September 20, 2009 - Sven Huisman

Migrate to Windows 7 with InstallFree

At VMworld 2009 in San Francisco I visited the InstallFree booth. And while I was there, the guys from InstallFree showed me this concept of the universal client, where you package/virtualize your applications once and run those applications on XP, Vista, Windows 2008 and Windows 7. “Is this so special?” I thought to myself. Well, actually it is. Where some of the vendors will make it sound very easy to migrate to a new OS when using their application virtualization solution, in fact it isn’t. Sure, in some cases you don’t need to repackage your applications, but at least you have to certify if the package still works on the new OS. Most of the times the virtualized applications still have dependencies on the OS. For example when virtualizing an application which requires .NET framework you can decide to include it in the package or install .NET framework in the base image of your packaging station (and on all the clients of course). When choosing the second option, your virtualized application is depended on the OS. This is an easy example, but in many cases the dependency on DLL’s or other files on the local OS isn’t that obvious.

I shot a video of the guys of InstallFree because I thought it was good stuff for a blogpost, but actually it’s just the beginning of a new investigation. In an upcoming article I will blog about how to migrate to Windows 7 for all the application virtualization products from our comparison chart. In the mean time, you can check the video from InstallFree about the universal client concept.

InstallFree demonstration from on Vimeo.

Virtual Applications Application Virtualization / Installfree / VMworld / Windows 7 /


  • I’d love to do this on Windows 7 with ThinApp but it’s just not supported yet. 🙁

  • Cobra7 says:

    ThinApp will be a big mess. With a built in client your apps are set and will be very difficult to update. Windows 7 is using an altered file system which is why ThinApp crashes and burns on Windows 7.

    1. If you are lucky, the new ThinApp that will be released sometime next year will make you repack everything you already have so it will work on Win 7, Vista and XP. Best of luck with that.

    2. You will either have to choose Windows 7 or XP/Vista when you package and need to double the number of packages you already have.

    Thats not even going into how your mandatory 3rd party apps that Thinapp needs are going to have to change plus don’t forget the login scripts.

    Thats why my company is going with InstallFree, we only need 1 package per app. If 2 departments want 2 configurations we use the same base app and check a box to give the other one the changes.

    Best of luck ThinApp users.

    • Shawn says:


      The university I work for just partnered with InstallFree as our Virtual Applications solution. I’d greatly appreciate any feedback/input you could give me on how your initial rollout of InstallFree went. You can reach me at

      Thank you much!
      Shawn Morris
      Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP)