Video Screencast Help

Chapter 4: Getting Started with Virtual Software Layers and Archive Files

Created: 07 Jun 2007 • Updated: 12 Feb 2013 | 3 comments
Language Translations
Admin's picture
0 0 Votes
Login to vote

The Getting Started tasks guide you through the basic setup, configuration, and use of Virtual Software Layers and Archive Files. Each task has a procedure and, in many cases, exercises to illustrate the steps of the procedure.

Prerequisites for Getting Started tasks

  • A client computer running one of the following operating systems:
    • Windows 2000 Professional SP4 or higher
    • Windows 2000 Advanced Server SP4 or higher
    • Windows XP Professional SP1 or higher
    • Windows Server 2003 or higher
    • Windows Vista (32 bit)
  • Access to application setup files that you want to create layers for.

Getting started tasks

  1. Configuring a Base Computer
  2. Installing the Software Virtualization Agent and Admin Tool on a Base Computer
  3. Creating a Virtual Software Layer Using SVS Admin
  4. Testing, Activating, and Deactivating Layers
  5. Modifying a Layer
  6. Resetting a Layer
  7. Exporting a Layer to a Virtual Software Archive File
  8. Importing VSA Files
  9. Using Virtual Software Archive Files

For a complete list of tasks you can perform with layers, see Performing Virtual Software Layer Tasks and Advanced Virtual Software Layer Topics.

Exercise Scenario

The exercises below will guide you through the process of creating and using a layer for Mozilla Firefox. If you want to follow the exercise, download the Firefox setup file (Firefox Setup ver.exe) from http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/.

Configuring a Base Computer

A base computer is the computer that you will capture application and data files on. The installed application and data files and settings will be captured into Virtual Software Layers.

The base computer should have a clean installation of your Windows operating system and little else. This computer should not have background processes or programs running that will get captured into your layers. We recommend that your base computer not be running antivirus or other computer management programs, and if possible, not have an active Internet connection.

We suggest creating layers on a virtual computer. This lets you easily disconnect the computer from the network and reset the computer after each capture so you have a clean operating system.

Exercise For this exercise, you will want to use a computer that does not currently have Firefox installed on it, but has Internet Explorer.

Installing the Software Virtualization Agent and Admin Tool on a Base Computer

The Software Virtualization Agent can be installed with the Software Virtualization Admin tool (SVS Admin) and used to create and manage Virtual Software Layers and Virtual Software Archive Files. You will install the Software Virtualization Agent and SVS Admin on your base computer.

You can access the setup file from anywhere. Because we recommend that you not have an active Internet connection, the setup file should be local.

For client computer prerequisites, see Prerequisites for Getting Started tasks and Software Virtualization Solution Security.

Installing SVS Agent and Admin

You can download installation setup files from:

http://www.altiris.com/download.aspx http://getsvs.com

For information about installing SVS Solution in a Notification Server Environment, see Installing Software Virtualization Solution.

To install the Software Virtualization Agent and Admin tool (SVS Admin)

  1. On your base computer, run the agent setup file Software_Virtualization_Agent.msi.
  2. Enter the product key and click Next.
  3. From the Select Features screen, select the Software Virtualization Admin Tool check box.
  4. Complete the setup wizard.
  5. Restart the computer.

Creating a Virtual Software Layer Using SVS Admin

After you have installed SVS Admin, you can create Virtual Software Layers. In order to create a layer for an application, you will "capture" the installation of the application. All installed files, registry settings, and application settings will be captured and stored in the layer.

To create a Virtual Software Layer

In the following steps, you will create a new layer for Mozilla Firefox.

  1. On the base computer, make sure you have access to the setup files for the application you will be creating a layer for. Example: Firefox Setup ver.exe.
  2. On the base computer, open the SVS Admin tool by clicking the SVS Admin icon on the desktop.
  3. Select File > Create New Layer.
  4. Choose Install application and click Next.
  5. Name the layer. Example: Firefox 1_5.

    The maximum name length is 50 characters.

  6. Click Next.
  7. Select the capture method.

    For this exercise, choose Single program capture.

    For information on capture options, see Creating Virtual Software Layers.

  8. Click Browse.
  9. Navigate to the setup file. Exercise: Firefox Setup ver_exe.
  10. Click Next.
  11. Click Finish.

    The animated capture icon (yellow lightning) appears in the system tray. The icon is animated (top to bottom) signifying that you are capturing.

