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Sequencing applications is where you can really start seeing the power of App-V. The App-V Sequencer is an incredibly robust process that is capable of packaging pretty much anything that you throw at it. Before we can tackle our Office 2013 package, we need to get our sequencing machine ready though!
Best practices for your master machine ^
Starting off with a properly configured machine will help ensure that you have clean packages and less trouble testing. In our environment, we used a Windows 8 Enterprise machine that was fully updated. If your environment has multiple OS versions, you should sequence on the lowest OS version that you support. Be sure to include service packs in this calculation (for example, package on a vanilla Windows 7 machine if you don’t have SP1 installed on all computers). This will allow for most virtualized applications to be used universally.
If your organization has multiple OS architectures, you should also sequence on an X86 machine. Packages created on an X86 machine will work on both OS architecture types.
Once your machine is setup and patched appropriately, we will need to turn off unneeded or updating services. Disable Windows Search and Windows Defender as a start. If you have any custom monitoring or antivirus services, disable those as well.
Start the App-V sequencer setup now. Continue past the EULA and CEIP screen until the installation starts.
App-V Sequencer Setup Wizard
Once the sequencer has installed, take a snapshot before continuing. This will be your baseline for all future applications.
Packaging Office 2013 ^
The App-V sequencing wizard does an excellent job of walking you through the entire packaging process. Once the wizard has started, you will be prompted on the package creation method. Because we do not have a package accelerator, accept the default action of a basic package.
A package accelerator allows for applications to be created automatically based on setup files.
On the Prepare Computer page, the wizard will compare your computer against the recommend settings for a sequencing machine. If your machine does not pass this comparison, remediation actions will be suggested.
A Sequencing machine not correctly setup.
App-V 5 supports three different types of applications and will create customized packages for each type. Because we are packaging Office 2013, we will choose a standard application. If desired, you can also use App-V to package add-ons/plugins as well as middleware for standard applications.
Package Type Selection
Next, locate the setup file and specify it as your installer. Name your package and enter the primary virtual application directory. This entry is now required because of the new App-V 5 format and storage locations. The primary virtual application directory should be the same directory as the installation path of the application.
Naming and setting the Package Directory
Before continuing, take one more snapshot and name it Office 2013. This will allow you to roll back to your already configured wizard. If you need to make any changes or repackage Office, this will save you time! When the wizard prompts, install your application and configure any components. You should launch any used application several times to ensure all customization has completed.
After this, you will receive an installation report. This report lists any potential problems found with your application and possible remedies to those issues.
As an example, Office installs a print driver. This driver is incompatible within the App-V package. However, I can install the driver outside of the package to achieve that desired functionality.
Before finishing the creation process, we are going to do a bit of customization. While we would normally stop the wizard at this point (and allow it to create the package), we will want Office to be as optimized as possible.
On the streaming page, launch each commonly used application and perform traditional first run or immediate tasks. The process allows the App-V wizard to capture and block components that would be instantly needed by a client while allowing the rest to be downloaded as needed.
Prepare for Streaming
In the customization process, you can also add OS and architecture restrictions. Because I prefer to do this with other tools (such as Group Policy), I will allow the Office 2013 application to remain unrestricted.
Finally, create your package and save it. Office 2013 has been officially packaged up! In our next (and last article for this series), we will configure the App-V client and test out our virtualized version of Office 2013.