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VMware ThinApp 4 Release Notes

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Notes on VMware ThinApp 4

VMware is pleased to announce VMware ThinApp. This release includes Application Link and Application Sync, as well as many additional improvements to the user interface and the core virtualization engine.

With ThinApp technology, IT innovators can prepare their company to better address key application challenges including operating system migrations (to Windows XP, Vista, and others) while reducing application conflicts, deployment costs, and empowering a mobile workforce.  ThinApp creates portable applications that can be leveraged across a variety of operating systems (Windows NT, XP, Vista, 2000) and plug into a variety of deployment infrastructures (SMS, LANDesk, Citrix, BMC, and others).

The release notes cover the following topics:

Key Features and Enhancements

The following features have been added for this release:

  • Application Sync - This feature enables you to deploy ThinApp application updates. Application Sync automatically checks for and installs updates to your packaged applications. Updates might include changes such as a new version, service pack updates, or configuration changes in the package.ini file.
  • Application Link - Application Link enables you to establish a link between applications without having to encapsulate them into the same executable package. For example, you can establish a relationship between a deployed instance of Microsoft Office 2003 and a new Microsoft Office plug-in.
  • Support for VMware serial numbers.
  • Added logging support in the runtime environment to assist with troubleshooting.
  • The following Package.ini file parameters were added: AppSyncURL, AppSyncWarningMessage, UpgradePath, AppSyncExpireMessage, AppSyncUpdatedMessage, CachePath, AllowUnsupportedExternalChildProcesses, VirtualComputerName, AppSyncClearSandboxOnUpdate, RequiredAppLinks, and OptionalAppLinks. For a complete listing of the Package.ini file parameters, refer to the Configuring the Package.ini File section of the online help.
  • Added the ability to select the file system isolation mode. The default isolation mode was changed from WriteCopy to Merged.
  • To handle larger packages, VMware ThinApp created a separate .dat data container when the estimated size of a data container is over 200MB. This resolves an issue in which Windows Explorer might not show icons for large executable files.
  • ThinApp MSIs for package and build tools now install per-machine by default.
  • Added support for the following new file macros: %Temp%, %PrintHood%, %Internet Cache%, %Cookies%, %History%, %Program Files Common%, %Common Templates%, %Common Documents%, %Common AdminTools%, %AdminTools%, %Resources%, %Resources Localized%, %CDBurn Area%, %Profiles%.
  • Added support for the SQL Server SQLWriter service.

Fixed Bugs

The following section contains bugs that were fixed for this release:

  • Fixed a problem in which VBS scripting functions caused applications to fail during exit.
  • Fixed a problem in which captured versions of the Java Runtime Environment did not work properly if a more recent version was present on the physical system.
  • Fixed a problem that was preventing Internet Explorer from launching with UAC enabled.
  • Fixed a problem in which virtual registry file size was growing each time an application ran. ThinApp now marks files and registry keys as deleted when they obscure existing system values.
  • Fixed an issue in which Internet Explorer could not create an embedded Excel object because of a bug in Excel’s COM object reference counting.
  • Moved the snapshot.ini file outside the package so it can be inspected and modified. 
  • Added new exceptions to the capture exclude list including %Temp%, %SystemRoot%\ie7, and %SystemSystem%\dllcache.
  • Added ForcedWriteCopyLocations to the snapshot.ini file to automatically correct a problem in which Microsoft Office products would try to load a shared component that is a fully isolated location. This caused an MSI installer dialog box to appear.
  • Fixed an issue in which the only shortcut created was shown as "No plugins" when capturing Internet Explorer 7.
  • Fixed an issue in which the most recent versions of the QuickTime browser plug-in would not play video clips.
  • Implemented a fix for Cisco Security Agent that has a race condition that can cause an application failure when running under ThinApp.
  • Fixed a problem with clip art not showing up in Word 2007 on Vista.
  • Fixed a problem that occurred when opening Word and Excel attachments in Outlook 2007 in which a .vbs script was included.
  • Improved support for editing of OLE embedded objects.
  • Fixed a problem with memory-mapped files that caused Autodesk Revit 2008 to crash during startup.
  • Fixed an issue in which Script Logic’s Desktop Authority injected DLL would crash during process shutdown on exit.
  • Fixed the default build.bat file so that it can be run from a network share.
  • Fixed an issue in which some printer drivers would not work by forcing  %systemsystem%\spool to use merged isolation by default.
  • Fixed a problem that was causing Log Monitor to fail.
  • Fixed issues in which shell folder short pathnames were not being mapped correctly on systems in which the long and short pathnames were the same.  For example, on Swedish PCs, “c:\programme” has the same long and short pathname.
  • Fixed an issue in which Smartcards were not being detected by captured applications.
  • Fixed an issue in which Application Link did not support UNC paths for required and optional Application Link paths.
  • MS-DOS and 64-bit child processes are created natively outside of a virtual environment (previous versions of ThinApp failed to create these processes). This resolves an issue in which a packaged application might not print on 64-bit systems.
  • Resolved issues in which Sandboxes were stored to the root directory of mapped drives or UNC paths.
  • Application private font files are now stored in the cache directory instead of in the Sandbox. The cache directory is located in the %LocalAppData%\Thinapp directory. This reduces the amount of data transferred for roaming profiles. The ThinApp global cache is shared across multiple captured applications.
  • Fixed a problem that caused long delays in Vista-style open file dialogs when browsing to network shares.
  • Fixed a problem in which the Setup Capture wizard displayed an empty error message box when trying to save a project to a location without write access.
  • Removed small compression. Because of licensing issues, small compression is no longer available. Packages that used small compression will switch to fast compression.
  • Fixed an issue in which Thinreg would sometimes fail to execute .vbs scripts when .vbs type association has been changed to notepad or other processes.

Known Issues

The following are known issues for this release:

  • When you use Application Sync to upgrade Adobe Reader 6 to Adobe Reader 7, it might seem that the application did not upgrade correctly if the previous version of the virtual application is running. Workaround: After you have upgraded the application using Application Sync, close the Adobe Reader 6 virtual application that you have running and then relaunch it. It should open the upgraded version.
  • When you double-click on a document, some applications (like Microsoft Excel) will open the document in an already-running copy of the application. When using a virtual package and ThinReg, documents will always be opened in a new copy of the application.
  • You cannot insert a Powerpoint object from a file into a Microsoft Excel document.
  • When you try to launch a Firefox 2.0.3 virtual application, Application Sync does not work properly if Firefox 2.0.3 is natively installed and a webpage is open on the client machine.
  • Internet Explorer 6 does not run on Windows Vista.
  • Windows Office XP activation is not supported on Windows 2003 and XP.
  • Thinreg currently does not support any customization of the file-type association commands when registering packages. For example, if an application registers a file type association as "viewer.exe /f %1," it will be registered as "viewer.exe %1."
  • Application Link will not recursively import dependencies. It only imports dependencies from those directly specified in the RequiredAppLinks and OptionalAppLinks fields of the package.ini file.
  • In-place updates do not work with Application Link packages. For example, you cannot place a .1, .2, etc., in the same directory as an Application Link package and have that version override the version request by the application.
  • If Application Sync is used to update an application that is being imported by another application through Application Link, the import operation will use the original application and not the updated version.
  • Single sign-on service does not work on captured Lotus Notes applications.
  • Child processes are created with a random path stub exe.
  • Windows Live Messenger opens up redundant processes when Outlook is launched.
  • After the installer is updated to a different version of the Adobe Acrobat Reader, the icon name still displays an older version of the application.
  • When you run Microsoft Outlook 2003 with a Word 2007 package, the File > Send E-mail option fails.
  • Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional cannot create a PDF file from a Word or Excel document.