successful this time. But, this time, another key problem came up! Again I changed the permissions.

Again a problem! After doing this exercise for many times, I got fed-up & used a software called Registry Mechanic to clean the registry. It found 1000+ issues in the registry, of which most of them where this orphan registry keys. It removed all of them & finally, I could Install VS 2010! And as of now, XNA projects are successfully opening in VS 2008, but the design view issue still persists, which is enough for me as of now.”

What are your thoughts on this issue?

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)

Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Download Windows 7 & Office 2010 Deployment Proof of Concept (PoC) Jump Start Kit

Looking to accelerate your Windows 7 deployment?  Want some help in creating a ready-to-go, virtual network test image?  Check out the new, step-by-step Technical Proof of Concept guide available from the Springboard Series and get:

  1. Windows 7 LogoTechnical guidance to help you explore and test Windows 7, Office 2010, and Internet Explorer 8 (as well as virtualization options with App-V)
  2. Video demonstrations and tutorials [For App-V Videos – Check this article]
  3. Quick links to related deployment tools
  4. Access to forum, partner, and Microsoft Services support offerings

IT pros in the U.S. and Canada: You can also order a Proof of Concept Jumpstart kit, which contains an image for Windows 7 and Office 2010 plus the latest compatibility and deployment tools all in one easy-to-use test environment!

You can download the Proof of Concept Jump Start Kit here

You will also be interested in reading  –

Microsoft Tools Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Download SuperFlow for Operating System Deployment via Preboot Execution Environment (PXE)

This SuperFlow provides information about operating system deployment using preboot execution environment (PXE) service points. The SuperFlow provides step-by-step information about how to configure the enterprise network to support Configuration Manager PXE service point deployments. It then describes the steps from creating the deployment package until the operating system deployment task sequence begins to run on the client computer.

The SuperFlow interactive content model provides a structured and interactive interface for viewing documentation. This SuperFlow includes comprehensive information about a specific dataflow, workflow, or process. You will find overview information, steps that include detailed information, procedures, sample log entries, best practices, security information, and other information. This 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.

Download the SuperFlow for Operating System Deployment via PXE here [msi format]

Also you will be interested in downloading these SuperFlows: