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Archive for September, 2012

Important Information for those still using Softgrid 4.1 and 4.2

September 25, 2012 Leave a comment

If you are currently using Softgrid 4.1 or4.2 clients and/or servers, you need to be aware of the following support milestones:

Product

Availability

Mainstream Supports Ends

SoftGrid Application Virtualization 4.1 for Desktops

5/25/2007

7/10/2012

SoftGrid Application Virtualization 4.2 for Desktops

5/25/2007

7/10/2012

SoftGrid Application Virtualization for Terminal Services 4.1

5/25/2007

7/10/2012

 

As of last July 11th, these products are now in extended support which means

  • No more requests to change product design and
    features
  • No more hotfixes unless using an extended hotfix
    support contract.

Once a product moves out of mainstream support, I immediately start advising my customers to move forward. In the case of application virtualization, the reasons for moving to a more modern virtualization engine primarily revolve around more virtualization features and support for more modern operating systems (Windows 7 and Windows 8.) At this point it is a matter of determining what course of action to take – either moving to 4.6 or moving to 5.0. Most of the time, this decision depends on parallel factors (OS migration, ESD implementation, Application Compatibility remediating efforts, etc.) Use the following table to determine your general options for
moving forward:

Product

Transitional OS Support

Modern OS Support

Configuration Manager Integration Support

Upgrade from 4.1/4.2?

Engine Co-existence Support

App-V 4.6 Desktop Client

Windows XP & Windows Vista

Windows 7 & Windows 8**

2007, 2012

Yes

App-V 5.0**

App-V 4.6 RDS Client

Windows Server 2003 & Windows Server 2008

Windows 2008 R2 & Windows 2012**

2007, 2012

Yes

App-V 5.0**

App-V 5.0 Desktop Client

None 

Windows 7* & Windows 8

2012 ***

No

4.6**

App-V 5.0 RDS Client

None 

Windows Server 2008 R2* & Windows Server 2012

2012 ***

No

4.6**

 *- requires PowerShell 3.0
**- Requires App-V 4.6 SP2
***- Requires CM 2012 SP1 or later

Getting Your Virtual Applications to 4.6

Should you decide to move to 4.6, besides the obvious infrastructure upgrades, you will need to plan on moving your virtual applications to this newer platform. If you are currently on Windows XP, 4.6 is still the only option. For moving to is 4.6, I generally recommend following the general process below for assessing and remediating virtual application package migration.

  • Test existing package. While the injection/virtualization model did change between 4.2 and 4.5, a lot of regressions were identified and fixed – however – in my opinion, this may only be a guarantee in 80-90% of applications.
  • Update SFT file using App-V 4.6 SP1 sequencer or later. You can simply open a package and save it under the 4.6 SP1 sequencer and this will often serve the purpose of getting the applications functioning properly on the 4.6 client. You can also automate this by using the App-V sequencer command-line. Refer to this Technet Article – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/gg236638.aspx
  • Re-sequence using 4.6 SP1. If all else fails, re-sequence using the 4.6 SP1 sequencer (or later.)

Getting your Applications to 5.0

Should you decide to move to 4.6, your 4.1/4.2 packages will need to follow a different process for migration as there is a drastic change in the sequencer file format (SFT to APPV) as well as the XML governing these packages. Sequencer generates new package format based on the Windows 8 installer (APPX).

There is no direct step for moving these packages to the new formats. For moving to 5.0, I am currently recommending following the general process below for assessing and remediating virtual application package migration.

1.)   Update the 4.1/4.2 package using the App-V 4.6 SP1 sequencer or later. You can simply open a package and save it under the 4.6 SP1 sequencer and this will often serve the purpose of getting the applications to the minimum level needed for migration to 5.0 as mentioned above, you can also automate this by using the App-V sequencer command-line.

2.)   Test the package functionality using a test client running App-V 4.6 SP1 or later. This step is often left out – but is necessary.

3.)   Once the package is a confirmed working 4.6 SP1 package or later, you can proceed with migrating the package using the package conversion module that is included with the App-V 5.0 sequencer. The “AppVPkgConverter” PowerShell module installs with the App-V 5.0 Sequencer.

