Launching local apps (App Launcher)

 Table of Contents

 

Introduction

It's possible to launch local applications from your Workspace using the Workspace 365 App Launcher. The App Launcher enables more convenient configuration and management of local applications for admins. This also simplifies the deployment by the created MSI and allows you to set parameters on these applications. Consequently, users can easily start local apps from their Workspace.

In "Launching Local applications" we describe how you can launch local applications with some Windows Registry edits. We make use of the URI handlers within the OS. For the Workspace 365 App Launcher, we make use of the same protocol. But for admins it's much easier to create and deploy these instructions to launch local applications including parameters.

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Requirements

The Workspace 365 App Launcher consists of two files:

  • Workspace 365 App Launcher.msi: The .msi is handling the commands given from the Workspace. For the Windows App Launcher you need a Windows OS.
  • Instructions.xml: The instruction file is the file where you configure the local application and optional parameters. The instruction file comes with 3 preconfigured applications:
    • Google Chrome
    • Calculator
    • Teams
      • For Teams we provide two instructions for the new Teams. The "option 1" instruction should work in most cases, but the "option 2" instruction can be used if necessary.

 

Instructions

Step 1. Download the Workspace 365 Local App Launcher

  1. Go to the Download page and download the App launcher.
    • Please contact your Workspace 365 supplier to provide the files if you cannot access the download page. Our download pages are only accessible to partners and direct customers.
  2. Make sure that you deploy the Instruction file (xml) in the Workspace 365 App Launcher folder
    The Workspace 365 App Launcher.msi including the Instructions.xml must be deployed on the target client(s). The installation path of the client is:
    "C:\Program Files (x86)\Workspace 365 App Launcher"

The .msi can be installed silently. You can deploy this via e.g. Intune or any other application deployment that you are using. 

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Step 2. Edit the instruction file (xml)

The instruction file is written in xml. Each instruction has a a few parameters. These must be configured in the xml file. You can open and edit the xml file with Notepad for example.

  • id (required)
  • target (required)
  • working directory (optional)
  • args (optional)


Instruction file example

Pay attention to capital letters and punctuation when editing the instruction file with your own parameters.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<Instructions>
<!-- Explorer -->
<Instruction id="D0369AB1-EDBB-40DE-B74F-62EE43798C8A" target="%windir%\Explorer.exe" />

<!-- Snipping Tool -->
<Instruction id="j8faf5fa-d271-414c-8723-1cedd5881c27" target="SnippingTool.exe" />
<Instruction id="d8faf5gb-g300-425c-9724-3ccd5981d198" target="C:\Windows\Sysnative\SnippingTool.exe" />


<!-- Calculator -->
<Instruction id="G1370AB1-ADJJ-41DC-G75G-73EE43808C9B" target="%windir%\system32\calc.exe" />

<!-- Chrome -->
<Instruction id="3ACA9EE8-4204-4B14-98A4-C79D8E7E7E4B" target="Chrome.exe" args="-incognito" />

<!-- Spotify -->
<Instruction id="6C09F2CB-099C-457A-BE09-81CEEC529716" target="%AppData%\Spotify\Spotify.exe" />

<!-- TeamViewer -->
<Instruction id="GC14C38E-1796-4104-BF32-1E0464574C6A" target="%ProgramW6432%\TeamViewer\TeamViewer.exe" />

<!-- PowerShell -->
<Instruction id="4A7F2CAC-2F72-4577-8A3C-F2DD06A39010" target="%SystemRoot%\system32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe" />
<Instruction id="25FDD6A5-175B-4ED2-B3BB-BB76EC768650" target="%windir%\system32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\PowerShell_ISE.exe" />
<Instruction id="5ad45702-c1b1-4eea-a0f4-9d035247ff2f" target="Test\powershell.lnk" workingdirectory="%userprofile%" />
<Instruction id="351f1c63-75a1-45d0-8a31-d0133d778216" target="powershell_ise.exe" workingdirectory="C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0" />

<!-- Loom -->
<Instruction id="1178D2B6-012E-4E76-A25B-B6B97243AE34" target="%LOCALAPPDATA%\Programs\Loom\Loom.exe" />

</Instructions>

 

"id"

Fill in the instruction id for your application. The id is the link between the application and Workspace, and is the GUID configured in the instruction file. This can be a custom GUID and you can generate one yourself.

 

"target"

You determine which target (application path) you want to start from Workspace. Keep in mind that this is a relative path and needs to be located on the exact same location on each client to which you are deploying the Workspace 365 App Launcher and Instruction file to.

The process we run is x86. For example, when using a system variable like "%ProgramFiles%" for x86 processes, it will point to the "Program Files (x86)" path. If you open it in windows explorer on a x64 OS, it will open the "Program Files" folder.

If you can run the application from the Windows Run command, you should be able to open the local app from your Workspace using the same path. However, is this is not the case and you are not able to run the application with the Local App launcher, "%ProgramW6432%" can be used.

Sysnative is a virtual folder, a special alias, that can be used to access the 64-bit System32 folder from a 32-bit application or script. For example, if you want to specify the target folder from a 32-bit application such as Snipping tool, the target would be:

target="C:\Windows\Sysnative\SnippingTool.exe"

Sometimes you only need to note down the .exe file. 

target="SnippingTool.exe"

To find the target path for UWP apps, like Windows store apps, you can follow this guide. End result wil look something like this:

target="shell:appsFolder\Microsoft.MSPaint_8wekyb3d8bbwe!Microsoft.MSPaint"

 

"working directory"

As of version 1.2 of the Local App Launcher, a configuration option called “workingdirectory” is added. This is similar to the "target". But instead of launching applications in the "C:\Windows\system32" folder, it launches with the user profile, e.g. "C:\Users\JohnDoe". Some applications try to access the current directory. However, not all users had access to the system32 folder and as a consequence, local applications could not be opened.

<Instruction id="75f51d21-11b2-4cdc-83a7-b5c911f5d69a" target="D:\Deleteme\ShowCurrentFolder.bat" workingdirectory="%userprofile%"/>

 

"Args" (optional)

We can add arguments (parameters) to a target. For example, if you would like to start Windows Explorer with a certain folder/mapping, you can do the following:

args="/root,&quot;C:\Workspace 365 Support&quot;"

This will start Windows Explorer with the C:\Workspace 365 Support folder.

Please note that you need to precisely configure the arguments. As you see in the example above, you need to place quotes, because the path contains spaces. But we only support xml encoded args.

"C:\Workspace 365 Support" 

Will become:

&quot;C:\Workspace 365 Support&quot;

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Step 3. Activate the app and add it to Workspace

  1. Go to the App store (or click on "+ Add tiles").
  2. Make sure Manage apps is selected.

    3.1ManageApps.png

  3. Click Add new app.
  4. Add the 'Local app'. Then, select Add.

    3.4AddLocalApp.png

  5. Fill in the app name and instruction id (this must match exactly with your XML instruction file). Optional to choose a different app color, icon and manage who has access to the app.

    instruction_ID.PNG

  6. Click Save when you're done.

You can now add the app to your Workspace from the App store.

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Troubleshooting

If you are having problems with the Local App Launcher, see our dedicated Troubleshooting the Local App Launcher article.

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