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Thinstall Features

100% user-mode
Thinstall is the only Virtualization solution available which runs completely in user-mode. This has many system stability, security, infrastructure, and ease-of-use implications. For more details, see Why User-mode is a Good Thing.

Support for Virtual Side-by-Side (SxS)
Thinstall is the only Virtualization solution to fully support SxS, a critical feature for deploying most new applications. For more details, see Why SxS support is a must-have

No device drivers
Because Thinstall requires no device drivers, it can run application without Administrator rights and requires zero changes to the PC even if the user is running on a locked-down PC. Microsoft reports 3rd party device drivers cause over 80% of machine crashes, and a large number of new machine-wide vulnerabilities come from bugs in device drivers.

Application Isolation capabilities
Thinstall allows applications to run without any modification to the host PC's registry or file system. Other applications running on the same PC will not be aware of virtualized applications, so regression testing (a major cost in application deployment) can be eliminated or drastically reduced. Much of the cost for application deployment relates to testing new applications against other applications deployments. Some other Virtualization solutions make registry and file system changes virtual to the entire system temporarily or permanently, so regression testing continues to be needed and application roll-outs still have the possibility for breaking other applications on the desktop.

Multiple simultaneous client versions
Thinstall is the only virtualization technology which supports multiple concurrent running copies of the client on the same PC. This means you can package Application A using Thinstall 3.066 and deploy it to 500 user desktops. Later, you may upgrade to Thinstall 3.500 to take advantage of some new features. You can deploy a new Application B using Thinstall 3.500 without affecting previously deployed Application A. This is especially critical when multiple divisions in a company want to use the technology independently and do not need to synchronize around a central version. In fact, Thinstall 2.0 has been used to deploy application over 100 million desktops around the world through various software developers and publishers. These applications will continue to operate independently of Thinstall 3.0. Other Virtualization solutions only support one version of their client on a single PC at any time, and since any application deploying new versions is equivalent to deploying a major service pack to all of your PCs companies can only afford to upgrade once or twice a year at a significant cost. Because of Thinstall's ability to support multiple concurrent client versions, Thinstall has a very fast product release cycle (once a month) and customers can take advantage of new features immediately without impacting previously deployed applications.

Instant Portable Deployment (USB Flash / CDROM)
Thinstall can easily convert standard applications like Microsoft into portable applications which run from USB Flash or CDROM. For USB deployment's Thinstall's portable mode redirects application registry and filesystem changes intended for the host PC to files stored on the portable device. Because Thinstall has no device drivers and runs in Guest / Restricted user accounts, you can use Thinstalled portable applications on kiosk PCs even if they are locked-down and do not permit any installation.

Wide Platform support
· Windows NT, 2k, XP, w2k3, Vista  
· Terminal Server & Citrix Metaframe  
· Windows PE (Preinstalled Environment)  
· 16 and 32bit apps on 64 bit Vista & XP  
· Single package can support all platforms  
· Automatic migration for: NT/2k->XP and XP->Vista  

Group Policy cannot be circumvented
Because Thinstall has no kernel-mode code, it cannot violate machine Group Policy applied to user accounts. This makes Thinstall safe to deploy in environments where security and stability are important.
Thinstall has no ability to give application elevated permissions to devices on the machine, such as the real file system/registry, networking devices, printers, etc. For companies that have invested a lot of time constructing account security policies, they can rest assured that the Microsoft OS team is fully responsible for implementing a secure environment, and Thinstall does not bring any file system filters which might modify that.

Runs in restricted user accounts
Because Thinstall requires no device drivers, it can run application in Guest User accounts without any previous install.

Allows apps requiring Admin rights to run without additional privileges
Many applications fail to run without Admin rights because they expect to be able to write to global locations like HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and c:\program files. Using sandbox technology, Thinstall makes applications believe they have the ability to make global changes when they are actually writing to user+app specific locations. This feature allows applications to run in security restricted environment like Terminal Server and Vista. Using Thinstall it's possible to take many older applications and convert them to Vista or multi-user applications.

Thinstall Runtime embeds in packages
Deployment cannot get any simpler and fool-proof than using Thinstall. Thinstall accomplishes it's zero-footprint and no installation by embedded it's entire runtime in each executable that it packages. Because the Thinstall runtime is super-small (~400k), and package data is stored in a compressed state, the overall disk footprint is usual 2X smaller than traditional deployments of the same application not using Thinstall.

