This document provides some basic guidelines on packaging Internet Explorer plugins to use with the local, natively installed Internet Explorer when running the local, natively installed Internet Explorer through the virtual environment of a ThinApp packaged application.
The following items and knowledge are required for use of this procedure:
- Familiarization with instructions on how to virtualize a software product via ThinApp (see, "How to Make a ThinApp Application" on the VMware ThinApp Blogs at http://blogs.vmware.com/thinapp/2008/10/how-to-make-a-t.html).
- Review the Notes on Running Internet Explorer through a ThinApp Virtual Bubble.
Building a ThinApp package in no way modifies the licensing of the software product you are attempting to virtualize with ThinApp! Ensure you are compliance with product licenses for ANY software package you wish to virtualize and deploy using ThinApp. Consult your software product's End User License Agreement (EULA) for reference and questions.
ThinApp Product Homepage – http://www.vmware.com/products/thinapp/
ThinApp Online Manual – http://pubs.vmware.com/thinapp4/help/
VMware ThinApp Communities Forum – http://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/entdesk/thinapp
VMware ThinApp Tech Topics Portal – http://www.vmware.com/products/thinapp/related-resources.html
ThinApp Demo – https://www.vmware.com/tryvmware/login.php?eval=thinapp
ThinApp Blogs – http://blogs.vmware.com/thinapp/
Steps to packaging Internet Explorer Plugins and Add-ons
Start with a cleanly built Windows XP VM.
NOTE: Use the "How to make a ThinApp Application" as a reference.
- Run a ThinApp Pre-installation Setup Capture.
- Close the ThinApp Pre-installation Setup Capture using the red "X" in the upper-right corner.
- Install the Internet Explorer component(s). If there is more than one, install them all.
- When done installing all of the Internet Explorer components, test the IE Plugins/Add-ons to ensure they work.
NOTE: This may entail browsing to a web site where the add-ons or plugins are loaded and utilized.
- Once the Internet Explorer plugins or add-ons have been verified to work correctly, close Internet Explorer and ensure all of the plugins or add-ons have also shutdown.
NOTE: Check the processes list to ensure they have all shut down.
- Run the Post-installation Setup Capture.
- On the screen where the entry points are selected, if this web apps, add-ons, or plugins have no executable interface other than Internet Explorer, then deselect all entry points but IEXPLORE.EXE.
- OPTIONAL: Set the data container to be the proper name if the entire project is larger 200MB.
NOTE: ThinApp will recommend the use of a DAT file if the project is larger than 200MB due to an EXE size limitation within Windows XP – EXE's larger than 200MB may not show their icon properly in Win XP).
- Name the Project appropriately.
- Finish the Post-installation Setup Capture.
- Once the COPY process is complete, click the BROWSE button.
- Open the PACKAGE.INI and change out the name of the IEXPLORE.EXE entry point with something more meaningful (i.e. "Citrix XenDesktop Receiver.exe", "CRM.exe", "My Web App.exe", etc.).
- OPTIONAL: Add a CommandLine= setting to force Internet Explorer to open how you desire it to.
NOTE: See example below.
OPTIONAL: Add an Icon= setting to change out the icon to something more meaningful to end users.
CommandLine=%ProgramFilesDir%\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe http://www.myapp.com
- Within the PACKAGE.INI, update the SHORTCUT= line if your IEXPLORE.EXE entry point was also your data container.
Examples:Old Shortcut Setting
New Shortcut Setting
- Save and close the PACKAGE.INI.
- Review the Notes on Running Internet Explorer through a ThinApp Virtual Bubble to properly isolate out the local, natively installed Internet Explorer add-ons and plugins so that ONLY the installed plugins which have been captured by ThinApp are seen by the (natively installed) Internet Explorer running through the virtual bubble.
NOTE: It will very likely be key that the natively installed plugins, add-ons, and toolbars are NOT seen so that the virtual Internet Explorer can run properly and with the expected performance levels which are seen natively. If isolation settings are not properly set, users may experience lengthy load times and/or long delays between user interactions in the virtual Internet Explorer. In short, proper isolation settings are key to getting Internet Explorer running properly within ThinApp – whether fully captured or running the local, natively installed Internet Explorer through the virtual environment.
- Build the ThinApp Project by either clicking the BUILD button or executing the BUILD.BAT.
- Test on a clean VM.