VMware recently released version 4.6.2 of their application virtualization product, ThinApp. Let’s see what is new.
Thinapp 4.6.2 is a maintenance release and primarily consist of bug fixes and application compatibility improvements. As usual, you can use the relink utility to automatically upgrade any of your older packages to use the ThinApp 4.6.2 runtime.
Beyond compatibility enhancements, there are also a number of new items to highlight in this release.
Improved Status Bar
The status bar size will adjust to the screen resolution, DPI, and text to be displayed.
Added DDE Message Isolation
Windows uses a special type of window message called DDE to tell applications to open a document if they are already running. This is used to reduce the amount of time it takes to open a document and prevent loading extra copies on an application unnecessarily. DDE can be tricky when deploying multiple versions of an application to the same machine because the first application to respond to the DDE message will process the document open request and the other instances will not get notified. For example, if a virtualized Excel 2007 and Excel 2010 are both running – when the user clicks on a .xls file, which application will open the document?
ThinApp 4.6.2 adds a new package option IgnoreDDEMessages which can block a virtualized application from receiving DDE messages so that other applications will always process it instead. This option is automatically enabled by Setup Capture when creating a virtualized IE6 package but disabled by default for all other applications. IE uses DDE when users click on .html files.
Up to 30% faster startup times
We made a number of performance enhancements that will benefit most applications. We found that applications like Office 2007 start up to 30% faster using ThinApp 4.6.2 than previously in the most common usage scenario (Windows XP, 2nd+ launch with a warm disk cache).
Thinreg is the command-line utility used to quickly register ThinApp packages on a machine so that file type associations and start-menu shortcuts are visible to the end-user. In this release we’ve improved the ability to control what packages are registered.
- Recursive directory support. Often users need to use thinreg to register a large set of applications contained in multiple subdirectories. Now you can specify wildcards in the path to thinreg in addition to wildcards for the filename like this:
This particular command will recurse two directories deep under c:\myapps and then register all .exe files in the bin folder if it exists.
- Ability to exclude files or directories. Another new thing you can do with thinreg is specify files to be excluded from registration using a new command-line switch “/e” or “/exclude”. For example:
thinreg /e *Adobe* */*/*.exe
This command will will register all ThinApp EXE packages found 3 levels deep, except for any files or directories that have the string “Adobe” in their name.
- Ability to specify command-line arguments via text file. If you have a large number of packages or excludes to provide to Thinreg, you can now put those into a separate text file and provide that text file to thinreg like this:
thinreg /f SomeFileWithParams.txt
ThinDirect is a native browser helper object that allows you to map URLs to virtualized browsers so that users can always use the browser most compatible with the website they are visiting. In ThinApp 4.6.2, we’ve improved this component in 2 ways.
- You can now specify URLs to redirect in blacklist format instead of whitelist” format, allowing you to redirect “everything except this” to specific browsers. This is interesting in some configurations where you have an older or virtualized browser set to your default browser and want to make sure a newer updated browser is used for any external URL that might represent a security threat.
- ThinDirect will automatically close browser tabs/windows when a redirection occurs so users aren’t left with a blank browser page instead of the page they intended to visit.
For More details be sure to visit our release notes located here: