How do I get App-V?

10NOTE: This post is part of a series. You might want to start at the beginning:

  1. “I’m new to App-V so how do I get started?”
  2. What is App-V and how does it work?
  3. How do I get App-V?  (This post)
  4. Getting Started with Sequencing
  5. To Manage or not to Manage

How do I get App-V

App-V used to require a special subscription, but moving forward it might be included with your operating system. I will try to summarize the licensing situation along with where to get it here, however as always, your rights are only whatever your license agreement with Microsoft says.

App-V consists of different parts:

  • Sequencer
  • Client
  • Server (Optional)

These days we obtain the parts from separate locations.

Obtaining the Sequencer

The App-V sequencer is used to prepare application packages. This piece is now delivered as part of the Windows ADK. You should always grab the latest version of the ADK (which is typically labelled to match an OS version) even when you intend to run the sequencer on an older OS. When installing from the ADK, you only want the App-V Sequencer checkbox feature (a discussion on keeping the sequencer operating system clean is in Part 4 of this series).

Older versions of the sequencer are still available for download as part of the MDOP 2016 or prior MDOP ISOs. The sequencer is free for you to use (assuming the OS is licensed). While there is a general rule-of-thumb that you should not sequence on a newer version of the sequencer than the oldest client that packages will run on, but Microsoft has been very good lately with backwards compatibility and we currently prefer to sequence with the latest version.

The Sequencer is normally not installed on a machine with the App-V client, but for the newer operating systems where the client is pre-installed you don’t have a choice; in this case it is recommended that you disable the app-v client before installing the sequencer.

Obtaining the Client

App-V has a client piece that runs on the operating system that the user logs into to run applications. This might be a desktop operating system or a server operating system (such as Remote Desktop Services). The client piece is what requires licensing care. This will be described in more detail below.  The client may be installed as part of the operating system, or may require a separate installation.

Getting the Client for Companies using Windows 10 Enterprise or Education build 1607 or greater, or Server 2016 or greater.

The App-V client is now included directly in the operating system, so if you are licensed for the OS, you are licensed for App-V. I have not verified this, but presumably the N and K versions of Windows 10 Enterprise are included.

Older operating systems, and especially Windows 10 Home and Professional versions, do not include the client directly in the OS, but see below for options.

When the client is included in the OS directly, it is disabled by default. The client is easily enabled by the enable-appv PowerShell cmdlet. If in doubt, there is also a get-appvstatus cmdlet to allow you to check if it is enabled. If these cmdlets do not exist, you are on an older or unsupported operating system.

Getting the Client for other situations

Any other situation requires you to locate and install the App-V client software onto the operating system. These versions do not support the enablement PowerShell cmdlets; they are automatically enabled.

These installers are also located in the MDOP release ISOs mentioned previously. Be sure to check for hotfixes also. App-V hotfixes are cumulative, so you only need the more recent hotfix.

It is my belief (currently) that to install the separate client installers you must have MDOP rights.  MDOP might be included in your Enterprise or Educational Agreement (Microsoft started adding it automatically in new agreements signed after some magic date in the fall of 2015), so check your agreement.  Otherwise MDOP is an additional purchase that would require Software Assurance be obtained first.

Obtaining the Optional Server Components

App-V has optional server components. These implement web services and may require a database back-end. You can find this installer today in the MDOP 2016 Spring release (Volume Licensing center or MSDN), but always be sure to check for hotfixes. The App-V server is free for you to use (assuming the OS and Database are licensed).

There are three server components, the Management and Publishing Servers (which work together), and the Reporting Server (which is independent.

The App-V Server will be covered more in Part 5 of this series where management options are discussed.

Author: Tim Mangan

Tim is a Microsoft MVP, and a Citrix CTP Fellow. He is an expert in App-V and MSIX.