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VMware ThinApp relink command to update the ThinApp runtime of a virtual application (2030593)

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This article gives details on the ThinApp relink command which are a supplement to the standard ThinApp documentation.


The ThinApp relink command updates the ThinApp runtime of a previously packaged ThinApp virtual application. Relink.exe is provided with the other ThinApp executables in the ThinApp Program Files directory. Use the relink command from the version of ThinApp that you want to update a package to. For example, run relink from ThinApp 4.7 if you want to update a previous package to the ThinApp 4.7 runtime.

What does relink do, and when would you use relink instead of rebuild?

To update a previous package to take advantage of the new features of a new version of ThinApp, you can either relink or rebuild the application. Relink updates the package to the new ThinApp runtime; rebuild updates not only the runtime, but also the registry and file system of the package. For example, if a new Package.ini parameter is created for a new version of ThinApp, you need to rebuild the application to be able to use that parameter, even its default value. If you need to update only ThinApp runtime changes, relink is sufficient.

Relinking is faster and easier than rebuilding. One major advantage of using relink is that you do not need the ThinApp application project directory; all you need is the bin directory for the virtual package.
What do you need to run relink on a ThinApp package?

To run relink on a ThinApp package, you need:

  • The newest version of ThinApp installed on your system to be able to run relink from that ThinApp Program Files directory

  • All of the files from the ThinApp virtual applications bin folder ( EXEs, MSIs, DAT)

The bin directory includes the executable files and the Primary Data Container for the virtual application. You must run relink on the entire bin folder for a ThinApp package: the EXEs, MSIs, and DAT files.

(The Primary Data Container contains the ThinApp runtime and may be separate from the executables as a DAT file, or included in one executable. All executables point to the Primary Data Container. For details about the Primary Data Container, see the ThinApp Users Guide.)

You do not need the project folder to relink the executables, as you would to rebuild a package.

What is the syntax for relink?

The standard syntax for the relink command is:

relink [-Recursive] <path_to_existing_package> <path_to_existing_package>

You do not need to include the .exe suffix when you run relink.

-Recursive upgrades all application executables and DAT files under the specified parent directory by opening every subdirectory of the parent directory.

The path to an existing package can include wildcards.

Here are some examples:
Syntax and Examples of the ThinApp Relink Command
relink <path> \<executable_name>
relink <path> \bin\Mozilla Firefox.exe
Relinks a single EXE file or MSI package (note the quotes when a space exists in the executable name)
relink C:\MyPackages
Relinks the MyPackages directory. This command does note open subdirectories within the MyPackages directory. Relink ignores any files other than EXEs and DATs.
relink <path> \bin\*.exe
Relinks a wildcarded set of files. Applies to all EXEs in bin. Note that this would skip the required Primary Data Container if it were in a DAT file, separate from the EXEs for this application.
relink <path> \bin\*
Relinks a wildcarded set of files. Applies to any EXE, MSI, or DAT file in bin.
relink <path> \bin\*.exe <path> \bin\*.dat
Relinks a wildcarded set of files. Applies to any EXE in the first bin path or any DAT in the second bin path.
relink -Recursive C:\MyPackages
Relinks all files and all subdirectories in the MyPackages directory. The Recursive flag opens all subdirectories within MyPackages and relinks all executables. Relink ignores any files other than EXEs and DATs.
Run relink from the command prompt, from within the ThinApp Program Files directory.

Relink creates a backup of each file that it operates on, so you need enough disk space to handle this. The original files are stored as backup (.bak) files in the same folder as the newly relinked executables, and these backup files are retained after the relink is complete.

You can get help on the relink command if you run relink.exe without options.

What is the relink –h command?

ThinApp 4.7.2 added the -h flag as an option for the relink command to enable previously captured ThinApp packages for Horizon. For details, see Enabling VMware ThinApp virtual applications for Horizon Application Manager with the relink command.


Additional Information

For further information about Thinapp relink please review the kb 2021928 (Enabling VMware ThinApp virtual applications for Horizon Application Manager with the relink command (2021928).

Update History

05/29/2013 - Added the notes in additional information section.

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