Integrating Immidio Flex Profiles Advanced with Microsoft App-V

Immidio Flex Profiles Advanced is a Windows Profile Management solution which solves a lot of Windows Profile Management issues and optimizes the overall user experience of Windows Profiles.

This is achieved by decoupling and segmenting personal application settings from the underlying Windows OS and Profile, making these settings available cross-Windows Platform and creating a consistent user experience no matter what Windows OS the user is working on.

While this way of handling Windows User Profiles provides a lot of benefits in a scenario where applications are installed traditionally (i.e. no virtualization), it can also be used to decouple personal application settings from App-V enabled (sequenced) applications.

What are the benefits?

  • Decouple personal application settings from App-V Delta files (.PKG) proprietary format.

Using App-V there is practically no control over what gets stored into the user delta (.PKG), which in some cases can grow extensively. With Flex Profiles Advanced you can explicitly configure what application settings need to be restored and saved at application startup and shutdown, making you independent of the .PKG files. With Flex Profiles Advanced application settings are stored in an open format (.ZIP).

  • Migrate user application settings from installed instance to virtual instance.

When moving from traditional installations (e.g. MSI) to App-V enabled (sequenced) applications, users lose their personal application settings for those applications because these settings are stored in the “real” registry of their Windows User Profile. When using Immidio Flex Profiles Advanced in such a transition scenario, it is possible to migrate settings you specify to the App-V enabled applications.

This even works in a scenario where you now run Windows XP with MSI installations and you are migrating to Windows 7 with App-V enabled applications!

  • One transparent way to administrate all user/application settings.

This is especially a good way to manage user settings for scenarios where different deployment solutions are being used and users work on different Windows platforms. For example when users are connecting to remote desktops on TS or VDI and are also working on traditional desktops. With Flex Profiles Advanced it is also possible to manage user settings for both virtual and installed applications in the same way.

How do I configure this within App-V?

UPDATE 17-11-2011: With the release of Immidio Flex Profiles 7, the integration of Flex Profiles with App-V, is fully managed by using the Flex Profiles Management Console. So all the manuals scripting described below here does not apply anymore when using Flex Profiles 7 or higher.

Without going into detail on how to implement Immidio Flex Profiles Advanced, which is explained in the Admin Guide, I will shortly explain the App-V configuration part of it.

When managing user settings for App-V enabled applications, it is necessary to restore and save these settings at application startup and shutdown, because the “real” registry and file information does not apply for the Virtual environment these application run in.

Microsoft App-V supports running custom commands and scripts at application startup and shutdown from the App-V application config file, which exists for each application. This file has the .OSD extension and each .OSD file needs to be edited for Flex Profiles Advanced to work.

Editing the .OSD file can be done during sequencing or afterwards using any text editor, XML editor or the App-V OSD editor from Login Consultants.

In each .OSD file there is a DEPENDENCY section. This is where the FlexEngine commands should be placed. Here is an example:

<DEPENDENCY>
<SCRIPT EVENT=”LAUNCH” TIMING=”PRE” PROTECT=”TRUE” WAIT=”TRUE” TIMEOUT=”">
<HREF>c:\flex\FlexEngine.exe /r “%homedrive%%homepath%\PaintNET.zip”</HREF>
</SCRIPT>
<SCRIPT EVENT=”SHUTDOWN” TIMING=”POST” PROTECT=”TRUE” WAIT=”TRUE” TIMEOUT=”">
<HREF>c:\flex\FlexEngine.exe /i \\fileserver\FlexINIs\Paintnet.ini /s “%homedrive%%homepath%\PaintNET.zip”</HREF>
</SCRIPT>
<CLIENTVERSION VERSION=”4.5.0.0″ />
</DEPENDENCY>

For more information about the command line parameters of the FlexEngine, please consult the Flex Profiles Advanced Admin Guide, or type “FlexEngine.exe /?” on the command line.

In the current version of Flex Profiles Advanced, App-V integration is already fully supported! You only need to configure this manually like shown above for each App-V enabled application you want to manage with Flex Profiles Advanced.

In the upcoming version of Flex Profiles Advanced, the Flex Profiles Management Console will provide a wizard for integrating the FlexEngine into the App-V OSD files. This new version of Immidio Flex Profiles Advanced will be available Q1 2010.

Download a trial version of Immidio Flex Profiles Advanced.

MDOP 2009 R2 for Windows 7 is available

MDOP 2009 R2, which containts App-V 4.5, is available for current MDOP customers and MSDN/Technet subscribers.  Besides MED-V, all the products within MDOP now support Windows 7. MED-V will support Windows 7, as Host OS (not Guest OS) in a release planned for Q1 2010.

Check out the detailed article on http://blogs.technet.com/mdop/

Whitepaper Release: Application Virtualization 4.5 for Terminal Services

The RDS (Terminal Server) team blog announces the release of an App-V for Terminal Services Whitepaper:

 ”We are proud to announce the availability of the white paper “Application Virtualization 4.5 for Terminal Services.”  This white paper discusses the benefits, configurations, and considerations when planning a Terminal Services (TS) solution with Microsoft Application Virtualization for TS (App-V for TS).  Many customers want to find out the best way to configure and/or deploy App-V for TS on terminal servers.  This paper includes topics ranging from choosing an App-V for TS application delivery method to configuring RemoteApp and App-V for TS to work together.  We hope you find this document an indispensible read if you are implementing App-V for TS.”

Download the whitepaper here 

 

Download App-V 4.5 TS Client

Now that the App-V client is part of the Windows Server 2008 CAL it seems that Microsoft has released the App-V 4.5 TS client as a free download.

Part of the download process is the registration of your 20 digit Windows Server 2008 Terminal Server Product Identification Key or your Windows Server 2008 R2 Remote Desktop Services Product Identification Key.

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Download here.

Note: although the article indicates that Windows Server 2008 R2 is supported this particular download can’t be used on that platform since it’s 64-bit only. App-V 4.6 (currently in development) however will support 64-bit and is planned to be available H1 2010.

Desktop Control: Using ConfigMgr task sequences to chain App-V applications to MSI installations

It is a fact that many applications require other applications to run properly. In App-V these dependencies can be sequenced along with the main application in the same virtual environment or they can be sequenced separately and joined together through Dynamic Suiting Composition.

In the old days we could use the “Run another program first” on the Advanced tab of the Program properties option to chain two applications together. But since App-V applications don’t have Programs we can’t use this anymore.

Luckily this issue can be solved by using Configuration Manager 2007 Task Sequences.(continue at source)