There are over 70 Vista e-Learning courses available. They cost anywhere from $15 to $192, and include small, focused items at lower prices, and collections of e-courses for higher prices, many of which target specific Vista-related certifications and/or related topics, including
Of course, there are oodles and oodles more of these items you can explore at the catalog page, but you’re bound to find multiple topics of interest there if you do a little digging. The value for the training offered is good, as is the coverage, so please consider adding this resource to your arsenal of potential Vista certification preparation tools.
Next blog: I promise to start with the MCTS credentials for Windows Vista. I swear!]]>
Microsoft is keenly aware of this potential hurdle, and has devoted considerable time, energy, and resources to creating tools, guides, and processes for assessing application compatibility. In some upcoming blogs, I’ll take a closer look at that company’s Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.0, aka ACT. In this blog, I begin the overall process of assessing application compatibility by describing that process as Microsoft sees it, and pointing to some papers, resources, and how-to’s that the company has put together to help companies and organizations see their way through it. Much of the information you’ll find here, in fact, is summarized from the company’s paper entitled “Getting Started with Application Compatibility in a Windows Deployment” (PDF document, 301KB).
In a nutshell, the process works like this:
Centrally managed environments that have established standard desktop configurations and that control the applications allowed to run on those desktops will have the easiest time of the inventory stage. ACT includes an inventory tool, in fact, for environments that don’t already maintain one (such as Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007, or SMS 2003). The idea is to put together a comprehensive list of every application and version in use on enterprise desktops.
The next step, which MS delicately labels “prioritize and rationalize” is the tricky one. This really means choosing standard versions for apps in use across multiple versions (what MS calls “application relevancy”). It also means choosing a single app when more than one is used to do the same job (such as multiple productivity suites, video editing tools, and so forth; MS calls this “application redundancy”). Finally, it means getting rid of unauthorized applications or those that, as MS puts it, “are irrelevant to the day-to-day work being done in your organization.”
After the winnowing process is done, there will be fewer applications to deal with. This is the point at which prioritization occurs, based on the relative importance of the remaining applications within your organization. Often, this means tossing names into buckets that might be labeled:
The categorization process also involves identifying applications essential for business or operations to proceed, and for typical job roles to be enacted. Prioritization within buckets requires management buy-in and means tackling items from the top down, once there’s agreement on what’s on top, and how items are ordered from there.
Next comes application testing, which is where you’ll decide which applications can be made to work, and which ones may need to be retired and replaced. Ultimately, the idea is to work toward a collection of software components that get the necessary work done and that also work properly with Vista. More on this in my next blog!
For more ACT resources, check out
Just Released: Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT)5.0.3
ACT 5.0 Deployment Guide
ACT 5.0 Step by Step Guides
TechNet Webcast: Making Windows Vista Application Compatibility Testing More Predictable
Webcast: Debugging for Application Compatibility Issues with Chris Jackson (interested readers should also check out Jackson’s Blog)
Windows Vista Application Compatibility Training Recordings
This the first post to a three-times-a-week blog that will tackle Windows Vista desktop issues for the enterprise environment. My primary areas of focus will include topics of interest to IT professionals work with Windows Vista on large networks. Thus, it will address topics related to setup and configuration, release definition, deployment, migration from earlier Windows desktops (primarily XP), virtualization, terminal services, and security. I hope you’ll want to contribute your own ideas, issues, and information needs in the comments you can append to these blogs, or send to me via e-mail at email@example.com.
Here’s a list of topics I already have lined up to tackle. Feel free to help me adjust, add to, or remove elements as you see fit:
Checking upgrade viability with the Vista Upgrade Advisor
Dealing with failed Microsoft Updates
Managing Vista application compatibility (general)
Using the Vista Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.0
Choosing compatible security software components (firewall, AV, anti-spyware, …)
Toward a more positive Vista application uninstall experience
Software as a Service (SaaS) on Vista: setup and configuration
Software as a Service (SaaS) on Vista: updates and maintenance
Software as a Service (SaaS) on Vista: uninstalls and changeovers
Vista changeover issues/Ensuring a smooth Vista transition
Working with the User State Migration tool
Vista deployment tools:
Volume Activation 2.0
Volume Activation Management Tool
Key Management Service for Windows Server
Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK)
Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM)
Working with answer files and unattended installs
Working with catalogs and Windows images
Using the Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE)
Working with ImageX
Working with the System Preparation Tool (Sysprep)
About IE8: what’s new, different, and better
About IE8: working with the preview
Desktop virtualization benefits
Understanding desktop virtualization technology: virtual machines
Understanding desktop virtualization technology: virtual networks
Understanding desktop virtualization technology: virtual devices and their interfaces
Desktop virtualization tools: VirtualPC 2007
Desktop virtualization tools: VMWare
More Desktop Virtualization tools
Terminal services and Windows Vista
VPNs and Windows Vista
Enterprise desktop endpoint security
I also plan to share troubleshooting information that my own day-to-day adventures with Vista end up teaching me (often the hard way), and to help others research and address issues they choose to raise through comments here, or e-mails to me. Hopefully, we’ll all learn a few things along the way. At the barest minimum, which I hope to exceed by a wide margin, you’ll get exposure to the wealth of material that Microsoft itself provides about Vista on TechNet and in its Help and Support pages and forums.
Thanks in advance for your interest, support, and participation. Look for my first “real blog” on Wednesday, October 2. Please also check out my Website at www.viztaview.com, where you can get a good sense of the issues and problems I’ve been chasing down with Vista myself lately as well.