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Endpoint Virtualization Community Blog

Sampling New Software with a "Scratch" Layer

Created: 14 May 2008 • Updated: 29 Jul 2010 • 2 comments
olliebean's picture
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If you already have a number of applications virtualized as SVS layers, testing new unknown packages can be a tedious task. Testing a new piece of software means that all other layers have to be deactivated. Is there an easier way around this?

Read on to learn more.

Yes, there is. Create an empty scratch layer - I've called mine "!Scratch" (the "!" just ensures it gets sorted to the top of the layer list in SVS Agent). Then create a new shortcut, and in the box where Windows asks you to enter the location, type the following:

svscmd !Scratch a exec -p

If you put this shortcut on your desktop you can drag-and-drop a program file onto it (e.g. the installer of aa application you want to test), and the program will be run within the !Scratch layer. Or you can put it in your SendTo directory, and run a program in the layer by right-clicking. Then when you've finished testing the program, you can delete it by resetting the !Scratch layer.

Thanks to Tim Perkins for the original idea for this - he posted a VBScript to do the same thing at - it just seems quicker to create the shortcut than to download and unzip the script.

NB. This will not work for .msi installers. What I do with these is copy the .msi file into the writeable [COMMONDESKTOP] directory of the !Scratch layer, then activate it and run the installer from the desktop.

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I tried the soultion with Total comander version 702a, when resetting the layer it does not do a complete cleanup, the program folders and desktop shortcuts remain, after resetting the layer, so you manually have to remove the program folders and shortcuts, is this the way it´s meant to be our am I doing something wrong?

Best regards


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lamaslany's picture

Just tried this with AirDefense Personal Lite but it seems that it ran the installer on the local system. De-activating, resetting and even deleting the later did not get rid of the files - in the end I just uninstalled it.

Note: This does install from an .msi but it gets called by a setup executable. Would this be the problem? I assumed your footnote was referring to directly executing an .msi file...

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