Thinstall is loaded by Windows as a normal application
The impact of deploying Thinstalled applications is the same as deploying any normal application, from Window's perspective the EXEs generated by Thinstall are simple notepad-like applications that run without external dependencies. Other applications on the system are not effected by deploying Thinstalled applications.

Thinstall is small, light weight, & fast
Thinstall can be loaded into memory in a few milliseconds (even over network) and quickly loads the application in question. In some cases Thinstall can actually load applications faster than Windows. The entire Thinstall runtime occupies ~400k on disk!

Setup Capture
Thinstall's Setup Capture program makes conversion of traditional apps to virtual apps a very simple process. Setup Capture can be used to take two snapshots of a machine before and after an application is installed and generate a Thinstall project directly from these changes. The process is simple enough that it can be used by IT staff with a wide variety of skill levels. Setup Capture's snapshot process is the fastest in the industry, it can scan a clean version of Windows XP in approximately 20 seconds. Setup Capture supports continuation after reboot. Command-line tools allow you to print out differences between two machine snapshots and the snaphost process can be integrated into other tools or as part of your testing/verification process. Setup Capture can be run directly from a network share on clean machine without any installation, enabling you to capture untainted images of machines.

Virtual short path names
Thinstall is the only solution that sits above the windows loader and file system and the only solution to properly handle short pathnames (DOS 8.3 file names). Other virtualization solutions fail to work when applications are not installed to DOS 8.3 compatible paths and then moved to other computers. For example, applications like Microsoft Office has a large number of registry values that contain entries like C:\PROGR~1\MICROS~3, however on other computers the virtual files may actually appear to exist at C:\PROGRA~1\MICROS~4 and because of this various COM components fail to work at runtime. Because of this, other solution require you to capture applications installed to DOS 8.3 compatible paths like c:\OFFICE. The issue is that many applications will not install or run properly when their non-default path is used. Thinstall elegantly eliminates the need to worry about short paths by using dynamic macro expansion for all registry and filename information. At runtime, Thinstall will filter registry and filename data to replace short paths with macro versions that re-expand to the correct location on new computers. In the scenerio above registry values will automatically re-adjust to point to the correct locations when the package is run on a different computer. For more information, see Short Pathnames.

Easy Package editing & builds
Thinstall uses a directory based structure to store captured projects, allowing for easy browsing, search, editing, and modification using standard file system tools like explorer and Windows search. There are not complicated new user interfaces to learn. If you know how to browse your file system, you know how to edit Thinstall projects. Because Thinstall projects are simply directory with no absolute path information, they can be easily copied from computer to computer, or be hosted and compiled directly from network shares. The Thinstall build process is similar to a compiler & linker and should be familiar to most IT and development shops.

Text based projects and settings integrate with source control systems
Except for application files, which are stored as normal binaries all Thinstall files and settings are stored as simple .ini files so Thinstall projects can be managed using source-control technologies like SourceSafe, CVS, and Perforce. Source control systems can easily merge, compare, and revert changes to Thinstall projects with no special steps. Another advantage of the .ini file format is that it is simple to read and modify from any programming language.

Thinstall is the only solution to provide block-base streaming decompression directly into memory, which means compressed data does not need to be first decompressed to disk.
· You can launch brand new packages from a network share instantly without a lengthy decompression step. All the package data is decompressed a block at a time as needed by the application, so only startup data is sent over the network.  
· Significant disk space savings are available on the client PC since file data is not decompressed to disk. When packages are deployed to PC hard drives for offline use, the disk requirements are much reduced because package data remains compressed at all time.  
· Thinstall has similar compression ratios to ZIP  

Thinstall provides streaming capability without requiring a new server or a client. Thinstall uses the standard SMB protocol to stream applications over a LAN, so any Windows file share can instantly become a "streaming server". Thinstall's embedded client technology means users can simply click on EXE files from network shares and the client will be loaded directly into memory.
· Client is Windows (already installed)  
· Server is any SMB share (already exists)  
· Streams block-by-block  
· Packages over 8GB in size can start instantly  
· Streams from any source media:  
· Network shares & ISCSI  
· Hard drive, USB Flash, CDROM  

