ThinApp – Part 2: Capturing Applications

ThinApp  In this part, we will list basic steps for capturing Applications with Thinapp. There are three steps that need to be followed, and these are;

These are:

  1. On clean machine, run ThinApp prescan and then install the application (it can be physical or virtual Windows machine with fresh installation). (Prescan takes a snapshot of the current state of the machine)
  2. After the install, Thinapp does postscan to get another snapshot of the system and registry.
  3. Thinapp project is then created using the differences between two snapshots.

Before capture, it is best practice to take VM level snapshot so that you can return back to base golden image for capturing other applications in clean state.

ThinApp supports 32 and 64 bit Windows platforms. For all supported platforms, please visit documentation center of ThinApp.

During capture process, the limitations of ThinApp is that it cannot virtualize:

  • Ay component embedded in OS
  • Apps requiring kernel mode device drivers
  • Antivirus and Personal Firewalls
  • Scanner Drivers and printer Drivers

First of all, thin app needs to be installed on a clean image that will be used for capturing: Run thinapp setup capture from the network share…Installation is very easy, just follow the steps on screen to install ThinApp Setup. The files installed can be seen in the following picture.

ThinApp Files 

Capturing Apps:

Start the capture Wizard

 ThinApp Setup Capture

Click prescan

Thinapp Prescan

Install Application and click postScan

ThinApp PostScan

You can put app data or files into package, like customizations, templates, extra documents before postscan. After postscan, snapshots are created under “Local Settings\Temp”. Select files you want to have available for users:

ThinApp entry Points

Some of the apps listed here is for troubleshooting and not for end user, such as: 

  • cmd: Access to virtual systems
  • regedit: access to virtual registry
  • iexplore.exe: debug Internet related apps

If Horizon Workspace is installed, you can configure in the next screen:

ThinApp with Horizon View

Select authorized groups:

ThinApp Groups

Sandbox location:

ThinApp Sandbox location

Isolation Mode:

ThinApp Isolation Mode

Project location:

ThinApp Project location

Primary data Container

ThinApp Package Settings

Sometimes MSI can be chosen over EXE:

  • App registers in add remove programs
  • can be displayed in file association list and shortcuts in the computer
  • When traditional desktop management is used to deploy to remote locations, msi might be needed to manage lifecycle.
  • For deployment with Vmware View,
  • If using AD GPO to push apps or deploy polices

 ThinApp Project

Put in Captures Folder:

ThinApp Captures Folder

You can further edit ini file before build

ThinApp Start Build

ThinApp Build

Captures

For Updating the Thinapp, we have 4 options:

  1. Versioning: Suffix files with version numbers, Thinapp  selects the Highest sequential number. Ex, app.1 app.2 (Sandbox is not deleted)
  2. SMBMerge.Exe: Merges runtime changes back into ThinApp project
  3. Application Sync: Updates over Http and https automatically (Admin puts updates to Web/Update Server)
  4. Relink.exe: to update the existing package to the latest version of ThinApp.

 

Hope Helps!

Bulent Tolu

Bulent Tolu

Sr. Systems Engineer at VMware
Bulent is an IT professional with Master's in MIS and 10-years of experience in broad range of Information Technologies. He is exposed to engineering/architecting, implementation/integration, and administration of various high-available IT systems and infrastructure. He has a passion to continually research, test and evaluate new technologies and follow industry best practices to secure and optimize IT systems. Currently, he lives in Istanbul and works as a Sr. Systems Engineer at VMware.
Bulent Tolu

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