Please note: It is early in the process for me to give exact specifics as to expected successes – however, I can point out that there are elements that will not convert and will need to be tweaked/adjusted as of the App-V 5.0 Beta 2 release. These will help you determine if you would be better of re-sequencing the application:

  • OSD Scripts These will need to be added using the Dynamic Configuration feature of 5.0
  • OSD Registry Settings: These will also need to be added using the Dynamic Configuration feature of 5.0
  • Dynamic Suite Composition Settings: You will need to use the Virtual Application Connection feature instead.

You will also need to re-sequence in order to take advantage of Virtual Application Extensions Points.

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Some issues with the MED-V V2 Toolkit and how to Remediate them

September 7, 2012 2 comments

I wanted to address some issues that have been seen with the MED-V Toolkit. These are minor/cosmetic issues and can easily be remediated.

MED-V Toolkit Freezing

There is a known issue where the MED-V Administration toolkit freezes when attempting to change the logging level while MED-V first time setup is in progress. This is caused by the MED-V workspace needing to be completely setup before changing the logging levels using the Administration toolkit.  If this happens before FTS completes, allow the MED-V first time setup to complete before changing the MED-V logging levels using the toolkit. If more verbose logging is needed during first time setup for troubleshooting use the registry to set the Event Log Level

  • Registry Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftMedvv2Diagnostics
  • Data Type: DWORD
  • Value: EventLogLevel

Levels include the following: 0 (None), 1 (Error), 2 (Warning), 3 (Information), 4 (Debug). Default setting is 3.

Wrong icon appears for the MED-V Toolkit

There are cases where the MED-V Administration toolkit will display the wrong icon in the taskbar. Instead of the correct icon, it is the icon of another MED-V application. This happens when MED-V is configured to use Normal Start and an application is used to start MED-V. Whatever application is used to start MED-V is the application ICON that will be shown for the MED-V toolkit or other MED-V related UI.  This is a known product code issue. If this happens, here are some remediation steps to try to alleviate the issue.

1. Change the startup type of MED-V to the default fast start
2. Change the user settings for the taskbar properties to Never combine. Do the following:
3. Right-click the taskbar and then click Properties.
4. In the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box, click the Taskbar tab.
5. In the drop-down bar for the Taskbar buttons box, select Never combine.
6. Click OK.

How does each Version of MED-V use Proxies?

September 4, 2012 Leave a comment

In Version 1, the MED-V Management Console, will use the IE proxy settings of the current user to connect via HTTP to the MED-V Policy Server. If the proxy server is not configured correctly, it will trigger an Event ID 75 error:

“The MED-V Server is unreachable at <URL> “

Please check your connectivity and try again.

In fact, any operation in the MED-V Management Console (v1) will use the user’s proxy settings including the uploading of images to an image distribution server. For the MED-V Client service and application, it is different in that it uses the system’s proxy configuration for all operations including authentication, policy, and image download.

MED-V Version 2

For MED-V Version 2, there are no images or policies to download. So the likelihood of proxy issues with MED-V agents specifically will likely not be an issue although it is important to point out that Host and guest proxy configurations are not automatically kept in sync by MED-V.

Setting Proxies at the System Level

For Windows XP,  you use the proxycfg command to set system account proxies.

For Windows Vista and Windows 7, you would use the netsh command:

netsh winhttp set proxyhttp://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc731131(WS.10).aspx

Categories: MED-V, VPC Tags: , , ,

App-V 4.5: Difference between what happens when you change the LogLevel on the Streaming Server vs. the Management Server

September 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Here’s an interesting item I stumbled upon recently. While I was editing this document (http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/5889.aspx) to include the very import *location* of these values, I was reminded of an interesting item that you will probably only notice if you are troubleshooting the App-V Streaming Server.

The level of log verbosity is set using the LogLevel registry key. For the App-V Management Server, this value is located in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Softgrid\4.5\Server while for the Streaming Server, it is located in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Softgrid\4.5\DistributionServer.

The LogLevel value is a DWORD and it can go from 0 to 5. 3 is the default, but in some cases, you may want to reduce the verbosity to cut down on growth of the SFT-Server.LOG file or increase the verbosity for troubleshooting (NOTE: Please use debug logging sparingly as it will affect performance of the server.)

With the Management Server, if you change this LogLevel value the changes will immediately take effect – but – with the Streaming Server, it will require a restart of the App-V Streaming Server service.

