We are excited to announce the release of the latest version of the Application Compatibility Toolkit, ACT 5.6. As you may remember from our previous posts here and here, ACT is a tool used to analyze applications and hardware, evaluate OS deployments and updates and even deploy mitigations once an issue is found.

Some of the new features of ACT 5.6 are:

1. The Application Compatibility Manager now has separate compatibility assessments for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7. This brings you the latest information from the software vendors on whether their apps have been tested and certified on Windows 7 based on architecture.

2. Data Collection Packages now run on 64-bit systems.

3. Manage compatibility readiness separately for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7. Deploying to a mix of both 32 and 64-bit Windows 7? ACT now makes it possible for you to target your compatibility testing separately to each architecture by allowing you to create different assessments for each one.

4. Compatibility Administrator can now shim 64-bit and MSIL-compiled applications.

5. Standard User Analyzer and Internet Compatibility Test Tool have both been updated and now support running on 64-bit operating systems.

6. ACT 5.6 talks to a new web service when you click Send and Receive to synchronize your applications with Microsoft. You will notice that synchronizations are much quicker on average as the amount of application data being sent up has been reduced significantly. The new web service will also be updated every two weeks with the latest Windows 7 compatibility assessments from software vendors, so be sure to keep your database synced periodically.

7. ACT 5.6 includes a useful demo application and a tutorial that you can use to learn the ropes with shimming applications to fix compatibility problems. The application is a dummy application with some of the most common compatibility errors in it that you can remediate until you have a fully working version of the app.

8. The ACT community assessments have been updated to be vote based. Based on how other users of ACT voted, you will now see a sliding bar depicting how compatible the community thinks an application is. This makes it easier to understand the community’s perception of an application’s overall compatibility at a glance. This is especially useful indicator of whether an application will work when a vendor hasn’t yet published a compatibility statement for their software.

You can download the new version of ACT via this link.

Here’s a video on Microsoft Showcase:

Inside the Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.6: Finding, Testing, and Fixing Applications on Windows 7

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