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The New ThinApp 5.1 Feature “Project to Physical” Explained

With the ThinApp 5.1 release we introduced quite a few new features. This blog post is the first in a series where we will introduce and explain each feature more in depth.

The first feature to be examined a bit more closely is the feature we call Project to Physical or P2P. P2P is probably not the best name for it because there are billions of other features in the world using the same abbreviation. The Project to Physical feature does a ThinApp Setup Capture, but in reverse. Setup Capture captures an application—all its registry keys, files, and folders—and stores it in the ThinApp project folder. Project to Physical converts an existing ThinApp project folder into a natively installed application.

There are quite a few use cases for the new Project to Physical feature:

  • Troubleshooting – If your virtual application package does not run, you can verify your capture by running Project to Physical to a test machine. If the application now successfully executes natively, there is most likely something wrong with your project settings. If it does not run natively, something went wrong during the capture of the application. You should try to recapture the application and make sure you capture all of its components.
  • Updating an existing project or package – If you run Setup Capture and perform a prescan before running Physical to Project, you will have a capture environment identical to your existing project folder. Apply application updates (including running MSI updaters), and include add-ons, plug-ins, or anything else. When you have applied your changes, run the postscan. The benefit of running Project to Physical rather than running a complete new capture is that you preserve all modifications you made to your project folder.

You run Project to Physical by executing snapshot.exe with the -installnative parameter. You find snapshot.exe in the ThinApp utilities folder.

snapshot.exe “C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware ThinApp\Captures\WinZip 14.0” –installnative

This installs the WinZip application natively to your machine, from the project folder.

Note: You refer to the project folder and not the package itself.

snapshot.exe “C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware ThinApp\Captures\WinZip 14.0” -installnative -printlog > c:\test.txt

This example installs WinZip natively while providing a verbose log of all operations into the c:\test.txt file.

I have recorded a video showing the Project to Physical feature in action. Enjoy!