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Tips on Using snAppShot correctly

(Last modified: 06Apr2004)

This document (10081452) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


Tips on Using snAppShot correctly

Using snAppShot more effectively


Novell ZENworks for Desktops 4 - ZfD 4.0

Novell ZENworks for Desktops 4.01 - ZfD 4.01

Novell ZENworks for Desktops 4.0 SP1b - ZfD 4.0 SP1b

Novell ZENworks for Desktops 3.2 - ZfD 3.2

Novell ZENworks for Desktops 3.2 SP1 - ZfD 3.2 SP1

Novell ZENworks for Desktops 3.2 SP2 - ZfD 3.2 SP2

Novell ZENworks for Desktops 3.2 SP3 - ZfD 3.2 SP3

Novell Application Launcher (NAL)

Microsoft Windows XP Professional


How to get a clean snAppShot of an application for NAL

Avoiding problems when doing an application snAppShot

Getting a clean application snapshot

How to do a proper snAppShot of an application for NAL

Tips and Tricks for using snAppShot

Best practices on using snAppShot


General Tips
- Don't snAppShot MSI applications (like MS Office 2000/XP/.NET), distribute MSI applications through NAL instead (using a MST answer file or MSIEXEC.EXE command line options)

- Don't use it for Internet Explorer (IE), use the IE Administration Kit (IEAK) instead - Available from Microsoft

- Don't snAppShot Operating System Upgrades (like upgrading a Windows 2000 Professional workstation to XP Professional)

- Don't snAppShot Operating System patches, support packs, or hot fixes. Microsoft provides documentation on how to do silent installs for Network Administrators.

- Applications that are tied to hardware/drivers or complex licensing/activation will work better with silent installs or unattended answer files (ie, not with snAppShot). See application vendor for details on distributing those applications silently without user intervention. Some examples of of applications tied to specific hardware would be the Novell Client, which uses the ACU mechanism for automatic upgrades, or VPN Clients. An example of complex licensing/activation would be the activation process for Windows XP Professional or Windows Server 2003.

Program Operations
- Only scans HKLM and HKCU (doesn't directly capture HKDU, HKCR, HKU, HKCC, although some of these are made from subsets of HKLM and HKCU)

- /slow option will work better on double-byte Operating Systems (language specific option, like for Japanese)

- /u: filename.ini to automatically use pre-defined snAppShot settings (called as an option to the snAppShot executable)

- Use the custom snAppShot option, and change copy mechanism for files and folders to "copy if newer version" (this is probably better logic than the default choice of copy if newer)

- The .AXT text file created during the snAppShot process doesn't include the application icon (the .AXT file is a simple text file, no binary information)

- snAppShot doesn't require the Novell Client or ZENworks Desktop Management Agent for proper operation (it is a standalone Novell application)

- snAppShot won't capture changes to very large registry files (HKCU and HKLM). Make sure the snAppShot is taken on a clean machine with minimal size of registry files.

Getting a Clean snAppShot
- Turn off hibernation, power management, and screen saver on the Windows workstation

- Turn off system restore (XP and 2003 Server only) - located in the System Properties (Properties on My Computer)

- Turn off the Operating System Prefetch capabilities (XP and 2003 Server only). This is a speed optimization process that assists with the "Fast Boot" feature of Windows and adds the ability to load applications faster, it is completely a caching/optimization process on launch, and shouldn't be captured for an application install. To turn off the Prefetch feature on a machine that is being used to capture a snAppShot, modify the following registry key

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters\EnablePrefetcher. Default is the value of 3, which is doing PreFetch for Boot and applications. Change it to 0 to turn off this feature during the application install/snapshot process. After making this change, the machine must be rebooted to take effect.

- Turn off Windows Time Synchronization process (in the clock settings and in the Administrative Tools | Services) (XP and Server 2003 only)

- Disable the Operating System from doing routine updates while running the snAppShot. For example, don't let the OS check for any updates/patches, and disable any Anti-Virus program (if present) from checking for updates.

