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Best Practices for Delivering MS Project and Visio with VMware App Volumes 2.x Operational Tutorial



This operational tutorial provides best practices for anyone deploying App Volumes 2.x to deliver applications such as Microsoft Project or Microsoft Visio 2016 to their end users. Applications like these can interact with suites such as Microsoft Office, and require specific considerations during AppStack provisioning. This tutorial covers best practices to deliver applications and data to your end users using App Volumes 2.x. 


This operational tutorial provides best practices for anyone deploying App Volumes 2.x to deliver applications such as Microsoft Project or Microsoft Visio 2016 to their end users. Applications like these can interact with suites such as Microsoft Office, and require specific considerations during AppStack provisioning. This tutorial covers some best practices to create a seamless experience for your end-users with App Volumes.


This operational tutorial is intended for IT professionals and App Volumes administrators of existing production environments. Both current and new administrators can benefit from using this tutorial. Knowledge of VMware vSphere®, VMware vCenter Server®, Microsoft SQL Server, and View in VMware Horizon® 7 or VMware Horizon 6 is helpful.

Creating AppStacks for Microsoft Project and Visio


The process of capturing Microsoft Project or Visio is not much different from other applications, but before starting this, it is highly recommended to go through the prerequisites mentioned below.

If you want to know more about how to capture Microsoft Office products, see Installing and using Microsoft Office Products with VMware App Volumes 2.x.


Make sure you use the correct media for the Microsoft Project or Visio installation in combination with VMware App Volumes and Horizon.

Retail and OEM versions of MS Office cannot be used and are not supported on VMware Horizon desktops. If you already have an ISO of Microsoft Project or Visio downloaded for you, verify them for use with App Volumes, before proceeding with provisioning the Microsoft Project or Visio AppStacks.

  1. You must have a folder named Admin on your ISO. If there is no such folder, this is not a suitable ISO for App Volumes.
  2. Check that the name of the folder that has *.ww extension, such as ProPlus.wwVisio.wwPrjPro.ww, and Standard.ww. If there is a lowercase ‘r’ before the dot, which means retail (such as ProPlusr.wwVisior.ww), then this is not a suitable ISO.
  3. The operating system (OS) version on your App Volumes provisioning machine should be the same OS version as your Horizon pool desktops. This requirement is the same for an RDSH environment. For more information about creating a provisioning machine for creating AppStacks, see Preparing a Provisioning Machine.
  4. If Microsoft Office is installed in the base of your gold image, be sure it is also installed on your provisioning machine.
  5. Finally, make sure that the Windows Update Service is disabled, and that you do not attempt to capture any Microsoft updates while going through this provisioning process.

If all of the above has been verified and everything meets the requirements, you can make a snapshot of the provisioning machine. Snapshotting the provisioning machine is needed when you plan to provision more applications or update existing ones. After you’ve done that, you can start capturing Microsoft Project or Visio with App Volumes.

You are ready to proceed to the next section to capture Microsoft Project. The same technique and steps used below can be used for Microsoft Visio.

Capturing MS Project

This section provides an example of how to capture Microsoft Project.

Note: The same technique and steps used below can be used for Microsoft Visio.

  1. In the App Volumes Manager, select Volumes, and under the AppStacks tab, click Create.

  2. In the Create AppStacks window, fill in a name for your AppStack, verify that the other settings (such as storage location) are correct, and then click Create.

  3. In the Confirm Create AppStack window, click Create to confirm.

  4. When AppStack creation is completed, return to the AppStacks window, verify that the empty AppStack is there, and select Provision.

  5. Begin the capture of Microsoft Project by selecting the provisioning machine to assign the empty AppStack to, and click Provision.

  6. In the Confirm Start Provisioning window, click Start Provisioning.

  7. When the dialog box appears on the provisioning machine with the message: “You are now in provisioning mode,” wait. Do not click OK yet.
  8. Wait until provisioning finishes, and then click OK.
  9. You can now start installing Microsoft Project with administrator privileges. The installer gives you the ability to do a default installation or to customize the installation if necessary. Follow the online prompts.

  10. After the installation is completed, open the App Volumes pop-up message and click OK.

  11. Verify that you have installed Microsoft Project successfully by navigating to the Control panel, Add/Remove Programs section.

