ThinApp Testing and the Sandbox

Here’s a quick tip – when testing a ThinApp, you’ve got to make sure that you have a clean sandbox for each testing iteration. If you fail to clean your sandbox, you’ll bring junk over from a previous test and will taint your results (usually in the form of confusing failures to start). We all know that ThinApps default to storing your sandbox in your profile (%appdata%\Thinstall\Package Name). What you may not know is that that is not the first location in which the package will look for a sandbox. A quick and easy way to make a fresh sandbox for testing (without having to rename an existing “known good” sandbox) is to just create a directory alongside your package named “Thinstall”.

There’s actually about a dozen locations in which the package will attempt to place a sandbox prior to using the specified location in the package.ini file – this makes it very easy to override that behavior for testing, without the need to rebuild with a new package.ini setting. You can override the package.ini sandbox location by creating folders in the executable’s directory (as discussed above) or by creating environmental variables (such as %THINSTALL_SANDBOX_DIR%). For a full list of these options, check out the ThinApp User’s Guide at http://pubs.vmware.com/thinapp4/help/sandbox_search_order.html#996363.

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