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App-V 5.1 Sequencer - useful additions

Well, today was a remote working day. Helping a client with some issues. Last I saw they had App-V 5, no SPs installed. (that was 2 months ago, I know, alarming)

Now all of a sudden they have App-V 5.1, wow big change!!

 

One of the apps we were doing was an office addin, 'just with Excel'. Having a look at the sequence info, there is a Word and PowerPoint addin, so we create a few extra shortcuts to Word and PowerPoint. NB its worth spending a bit of time installing an application and seeing how it works before sequencing (or packaging)


During the testing, its all good,

Excel launches and loads the addin

  • Excel launches and loads the addin
  • PowerPoint launches and loads the addin
  • Word launches ... and CRASH, you know where this is going....We need to add the reg key, NoReReg...

What a nice time to try that extra feature that Microsoft are so proud about adding. 

Today I imported my first reg key into and App-V sequence using the sequencer. Such a small thing, its not that big a deal. But really it is a big deal.

 

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sequencing to App-V to MSI (physical MSI)

Why did I post this as 'best practise'??
This started from a weird discussion. Getting apps on to a 'kiosk machine', plan was to put no apps onto a kiosk machine (like the App-V client) so they would run RDS sessions. This has changed. I am asked can I make an MSI for it.
An MSI to install the App-V app...?? Wait, what?!? so here is the punch line..

For a laugh I went along with it.
We did an app a long time ago, about a year. Finally got it all working in App-V, now we need an extra non App-v package.

so, the plan is, using the App-V 'Expand Package to Local System' to capture that result to make an MSI to install the physical app.

yep, this is as bad as it sounds..

  1. do a before capture with an MSI packaging tool
  2. expand Package to Local System
  3. do an after capture with an MSI packaging tool
  4. convert the result to an MSI

 

I remember talking to a vendor about making a tool to convert ThinApp to App-V, App-V to MSI etc, I laughed at them, but here I am....

I will let you know how it goes.

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App-V v5.1 whats new (a peek)

A bit of an early view of what is happening with App-V v5.1

Adoption
To help people migrate from App-V v4.

improved Q:\ drive support when converting v4 packages
added support for multiple scripts per trigger

manageability
modernised app-V server user interface.
Consolidated client logging (improved)

Application compatibility
Windows 10 Support
NEW Advanced package editor abilities
Expanded Copy-on Write to support more file extensions
Environment variables are merged in Connection Groups

Package Editor Enhancements

Virtual File System
Package manifest can be exported and imported
can import a directory of files in VFS (Finally!!)
File export/import allows updating VFS without deleting & re-adding

Virtual Registry
Can export/import .REG files (Finally!!)
new find and replace dialog

Browser Helper Objects
Can be enabled or disabled

 

I am looking forward to testing the new bits in the Package Editor.
When is it out you ask?? This summer, early summer, late summer I don't know, they have just said 'summer'.

 

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finally a shim

So yesterday was a funny day at work. First official day of 'packaging' on yet another windows 7 migration.

First app, does not like installing on a Win7 x64, but its an MSI, so a quick MST drop the launch condition, off we go. (I have done this app before, I know it actually works on Win7) Nice and easy. Now I sequence that in App-V v5.

2nd app, I thought this might give me trouble, looking around at the install, the setup.exe asks for the network location, looking in that folder there is an MSI. Call xxxxproxy.msi. This does not bode well. Try to do the install, the exe does not like installing on Win7 x64.

 

N5mVZJ.png

Severe!!! This must be bad and not so easy to drop a launch condition in an exe.....

I am hoping the version-lie shim can help me here.

So for the first time ever I need to use a shim (actually the 2nd time I have used as sdb, maybe the 3rd, supplied by vendors)

So, download the ACT Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.6

Run the wizards, that thank fully I am quite familiar with having been in most of the early adopter test user groups, but never actually needed to use it.
The good news is the version lie shim works so I can install the exe.

Now all I have to do is install the shim, then sequence the 2nd app.

oh, and the proxy thing... I was right, dramas.

'The sequencer detected a COM+ subsystem. Application components that require OCM+ objects are not supported by App-V because they require system-wide visibility to run.

Sigh,
but its OK, during testing I found the proxy MSI installer, if I put that on my test machine (physically) then the sequenced application works like a charm.

 

So, first day, two strange apps that will not install on win7, all sorted and done. Lets hope it gets a little easier as it goes on. Surely its going to get easier.

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App-V v5 Sequencer crash, an unorthodox approach

On a recent site, there were many issues sequencing an application. The App-V v5 sequencer kept crashing. (might be due to it needing , or requesting a reboot)
Tried sequencing the outsourced MSI, the tidied MSI, and the original EXE file. (yep, 3 sources) all ways the same result.
Sequencer always crashed.
We tried quite a few approaches to this, different approaches to the reboot, running the app, not running the apps.
Walking home I had an idea..

Sequence this in app-v 4.6 then convert to app-v v5. It nearly worked, I only had a Win7 x86 App-v 4.6 machine.
It worked better, but didn't quite work fully (we are currently doing Win 8.1 x64).

Final plan
Seq on Win8.1 x64, with App-V 4.6
Convert 4.6 sft to .appv

Successful conversion, we have an app-V v5 app!!...

 I have had to do this a few times, probably 4 or 5 times, not a huge amount, but I have definitely done it. It might be useful idea to keep tucked away in your tool box of fall back plans.

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