Executing ThinApps from the CLI

Hi – I’m Jason Coleman and have been working in the virtualization industry since 2005. I’ve decided to start this blog in order to document some of the tips and tricks that I’ve picked up and to give back to the community that’s been so helpful to me as a professional. I’m going to start with an easy one:

If you’re like me, you enjoy using Putty from a command prompt or at least invoking it from the “run” dialogue. On a laptop or even a dedicated VDI desktop, this is easily accomplished by placing the executable in a folder that is already contained in your PATH variable. In a floating VDI Pool where Putty is only available to a select group of users, it is slightly more complicated. Here’s how I did it.

I packaged Putty with ThinApp and used ThinApp to restrict access (using the permittedgroups entry in the package.ini file) and place a shortcut into an appropriate directory. Packaging Putty is about as easy as it gets – it’s a standalone executable. Literally, run your prescan, unzip the file somewhere, and you’re pretty much good to go. I took one additional step: I created a shortcut to my executable in the folder C:\Apps prior to my postscan (I’ve already added C:\Apps to the PATH variable on my Windows 7 VDI parent image).

That step is important – Windows 7’s increased file security means that a user needs elevated permissions in order to access most of the directories that are included in the default PATH variable. That means that, in order to place a shortcut in one of those locations, my users (and the ThinReg runs as the user) would have to have elevated permissions; not gonna happen. By adding C:\Apps to my PATH variable, I’ve created a location where a normal user can place executables. By placing a shortcut to Putty in that location on my capture box, I ensure that the ThinApp, when registered, will create said shortcut.

The end result is that if a user is in the “thinapp_putty” AD security group, ThinReg creates a shortcut to Putty in the C:\Apps directory which may be invoked directly from the Run prompt or the CLI by typing the name.

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