Windows 7 Compatibility Testing (Part 8)

by [Published on 7 Sept. 2010 / Last Updated on 7 Sept. 2010]

This article concludes the series on Windows 7 compatibility testing by examining the Microsoft Application Compatibility Manager’s reporting capabilities.

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

Introduction

Throughout this article series, I have shown you how you can use the Application Compatibility Manager to keep track of the compatibility testing process for the applications used in your organization as you work toward deploying Windows 7. In this article, I want to conclude the series by talking about the various options for creating reports.

The Application Compatibility Manager can produce three types of reports – Internet Explorer Reports, Operating System Reports, and Update Impact Reports. Each of type of report serves a different purpose.

Internet Explorer Reports

Since my focus in this article series has been application compatibility, I haven’t really touched on the Application Compatibility Manager as it related to Internet Explorer. Believe it or not though, the Application Compatibility Manager is able to track Internet usage. There is even a report that is dedicated to Internet Explorer.

The Internet Explorer report displays the URL for every Web site visited by a user from a PC on which the collector component is running. Along with the site’s URL, the Application Compatibility Manager also displays compatibility information for the URL as it relates to Internet Explorer. Specifically, the report will tell you the total number of active issues for the site and the number of issues that have been resolved for the site, along with your organization’s assessment of whether or not the site works in Internet Explorer.

Operating System Reports

Another type of report that you can produce through the Application Compatibility Manager is an operating system report. This report tells you how many computers and devices are running the specified operating system. This report will also tell you how many applications are installed on the operating system.

If you look at Figure A, you can see a blank Windows 7 report. As you can see in the figure, the report is basically a summary that gives you an idea of how many systems are running Windows 7, and how many applications and hardware devices could potentially have issues once Windows 7 has been deployed.


Figure A: An operating system report provides a brief summary of the compatibility testing process

Even though it isn’t displayed in the figure above, the operating system report will also provide you with the vendor’s assessment of each application for both the 32-bit and the 64-bit versions of the operating system. Alongside the vendor’s assessment, the report will display your own organization’s assessment of each application and device driver for the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the operating system.

As you have seen, the operating system report is primarily a summary, and does not contain any granular data. There are however some more granular reports available. Beneath the operating system reports are application reports, Application Installation Pack Reports, Computer Reports, and Device Reports.

It is important to keep in mind that the various reports are not necessarily static in nature. To see what I mean, take a look at Figure B. As you will recall, this is the interface that we have been using to keep track of application compatibility data. If you look closely however, you will notice that this screen is actually an application report.


Figure B: Reports are not necessarily static, they can be interactive

Update Impact Reports

The third type of report that you can generate is an Update Impact Report. An Update Impact Report helps you to assess the potential impact associated with deploying an update. This report will tell you the total number of installed applications that could potentially be impacted by the proposed Windows update. Additionally, the report will also tell you the total number of applications that won’t be impacted by the update, as well as the number of applications that cannot be evaluated due to a lack of compatibility data.

In addition, this report will also tell you a few other interesting things such as the total number of Windows updates that could potentially impact at least one application, and the total number of updates that should not impact any of your applications. Finally, the report will tell you the total number of Windows updates that have been analyzed by the Update Compatibility Evaluator.

Exporting Reports

As you can see, the Application Compatibility Manager can provide you with reports containing lots of useful information. Right about now, I’m sure that you are wondering why I have bothered pointing out reports that you have already been working with. Well, so far we have been using the reports interactively as a way of keeping track of the compatibility testing process. However, I wanted to write this article as a way of showing you two different things.

First, there are more reports available beyond just the Applications report that we have been working in.

Second, you can do more with reports than just view them in the way that we have been. It is also possible to customize and to export the various reports.

Customizing Reports

The Microsoft Application Compatibility Manager gives you a few different options for customizing reports. The first option involves customizing the way that reports are displayed. To do so, choose the Customize Report Views option from the Tools menu. When you do, Windows will display the dialog box shown in Figure C.


Figure C: The Customize Reports Views dialog box allows you to control the way that reports are displayed

As you can see in the figure, you can use this dialog box to display or hide reports for various versions of Windows. Additionally, you can enable reporting for 32-bit or 64-bit architectures, or both. More importantly, this is where you go to enable Update Impact Reports, which are disabled by default.

Your other option for customizing reports involves the use of filtering. If you look back at Figure B, you will notice a button on the toolbar labeled Toggle Filter. Clicking on this button allows you to create a Boolean filter for the report.

The Boolean filter requires you to establish one or more conditions on which the report will be filtered. For example, you could use a filter to create a report showing all of the 32-bit applications for which you have not yet issued an internal assessment.

It is important to realize that there is more to the filtering than what meets the eye. If you right click on an empty area of the filtering window, you can use the Insert Clause command to insert additional filtering criteria. By doing so, you can create fairly advanced filters that take numerous conditions into account.

Exporting Reports

There are two main ways in which you can export a report. The first method involves selecting a report, and then choosing the Save As option from the File menu. Doing so produces a report that you can open in the Microsoft Application Compatibility Manager by choosing the Open option from the File menu.

Your other option for exporting reports is to use the Export Report command that is located on the File menu. Using this option causes the report to be exported as an XLS file, which can be opened in Microsoft Excel.

Conclusion

In this article, I have explained that Windows 7 compatibility testing is not a task to be taken lightly. Even so, you can use the Microsoft Application Compatibility Manager to make the testing process a lot easier than it would otherwise be.

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

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