I’m regularly visiting the blog from Gray Knowlton who leads the product managment team for Office Developers. Among other very interesting articles about MS Office 2010, he had announced two applications, I have been impatiently waiting for. These apps are now available and can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center.
The first application help the users and administrators to evaluate and check out incompatibilities when installing or upgrading to MS Office 2010. The second application inspects your VBA Code for incompatibilites. This article presents the „Office Environment Assessment Tool – shortly OEAT“. In a further post, I will present the „Office VBA Compatibility Inspector“.
First we have to download OEAT from the Microsoft website. After the download, just unzip the OEAT application in a folder of your choice. When running the tool, you’ll see following screen:
As you can see, the main screen presents some options on which we will have a closer look later. And please keep in mind that the application is a beta version, so we can not expect all things will work fine. I tested the application on my computer with Windows Server 2008 German, Office 2003 MUI and MS Office 2007 German plus Language Packs. First, I tried „Scan“, you can then see this screen:
The tool asks if a passive scan should be performed. This tells me nothing at the moment, so I choose to negate the question.
At this point, I must tell you, that I’m using the firewalll from Outpost to protect my computer (from my point of view, highly recommended, but thios product is not completely free). This firewall not only allows you to setup access rights to the internet for your installed applications but also asks the user if some system components are accessed by the apps. The follwing picture shows the message from my firewall in German.
In case I block the access, OEAT informs me something got wrong and points to the log file located in the directory from where you started the tool.
Ok, I changed my firewall settings to „Allow all“. Then I thought, OEAT will run without problems but unfortunately it seems that my antivirus scanner causes some problems as I can see in the log file. So, I decided to repeat all tests in a virtual machine with Windows 7 German (plus the language packs in English and French) installed. No other software is installed on the VM. Running the OEAT scan now does not cause any problem.
After the scan, OEAT calls the main window again. I we look in the folder where OEAT is running, we can see a new XML file containing the scan results.
If you have a look on „Compile results“, you can see an info text, which informs about the possibility to transfer the scan results to an Excel workbook. As Excel is not installed on my VM, I copied the XML file from the virtual machine to my host and recalled OEAT there. Then I pressed „Compile results“ and – interesting thing – OEAT find the file and shows this window:
Excel informs me that the current XML scheme is unknown and that Excel will create an appropriate one. After clicking on „Ok“, a new workbook and some sheets are created by Excel.
And you will also find some charts in the workbook, as shown in the follwing screenshot:
So, let’s now have a look to the other options of the OEAT tool. If we click on „Run Wizard“, a new windows opens with a wizard allowing us to setup some options.
On the next page of the wizard, you can seen some disabled options concerning the areas and add-ins been scanned. By clicking on „more information“ you get access to more details for the options.
The next page lets you setup the options for the „Passive Scan“. And there you’ll also find an explanation of this option.
A click on „more information“ shows a windows with this text: „This scan will place audit keys on specific COM registry keys for automating Office applciations. The tool will sleep for a period of time (which you specify) and then will awake and parse the Windows Security Log for information about applications which have automated Office (via COM).“ PS: a small typing error is also containd 🙂 The next page lets setup a folder where the scan results will be stored.
This configuration is stored in the XML file „settings.xml“, so this will theoretically allow to setup the application externally.
The last option of the OEAT tool leads to an info dialogue explaning the command line options for the tool.
You can also send some feedback via email to Microsoft, I’m sure the developers there will appreciate your feedback and ideas. Finally some links to interesting englisch websites.
- Gray Knowlton, Blog in Englisch
- Gray Knowlton, Announcing the Office 2010 Application Compatibility Program
- Gray Knowlton, Office 2010 Application Compatibility: Deep dive on Environment Assessment Tool
- Microsoft TechNet, Perform application compatibility assessment and remediation for Office 2010
- Microsoft Download Center, Office 2010 Tool: Office Environment Assessment Tool
This article has also been published in German and in English on the following sites:
- Excel Ticker Blog, German
- Professional Excel Solutions by Maninweb.de, English
- Professional Excel Solutions by Maninweb.de, German