Application Profiling

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Application Profiler is a standalone tool that helps you determine where in the file system or registry an application is storing its user settings. The output from Application Profiler is a configuration file (template) which can be used to preserve and roam application settings for your end users. Optionally, you can record a default set of application settings and apply and/or enforce these defaults for your users based on a variety of conditions.

Application Profiler analyzes where an application stores its file and registry configuration. The analysis results in an optimized Flex configuration file, which you can edit in the Application Profiler or use directly in the Dynamic Environment Manager environment.

With Application Profiler, you can also create application-specific predefined settings, with which you can set the initial configuration state of applications. Save the Flex configuration file with predefined settings to export the current application configuration state.

Application Profiler is licensed as a VMware Dynamic Environment Manager component and is available in both DEM Standard and DEM Enterprise.

Application Profiling Overview

In the following steps, you will profile an application following these simple steps:

  1. Start Application Profiler.
  2. From within Application Profiler, invoke the application you want to profile.
  3. In the background, Application Profiler monitors the registry and file system actions of the running application.
  4. Change the necessary settings in the application to make sure that all application settings are saved, and exit the application.
  5. Application Profiler stops monitoring and outputs the collected information as a Flex configuration file.

Launch Dynamic Environment Manager Management Console

If you already have the DEM management console running from a previous exercise, skip this step.

From the Main Console, double-click the DEM Management Console shortcut on the desktop. This will open up the Dynamic Environment Manager Management Console.

Applications with Flex Configuration Files

On the left side, expand the Applications folder to view the list of Flex configuration files in this environment. DEM provides personalization only for those applications and Windows settings you configure by adding Flex configuration files to the management console. You can add configuration files in several ways, including the use of downloadable templates. See the module on Personalization for more information.  

Notice Notepad++ is not in the list of applications.

In this module, you will profile the Notepad++ application so you can provide personalization, predefined settings, and more for your end users.

Minimize the DEM Management Console, but do not close it.

Launch Win10 RDP Session

From the Main Console Desktop launch the Win10-01a.rdp icon on the desktop.

Open the Application Profiler

From the Win10-01a.rdp session start menu, click on the Application Profiler within the VMware DEM folder to open the Application Profiler tool.

Application Profiler Overview

The application profiler produces four files upon completion of profiling an app:

  1. INI - Dynamic Environment Manager configuration file containing the import and export locations. This file defines the parameters for Dynamic Environment Manager to manage the application.
  2. ICO - Icon used by Dynamic Environment Manager Management Console and the Self-Support tool.
  3. FLAG - Flag file for FlexEngine, when DirectFlex is enabled (default)
  4. ZIP - Contains the predefined user settings (Only produced when creating predefined settings)

The ZIP file is not to be opened directly. It is critical to use the Edit Profile Archive button in the Application Profiler. Using anything else will render the file unreadable by FlexEngine!

Start Session

  1. Click Start Session from the top left toolbar of the Application Profiler.
  2. Navigate All Programs > Programs > Notepad++ and select Notepad++.
  3. Click OK.

The Application Profiler invokes the executable to start Notepad++. As you make changes to the application configuration, the Application Profiler monitors the file system and registry to track where the changes are made.

Customize Notepad++

  1. From the menu bar, select Settings
  2. Click on Preferences

Modify Various Settings

  1. De-select the Show status bar Show status bar check box.
  2. From the Toolbar list, select Filled Fluent UI: small.
  3. Close the preferences box.

Note: In this example exercise, you are making minimal changes to the application. In practice, you should update many settings for an application to ensure all locations are captured by the Application Profiler tool. Remember, profiling an application is not about capturing specific settings, it is about learning where an application stores settings in the file system or registry. Some applications use the registry for some settings and an INI file for others. The more settings you change during profiling, the better the Application Profiler tool can learn to provide personalization for an application.

Close Notepad++

  1. Click Close for the Notepad++ app.

Finish Application Profiling the App

Application Profiler detects when Notepad++ has stopped running and terminates the monitoring process.

  1. The Application Profiler has determined the changes you made to the application settings were stored in <AppData>\Notepad++.
  2. Click OK

Minimize the Application Profiler and continue to the next step. 

Navigate to AppData

  1. Click Start
  2. Enter: %appdata%, then press ENTER.

Open Notepad++ Folder

Double-click Notepad++

Review Settings Changes

Notepad++ stores all sorts of configuration data in this location. During the application profiling process, you changed two settings which were written to files in this location. Application Profiler will produce a Flex configuration file that monitors this entire directory for changes because it has learned this is where the application stores them.

Review Specific Settings

If you would like to see where the settings you changed (Big icons, hide status bar) were written:

  1. Double-click config.xml
  2. Scroll or search for guiconfig (you can use CTRL+F and type guiconfig to search)

Save the Config File

  1. Restore the VMware Dynamic Environment Manager Application Profiler from the taskbar
  2. From the DEM Application Profiler, Click on Save
  3. Click Save Config File from the choices

Note: Because you selected Save Config File, rather than Save Config File with Predefined Settings, the preference settings you changed in this lab will NOT be presented to end users or when you launch the Notepad++ application in the next steps.  You changed only preference settings in Notepad++ so that Application Profiler could monitor and determine the location in which Notepad++ stores configuration changes.  

If you select Save a Flex Configuration File with Predefined Settings, a profile archive is created to use for predefined settings when a user logs in. 

Save Config Files to Desktop

  1. Save the files to the desktop by selecting Desktop in the left menu.
  2. Enter NPP for the File name
  3. Click Save
  4. Close the Application Profiler by clicking on the X in the top right corner of the Application Profiler window.

Using the New Flex Configuration File

Now that you have profiled Notepad++, you can import the files created by the Application Profiler to the DEM Management Console. Once imported, you can use the Flex config file to provide personalization to end users for the Notepad++ application.

Copy the Config Files

Note:  The files may not be together on the desktop.  Drag and drop them so they are together and you can easily select them.

  1. On the desktop of the Main Console, select all three files created by the Application Profiler: NPP.ini, NPP.ini.flag, NPP.ico.
  2. Once all three are selected, Right click on them and select Copy.

Remember the INI file is the application config file, the INI.FLAG file tells DEM to import and export the settings when the application opens and closes, and ICO is the icon file.

Paste the files to the Application Folder on Config Share

  1. Open Windows Explorer from the taskbar
  2. Type \\mainconsole\DEMProd$\general\Applications in the Navigation bar
  3. Paste the 3 files here by right clicking then select Paste
  4. Minimize Win10-01a RDP session.

Review New Application

  1. Navigate to the DEM Management Console. Be sure NOT to click on the Application Profiler window.
  2. Click the Refresh Tree Button on the top left bar under Personalization.
  3. Click the + sign to expand the Applications folder, if necessary.
  4. Click NPP to view the contents of the Flex Config file generated by the Application Profiler.


VMware provides application management templates for commonly-used software packages, and the VMware Dynamic Environment Manager Community Forum contains many more templates created with an included tool called Application Profiler.

Application Profiler is a standalone tool that helps you determine where in the file system or registry an application is storing its user settings. The output from Application Profiler is a configuration file which can be used to preserve and roam application settings for your end users. Optionally, you can record a default set of application settings, and apply and/or enforce these defaults for your users based on a variety of conditions.

This is the conclusion of this exercise - we have gone over how to use Application Profiler.

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