Frequently Asked Questions
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Q. When I complete the capture process and build, why are there are no EXE files generated?
A. Setup Capture uses shortcuts installed during installation to determine which EXEs to build. The most common reason for this problem occurs if you instruct the installer not to write any shortcuts during capture, or in some case applications specifically do not install any shortcuts, for these applications you need to manually edit the package.ini file. 

Q: Can Thinstall applications interact with other applications, printers, drivers, etc?
A: Yes, for the most part there is no difference between a Thinstalled application and system installed application. See Desktop Integration for more details.

Q: What is the performance overhead running when a Thinstalled application?

A: People who are familiar with VMWare know there are significant performance, memory, and disk impacts from using full machine Virtualization. Thinstall is an application level Virtualization solution, so the same impacts do not apply. The total disk footprint for deploying Thinstall with an application is approximately 400kb versus 4 Gigabytes needed to deploy a virtual machine. Thinstall does not emulate or translate any application instructions, so they run at full native speed, where with VMWare you'll have a approximately 25% degradation in speed (hardware Virtualization assistance can reduce this significantly). The memory impact from running a Thinstalled will vary depending on how many DLLs are loaded, but in general you should expect the application to require approximately 2MB of RAM over the original requirements. VMWare deployments will need approximately 256-512MB of additional RAM to deploy a virtual machine.  
Q. Does the size of the package effect how quickly it starts up or how much memory it consumes?
A. No, Thinstall uses block-based streaming to load only the required parts of an application into memory as needed. A two gigabyte package can start executing in less than a second and consume less than 10MB of RAM. The size of the package has no correlation to the amount of memory or startup time required.  

Q: How do I control application use and maintain license compliance?
A: You can currently control access to Thinstalled package through a few different mechanisms:  
·   Active Directory: In the package.ini file, you can specify which users groups are able run a specific package. Then using AD you can centrally add and remove people to groups as needed.  
·   VB Scripts: This allows you to "roll-your-own" system. VB Script gives you a lot of power, and you can easily build hard-coded package times with a simple script. We have posted a simple sample VB script which will expire packages on a specific date, you could also easily check for a specific machine registry key before allowing the user to run the application.  
VB Script can easily call any COM component that is registered in the virtual environment, so you can also write a C++ DLL that is called and executed by vb script before the program starts and after it shuts down.  
We will also have a webserver based license management system available in April 2007: 
Q. Can Thinstall pacakges be signed?
A. Yes, Thinstalled EXE files can be signed using standard Microsoft Internet Digital Signatures (Authenticode). For Software publishers, signed executable gives end-users assurance that the executable has not been modified after it was signed. System Adminstrators can also use the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) Configuration Wizard to prevent user groups from downloading/running unsigned code.

Q: How do I apply patches and updates to an application?
See Application Updates.  

Q: How do I create a file type association and shortcut?
A: Using the ThinReg utility  

Q: Do Thinstalled applications work on my Citrix server?
A: Yes, Thinstall runs on Citrix and Terminal Server exactly the same single-user Desktop environments.  

Q: What does the sandbox do and how do I control the sandbox location?
A: See the help topic "Sandbox Overview"  

Q: What are isolation modes and how do I control them?
A. Isolation modes allow you to control what an application can read and write on the local PC. Read isolation can allow system installed and virtual Thinstall packages to run simutaneously without conflicting with each other. Write isolation allows Thinstall packages to believe they have global write permissions while they really only modify the sandbox directory. More information about isolation modes can be found here. 

Q. Does Thinstall decompress package data to disk when it runs the first time? How does compression work and what is the penalty?
Thinstall uses block based streaming to decompress file data from disk directly into memory a block at a time as requested by the application. Because data is not written to disk and decompression is very efficient, the performance impact for using compression is usually negligable. When loading applications from slower media such as USB flash or network shares, compression helps to accelerate loading times because less data needs to be transfered. Because data is not cached or decompressed to disk first, no extra disk space is required before, during, or after executing Thinstalled applications.  

Q: Does Thinstall work with .Net applications?
A: Yes - if you are deploying an application that requires .NET, there a number of different options available. You can include .NET in your package by capturing on a clean machine which doesn't have .NET already installed (such as clean Win2k or XP SP1). If you start with a clean machine, install .NET first and then do the capture process the resulting application will use .NET from the host PC instead of being included in the package. If you don't want to capture the .NET Framework yourself, we have some pre-captured projects you can use. 

Q: Can I Thinstall application using Java or ActiveX components in a browser?
A: These flash demo shows how you can virtualize Internet Explorer plugins/addins such as the Java Runtime Environment using Thinstall VS. 

Q: Does Thinstall support applications using services?
A: Yes, Thinstall supports virtual services. If a captured package installs a service, Thinstall will automatically start the service as virtual service in the same user account as the logged in user as needed by the application.  

Q. Does Thinstall support plugins and Addins?
A: Yes, There are a number of different ways plugins can be packaged together or seperate from applications.

Q: Can Thinstall run on XPe (embedded)?
A: Yes.  

Q: Is there a way just to re-run the post-scan before doing the build?
I did the pre-scan, installed the app and then ran the post-scan. After doing the post-scan I realised that I wanted to change the configuration of the app slightly and re-run the post-scan but I can't seem to find away to just run the post-scan again on it's own.
A: Yes, if you premature clicked the "Post-install scan", you can just hit the "back>>" button and it will take you to the post-install scan step again and continue from there. The back button also always to create multiple similar Thinstall projects in the same session.  
Alternatively you can also create projects from the command-line using the snapshot tool like this:  
1. snapshot.exe c:\snap1.dat  
2. (install application)  
3. snapshot.exe c:\snap2.dat  
4. snapshot.exe c:\snap1.dat -diff c:\snap2.dat c:\myproject  
Q: Why can't I delete or rebuild my application, the file appears to be locked
A: Thinstalled EXE files and some associated sandbox files will be locked while the virtualized application is running and cannot be deleted or altered. This also applied for any virtual child process started by the parent process. Sometime application will purposefully leave processes behind after they quit, for example Office 2003 will start a process called ctfmon.exe and leave it running even after Word or Excel have quit. You need to manually kill these child processes before you can rebuild the application. Luckily Thinstall gives you a tool to hunt down any Thinstalled processes that might be running. This tool is "dll_dump.exe" can be found in c:\program files\thinstall.vs and run likes this "dll_dump *". If the application is locked on a user's desktop, Thinstall has the ability to perform in-place updates. 
Q: Why don't icons display in the Windows Shell for large EXE files (>1GB)?
A. This is due to limitations in how Windows is implemented, a work-around is available.