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App-V 5.0 SP2 Hotfix 5 Released

Written by Dan Gough. Posted in App-V v5.x

This update was actually released a few weeks ago but it’s not widely known about so I am spreading the word!

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2963211/en-gb

This release has the following changes:

  • Connection groups can now support a mixture of per-user and globally published packages
  • Powershell cmdlets now support -UserSID parameter for running commands as another user from an administrator session
  • PackageStoreAccessControl (PSAC) has been deprecated

Also, this will contain all the changes from Hotfix 4, which if you haven’t installed yet, you really should! More info here.

App-V User Group UK 2014

Written by Dan Gough. Posted in App-V v4.x, App-V v5.x

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I have been a regular attendee to the European App-V User Group (appvug.com) for the last few years and have found it a great place to learn and share information about App-V, meet various bloggers and MVPs and network with fellow professionals – as well as being a fun day out of course!

It appears that there is plenty of demand over here in the UK for a similar event, so it is with great pleasure that I, along with Danny Clarke, Nathan Sperry, Thamim Karim and Nicke Källén present the first App-V User Group UK, sponsored by add3. It will be held on Friday 3rd October at Microsoft’s London office at Cardinal Place.

We are still finalising the agenda, so watch this space for further details. Expect a star studded roster of App-V bloggers and MVPs to be presenting! In the meantime, get over to appvuguk.eventbrite.com and register as soon as you can, as availability is limited.

Stay up to date by checking back here, or on Twitter with #APPVUGUK

App-V 5.0 SP2 Hotfix 4 Released!

Written by Dan Gough. Posted in App-V v5.x

If you’re using App-V 5, you need this update! With this, users can have full write permissions to the VFS, and can also start applications on network shares without having to give the computer account access. Package branching is back too, so you can test application updates by giving them to users without touching the live package.

There’s plenty more good stuff in this update, check out Tim Mangan’s article for more info:

http://www.tmurgent.com/TMBlog/?p=2029

You can download the update here:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2956985

I’ve still yet to test this, but here is the new permissions checkbox in all it’s glory. I recommend enabling this by default and saving it to a template.

App-V 5.0 SP2 HF4 Sequencer

App-V and the Flexnet Licensing Service

Written by Dan Gough. Posted in App-V v4.x, App-V v5.x

If an application uses the Flexnet Licensing Service, it can be sequenced and will at first appear to work fine in App-V.  However, if you have more than one instance of this service on the machine you can run into problems:

  • A Flexnet service may fail to start if the process is already running, which can cause the application that tried to start it to hang or crash.
  • An application can talk to the wrong instance of the service, which can produce errors saying that the application is not licensed.
  • Alternatively, an application can throw an error if the Flexnet service it comminicates with is an older version than expected.

These errors can vary depending on which application is started first. The Flexnet service is typically started manually by the calling application, then stopped when that application is closed. Whilst it is open, all other Flexnet applications will use that instance of the service.

Here’s an example of the problem – I have virtualised Adobe Photoshop CS4 with its own embedded copy of the Flexnet service, and have installed Tableau Desktop 8.1 locally, which also installs the service. Both applications work independently, but if I start Photoshop first, then Tableau, problems occur. Tableau hangs on load whilst it is waiting for the service to start; it then gives up waiting and talks to it anyway, only to find that it is the incorrect version:

Tableau error

And if I try to start the local Flexnet service manually, I see this:

Error starting Flexnet service

Since these problems might not be picked up until its too late, when the apps are already published to users, I always recommend banning Flexnet from every single virtual package and instead deploy it locally as an MSI. There are both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of this service, and both should use the highest version available and be regularly updated whenever a newer version is discovered. It’s probably even worth installing them on your base sequencer image.

If you install these services on the sequencer before monitoring, the service will never be picked up in the package. Unless the application you are sequencing contains a newer version, in which case the executable will be updated – in which case you should stop, update the Flexnet MSI package, then start again.

The latest version I have found is 11.12.0.0, and I have built two MSI packages, one for 32-bit and one for 64-bit.  They are built with Installshield, each contains just the single licensing service executable and uses the MsiLockPermissionsEx table to grant the Users group rights to start and stop the service. Because of this it depends on Windows Installer 5.0, so will only work on Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2 an upwards. ISM files are provided if you want to rebuild them yourself. If you come across newer versions, let me know and I can rebuild them and share!

Click here to download the packages.