Microsoft releases preview of its Desktop Analytics app-compatibility assessment service

Microsoft's Desktop Analytics service, now in public preview, is designed to help business users check their app-compatibility levels and mitigate issues involving the latest Windows 10 feature updates.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft has released a public preview of a new service aimed at helping businesses assess their app-compatibility levels ahead of deploying new Windows 10 feature updates. That service, originally unveiled in September 2018 and known as Desktop Analytics, is an expansion of Microsoft's Windows Analytics tool.

As originally outlined by Microsoft, the Desktop Analytics service was to be integrated with System Center ConfigMgr so as to create an inventory of applications running in a business; assess app-compatibility levels with Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus and offer mitigation suggestions when needed; and create pilot groups for testing. When it was announced, Microsoft officials said it would help users "take the guesswork out of testing and focus your attention on key blockers."

Desktop Analytics requires users to have a subscription to Windows 10 Enterprise E3 or E5; Microsoft 365 F1, E3 or E5; Windows 10 Education A3 or A5; Microsoft 365 A3 or A5; or Windows VDA E3 or E5. It is not available to use with Windows 10 Long Term Servicing Channel upgrades. It's "designed to best support the in-place upgrade scenario," not upgrades involving switches from 32-bit to 64-bit architectures, Microsoft's documentation says.

In announcing the preview today, Microsoft officials didn't mention Office 365 ProPlus compatibility as being part of Desktop Analytics. Nor does the Microsoft documentation about Desktop Analytics. I've asked if the Office 365 ProPlus piece is still a component of this service, but no word back yet.

Update (July 8): Change in plans, folks. Office 365 ProPlus-related app compatibility is no longer part of the mission statement. From a company spokesperson:

"Desktop Analytics is focused on Windows. We have been developing Desktop Analytics in close collaboration with numerous customers. Customers using beta versions gave us great feedback about how Desktop Analytics has improved their ability to confidently manage Windows deployments. The feedback from customers was that they wanted Office readiness directly embedded in System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and Intune, so we'll continue to make our investments there, while focusing on Windows scenarios in Desktop Analytics."

Microsoft is also offering a program called Desktop App Assure that's meant to help find and solve app-compatibility issues for users moving from Windows 7 to 10. Desktop App Assure -- which Microsoft made globally available in January 2019 -- will allow users who encounter any app compatibility issues after a Windows 10 or Office 365 ProPlus Update to file a ticket through Microsoft's FastTrack program and have a Microsoft engineer work with them until the issues are resolved.

Windows 10 apps: Which are worth keeping? Which ones should you dump?

Editorial standards