App-V Basics – Installing and Using the App-V 5 sequencer (Part 2)

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If you would like to read the first part in this article series please go to App-V Basics: Installing and Using the App-V 5 sequencer (Part 1).

Introduction

In Part 1 the author explained the installation of App-V 5 sequencer, followed by creating a virtualized package with the sequencer. In this second part the author continues with the discussion from part one and covers the possibilities on how to update an application.

Customize the package

With the decision to use the Customize package option first, some additional steps are added to the initial wizard. The first new step is the streaming component. Within the streaming component you can start the application(s) and execute the most common tasks. This part will be streamed to the client before the application actually starts providing a better user experience (for users behind slow/unreliable lines). In the previous version of App-V this was called Feature Block 1 and it provides the same functionality. You don’t have this step so there is no content in FB1 or you can choose the option Force the application(s) to be fully downloaded before launching, which means that the whole package is downloaded to the client before the application can be started by the user.

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Figure 1: Prepare for Streaming

After the streaming, you can define on which operating systems the package can be started. This is not an actual check to see if the application will work, but just a check on which OS the application is started by App-V. The big downside of this option is when a new OS is released and you would like to run the already created packages on that new OS. You have to add that OS in the package manually (or via 3rd party tooling). Therefore many organizations choose the option allow this package to run on any operating system and use another system to preserve starting of applications on a specific OS (if necessary).

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Figure 2: Restrict operating system for this package

There is an option to save the package and finish the sequence, or continue with modifying the package in another level. Again, I recommend continuing with modifying the package so you can tune the package in a deeper level. So, for this article I will choose the option Continue to modify the package without saving using the package editor.

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Figure 3: Create Package (or continue modifying)

This wizard will generate the package and report (again) possible issues of the package. Choose Close to continue to the package editor.

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Figure 4: Package Completed

Afterwards the completion of the package editor will be shown. In comparison with previous App-V versions this has not changed a lot and offers the same functionality.

The package editor starts with the properties tab. You can enter a Package Name (which will be shown in the App-V Management Console) and use the properties tab to add information about the package (some customers use this to document the actions of the sequence or keep version differences).

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Figure 5: Package Editor – Properties Tab

The second tab is called Deployment, on this tab you can (re)define the OS you would like to start the package on. This is the same configuration as shown in figure 2.

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Figure 6: Package Editor – Deployment Tab

On the change history tab information will be displayed when a sequence has been upgraded that is, the sequencer software, windows and the sources of the sequencer system. As this is the creation of the package this tab is currently grayed out . Therefore, I will continue with the next tab – Virtual Registry. This is the tab where the most modifications will be done within the package editor. This tab shows the registry keys and values which were added or adjusted during the recording phase. It’s important to walk-through these keys and check if there are too many additions. A good example is the Internet Explorer Proxy keys, which are often added unnecessarily. What you can also do is to add or modify keys and determine if a key exists and what App-V should do. Merge with local keys or override the local key. It depends on the application as to which configuration setting is right.

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Figure 7: Package Editor – Virtual Registry

The Package Files tab offers comparable functionality as the Virtual Registry tab. Instead of registry keys and values it shows the files recorded during the packaging process. Again you can add or delete files and if the folder should be merged with the local system or the folder in the sequences should override the local directory.

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Figure 8: Package Editor – Package Files

On the next tab – Virtual Services, you can modify the properties of detected services during the sequencing steps. Normally you would only see services shown there if the application installation creates a service. As my example application does not create a service, no information is shown there. The advanced tab shows two configuration settings: Allow all named object to interact with the local system and Allow all COM object to interact with the local system. These settings are only necessary in specific cases, so don’t enable these by default.

The last tab is called Shortcuts and FTAs. When using the management infrastructure this information is used to display the shortcut on the client and connect the File Type Association(s) to the virtualized package. You can edit, remove or add File Type Association(s) and the same actions are available for the shortcuts. In comparison with older versions this part is much better to configure and handle the package editor.

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Figure 9: Package Editor – Shortcuts and FTAs

Once you have modified the settings you can save the package via File from the menu followed by Save. Specify the filename of the package and determine the location where you would like to save the package. Now the package is ready to be added to the App-V infrastructure, which I will describe in an upcoming article series.

Update an Application Package

Over time an application can have updates/hotfixes, additional functionality will be added or adjustments need to be made (for example the back-end server will be replaced). To update an application you arrange a clean sequencer machine again (revert the snapshot) and copy the package to the sequencer machine. You start the sequencer software and select the option Modify an Existing Virtual Package.

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Figure 10: Choose Modify an Existing Virtual Application Package

The update process starts with deciding how you would/need to update the package. There are three options available.

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Figure 11: Select Update Task

  • Update application in Existing Package

This will be the most used update possibility. You will use this option if the application needs to upgrade to a new minor version or hotfixes/updates need to be applied. After selecting these options, similar steps need to be followed as when creating a normal package. First you need to select the package that needs to be upgraded and then the same steps are shown as a new sequence. You select the installer or choose custom installation, execute the required installation steps and the sequencer will record the changes on file/registry level.

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Figure 12:
Update Application in Existing Package process

  • Edit Package

This second option can be used to make small adjustments to the package as this option opens the Package Editor directly. So you can make modification changes as described at the package editor steps in this article. You can use this option for changing values of registry keys (new back-end server, license key).

  • Add New Application

Add New application is actually pretty similar to Update Application in Existing Package. The only difference is that, after the installation the sequencer will also look for new shortcuts and add those to the package. But all the steps are exactly the same.

Conclusion

In this article series I showed you how to install the sequencer, followed by the steps to create a virtualized application using the App-V 5 sequencer. At the end we touched the possibilities to update an application. In the next article I will be describing the set-up of the App-V infrastructure to offer the virtualized package to the end-users.

If you would like to be notified when Wilco van Bragt releases the next part in this article series please sign up to our Real-Time Article Update newsletter.

If you would like to read the first part in this article series please go to App-V Basics: Installing and Using the App-V 5 sequencer (Part 1).

1 thought on “App-V Basics – Installing and Using the App-V 5 sequencer (Part 2)”

  1. Where did you find the installation application at? Where can I get the download of the application? Every articles talks about how to install, but no one has the path to the software. I looked at Microsoft and within SCCM, I cannot find the download or exe for App-V.

    Thanks for reading

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