Categories: App-V Tags: , , ,

App-V 4.6: Oldie but Goodie! Using URL Shortcuts to Simply User Experience when Running Virtualized IE Plug-ins (Plus a Bonus Tip!!)

September 1, 2012 2 comments

We know how to bring Internet Explorer into the App-V bubble. It’s as simple as creating a special shortcut that points to an OSD file that allows the local instance of Internet Explorer to interact inside the virtual bubble of an App-V package (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/931986) – But there has always been the issue of ensuring the user is clicking on the correct shortcut. This is essential to proper functionality when leveraging App-V to virtualize plugins and add-ons for customized webapps. So, one of the most common question I get from customers that I have always assumed the answer was readily out there is:

How do I launch Internet Explorer configured to run inside the Virtual Environment from a simple URL Shortcut?

This is a great question because placing a direct shortcut to the website/webapp provides a direct point of access for end-users. You can create a shortcut that will launch the IE shortcut configured ot run inside the bubble. There are several ways to create the shortcut but the easiest way I have found to do this is to:

1.) Launch the Application Virtualization Client management console.
2.) From the Applications node, look for your published instance of Internet Explorer. For example, you may have customized it i.e. “Internet Explorer inside Office 2020 package.”
3.) Right-click the application and select “New Shortcut.”
4.) In the next screen customize your shortcut name. Click Next.
5.) Place the shortcut in your desired location. I usually place it on the desktop.

Once you have placed the shortcut on the desktop, then right-click the shortcut and select properties. In the target field you will want to add the argument for the website URL you will want to use for this customized shortcut. The syntax you will use will vary depending on platform and management methodology:

32-bit clients using SFTTRAY as Launcher (Traditional App-V Infrastructure, Stand-Alone implementation)
C:Program FilesMicrosoft Application Virtualization ClientSFTTRAY.EXE /launch “<APPNAME>” <URL>

64-bit clients using SFTTRAY as Launcher (Traditional App-V Infrastructure, Stand-Alone implementation)
C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft Application Virtualization Client SFTTRAY.EXE /launch “<APPNAME>” <URL>

32-bit clients using VAPPLAUNCHER as Launcher (Config Manager 2007 Integration)
C:WindowsCCMVAppLauncher.exe /launch “<APPNAME>” <URL>

64-bit clients using VAPPLAUNCHER as Launcher (Config Manager 2007 Integration)
C:WindowsCCMVAppLauncher.exe /launch “<APPNAME>” <URL>

– Where <APPNAME> is the name of the application published (Internet Explorer) and <URL> is the URL to the website.

To take this further, if you have Internet Explorer configured to launch via an App-V application (i.e. with Office, or running a virtual web application) you can modify the registry to point the shell-open shortcut function for the http object to the OSD instead of the local instance of Internet Explorer.
To make this modification:

1.) Navigate to the following Registry Key:

 HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareClasseshttpshellopencommand

The default value is normally the path to iexplore.exe, like “C:Program FilesInternet Exploreriexplore.exe”.

2.)    Modify the value to have the sftdde.exe process launch the virtual version of IE, using the syntax:

<PATH TO APPV DDE LAUNCHER>  “<APPNAME>”  IExplore –nohome

for example:

“C:Program FilesMicrosoft Application Virtualization Clientsftdde.exe” “IE in Microsoft Office 2010” IExplore –nohome

– Would work on 32-App-V clients running with SFTDDE.EXE as the DDE launcher. You can find this out by looking at the DDELaunchCommand in the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREWow6432NodeMicrosoftSoftGrid4.5ClientUserInterface

(or HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftSoftGrid4.5ClientUserInterface if 32-bit clients.)

NOTE: IExplore is the DDE name for Internet Explorer (if you don’t get that right, when you try to launch a URL you get an error from the shell about being unable to pass the parameter to the app). -nohome is the same parameter I found on the original IE command line.

This will require the user to log off and log back on. A full reboot will be better especially on terminal services clients.
One final note: The registry change will have to be pushed out and I have found that customers find the fact that it (the shell modification) cannot be turned on or off with app availability via refresh/publishing frustrating. It’s a good work-around in my opinion though if you are planning to continue to use App-V 4.6 for time being.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , ,