Microsoft App-V 5.0: Sequencer

This is the second part of a series about App-V 5.0. Part one focused on integrating App-V with SCCM, how to install the App-V client, and some common scenarios where App-V may be appropriate. Part one can be found here: http://www.windowsmanagementexperts.com/microsoft-app-v-5-0-cm-2012-integration/microsoft-app-v-5-0-cm-2012-integration.htm.

This part in the series will focus on the App-V sequencer. I will take you through sequencing a simple application, and then how to modify that application.

Overview

First, you can install the sequencer from the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) media. Remember that you must purchase Software Assurance to gain access to MDOP. Like application repackaging, I recommend that you do all of sequencing from a “clean” machine, preferably a VM. This will lessen the likelihood that you capture changes from other processes.

When you first launch sequencer, you are presented with this screen:

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From here, we can create a new package, or modify an existing package. Also, under the “Community” heading, take a look at the sequencing recipe forums and package accelerators. App-V experts have labeled directions for virtualizing applications as “recipes”. You are likely to find good information about sequencing applications from these forums. Next, package accelerators are pre-built ways of virtualizing an application. A few months ago, I did a post about virtualizing Office 2013. The method I used was a package accelerator developed by Microsoft.

Creating a New Virtual Application Package

We will start with creating a new package. I am going to use Firefox as an example. When you click “Create a New Virtual Application Package”, you have two options. Leave the “Create Package” option selected. The next page will tell you if you have any conflicts that may mess up the package. A common thing you may see here is that you need to reboot your computer. I would resolve any conflicts before continuing. The next page presents you with three options for the type of package. You will almost always leave it on the first option – Standard Application. Next, we will select our installer. You also have the option of doing a custom installation.

Next, we will give the virtual package a name. The other box here is very important. This is the directory where the application will be installed. Be sure to select the correct folder, and install the application to this folder. After you click Next, App-V will scan the system and then begin the installer.

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After installation is complete, you are presented with this screen:

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This message has a couple of things on it. First of all, it tells you restart the machine if the installer prompted for it. I would go ahead and do this. The sequencer will relaunch back to this screen after reboot. If you have additional installers to run, click the “Run” button and finish those. After all of this is complete, check the “I am finished installing” box and click Next. After this, the installation will analyze the system for changes. After that, you are presented with this screen:

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Here we will run the program we installed. This will clear any first-run tasks so that the user will not have to worry about them. You also have the ability here to change whatever settings in the program that you want. Since I installed a browser, I will set the homepage and a few bookmarks. After you have executed all of the programs, click the Next button. The sequencer will now analyze the computer again for any changes.

The next screen gives you the option to create the package now, or customize it to run over slow networks or restrict the operating system. I will click customize to show the options. First, we can execute the program again. This will allow the sequencer to analyze what is required to launch the application so that those blocks can be sent to the clients first. Also on this screen is the option to force the entire package to download before execution. Next, we can select the particular operating systems that this package can run on. These can be modified later by modifying the package.

Once you have your customizations ready, we can create the package.

Modify an Existing Virtual Application Package

To modify a package, select “Modify an Existing Virtual Application Package” from the sequencer launch screen. We can do three things here. Updating the package means installing a patch into the virtual application, editing the package will allow you to change the virtual file system or virtual registry for the package, and adding a new application will let you install a new application into the package. I am going to focus on editing the packaging.

When you select a package for editing, this is what you get:

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The deployment tab allows you to add more operating systems for this package. The virtual registry tab allows you to modify the registry for this virtual application. The package files allows you to add, remove, or modify files in the package, while the virtual services tab allows you modify properties of services if there is a service installed with your application.

I realized that I don’t want Firefox pinned to my taskbar. I am going to find it under “Package Files” and delete the shortcut:

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After I have made my changes, I simply go to File>Save, and the sequence will update the package.

Thanks for reading this series on App-V. I hope I was able to increase your understanding of this great product.

 

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