- Turn off personalized Start Menus (HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced -- Value "IntelliMenus"  of type REG_DWORD (DWord Value), data of "0")

- Turn off personalized Favorites Menu in Internet Explorer (if IE will be opened by the application, like for a readme or to add a Favorite) - (HCKU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main -- Value "FavIntelliMenus" of type REG_SZ (String Value), data of "No")

- Turn off Performance Logs and Alerts (Administrative Tools -> Performance -> Performance Logs and Alerts -> Counter Logs)

- Disable any Windows Scheduled Tasks that may run during the snAppshot process (located in the Control Panel or in the My Computer window). Examples of this might be a scheduled Defragmentation of the hard drive.

- Clear any SSL certificates in Internet Explorer, this is done in Internet Options | Content | Clear SSL State. This will make sure to capture any SSL Certificates that may be installed). (XP and Server 2003 only)

- Do not do a snAppShot on a NT Domain Controller, 2000, or 2003 Server AD Domain Controller. The Domain database is constantly changing/updating and shouldn't be captured in a snAppShot.

- If doing the snAppShot on a 2000 Professional or XP Professional workstation, make sure to add two additional files to the file exclusion list (using the custom option). The two files are USRCLASS.DAT and USRCLASS.DAT.LOG, these are two new registry files that were introduced with Windows 2000/XP. See TID "Error: "File copy error on USRCLASS.DAT" when doing a snAppShot"

- Copy the snAppShot executable files from your ZfD server to a local directory (like C:\snapshot), and then add that directory to the directory scan exclusion list. Then the network will not have to be accessed to run snAppShot.

- Configure snAppShot to put the resulting AOT/AXT files in a directory you will exclude from the scan (like C:\snapshot)

- Copy any application installation source files to a local directory that you will exclude from the scan (like C:\snapshot)

- Use a fixed IP address (not a DHCP assigned address), or temporarily disable the NIC altogether

- Login locally (so as not to capture network connection information)

- Disable NAL and workstation manager on the workstation (you don't want to track any application distributions or policies coming down) - Preferably just the Novell Client (if used/required for base image), with no ZEN components at all.

- Make sure that the application hasn't been installed on the clean workstation previously (unless you are trying to snAppShot an application upgrade or setting change).

- Install the application on a freshly imaged machine (to catch installation dependencies). You should use an image that contains the base operating system with patches without any corporate applications installed.

- Use the "Run Application Install" button to launch your application (this will prevent the browse and run histories in the registry on the workstation from changing)

- Sometimes a memory conflict exists between snAppShot and the application being captured. If this seems to be happening, restore your base desktop image, and restart the snAppShot process. When prompted to run the application install (to be captured), cancel out of the snAppShot application (completely shutting it down). Complete the application install, and then manually start snAppShot again, it will prompt you to see if you want to continue the last snAppShot. Continue with the snAppShot analysis processes to finish making the application AOT/AXT. These steps will prevent snAppShot and your application from running at the same time, and therefore shouldn't have any memory conflicts.

Cleaning up the snAppShot

- Examine the resulting .AXT file, and clean up as necessary (for example, look at the registry keys and files being copied, make sure they reflect what you wanted to capture)

- Examine the resulting FILEDEF.TXT file (make sure you captured the files that you wanted to, and not other changes or files that you might of accidently touched)

- Check for this key in the .AXT file created by the snAppShot process: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager   "PendingFileRenameOperations"
There is a possibility that files could be back dated due to this key. You may want to delete this entry and add a file copy (copy if newer) to do the same thing.

- Check for this key in the .AXT file created by the snAppShot process: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment   "Path"
 This will overwrite the Path variable.



For general snAppShot application instructions, please refer to the Official Novell Documentation for ZENworks for Desktops


The Origin of this information may be internal or external to Novell. Novell makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. Novell makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.
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  • Document ID:
  • 10081452
  • Solution ID: NOVL88048
  • Creation Date: 25Mar2003
  • Modified Date: 06Apr2004
    • NovellManagement Products

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