It is a fact that many applications require other applications to run properly. In App-V these dependencies can be sequenced along with the main application in the same virtual environment or they can be sequenced separately and joined together through Dynamic Suiting Composition.
However it’s also a fact that not all applications can be virtualized. So you often find yourself in a situation where your applications have to be delivered in the “traditional” way.
If your dependent application can’t be virtualized but your main application can you need to somehow make the the physically installed dependency available to the system prior to running the virtual main application.
In the old days we could use the “Run another program first” on the Advanced tab of the Program properties option to chain two applications together.
But since App-V applications don’t have Programs we can’t use this anymore.
Luckily this issue can be solved by using Configuration Manager 2007 Task Sequences.
In this example I will demonstrated how a physically installed dependency named Adobe Reader 8.0 can be chained to a virtual application called ImgBurn 2.1.4. Obviously this dependency is fictional and merely for demonstration purposes.
First step: Setting up your applications.
The first thing to do is obviously is to add the particular applications to the ConfigMgr console, including setting up Access Rights, Distribution Points and if applicable Program(s).
When it comes to setting up Programs one particular thing must be kept in mind and that is that the following programs can’t be used in task sequences and will be filtered out:
- Disabled Programs
- Programs that run “Only when a user is logged on”
- Programs that “Run with user rights”
- Programs that “Allow users to interact with this program” (this one is not mentioned on technet)
More info here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb680842.aspx
A good thing to do is to check that your package and program are running and installing normally prior to chaining them in a task sequence. You can do this by advertising the application separately to a collection and check if the installation is ok. Otherwise you might be troubleshooting your task sequence when the error lies in the package.
Second step: Creating a task sequence.
Task sequences can be found under Operating System Deployment in stead of under Software Distribution. Don’t let the location of the node scare you, task sequences can also distribute software to regular clients.
Right Click and select New Task Sequence.
Select Create a new custom Task sequence and click Next.
Type in the name of the Task sequence and if wanted a comment. Leave the Boot Image box empty. Click Next and Finish the wizard
You have successfully created a task sequence that does absolutely nothing. We need to edit it to make it work.
Right Click the Task Sequence and select Edit.
In the Task Sequence editor Screen select Add – General - Install Software.
Alter the name and description of the Task Sequence step. Something like “Install Adobe Reader 8.0 (MSI)”.
Next select the Adobe Reader package you have created earlier and the corresponding program.
Note: if the program list is empty (or the right program isn’t listed) check the requirements I mentioned earlier in this article.
Repeat the steps for the virtual application ImgBurn. Note that Virtual Application don’t have programs associated with them.
When all software installation are setup click Ok to save the task sequence.
Third (and last) step: Advertising the task sequence.
Task Sequence advertising has to be done through the Task Sequence context menu and not (maybe as expected) through the Advertisements node.
Right Click on the created Task Sequence and select Advertise.
Follow the wizard like you normally would with advertising a package by selecting a Collection, defining mandatory assignments etc.
Notice that your advertisement is now listed with the other advertisements.
And on the client machine the end-user only gets one application listed (usually the main application). Running the task sequence will run both installations after each other.