Installing and Uninstalling Custom Compatibility Databases

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Vista

The Compatibility Administrator enables the creation and the use of custom and standard compatibility databases. Both the custom databases and the standard databases store the known compatibility fixes, compatibility modes, and AppHelp messages, in addition to the required application-matching information, for installation on your local computers.

By default, the Windows® operating system installs a System Application Fix database for use with the Compatibility Administrator. This database can be updated through Windows Update, and is stored in the %WINDIR% \AppPatch directory. Your custom databases are automatically stored in the %WINDIR% \AppPatch\Custom directory and are installed by using the Sdbinst.exe tool provided with the Compatibility Administrator.


The Microsoft® Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.6 installs a 32-bit and a 64-bit version of the Compatibility Administrator. You must use the 32-bit version to work with custom databases for 32-bit applications and the 64-bit version to work with custom databases for 64-bit applications. If you create a custom database by using the wrong version of the Compatibility Administrator, the database will not open.
In addition, you must deploy your databases to your organization’s computers before the included fixes will have any effect on the application issue. For more information about deploying your database, see Using the Sdbinst.exe Command-Line Tool.

Installing a Custom Database

Installing your custom-compatibility database enables you to fix issues with your installed applications.

To install a custom database

  1. In the left pane of the Compatibility Administrator, click the custom database to install to your local computers.

  2. On the File menu, click Install.

    The Compatibility Administrator installs the database, which appears in the Installed Databases list.

    The relationship between your database file and an included application occurs in the registry. Every time you start an application, the operating system checks the registry for compatibility fix information and, if found, retrieves the information from your customized database file.

Uninstalling a Custom Database

When a custom database is no longer necessary, either because the applications are no longer used or because the vendor has provided a fix that resolves the compatibility issues, you can uninstall the custom database.

To uninstall a custom database

  1. In the Installed Databases list, which appears in the left pane of the Compatibility Administrator, click the database to uninstall from your local computers.

  2. On the File menu, click Uninstall.

See Also


Using the Compatibility Administrator
Known Compatibility Fixes, Compatibility Modes, and AppHelp Messages

Other Resources

Testing and Mitigating Issues by Using the Development Tools