GLADIATOR@MSFT

Adventures in Desktop, Application, and User State Virtualization

App-V 4.6: Oldie but Goodie! Using URL Shortcuts to Simply User Experience when Running Virtualized IE Plug-ins (Plus a Bonus Tip!!)

App-V 4.6: Oldie but Goodie! Using URL Shortcuts to Simply User Experience when Running Virtualized IE Plug-ins (Plus a Bonus Tip!!)

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We know how to bring Internet Explorer into the App-V bubble. It’s as simple as creating a special shortcut that points to an OSD file that allows the local instance of Internet Explorer to interact inside the virtual bubble of an App-V package (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/931986) - But there has always been the issue of ensuring the user is clicking on the correct shortcut. This is essential to proper functionality when leveraging App-V to virtualize plugins and add-ons for customized webapps. So, one of the most common question I get from customers that I have always assumed the answer was readily out there is:

How do I launch Internet Explorer configured to run inside the Virtual Environment from a simple URL Shortcut?

This is a great question because placing a direct shortcut to the website/webapp provides a direct point of access for end-users. You can create a shortcut that will launch the IE shortcut configured ot run inside the bubble. There are several ways to create the shortcut but the easiest way I have found to do this is to:

1.) Launch the Application Virtualization Client management console.
2.) From the Applications node, look for your published instance of Internet Explorer. For example, you may have customized it i.e. “Internet Explorer inside Office 2020 package.”
3.) Right-click the application and select “New Shortcut.”
4.) In the next screen customize your shortcut name. Click Next.
5.) Place the shortcut in your desired location. I usually place it on the desktop.

Once you have placed the shortcut on the desktop, then right-click the shortcut and select properties. In the target field you will want to add the argument for the website URL you will want to use for this customized shortcut. The syntax you will use will vary depending on platform and management methodology:

32-bit clients using SFTTRAY as Launcher (Traditional App-V Infrastructure, Stand-Alone implementation)
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Application Virtualization Client\SFTTRAY.EXE /launch “<APPNAME>” <URL>

64-bit clients using SFTTRAY as Launcher (Traditional App-V Infrastructure, Stand-Alone implementation)
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Application Virtualization Client\ SFTTRAY.EXE /launch “<APPNAME>” <URL>

32-bit clients using VAPPLAUNCHER as Launcher (Config Manager 2007 Integration)
C:\Windows\CCM\VAppLauncher.exe /launch “<APPNAME>” <URL>

64-bit clients using VAPPLAUNCHER as Launcher (Config Manager 2007 Integration)
C:\Windows\CCM\VAppLauncher.exe /launch “<APPNAME>” <URL>

- Where <APPNAME> is the name of the application published (Internet Explorer) and <URL> is the URL to the website.

To take this further, if you have Internet Explorer configured to launch via an App-V application (i.e. with Office, or running a virtual web application) you can modify the registry to point the shell-open shortcut function for the http object to the OSD instead of the local instance of Internet Explorer.
To make this modification:

1.) Navigate to the following Registry Key:

 HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes\http\shell\open\command

The default value is normally the path to iexplore.exe, like “C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe”.

2.)    Modify the value to have the sftdde.exe process launch the virtual version of IE, using the syntax:

<PATH TO APPV DDE LAUNCHER>  “<APPNAME>”  IExplore –nohome

for example:

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Application Virtualization Client\sftdde.exe" "IE in Microsoft Office 2010" IExplore –nohome

- Would work on 32-App-V clients running with SFTDDE.EXE as the DDE launcher. You can find this out by looking at the DDELaunchCommand in the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\SoftGrid\4.5\Client\UserInterface

(or HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SoftGrid\4.5\Client\UserInterface if 32-bit clients.)

NOTE: IExplore is the DDE name for Internet Explorer (if you don’t get that right, when you try to launch a URL you get an error from the shell about being unable to pass the parameter to the app). -nohome is the same parameter I found on the original IE command line.

This will require the user to log off and log back on. A full reboot will be better especially on terminal services clients.
One final note: The registry change will have to be pushed out and I have found that customers find the fact that it (the shell modification) cannot be turned on or off with app availability via refresh/publishing frustrating. It’s a good work-around in my opinion though if you are planning to continue to use App-V 4.6 for time being.

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