Office 2010 Application Compatibility: Deep dive on Environment Assessment Tool

Update: I caught wind of some problems with the email address for the beta signup through blog comments and other channels. We had to resolve a technical difficulty with the email alias. With our apologies, please continue to use the email address below to sign up for the beta. It should be working now.


 In the earlier post discussing Office 2010 Compatibility, we outlined the new tools and guidance for Office 2010 to help update code to work with the new version. There has been quite a lot of interest in the program, which is great to see. I'd like to take some time today to drill further on the tools, this post is one in a handful we will do on app compatibility leading up to the availability of beta tools in December.

As a program, the app compatibility work could be best reflected in the following illustration.

The migration guidance (documents) along with the three tools will be delivered through various deployment programs like DDPS and MDT, but will also be available for use at TechNet and MSDN in the future. These tools and guidance will be freely available for anyone to download and use.

Today I'd like to discuss the Environment Assessment Tool (OEAT) in depth.

The purpose of OEAT is to help assess what applications and Office add-ins you have in your environment. This tool will also help you assess which add-ins vendors have verified will work for Office 2010 and give you enough information on other add-ins and applications in your environment to perform meaningful remediation of potential issues before you deploy. OEAT provides you a snapshot of your organizations add-ins and other applications that automate Office.

OEAT can be run by individuals, locally, or remotely from a UNC share using common IT actions like a login script. OEAT will scan each specified system and report the results to a designated location. OEAT can then be used to compile the results of a single scan or multiple scans into an Excel Spreadsheet, which can be used to assess the environment (and prepare for remediation) before the deployment of Office.

Scans can be done through the OEAT user interface or via command lines. In both cases, output is directed to a location of choice, and for multiple desktop scans, output is aggregated in a single location for compilation. After the completion of scanning, OEAT will compile the results of all scans into an Excel workbook for analysis.

An interesting feature of OEAT is the ability to "passively" scan a system for programmatic access to Office applications. Passive Scan is initiated by turning it on in the setup wizard. Passive Scan Settings is currently step 3 of the Wizard.

The interesting bit of magic for passive scanning is that the program will remain resident in memory on the local machine for the specified duration, performs the scan by placing Audit keys on the specific Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook CLSID Automation keys in the Windows Registry. When any application automates an Office application, Windows will capture that event and add it to the Windows Security Log. It is important to point out that these operations will require the tool to operate with administrative privilege on the system.

OEAT Report

OEAT produces a system summary report that is useful in helping you assess your Microsoft Office installation environment. There are two major categories of information reported by the Office Environment Assessment Tool.

  • Systems Summary Report – a summary of the hardware and software environment of your organization. This includes:
    • Drive Space
    • Installed Memory
    • Processor Types
    • Computer Types
    • Windows Installs
    • Installed Anti-virus
    • A series of charts that show these summary reports.

  • Detailed Add-ins Report – a detailed report of all systems scanned that include add-ins and automating applications. This includes several lists:
    • All add-ins found – this includes Microsoft add-ins (shipped with Office).
    • Add-ins not installed with Office – this is a subset list of add-ins found in your environment that is not included with Office.

There are additional slices on the data such as 32-bit vs. 64-bit hardware, average disk space, etc. When you report on a single desktop or gather reports from many systems, the raw data is also stored in the report so that you can create your own pivots of the information.

As we move toward release of the tools, Microsoft will be working with vendors to verify whether their add-ins are compatible with Office 2010. As vendors verify which versions of their solutions are upgraded or work with 2010, we plan to offer a forum and a list for vendors to declare their tools as Office 2010 ready. OEAT is planned to integrate with that list, and we should be able to correlate between scan results and the online list, schedule permitting. This is still being implemented, so we'll have more to share in the future.

Sign up for the OEAT Beta

Are you interested in testing the tools on your environment? We will be offering a preview of the tools for Office 2010 application compatibility in early December. We also recommend you stay tuned to the Office 2010 public beta to be delivered in November as well, so that you can experiment with getting your 2003 and 2007 solutions to work with Office 2010.

If you would like to sign up for the beta of OEAT, please send an email to this address: If you are already testing Office 2010 Technical Preview, an Alpha version of the tool is available on Connect:

In a future post, we'll discuss the Compatibility Inspector (The thing that scans your code), OMPM, and the forthcoming documentation for application migration.