Before I say too much lets play a game of spot the difference! Below are two screenshots of me sequencing Paint.NET in both pre-SP3 and SP3 for App-V 5.0:
Spotted it?! Of course you have. You will notice that the SP3 sequencer no longer requires the entering of a Primary Virtual Application Directory or PVAD prior to sequencing. Now to say the PVAD has been the subject of a lot of discussion since the release of App-V 5.0 RTM would be a massive understatement! I can recall countless conversations/debates about what the standard should be, most people had strong feelings that the best way forward was to avoid the PVAD and go VFS all the way! Well check out how this package looks when sequenced as default now:
That’s right, everything is now put into VFS. Cutting down the confusion and making things much clearer! Another massive benefit of this and one of the reasons people used to specify “dummy PVADs” is now the roots of packages inside a connection group will merge. Not to be confused with the Merge with Local Directory setting, even as standard without tweaking the behaviour if I were to the sequence another package which shared the same root, the packages will automatically merge. For example I have sequenced the following plugin for Paint.NET:
As you can see the plugin package shares the same root as the parent package, no worries however, with merged roots the default, without any extra tweaks once these packages are deployed in a connection group, the roots will merge seamlessly allowing Paint.NET to see and load in the plugin package.
But I really want to use the PVAD!
Really? Well there are ways to bring it back:
1. Launch the Sequencer from a command prompt and specify: Sequencer.exe -EnablePVADControl
2. Populate a DWORD value called EnablePVADControl in registry here: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\AppV\Sequencer\Compatibility. Setting the value to 1 will enable the PVAD field next time you launch the Sequencer and 0 will turn it back off.
3. Use the command line sequencer and specify the -PrimaryVirtualApplicationDirectory argument against New-AppvSequencerPackage.
So is the PVAD debate well and truly over? More or less I’d say as the default to approach of VFS is now inherently part of the sequencer GUI. However there is the option to use PVAD via the methods above so we cannot say goodbye to the concept just yet!
Read more about the improvements of App-V SP3 here!