  12. Follow any dialogs to install the application.

    In most cases, when the application installation is complete, the capture is automatically ended and the layer is listed in SVS Admin.

    However, in the Firefox exercise, when the installation is complete, you have the option to Launch Mozilla Firefox now. If this option is selected when you click Finish, Firefox will load and because it was loaded by the installer, SVS will still be in capture mode. If this option is cleared when you click Finish, the capture mode will terminate with the installer and the capture process is finished.

  13. For the exercise, keep the Launch Mozilla Firefox now option selected and click Finish.

    The first time you launch Firefox, you are given configuration options. Since you are still in capture mode, these configuration settings will be stored in the Read-only sublayer.

    If you were not in capture mode when you launched Firefox for the first time, but simply launched it through the layer, these settings would be stored in the Writeable sublayer. (For information about sublayers, see Layer Architecture.)

  14. Select an import option and click Next.
  15. Select the Home Page options and click Next.

    Because you are still in capture mode, this Home Page setting will be stored in the Read-only sublayer.

  16. Select default browser settings. The default browser setting will determine if Firefox is the default browser when the Firefox layer is active. This setting will only apply when the Firefox layer is active.
    Example: You may have Internet Explorer previously set as the default browser. If you make Firefox the default browser, then when the Firefox layer is active, Firefox will be the default browser. When the Firefox layer is not active, Internet Explorer will be the default browser.

    For this exercise, make Firefox the default browser by clicking Yes.

    Firefox is now installed and running and you are still in capture mode. You can either continue to manually configure Firefox or you can end the SVS capture.

  17. For this exercise, terminate the capture now by closing Firefox.

    When Firefox is closed, the capture is terminated, the capture icon disappears from the system tray, and the Firefox layer is now listed in SVS Admin.

    Information about modifying layers is provided in Modifying a Layer.

Testing Layers

After you have created a layer, you can test it to make sure it functions properly. To test a layer, you can manually activate and use the layer on a computer. For information, see Testing, Activating, and Deactivating Layers.

To test portability, you should test the layer on another computer. This ensures that everything needed to run the program was captured into the layer.

Testing, Activating, and Deactivating Layers

When a layer is created, it is activated by default. When a layer is activated, that means that all the contents of the layer are visible.

To activate or deactivate a layer

  1. In SVS Admin, do one of the following:
    • Highlight a layer and click File.
    • Right-click a layer.
  2. Click either Activate or Deactivate. When a layer is active, the layer name is displayed in bold type.

Using the SVS Admin tool, you can activate and deactivate layers and test that the layer is functioning properly.

Example: When Mozilla Firefox is installed, by default a shortcut to the application appears on the Windows Desktop. When the layer is activated, the shortcut is visible. A Short cut is also displayed in the Start > Programs list.

When a layer is deactivated, the application components are hidden. The shortcut will not be displayed on the Windows Desktop or Start > Programs list, and the files are not viewable in the file system.

To test the active Firefox layer

  1. Launch Firefox:
    • Click the Mozilla Firefox shortcut icon on the desktop.
    • Select Start > Programs > Mozilla Firefox > Mozilla Firefox.
  2. Verify that the application files are viewable in the file system:
    1. Open Windows Explorer.
    2. Browse to C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox.
  3. Verify that Firefox is the default browser:
    1. Open Windows Explorer.
    2. Select Tools > Folder Options.
    3. Click the File Types tab.
    4. Scroll down and click the HTML extension.

      The default application for HTML files is listed by "Opens with:". If you made Firefox the default browser, it will be listed.

To deactivate and test the deactivated Firefox layer

  1. In SVS Admin, right-click the Firefox layer and click Deactivate Layer.
  2. Verify that the following shortcuts are no longer virtualized:
  3. The Mozilla Firefox shortcut icon on the desktop.
  4. The Start > Programs > Mozilla Firefox folder.
  5. Verify that the application files are hidden in the file system:
    1. Open Windows Explorer.
    2. Browse to C:\Program Files.
    3. The \Mozilla Firefox folder should no longer be virtualized.
  6. Verify that Firefox is not the default browser:
    1. Open Windows Explorer.
    2. Select Tools > Folder Options.
    3. Click the File Types tab.
    4. Scroll down and click the HTML extension.

    The default application for HTML files is listed by "Opens with:". Firefox will not be listed. The default program before you installed Firefox will be listed.

