What is the Application Compatibility Toolkit Data Collector?

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Vista

The Application Compatibility Toolkit Data Collector (ACT-DC) is a component of the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT), deployed to your client computers through the ACT-DC installation package. The ACT-DC installation package is a self-extracting executable file that contains the configuration manifest and an installation file for the data collector and compatibility evaluators. After deployment, ACT-DC installs the compatibility evaluators, maintains the compatibility-evaluator scheduling, collects your data through the compatibility evaluators, and uploads the issue data to both the Microsoft Compatibility Exchange and your ACT database.

Benefits of ACT-DC

ACT-DC provides the following benefits:

  • It consolidates the compatibility evaluators into a single framework, installation, and deployment, thus creating a unified customer experience.

  • It simplifies the configuration and management of data collection, making the data more reliable, comprehensive, and useful.

  • It provides the status of the compatibility-evaluator installation, including the start time and the completion time.

  • It increases the accuracy and relevance of issue data, by aggregating data from multiple compatibility evaluators.

  • It provides flexible and extensible data definitions, enabling data collection add-ins to extend the application information.

Common Scenarios

The following sections describe common ACT-DC scenarios.

Connected Computers in a Production Environment

ACT-DC enables you to configure your ACT compatibility evaluators and deploy them to your production environment. Data collection occurs silently until the scheduled completion time, when the data uploads to the ACT database for viewing. At no time is the production environment performance compromised.

Disconnected Computers in a Production Environment

ACT-DC enables you to configure your ACT compatibility evaluators and copy them to media, such as CD-ROMs or USB drives, for deployment to disconnected computers in your production environment. After your users locally install the ACT-DC from the media, the compatibility evaluators run silently until the scheduled completion time. At this point, users copy the output logs to media and send the data to you for review on a file share.

Test Environments

You might not be able to run your compatibility evaluators on production computers, which can lead to applications having unknown issues during an operating system upgrade. Creating a test environment that mimics your production environment enables you to install specific applications and run your ACT compatibility evaluators, to see whether any issues arise during the upgrade process. After your compatibility evaluators run, you can upload your information to the ACT database and review the information in report form.

ACT-DC and Data Aggregation

Several compatibility evaluators produce logs that have data related to your installed applications. The compatibility-evaluator definition manifest identifies a common post-processor that must run on the output file for each compatibility evaluator. ACT-DC ensures that the aggregating module runs on all of the compatibility evaluator–produced logs.

Compatibility-Evaluator Configuration

You can use ACT-DC to configure all of your compatibility evaluators from a single user interface in the Application Compatibility Manager. After you configure your compatibility evaluators, you can also use ACT-DC to deploy the ACT-DC installation package on each of your client computers, deploying the compatibility evaluators for data collection. Each time you update a compatibility evaluator, you can re-deploy ACT-DC to the client computers, uninstalling the existing compatibility evaluators and installing the new compatibility evaluators for data collection.

The following sections describe the technologies related to ACT-DC.

Application Compatibility Manager

The Application Compatibility Manager works with ACT-DC to enable you to configure and deploy your compatibility evaluators into your environment. Additionally, the Application Compatibility Manager enables you to analyze and view your compatibility issue data, returned by the compatibility evaluators.

ACT Compatibility Evaluator

ACT-DC works with the ACT compatibility evaluators to collect data from your client computers, providing details that are used to determine potential compatibility issues due to a new operating system or Windows® update. The following table describes these compatibility evaluators.

Compatibility Evaluator Name Description

Inventory Collector

Provides an inventory of your installed software.

Update Compatibility Evaluator (UCE)

Provides details about potential application compatibility issues due to updates provided by Windows Update.

User Account Control Compatibility Evaluator (UACCE)

Provides details about potential application compatibility issues due to users that have restricted rights and permissions running an application.

Windows Compatibility Evaluator (WCE)

Provides details about potential application compatibility issues due to the use of Graphical Identification and Authentication (GINA) DLL files, due to services running in Session 0 in a production environment, due to the usage of winmail.exe, or due to any application components that were deprecated in the Windows Vista® and newer operating system.

See Also


Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit Data Collector (ACT-DC) Technical Reference
Phase 1: Collecting Your Compatibility Data
Phase 2: Analyzing Your Compatibility Data