The Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 is an integral part of Microsoft’s focus to drive a high level of application compatibility for its next iteration of the Windows client, the Release Candidate build. Still, Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 is by no means limited to Windows 7, as the resource also streamlines the deployment of Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 8. The resource is designed to provide a comprehensive inventory that spans from apps to hardware and even devices in order to check their compatibility with Windows 7, Vista, Window Update and IE8. At the same time, ACT is not limited to just checking the compatibility of applications and websites, but also offer mitigations to resolve issues, including Compatibility Fixes or “shims.

Jeremy Chapman, a senior product manager in the Microsoft Core Infrastructure Solutions team, explained that the Windows 7 compatibility evaluators were in fact approximately identical to what ACT 5.0 had to offer for Windows Vista. “We made the process of sending and receiving files to the application compatibility web service much more transparent in ACT 5.5. Now you can tell exactly what are sending through to the web service from your application inventory,” Chapman stated. “This is the fastest way to sync application data with the same data used in the Windows Compatibility Center. This is what you see now when using the “Send and Receive” function of ACT 5.5.” More »

Whenever Windows stumbles across a file type it doesn’t recognise you are will see a message box that says Windows cannot open this file’ and gives you the option to ‘Use the Web Service’, to find the necessary program. I don’t know about you but I can’t recall a single instance where it has worked and it’s usually much quicker just to Google the file name or extension. Well, thanks to the clever folk at ‘howtogeek’ here’s a way to zap that dialogue box and go straight to the Programs list, that you would get if you chose the second option. It works in both XP and Vista and involves editing the Registry, so pay attention, and bear in mind the usual warnings and disclaimers about backing up the Registry first, and not messing with it if you don’t know what you are doing.

Begin by opening the Registry Editor (‘regedit’ in Run on the Start menu) and pop along to: More »