Terminal Server and MetaFrame support
· Typically the same Thinstall packages can be used on Terminal Servers and Desktop PCs without changes  
· Ability to run multiple versions of application simutaneously on the same server without conflicts using registry and filesystem isolation  
· Ability to update applications without having to stop currently running copies  
· Eliminates most problems with legacy applications relating to security permissions to the file system and registry  

· Application EXE remains "read only" at all times  
· Stores application modifications on a per-user and per-application basis  
· Prevents apps from "messing-up" machines  
· Allows most non-Terminal Server apps to run on Terminal Server  
· Allows most non-Vista apps to run on Vista  
· Enables IT to maintain locked-down desktops  
· "Reset" applications by deleting sandboxes  

Virtual File system
· Only solution with no package size limits, supports packages over 4GB in size  
· Supports sandboxing, isolation, and system merge modes for specific registry sub-trees  
· Sandboxed files can be scanned/blocked by anti-virus software  
· File system is stored in macro format, remapping shell folders on-the-fly  
· File system automatically migrates SXS from XP to Vista  

Virtual Registry
· EXE contains "read-only" image of registry  
· Virtual registry is visible app only, not entire system  
· Virtual registry is merged onto system registry.  
· App specific registry sub trees are automatically isolated from the host PC to prevent conflicts with locally installed versions.  
· Sandbox stores runtime modifications as"diffs".  
· Registry can contain per-user data (HKEY_CURRENT_USER)  
· Registry can contain SID specific user data  
· Registry can be reset to captured state by deleting sandbox  
· Virtual registry is shared by all apps in the same sandbox  
· Automatic backup and restore on disk corruption (common USB flash)  
· Dynamic Path Relocation applied to all registry read & writes allowing instant OS and PC migration  

Virtual COM
· Support for "In process" COM from virtual DLLS.  
· No system registration  
· No extracting DLLs or OCXs to filesystem  
· Support for "Out of process" COM/DCOM  
· Use EXE based COM without install  
· Support for "Services based" COM  
· Use service based COM with virtual services  

Dynamic Remapping
· Registry and file-system dynamically re-adjust for instant migration across OSs  
· User profile data and sandbox dynamically remaps on the fly allowing not just app migration but setting migrations  
· Dynamic Remapping enables execution from USB flash from PC to PC  
· Handles shell folders and short pathnames  

Virtual services
· Applications that require a service can be Thinstalled  
· Virtual services auto-start when app is launched  
· Virtual services can be started and stopped by application like real services  
· Primarily for service-based license systems  
· Support for packaging services and deploying as real Windows services started at boot time  

· Embed and execute .vbs in your EXEs  
· Can pre-launch and shutdown  
· Exposes Thinstall runtime API  
· Access to any COM scripting provider  
· Execute commands in virtual or real environment  
· Can be used set application use time-outs, authenticate with LDAP or database  

Active Directory Authentication
· Tie application access to AD Groups  
· Dynamically add / remove users to AD groups to control access  
· Prevent access from users not connected to domain  
· Supports offline cached credentials for off-line usage  

Packaging runtimes
Thinstall allows you to package any runtime you want to use directly with your application and eliminate pre-install requirements. Some examples include:
· .NET 1.1, 2.0, 3.0  
· Java  
· Perl  
· Crystal Reports  
· COM & ActiveX controls  

Easy to deploy, stream, or push in EXE or .msi format
· Support for zero-footprint execution and streaming  
· Easy desktop integration with filetypes and shortcuts using ThinReg  
· Ability to generate self-registering .msi files enabling easy integration with desktop management products.  

Packaging suites of applications
· Support for Reference EXEs  
· Reference EXEs only take ~30k on disk  
· Package multiple applications together for access to same shared environment  
· Suites share the same virtual registry & file-system  

Packaging ActiveX controls
· Ability to load Internet Explorer from host system using pre-fab virtual environment.  
· Use ActiveX controls with out install  
· Use Java-applets without installing Java  

Runtime logging & diagnostics
· Report of potential errors in application  
· Complete API trace with all parameters  
· Top 100 slowest API calls  
· DLL usage & load location  
· Crash information  
· COM Interface logging