The microstructure of narrow metal conductors in the electrical interconnections on IC chips has often been identified as of major importance in the reliability of these devices. The stresses and stress gradients that develop in the conductors as a result of thermal expansion differences in the materials and of electromigration at high current densities are believed to be strongly dependent on the details of the grain structure. The present work discusses new techniques based on microbeam x-ray diffraction (MBXRD) that have enabled measurement not only of the microstructure of totally encapsulated conductors but also of the local stresses in them on a micron and submicron scale. White x-rays from the Advanced Light Source were focused to a micron spot size by Kirkpatrick-Baez mirrors. The sample was stepped under the micro-beam and Laue images obtained at each sample location using a CCD area detector. Microstructure and local strain were deduced from these images. Cu lines with widths ranging from 0.8 mm to 5 mm and thickness of 1 mm were investigated. Comparisons are made between the capabilities of MBXRD and the well established techniques of broad beam XRD, electron back scatter diffraction (EBSD) and focused ion beam imagining (FIB).