Breaking IT Down: Deploying MED-V with Existing Management Systems

Breaking IT Down: Deploying MED-V with Existing Management Systems

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Today’s post is from David Trupkin, Sr Product Manager from our Windows Virtualization Team.

As I’ve talked to IT pros at events around the world, many of you have told me that the biggest barrier to your Windows 7 deployments has been incompatible legacy applications. These applications may run on Windows XP or they might be browser-based applications that run in Internet Explorer 6 or 7. While many older applications just work in Windows 7, some may require compatibility shims. Others may require upgrades or patches. You may decide to replace some applications or retire them altogether. For those applications that are left – the ones that simply must run on Windows XP – you should know about Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) 2.0. MED-V bridges the “last mile” of application compatibility between Windows XP and Windows 7, allowing older applications to run inside Windows XP compatibility workspaces but integrate seamlessly into your users’ Windows 7 environment.

Don’t confuse MED-V with Microsoft’s consumer and small business compatibility tool, Windows XP Mode. MED-V expands on the capabilities in Windows XP Mode by adding enterprise features such as the ability to use a custom Windows XP image, automated first time setup, control of Internet Explorer URL redirection, automatic network printer mapping and easy packaging for enterprise distribution. MED-V version 1, first released in 2009, was based on a client-server model and required dedicated management servers. MED-V version 2, in Release Candidate status now and due for release before the end of March, 2011, is based on an application model which eliminates the need for a dedicated server. You can deploy and manage MED-V 2.0 with your existing software distribution management tools, like System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM).

med-v workspace packager

Let’s spend some time looking at MED-V 2.0 and its requirements. On the client, the MED-V Host Agent installs on Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate with a minimum of 2GB RAM and will support either x86 or x64 architectures. At least 10 GB of disk space is recommended, although you may use more or less disk space depending on your particular workspace image and combination of applications. You’ll also need to deploy WVPC and WVPC KB977206 (which allows WVPC to run on systems without hardware-assisted virtualization) to systems that do not have them installed already.

MED-V Workspace Packager lets you package your Windows XP virtual machine for use as a MED-V workspace. The documentation included with the Workspace Packager will guide you through the process of:

  • Preparing your Windows XP image
  • Creating a MED-V Workspace package for deployment
  • Testing and deploying your MED-V workspace
  • Managing applications and software updates within MED-V and
  • Managing MED-V settings after deployment

Often, you’ll deploy a management agent such as the SCCM client inside of your MED-V workspace to allow for application distribution and update along with patch management. The SCCM team has provided a client hotfix, to be installed on your SCCM SP2 Site Server, which improves SCCM functionality when you’ve configured your MED-V workspace to use network address translation (NAT). The hotfix allows a MED-V workspace that is also an SCCM client to use the same SCCM site and distribution point assignment as its host.

Once you’ve created your MED-V workspace package you’ll have a MED-V Workspace Package – a standard application file set that’s ready to deploy. You’ll find:

  • A setup.exe
  • A .medv file that is a compressed copy of your workspace VHD file and
  • An .msi installer

You can create installation tasks within your software deployment tool to install MED-V and its prerequisites together, or you can create separate tasks that deploy the individual components. If you are using SCCM, you can create packages and a Task Sequence to install the MED-V and WVPC components.

In this sample batch script for MED-V component installation, the MED-V components are installed in inverted order, allowing the installation to complete with a single reboot. There are two things to keep in mind about this batch script. First, while the MED-V Client installer and MED-V workspace package installer will detect if they are running on an x86 or x64 system and will install the appropriate “bitness”, the WVPC update and associated hotfix are specific to x86 or x64 systems. Second, the MED-V installation will not be complete until the system is restarted.

REM install the MEDV Host Agent
start /WAIT msiexec /i MED-V_HostAgent_Setup.exe /qn IGNORE_PREREQUISITES=1
REM install the MED-V workspace package
start /WAIT .\setup.exe /qn OVERWRITEVHD=1
REM Install Windows Virtual PC (this example is for Windows Virtual PC x64)
start /WAIT Windows6.1-KB958559-x64.msu /norestart /quiet
REM Install Windows Virtual PC update (this example is for the x64 version of the update)
Windows6.1-KB977206-x64.msu /norestart /quiet

Here are command line examples for creating packages within SCCM:

  • MED-V Host Agent
  • msiexec /i MED-V_HostAgent_Setup.exe /qn IGNORE_PREREQUISITES=1
  • MED-V workspace package
  • setup.exe /qn
  • WVPC installation (Note: This example shows the x64 version of WVPC. If installing within a Task Sequence, use “Run Command Line” instead of “Install Software” to avoid a reboot at this step.)
  • wusa.exe Windows6.1-KB958559-x64.msu /norestart /quiet
  • WVPC update (Note: This example shows the x64 version of the update. If installing within a Task Sequence, use “Run Command Line” instead of “Install Software” to avoid a reboot at this step.)
  • wusa.exe Windows6.1-KB977206-x64.msu /norestart /quiet

Once MED-V 2.0 and Windows Virtual PC have been deployed, and any necessary reboot completed, the MED-V First Time Setup runs and legacy applications published from MED-V are available in the Windows 7 Start menu. Legacy web based applications or sites defined by the MED-V administrator are seamlessly redirected to Internet Explorer 6 or 7.

For more information on MED-V 2.0 and to try it yourself, register on Connect and check out the MED-V 2.0 Release Candidate today and for a complete library of information on MED-V, App-V, VDI and other desktop virtualization solutions, visit the Desktop Virtualization Zone on the Springboard Series on TechNet.


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  • The installation string for the MED-V Host Agent didn't work for me as it doesn't register as a valid installer package.  I was able to make it work with a slight modification:

    MED-V_HostAgent_Setup.exe /qn IGNORE_PREREQUISITES=1

    When trying to install with msiexec in front of it, SCCM reports an exit code 1620.