    Caution: At this stage, do not open Microsoft Project, and do not capture any user data that appear when you first open Microsoft Project.
  12. On the provisioning virtual machine, click Yes to proceed. The provisioining VM reboots automatically to finish the procedure.

  13. When the reboot is complete, log in with the same user credentials that you used during the provisioning stage. When the “Provisioning successful!” message appears, click OK to finish.

    Note: If you want to provision another application, make sure you revert the provisioning machine to a clean snapshot.
  14. After all the tasks are done on the provisioning machine, switch back to the App Volumes Manager, and click Complete.

  15. In the Confirm Provisioning Complete window, click Complete Provisioning to finish the provisioning process.

Testing the Microsoft Project Appstack

To test the Microsoft Project AppStack that you just created:

  1. Under the AppStacks tab, select the Microsoft Project AppStack you just created, and press Assign.

  2. Find the user you want to test the AppStack with, and select Assign.
  3. When a Confirm Assign dialog box appears, select the option: Attach AppStacks on next login or reboot.

  4. Log in to the desktop with the user credentials that the AppStack was assigned to earlier, and verify that Microsoft Project is available on the Start menu:

  5. Click the shortcut in the Start menu to start Microsoft Project. The application should start without issues.


Now your Microsoft Project AppStack is ready and can be assigned to your end-users.

Troubleshooting Tips


This section covers some troubleshooting tips.

Error during AppStack provisioning

Issue: The following error message appears during provisioning of the AppStack:

The system cannot open the device or file specified.

If you run into the error message “The system cannot open the device or file specified,” during provisioning of Microsoft Project, pressing the Cancel button shows another error message.

Resolution: To resolve the issue:

  1. In the App Volumes provisioning dialog box, stop the provisioning process by clicking OK, and then follow the prompts. The machine reboots automatically, and you must restart the provisioning process from the beginning, as follows:
  2. Log in to the provisioning machine.
  3. Start Regedit in elevated mode, and browse to the following key:

  4. Verify that the value HookInjectionWhitelist exists. If not, create the value in Multi-String Value.
  5. Add *msiexec.exe||* under the HookInjectionWhitelist key in the registry.

  6. Reboot the provisioning machine and restart the Microsoft Project provisioning process.
  7. Verify that the issue is resolved.

Error when starting Microsoft Project

Issue: When starting Microsoft Project, the application shows the configuration Progress and errors out with the following message:

The system cannot open the device or file specified.

The provisioning process of Microsoft Project might have gone successfully, but after assigning the Microsoft Project AppStack and starting the application, the user is getting one of the following error messages, usually when attempting to auto-activate the license using KMS discovery through DNS:


Resolution: To resolve the issue:

  1. This issue can occur if the AppStack template.vmdk is not default and contains other files than the template delivered by VMware. Pollution of an AppStack template can happen if a custom AppStack template is being used to capture the application.
  2. Recapture Microsoft Project using the default template, delivered with App Volumes.

Microsoft Project license is missing

Issue: When starting Microsoft Project, the end-user may encounter an unlicensed product issue after launching Microsoft Project while Microsoft Office is licensed.

Resolution: To resolve the issue:

  1. Reprovision the Microsoft Project application but before finishing the provisioning process, run the following command on the provisioning machine using an elevated CMD prompt:

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16> cscript.exe ospp.vbs /

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16> cscript.exe ospp.vbs /setprt:1688

  2. The sethst parameter is used to specify the Key Management Server (KMS) used within your organization. In the example above, replace with the fully qualified domain name of your KMS Server. Microsoft Project can auto-discover the KMS server through DNS and will activate Microsoft Project automatically. The user should see the Product Information as below after launching the Microsoft Project application.

Summary and Additional Resources


This operational tutorial provided recommended best-practices for provisioning Microsoft Project and Microsoft Visio with App Volumes.

For more information about VMware App Volumes, see VMware Digital Workspace Tech Zone.

Additional Resources

For more information, see the following resources:

About the Author and Contributors

This operational tutorial was written by:

  • Shrestha Upendra, Sr. EUC Solution Architect, EUC Field Engineering

Additional contributors to this tutorial include:

  • Raymond Wiesemann, Lead Architect, VMware EUC Field Engineering
  • Stephane Asselin, Sr. Manager, VMware EUC Field Engineering
  • Harold Stiess, PSO Consultant, VMware


To comment on this paper, contact VMware End-User-Computing Technical Marketing at

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