"The List" – Which Applications Work on Windows Vista?

What is probably the most common question I get regarding application compatibility? “Can you just give me a list of all of the applications that work on Windows Vista?” Sounds easy, huh? Well, it’s not quite that easy. First of all, there is the obvious problem of claiming that any software works at all. If…


Don’t (Version) Lie to Groove

I’m working with a customer on their migration from Windows 2000 to Windows Vista. And, as you might expect, they have built up quite a collection of software that explicitly checks to see if it is running on Windows 2000. Not Windows 2000 or higher, but Windows 2000. So, we’re using a lot of Win2000SP3VersionLie….


Shimming Applications for Terminal Services on Windows Server

When addressing difficult application compatibility issues, there are some things you just can’t fix. Some applications will never work on Windows Vista, shims or no shims. For example, I was debugging one application that happened to be written in Visual Basic 4.0 16-bit. (Ah, the days when you would pick the bitness in Visual Basic….


Converting Shim Database Files to XML, and the Sdb* APIs

This was brought to my attention by a recent acquaintance: heaths dropped some bits on his blog that will dump the contents of an arbitrary shim database (including the system shim database) into an XML file for parsing and manipulation. I think this is interesting to a point. While you can get most of the…


Managing Shims in the Enterprise

I’ve been talking a lot about shims lately here, but it’s been rather lopsidedly technical. Using shims can be extremely helpful in mitigating application compatibility issues and unblocking deployments of Windows Vista. However, there are a few obstacles to navigate before you can really begin using them. First, you would like to really understand them…


Announcing the Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.0.2

We have released a new version of the Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.0. Internally we refer to it as the 5.0.2 release, although the actual version number isn’t 5.0.2, it’s 5.0.5428.1056. (I still haven’t fully grasped all of the inputs that drive the choice of version numbers.) Whatever you decide to call it, it’s our third…


Debugging a Per-User Installation Error on Windows Vista

Yesterday, a friend asked for some assistance debugging an issue with Windows Installer. It was one of those situations where you’ve looked at the problem so closely, so many times, that you just needed another set of eyes. (They’re close to shipping, so they’ve been doing nothing but look at bugs, probably for a while.)…


My Application Compatibility Presentations at TechEd IT Forum – November 12 – 16, 2007

It looks like Tech Ed IT Forum in Barcelona is sold out! I’ll be presenting a couple of sessions there on application compatibility there, including the first public presentation of my shims deep-dive. (I actually did this one at an internal conference a few months back, and received some encouraging feedback on it.) Here is…


Improving Your Debugging Skills, and Knowing When to Stop Debugging

When I work with folks who are either new to debugging, or else want to sharpen up their chops (perhaps they have gotten rusty by not having to do so for a long time), one of the things I tell them to do is to watch out for things that don’t do what you expect,…