VMware ThinApp in Action
My VMware ThinApp test environment consisted of a VMware Workstation installation made up of two Windows XP Service Pack 3 systems and one Windows 2003 server. The server hosted Microsoft's IIS (Internet Information Services) and served as my update Web site. One of the Windows XP systems was my clean build system where I used VMware ThinApp to prepare my test applications (WinZip, Firefox and Microsoft Office 2003). The other system was my installation target. The basic process I used for deploying Windows applications using ThinApp should be familiar to anyone who has used application packaging products in the last 10 years. Starting with a clean install of the Windows OS that matches one's production image, and using equipment that closely approximates one's installed hardware inventory, a desktop administrator uses ThinApp to take a snapshot of the registry, DLLs and other files on the clean system.
After completing this step on one of my test systems, I installed the application I wished to virtualize (I tested with WinZip, with Firefox and with Office 2003) and then allowed VMware ThinApp to capture the differences. ThinApp then packaged these differences, along with some ThinApp-specific client software, into either an .msi or an .exe that I could deploy to my test clients.