Application Compatibility Toolkit v5 – Setup and Configuration

We covered the architecture of the Application Compatibility Toolkit in our last post.  Today we’re going to step through a very simple installation and get our first package deployed to a Windows XP client machine.  I’m using a Windows Server 2008 RC0 as my Application Server and SQL Server for this particular exercise.

First things first – I need to download the ACT5 software.  Also, I need to double-check the System Requirements.  I know I am going to need a SQL Server so I went ahead and installed SQL Server 2005 ahead of time.  Once that was completed, I launched the .MSI for the ACT5 installation.  You will need the .NET 1.1 Framework installed – otherwise the first thing you will run into when you try to install ACT5 is this:


The installation itself is fairly straightforward.  At the end of the installation you have the option to watch a quick tour of ACT5 – there are six different videos which comprise about 5 total minutes.  Once the installation is complete, launch the Application Compatibility Manager.  The first thing we have to do is run the Configuration Wizard.  The Wizard has three components that you have to walk through to complete the configuration as shown below – configure the ACT Database, configure the ACT Log Share and configure the ACT Log Processing Service account:


For this installation, this is the only ACT server that I am using, so I need to select Enterprise Configuration because I want all of my reports centralized on this server.


Enter the name of your SQL Server in the appropriate field and click on Connect.  Once you have established the connection, enter the name of the database to create for ACT5 and click on "Create".


Once the database has been created, click "Next".  At this point it is time to create the ACT5 Log Processing Share.  Select the folder that will be used, and the ACT5 Configuration Wizard creates the share.  Pay particular attention to the Note on this screen.  In order to process Log Files, the computer accounts of your client machines must have write access to this share.  This is perhaps the most common issue for new ACT5 administrators.  It is the Computer Account, not the User account that uploads the log file.


After you click "Next", we move on to configuring the ACT Log Processing Service Account.  Again – pay attention to the note.  There are specific rights required to run the Log Processing Service.  If you elect to use a domain account, ensure that you have set up the user rights on the server.


Once you complete this section, and click "Next", the basic configuration is completed.  Now we are ready to create and run our Data Collection Packages.  Highlight the "Data Collection Packages" icon in the left hand pane of the Application Compatibility Manager and select "File … New" to create a new Data Collection Package.


I’m actually going to create a new package to verify compatibility for Windows Vista.  The first thing I need to do is give my package a name – in this case, I am calling it Vista_Evaluator.  Because Windows Vista includes Internet Explorer 7, I want to make sure that I can verify application compatibility for IE7 as well.  If I click on the "Advanced" button, I have the option to include the IE Compatibility Evaluator (IECE) with this package.  The other options I am setting for this particular package are to have the package run for one day on the client, with data uploads being performed every two hours.



Once you have finished setting the options, you are prompted to save the Data Collection Package.  If you are deploying the DCP using Group Policies, SMS or having the user run the policy manually you need to ensure that the file is accessible across the network.  For this example, I saved the DCP file to the shared Public folder on the server.  In the console view of the Application Compatibility Manager, you will see the DCP with the name of the package, the last time it was updated and the upload location for the log file.  If you want to modify this package, then select the package and click on "File … Import" to open up the settings for the package.

OK – in the next post we’ll take a look at the results of the Data Collection Package in the Application Compatibility Manager after it has completed running on a Windows XP client machine.  Until next time …

CC Hameed