When doing Application Streaming “Profiler” demonstrations, I often get a warm reception when people figure out that the Streaming Profiler can do a “Virtual Restart” or “Virtual Reboot”, even without rebooting the machine!  A screen shot of the GUI to control this is below and this is what usually gets the warm reception started. 

I call it the “check box” that does nothing!  Look at the circled box at the lower left of the panel.


Why is this GUI checkbox there if it does nothing?  I’m not sure.  Back in the beginning, I was “deep” into the Streaming Profiler backend (read: not the GUI) and had a fair involvement in the App Streaming implementation of virtual reboot. 

GUI perspective: Admin selects the above checkbox.  When the “installer” completes, the GUI will send a command to the streaming backend code to tell it to do a virtual reboot.  The reply from the back end is “super!  I was going to do it anyway”.

My point in this blog post is that if you are profiling an application installation and you KNOW that this installer needs a virtual reboot to be successful and if you think you may have forgotten to check that box, no worries, the virutal restart stuff was done anyway.  The GUI box that “does nothing” is more of a feel good button than a button to tell the profiler to do some work.

Another way to look at this is that if you are in the profiler and you are running an installer and you’re not sure if a virtual restart is needed, you don’t need to worry about it.  The profiler backend is going to figure this out anway, so ignore the question.

Details

The profiler back end does a bunch of things when the application installer has terminated.  Among those is interrogating the RUNONCE and similar items that get set up by installers to do work on the reboot.  *IF* the installer has populated any of this “do work on next boot” stuff, then the profiler back end already knows there is more work to do and doesn’t need the admin or GUI to tell it about it.  Humans tend to be unreliable for such information anyway and the profiler can “see” directly what the installer wanted to do to the machine, so it doesn’t really need the GUI help to know if the virtual restart should be simulated.

It is a nice GUI checkbox and it does make it clear that the App Streaming Profiler can handle applications that need the system restarted to complete their installs.  The profiler though runs the installer under isolation, so it can do the “reboot” stuff without really rebooting the machine.  A good capability, a pretty GUI and … one you don’t need to worry about checking when running the Streaming Profiler.

Joe Nord