“We are hearing from customers that … they don’t want to start dealing with VM-based solutions because they are trying to get rid of XP, not perpetuate it—they need something that will preserve the end-user experience and performance, while at the same time reduce the overhead for IT,” he said. “InstallFree [Bridge] does not require a full Windows XP VM to be deployed to every machine.”
(For a detailed analysis of how InstallFree’s solution is different from Window’s XP Mode, click here.)
Yaffe pointed to ANGEL Learning, a learning management system (LMS) used by several by schools, to show how InstallFree can help.
“ANGEL Learning has web-based apps, but these apps have a dependency on plug-ins and different browser versions. By isolating these apps, they still think they’re running on XP,” he said.
InstallFree supports full virtualization of Internet Explorer and can run multiple versions of the browser side-by-side on a single OS. For example, virtualized versions of both IE 6 and IE 7 can run at the same time on Windows 7, and each InstallFree Virtual (IFV) app can be configured to use its own specific version of Internet Explorer for full compatibility. What’s more, URL Redirection rules can be defined to open each application in the right version of the browser automatically, Yaffe said.
Another perk to using InstallFree is its ability to support secure shared computing, he said. For instance, IFV apps can be assigned to specific users and computers and then delivered “on-the-fly” to any shared Windows PC at the time they are needed. This way, students reportedly can access their personal learning applications from any PC, whether these apps are already installed or not.
Each IFV app can be removed instantly from the shared PC at the end of the user session, and IFV apps run in a protected environment that prevents users from modifying core application configurations. However, users are allowed to customize apps at the same time, even on locked-down PCs, which InstallFree says can help with teaching flexibility (for example, installing an add-on to Microsoft Excel).
Application changes made by the user are saved to a separate file that can be backed up, transferred to a new environment, or completely reset by school IT staff to restore the environment to its original state.
“Think of it like a Lego model,” explained Yaffe. “You can build the model according to its original design, but you can also add on other pieces if you want to make it your own—[and] each of these additions will be noted. However, at any time, you can remove those extra additions and know where they come from and what each are.”