Creating an Application Compatibility Shim

If you are trying to run an application that was created for XP or Vista and had problems running in Windows 7, you could always turn on compatibility mode for the executable on your machine. However if you are trying to create a shim that could be used on other machines as well, you could use the following instructions to create the shim and send it. It is a very small size and once executed, will always be associated with that executable on that machine.  The example used here is for creating a shim for MS Works 8.5 "lnchtour.exe" to run in Windows 7.

ACT is the Application Compatibility Toolkit. Download it from here:

After you install it, launch Compatibility Administrator from the All Programs area.

  1. In the Customer Databases, select New Database
  2. Click Fix on the toolbar
  3. Type the name of the program to fix: Works8.5
  4. Type the vendor name: Microsoft
  5. Browse to location of executable: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Works\lnchtour.exe"
  6. Select Next
  7. At this point I have already determined that Vista SP2 compatibility mode will work for this program. So since it is not listed, select None
  8. In the right list box, scroll down and check “VistaSP2”
  9. Click Next
  10. Some fixes are already selected based on your choice above. Don’t choose any more. Click Next
  11. Several Matching Information files have been selected already. If you need to add more, you can do so. Otherwise click Finish.
  12. Make sure the name you created in step 3 is selected in the left pane of Compatibility Administrator, and click on Save in the toolbar.
  13. Give it a path. Save it on your desktop for now.
  14. A small database of shim is created on your desktop with the same name you gave it in step 3 and the extension of .sdb . Let’s assume it is called Works8.5.sdb
  15. Open an elevated command prompt and navigate to your desktop.
  16. Run the following command: sdbinst works8.5.sdb
  17. The shims that were created are now installed for the executable in the path you provided.

The .sdb (works8.5.sdb) on your desktop (Shim Database) could be sent to your customer to create an MSI and sent to their end users, or to run it in other automated fashion as part of a run once script on a newly OOBE’d system.

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