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Maintain Desktop Applications (part 1) - New Program Compatibility Wizard

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3/19/2011 10:00:24 PM
Much of the new heralded features of Windows Vista lie beneath the surface and go unseen. Enforcing Windows Vista application security is one of these. Windows Vista provides a giant leap forward in desktop security by requiring software vendors to adhere to much stricter guidelines. New constraints have been added for configuration data for applications, along with additional constraints on just normal application execution to ensure a secure enterprise as the number of managed desktops has continued to rise. New utilities, application features, and Group Policies have been added to Windows Vista, along with an honest attempt at a solution to allow legacy application use. The following has been added or updated in Windows Vista to support legacy application use:
  • Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack

  • New Program Compatibility Wizard

  • Use of Group Policy to manage application compatibility

  • Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.0

These utilities provide an effective toolkit in combating application incompatibilities with Windows Vista.

Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack

Microsoft Office has continuously evolved over the past 15 or more years of its existence. Microsoft Office has risen to be the most prolific application on desktops worldwide. One could say it has become the de facto standard for desktop productivity software. One problem has continuously plagued this Office suite: document formats.

Managing data has been a major concern for enterprises as disk storage continues to get cheaper. Managing documents is at the root of the problem for managing data. To provide more secure integration of data stored within documents created by Microsoft Office applications, Microsoft has initiated a new format based on Open XML. When Microsoft has changed its data format in the past, this has created serious problems for IT support professionals. Microsoft is trying to combat that issue this time with a proactive solution.

The Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Office Word, Office Excel, and Office PowerPoint 2007 file formats ensures that users of Microsoft Office 2000, XP, and 2003 are able to open, edit, and save files using the new file formats in Office 2007. Users of Microsoft Office Viewer 2003 are also able to open and view files produced in the new file format for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007. This compatibility pack is for these purposes only. Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack with Service Pack 1 is now available. You can find all necessary files at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=9A1822C5-49C6-47BD-8BEC-0D68693CA564&displaylang=en.

Alert

Office 97 Users and the MS Office Compatibility Pack Users of Office 97 using the Office Compatibility Pack for 2007 are not able to view files produced in the new file formats for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 because support for this product ran out a while ago. Users of Office 97 can use the Office File Converter Pack to convert their files to Office 2003 file formats.


Users can download the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats from the Microsoft Download Center.

New Program Compatibility Wizard

Every new operating system release from Microsoft has brought new constraints for application behavior. Software vendors in the past had a free ride, for the most part, in where configuration data and application data could reside. Beginning with Windows 2000, Microsoft created a less tolerant framework for software vendors to use when programming application installation, configuration data storage, use of temporary storage of application cache, and location of application data storage. Windows Vista provides the Program Compatibility Wizard as one way to enable the use of legacy applications on Windows Vista.

The Program Compatibility Wizard is fairly straightforward and simple to use. You can find it by accessing Control Panel > Programs and Features > Use an Older Program with This Version of Windows. Figure 1 displays the Welcome screen after starting the Program Compatibility Wizard.

 

Figure 1. The Welcome Screen for the Program Compatibility Wizard.

Click Next and you are then asked for the location of the program requiring compatibility settings, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Choose the location of the program requiring compatibility settings.

Clicking Next here initiates the selection of how you chose to locate the application. The dialog box in Figure 3 displays the list of applications that were discovered in the default search folders, asks you to browse for the program file on the CD-ROM, or asks you to browse for the program file if you selected the manual search option in the previous dialog box.

Figure 3. A file that was manually selected for compatibility settings.

Figure 4 shows the Windows operating systems choices you have for compatibility. Select one of these and click Next.

Figure 4. Operating systems that are available to choose.

You are then prompted to choose display setting constraints. Figure 5 shows the available choices.

Figure 5. Choosing display settings for application compatibility.

The final option to choose is whether the application requires elevated privileges to run. In the dialog box in Figure 6, you can choose to run the program as an administrator.

Figure 6. The Program Compatibility Wizard option to select elevated privileges.

You are then asked to test the program with the new compatibility settings. If these settings are successful, you can select to have these settings made permanent so that they are used when the program is executed.

You can then access the settings that have been made to the program by choosing to view the properties of the executable used to start the application. Browse to the location by using Windows Explorer. Right-click the executable used to start the program and then click the Compatibility tab. Figure 7 shows the compatibility settings selected for the application.

Figure 7. The Compatibility tab of an application.


You can use this properties page to also configure the compatibility settings of an application without using the wizard.

Other -----------------
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- Configure and Troubleshoot Remote Access (part 1) - Remote Client Access Connections
- Configure and Troubleshoot Wireless Networking (part 3) - Troubleshooting Wireless Connections
- Configure and Troubleshoot Wireless Networking (part 2) - Wireless Security
- Configure and Troubleshoot Wireless Networking (part 1) - Managing Wireless Connectivity in the Enterprise
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