Windows 7 Compatibility Testing (Part 7)

by [Published on 24 Aug. 2010 / Last Updated on 24 Aug. 2010]

This article continues the series on Windows 7 compatibility testing by explaining how to analyze the various issues that have been reported.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

Introduction

In the previous article in this series, I showed you how to use the Microsoft Application Compatibility Manager to see what others had to say about whether or not your applications are compatible with Windows 7. In this article, I want to continue the series by analyzing the compatibility information in a bit more depth.

Before I Begin

Before I get too far, I want to show you a quick trick that I probably should have pointed out near the beginning. As you can see in Figure A, the Application Compatibility Manager’s display tends to be a bit crowded because Microsoft allows you to use it for a variety of compatibility testing purposes. It is possible however, to customize the display so that it only shows information that is relevant to Windows 7 compatibility testing.


Figure A: The Application Compatibility Manager shows operating systems other than Windows 7

To customize the display, simply click on the Customize This View link, shown in the figure above. When you do, you will be taken to the Customize Report View dialog box, shown in Figure B. Now, simply deselect the check boxes that correspond to the operating systems that you want to hide.


Figure B: Deselect the check boxes that correspond to the operating systems that you want to hide.

Preparing the Console

If you look back at Figure A, you can see that the Microsoft Application Compatibility Manager gives you a lot of information regarding what other people say about your application’s compatibility with Windows 7, but remember that the tool’s purpose is to assist you with the deployment process. As such, we need to reconfigure it so that it will be useful for the next portion of the deployment planning process.

To do so, right click on the column headings at the top of the list of applications, and choose the Add or Remove Columns option. I recommend adding the Priority and Deployment Status columns. Because the console is already a bit cluttered, you might consider removing the Send and Receive Status column.

Setting Priorities

Early in this series, I talked about the importance of prioritizing your applications. Doing so gives you an easy way to gauge the impact of any compatibility issues that you do happen to detect. With that in mind, it is time to begin populating the Microsoft Application Compatibility Manager with information about the priority of each application.

To do so, simply right click on an application, and choose the Set Priority option from the shortcut menu. Windows will now display a dialog box that you can use to set the application’s priority. As you can see in Figure C, priorities range from business critical to unimportant.


Figure C: Priorities range from Business Critical to Unimportant

The nice thing about the way that the Microsoft Application Compatibility Manager allows you to prioritize applications is that you can sort your applications by priority just by clicking on the Priority column header. That way, if you wanted to see the status of all of the high priority applications you could easily group them together.

Analyzing the Issues

The next step in the testing process is usually to begin analyzing the types of issues that have been reported for each application. To do so, right click on an application and choose the Open command from the shortcut menu. Doing so will cause Windows to open a properties sheet for that application.

The properties sheet’s initial screen displays a pie chart that you can use to get a feel for the IT community’s overall opinion of whether or not the application is Windows 7 compatible. Although this tab is nice, I recommend going to the Issues tab.

The Issues tab, which is shown in Figure D, displays all of the known issues for the application in question. If you double click on an issue, you are taken to a full description of the issue. You will notice in Figure E, that the issue’s properties sheet includes a Solutions tab that you can use to enter a description of any available solution to the issue.


Figure D: The Issues tab lists all known issues with the application


Figure E: You can double click on an issue to see its full details

Keep in mind that the issues displayed in Figure D are those that were reported by the vendor and by the IT community. However, you must keep in mind that this information is not always trustworthy. Through your own testing you may discover previously unreported issues, or you may find that some of the issues that have been reported are inaccurate. As such, you will want to do your own compatibility testing for each application.

I recommend that you start out by testing the issues that have been reported to see if they are accurate. As you do, you may find that you are able to resolve many of the outstanding issues. If this is the case, you can tell the Application Compatibility Manager that the issue has been resolved. To do so, go to the list of issues for an application, and then double click on the issue that you have resolved. When the issue is displayed, go to the Solutions tab, and click on the Resolve Issue icon.

There are two things that you need to know about resolving an issue. First, resolving an issue does not make the issue go away. If you double click on the application, all of the reported issues will still be listed, regardless of whether they have been resolved or not. Microsoft does this so that if you resolve an issue and then later determine that the issue has not actually been fixed, you can reactivate it.

The other thing that you need to know about resolving an issue is that when you resolve an issue, the number that is displayed in the Active Issues for the application will be decreased as a way of showing that an issue has been resolved. In other words, when there are zero Active Issues for an application, it means that all of that application’s issues have been resolved. However, the Active Issues count does not decrease automatically. You must refresh the display in order to see the current Active Issue count.

Conclusion

In this article, I have shown you how to analyze application compatibility issues. In Part 8, I will continue the series by showing you how the Microsoft Application Compatibility Manager can further assist you with the Windows 7 deployment process. I will also show you how to use the tool to create some handy reports.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

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