Modifying a Layer

You can modify layers to add or remove files, settings, and so on. Example: You can add bookmarks to or change the default security settings in the Firefox layer.

When you modify a layer, you can make changes to the Read-only sublayer or the Writeable sublayer. (For information about sublayers, see Layer Architecture.)

Changes to the Read-only sublayer are permanent, whereas changes to the Writeable sublayer will be deleted if the layer is ever reset.

Making Layer Changes in the Read-only Sublayer

To make permanent changes to the Read-only sublayer, use the update existing layer feature. For information, see Updating Layers.

Making Layer Changes in the Writeable Sublayer

To make changes to the Writeable sublayer, simply activate the layer, and make any desired changes.

For the Firefox exercise, do the following:

  1. Launch Firefox.
  2. Select Tools > Options.
  3. Click Content.
  4. Clear the Enable Java and Enable Javescript check boxes.
  5. Click OK.

The Java settings are stored in the Writeable sublayer and will be deleted if the layer is reset.

Note You can also edit the Writeable sublayer through the SVS Admin.

Resetting a Layer

When a layer is created, the data captured is stored in a Read-only sublayer (see Layer Architecture on page 19). If a user makes any changes to the application/data, that data is stored in a Writeable sublayer. You can reset the layer, which deletes all the data added by the user (writeable data) and maintains the original read-only data.

For information, see Resetting Layers.

To manually reset the Firefox layer

  1. In SVS Admin, right-click the Firefox layer.
  2. Click Reset Layer and click Yes.

    This deletes all data in the Writeable sublayer.

    For the Firefox exercise, when you launch Firefox, the Java settings are reset to enabled.

Exporting a Layer to a Virtual Software Archive File

After you have created and configured a layer, you can export it to a portable Virtual Software Archive file (VSA). You can then share the VSA file or include it in a Notification Server Virtual Software Package to deploy to network users using Software Virtualization Solution in Notification Server.

To export a layer to an archive VSA file

  1. In SVS Admin, right-click the layer and click Deactivate Layer.
  2. If this layer is to be distributed to other users, you may now want to Reset the layer to remove existing user-specific information.
  3. Right-click the layer and click Export Layer.
  4. Select a filename and location to save the file. Example: C:\archives\Firefox1.5.vsa.
  5. Click OK.

All the contents of the layer are exported to the VSA file.

Importing VSA Files

Using SVS Admin, you can import an existing VSA file to make the layer available through the SVS Agent.

To manually import a VSA archive file

  1. Copy an existing VSA file to a place you can access it from.
  2. In SVS Admin, select File > Import from Layer.
  3. Browse to the VSA file you want to import.
  4. Click Open.

    The layer appears in SVS Admin.

Accessing Sample VSA Files

The Altiris Juice Web page contains sample VSA files that you can download and import.

  1. Open a Web browser to www.altiris.com/juice/svs.
  2. From the links on the left, click Topic Cloud.
  3. Under the Topic Cloud, click sample applications.
  4. Click a sample application.
  5. Click the download link.
  6. Select Save to disk and click OK.

Using Virtual Software Archive Files

You can use Virtual Software Archive files in several different ways. For information, see the following topics:

Additional stand-alone tasks you can perform with layers See Performing Virtual Software Layer Tasks and Advanced Virtual Software Layer Topics.
Deploying VSA files using Notification Server See Using Software Virtualization Solution in a Notification Server Environment.
Deploying VSA files using Deployment Solution™ See Using Software Virtualization with Altiris® Deployment Solution™
General usage information See Software Virtualization Solution Usage Scenarios

Chapter 3: Understanding Software Virtualization Solution

Chapter 5: Performing Virtual Software Layer Tasks

Comments 3 CommentsJump to latest comment

zardoz20007@lycos.com's picture

I trust this is the correct forum.

I had to replace a hd that had all of my SVS files on it.  The old drive is now accessable via an external USB case.  Only the OS was corrupt - the data files are fine.  My issue is how to transport all of my svs data onto the new system?

 

TIA Irv.

0
Login to vote
babs_ya@yahoo.com's picture

Does it possible to delopy the VSA file to the client system without Notification Server and Deployment Solutions.

I mean, i want to know that we can deploy the VSA file through SWV or SVS itself. Is there any options to do. If so, Kindly let me know.

0
Login to vote
meggie_woodfield's picture

For those interested in topics on layer patching, there is now a video on creating layer patches posted on Connect here.

0
Login to vote