The Fastest Way to Microsoft
Creating, Managing and Reliably Deploying App-V 5.0 Virtual Packages
2. The Fastest Way to Microsoft App-V 5.0
The Fastest Way to Microsoft
Creating, Managing and Reliably Deploying App-V 5.0
Virtual Packages with AdminStudio
App-V 5.0 is a pivotal upgrade to Microsoft’s application
virtualization technology. With this upgrade comes a
reworked App-V package format, improved streaming,
easier connectivity among virtualized applications and
side-by-side support for existing 4.5/4.6 packages. Other
key features include mounting of App-V applications to
folders instead of the Q: drive, removal of size limitations
and streamlined integration of virtualized applications with
other desktop applications via extensions.
Note: This white paper focuses on App-V virtualization
within AdminStudio 2013. Application virtualization
support is provided through the AdminStudio Virtualization
Pack, an optional part of AdminStudio Suite. The discussion
that follows assumes that the Application Virtualization
Pack is part of your AdminStudio Enterprise environment.
Many companies are actively looking at incorporating
application virtualization within their environments.
Because virtualization alleviates many application-to-
application compatibility issues, it’s an attractive solution
and, when done correctly, there is a significant cost
advantage. In addition, many of the trappings of preparing
a deployable, packaged application are unnecessary when
generating a virtualized application. If you currently use
App-V in your environment, you’ll find a lot to like in this
release. If you’ve been holding off on App-V adoption,
App-V 5.0 is worth a second look.
AdminStudio 2013 is the quickest way to take advantage of
App-V 5.0. AdminStudio includes specific enhancements for
identifying suitable candidates, creating App-V packages,
converting your existing App-V 4.5/4.6 packages as well
as editing and deploying App-V packages. Whether you
have a legacy installer, an .MSI package or an App-V
4.5/4.6 package, AdminStudio can make the creating
and conversion process simple. Let’s take a look.
Qualifying App-V Applications
The first thing you’ll want to do is verify the application’s
suitability for App-V 5.0. A prerequisite for testing is
importing the applications into the Application Catalog
through the Application Manager. Importing applications is
done through the Catalog tab of the Application Manager.
Importing consists of reading the tables and summary
information from the Windows Installer package into a
SQL Server database. Reading this data into the database
allows the Test Center to not only access that data directly,
but also run comparisons against all other packages.
The Test Center contains hundreds of application tests that
range from operating system compatibility to best practices.
This test suite includes specific tests for operating system
compatibility and best practices for App-V packages.
After importing the application into the Application
Catalog, move to the Test Center tab and use the ‘Select
Tests to Execute’ option to identify the tests to perform.
By default, all tests are enabled. You can disable tests
that are not applicable to your environment. When the
Test Center has finished, you’ll have a detailed report on
the package suitability for virtualization. From this report,
you can drill deeper to find out the exact issues that
Creating App-V Applications
After you’ve identified a suitable candidate, the next step is
creating the App-V 5.0 package. You can do this in one of
three ways. If you’re converting from a legacy installer, you
can create the App-V 5.0 package during the repackaging
process through the Repackager or through the InstallShield
3. The Fastest Way to Microsoft App-V 5.0
Editor. If you’re converting a Windows Installer package
you can use either the InstallShield Editor or the Automated
Application Converter (AAC). If you’re starting from
an App-V 4.5/4.6 package, then you’ll use the App-V
Upgrade Wizard within the Application Manager.
Although it’s becoming less common, you may still need to
convert a legacy installer to the Windows Installer format.
Along the way, you can also create the App-V package.
Creating an App-V 5.0 package from a legacy installer
follows the standard repackaging process. After reviewing
the repackaged results, the option to create the App-V
5.0 package is shown within Repackaged Output view.
Selecting this option and selecting Build generates the
App-V 5.0 package within the repackaging project folder.
Another option is to create the InstallShield project file
from within the Repackager view and convert the
If you have an .MSI package (from a vendor or created
through repackaging), you can convert it directly to App-V
from within the InstallShield Editor. Open either the .MSI or
.ISM within InstallShield and move to the Microsoft App-V
tab. The icons across the bottom guide you through the
options as you configure your App-V package.
The above processes for both repackaging and .MSI
conversion can be done in bulk or batch mode through the
AAC. For bulk import, nothing is quicker than using the
AAC. Point the AAC at a folder and, if necessary, a virtual
environment and turn it loose. The AAC evaluates each
package. In most cases, the conversion happens directly.
If additional work is needed, it’s handled automatically:
AAC spins up the virtual environment, converts the
package to remove any limits to virtualization and creates
the virtualized application. This process occurs with
no intervention on the part of the packager. The AAC
processes each package until all are virtualized.
After conversion, the final output .APPV file, as well as any
intermediary files, are located in the package source folder.
These intermediary files are useful if you need to modify the
package is required.
Migrating App-V 4.5 / 4.6 Packages
Up to this point, we’ve talked about converting an .MSI
install image to an App-V 5.0 package. AdminStudio also
migrates App-V 4.5 and 4.6 packages to App-V 5.0. Using
the App-V Upgrade Wizard from within the Application
Manager you identify the App-V 4.5 or 4.6 package,
right-click and select Launch Upgrade Wizard.
Editing App-V Applications
For App-V packages that require more finesse, the Virtual
Package Editor (VPE) is available for editing .APPV
packages. While the new .APPV file format is editable after
decompression, changes to the package do not result in a
usable package. The VPE resolves this issue by allowing
editing as well as saving the results.
4. The Fastest Way to Microsoft App-V 5.0
For individual applications, the VPE extends InstallShield’s
functionality to create virtualized applications. All of the
options required to create a virtualized application are
exposed within the user interface. This includes the ability
to include diagnostic tools (registry and file system viewers),
setting file/folder isolation, setting registry isolation options
and enabling connection groups.
Deploying App-V Applications
Since it’s already within our catalog, you can make the
application directly available in System Center 2012
Configuration Manager. Under the Deployment Data tab,
you can add or modify the information about the package
prior to distributing to System Center Configuration
Manager. All of the relevant Configuration Manager
information is available: detection methods, identification
of requirements and dependencies, and the selection of
While not directly related to the scope of this article,
it’s worth mentioning that everything discussed in
this document can be automated. The AdminStudio
Virtualization Pack supports a rich set of automation as
well as healthy command line arguments.
To wrap things up, the AdminStudio Virtualization Pack
does an incredible job of evaluating, creating and
converting your applications to App-V. Based on the above
steps, you’ll be able to integrate this product and streamline
your operating system migration process.
About Flexera Software
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