Overview of Profiling Applications

Overview of Profiling Applications

Overview of Profiling Applications

Successful management of applications across physical, virtual, and cloud devices is becoming increasingly important. Whether your organization fits neatly into one of those silos or spans all three, the challenge is finding tools designed to work well for any one platform, and seamlessly across them all. VMware User Environment Manager™ is one of those tools. With a little savvy, you can provide a superior experience for your end users while simplifying profile management.

Introduction to Application Profiler

Personalization, or management of user-specific application settings, is one of many features included with User Environment Manager. This feature enables end users to roam between disparate devices while preserving custom application settings. IT benefits from simplified application installations while delivering necessary configuration settings based on any number of environmental conditions.

If you are new to User Environment Manager, be sure to visit the following sites:

On these sites, you will learn about a variety of features and benefits, such as dynamic policy configuration across physical, virtual, and cloud desktops. Although an overview of User Environment Manager is outside the scope of this tutorial, one fundamental concept bears repeating because it is sometimes overlooked or misunderstood. User Environment Manager takes a whitelist approach to managing the user profile. Given this design approach, IT must specify which applications and settings will be managed. Although it does mean a little more work up front, this solution prevents excessive profile growth and profile corruption, enables user settings to roam across Windows versions, and provides IT with granular control to manage as much or as little of the user experience as needed.

Preserving user-specific application settings and applying or enforcing specific default application settings are key features of User Environment Manager. Both of these concepts are illustrated in a blog post titled VMware User Environment Manager, Part 2: Complementing Mandatory Profiles with VMware User Environment Manager, which demonstrates the power and flexibility of combining User Environment Manager with Microsoft Mandatory Profiles. VMware provides application management templates for commonly used software packages. Additional templates can be downloaded from the VMware Marketplace or the Community Forum. You can create your own templates 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 that 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 or enforce these defaults for your users based on a variety of conditions.

For more information or to get started with the Application Profiler tool, see the VMware User Environment Manager Application Profiler Administration Guide.

The Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle, commonly referred to as the 80/20 rule, states that 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. The Pareto Principle is often applicable with regards to application management in that a small number of applications tend to cause the vast majority of challenges for IT.

While the Application Profiler tool is easy to use, and most applications can be profiled with little more effort than a simple installation, there are exceptions. The aforementioned VMware Marketplace and Community Forum are great places to look when you are having trouble profiling an application, but what if you cannot find the particular application template you need?

Know Thine App

Because Windows is an open platform, application developers have a great deal of flexibility in the way they design applications to behave. While guidelines and best practices have been established over the years, we still occasionally find an application that writes a log file to C:\Temp!

Understanding the behavior of an application, not just during installation, but as the application is opened, modified, updated, and so on, is critical to successfully managing the application lifecycle. There are a number of tools available, such as the Sysinternals Suite, to help you understand how an application behaves. These are powerful tools, but as you can see, they are plentiful and can be time-consuming and cumbersome to use.

The User Environment Manager Application Profiler tool is purpose-built to help you easily understand how an application behaves. With real-time application analysis capabilities, Application Profiler automatically generates configuration files that enable application management.

What to Expect from This Operational Tutorial

The purpose of this tutorial is to enable you, the IT administrator, to successfully profile and manage any applications you choose. Multiple applications are profiled in this tutorial, and each was chosen to demonstrate specific techniques in the profiling process.

Going back to the Pareto Principle, most applications are simple to profile using the steps detailed in the VMware User Environment Manager Application Profiler Administration Guide. Because of this, applications known to require some troubleshooting have been chosen for this tutorial. You will get a chance to see the symptoms of applications that do not initially profile correctly, and the process used to resolve the problem. You can then take these practices and apply them to applications in your environment.


This tutorial is designed for a User Environment Manager administrator with at least a basic understanding of the Application Profiler tool. If you are new to Application Profiler, review the guide listed previously before continuing.