VMware ThinApp 5.0 is out

VMware ThinApp 5.0 is now avilable for download.


Here is what’s new

Support for 64-bit applications and for an additional operating system: Windows 8.1

The ThinApp 5.0 introduces support for 64-bit SDK. ThinApp now provides a 64-bit SDK,ThinAppSDK64.dll for 64-bit in process COM, this eliminates the need forThinAppSDKSrvr.exe on 64 bit Operating System. On 64 bit Operating System the user can register 64 bit SDK dll (regsvr32 ThinAppSDK64.dll) and use their scripts or applications to access ThinApp packaged data.
Registry key path change – If you use registry APIs from ThinApp SDK. for the old package the users need not change anything. However, for packages built with the ThinApp 5.0 tools, the user needs to pay attention for these registry paths. Users can query the registry key that is captured for 64-bit application as usual.

Native - HKLM\Software\7-Zip
ThinApp - HKLM\Software\7-Zip
Native - HKCR\CLSID\{23170F69-40C1-278A-1000-000100020000
ThinApp - HKCR\CLSID\{23170F69-40C1-278A-1000-000100020000

However, for the registry key captured for 32-bit application, the changes are explained in following examples.
The top line is the native 32-bit key path and the bottom line is the path that is passed to the SDK as argument.

Redirected keys - (32-bit registry keys are redirected)
Native - HKLM\Software\7-Zip
ThinApp - HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\7-Zip
32-bit keys are redirected to Software\Wow6432Node

Shared keys - (Shared by both 32-bit and 64-bit view)
Native - HKLM\SOFTWARE\Clients
ThinApp - HKLM\SOFTWARE\Clients

Inclusion of .alt file in Bin folder
The ThinApp 5.0 release adds support for an alternate architecture PDC with .alt extension. If the ThinApp capture feature contains both 32 bit and 64 bit executable, then a file with an extension *.alt * would be generated in the bin directory after build process. The pdc would generally be x86 and not suitable to launch a 64 bit process. The .alt files provide an alternate architecture PDC image to use as an entry point.

Capture a 32-bit version of Office 2010 on a 64-bit version of Windows, it will install 32-bit components(winword.exe, excel.exe and so on), but it will also install a 64-bit version of the Office License Protection service (OSPPSVC.exe). Now, if you execute an Office 2010 shortcut executable(word.exe), ThinApp must also start the OSPPSVC service. With ThinApp 473 there was no shortcut executable for osppsvc.exe, ThinApp would use the PDC file as the entrypoint, as ThinApp 4.7.3 did not support 64-bit executables this was not a problem. However, in ThinApp 5.0, the PDC will be x86 and this not suitable for launching the x64 OSPPSVC.exe process, this is where .alt PDC is very useful.

New Package.ini parameters
A new package.ini option MSIIs64Bit is added to the MSI-related options.Snapshot.exe sets this option if the first app executable is 64-bit, and if MSI is enabled, tlink generates a 64-bit MSI package. This change builds a 64-bit MSI package if the captured application is 64-bit.

Another new parameter LargeAddressAware is included in ThinApp 5.0, this option is used to capture applications which install on both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems. SetLargeAddressAware =1 to allow 32-bit applications to launch 64-bit application without any error.

Virtual CMD
By Default the ThinApp Setup capture feature captures a 32-bit virtual command prompt. However, to launch the x64 Virtual command prompt perform the following changes to the settings:

[cmd.exe] Source=%SystemSystem%\cmd.exe
[cmd.exe] Source=%SystemSystem(x64)%\cmd.exe

Application Synchronization

The following changes have been made to the ThinApp AppSync process:

  • The .alt file is required for Application Synchronization of ThinApp 5.0 packages. In case of forced AppSync, if the .alt file is missing, the user will receive a message box and the downloaded file will be named as .1 update
  • If the Appsync feature uses IIS server the user needs to add .alt file to the mime types.
  • All the shortcuts, entry points and PDC’s of both (old and new) applications should have the same name for a successful AppSync. Example Microsoft office word 2003.exe and Microsoft office word 2007.exe should be named asMicrosoft office word.exe.

Other Enhancements in ThinApp 5.0

The following enhancements have been made in ThinApp 5.0 :

  • Conditional support for virtualizing App Sense.
  • Existing version of Horizon will work with ThinApp 5.0, 32 bit applications, but support for 64 bit applications might be available in future releases.
  • Conditional support for virtualizing 64 bit applications.
  • Previous versions of View will work with ThinApp 5.0, 32 bit applications, but support for 64 bit applications might be available in View 5.3.
  • Conditional support for virtualizing Microsoft Office 2013 and Internet Explorer 10.