Understanding the %SFT_SOFTGRIDSERVER% environmental variable in Microsoft App-V

KBHere’s a new App-V Knowledge Base article we published today.  This one covers the %SFT_SOFTGRIDSERVER% environmental variable:



After modifying the %SFT_SOFTGRIDSERVER% environment variable, Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) packages may fail to load or may connect to an incorrect server. In some cases, you may receive a 0A-10000002 error ("The specified Application Virtualization Server could not be accessed. Try again in a few minutes. If the problem persists, report the following error code to your System Administrator") if the system variable references a non-existent or inaccessible server.

This is most common in scenarios where the intent is to test packages located on a development server with the intention of later copying the package to the production environment. In this case, changes to either the user or system environmental variable %SFT_SOFTGRIDSERVER% will not be used by the App-V client.

In the case of user variables (that is, adding a variable called SFT_SOFTGRIDSERVER under Control Panel\System\Advanced System Settings\Advanced tab\Environmental Variables...\User variables for username), App-V does not read the %SFT_SOFTGRIDSERVER% for individual users. Only the system variable is honored.

In the case of system variables, this setting is only reflected after a system reboot. This is necessary for the App-V client services and drivers to properly and consistently read these variables. Any changes made to the %SFT_SOFTGRIDSERVER% variable are not reflected until either the Application Virtualization client service is restarted or the client operating system is rebooted.


This behavior is by design.


There are several possible workarounds to enable this scenario:

  1. Change the system %SFT_SOFTGRIDSERVER% environmental variable and then either restart the Application Virtualization Client service or reboot the client (in most cases restarting the service is sufficient; if this does not resolve the issue, you may need to restart the client). This is obviously the easiest method, but may not be desirable in some environments (for instance on, on a heavily-utilized Terminal Server).
  2. Edit the OSD directly and replace the %SFT_SOFTGRIDSERVER% variable with the actual name of the development server, or use another variable.
  3. Use an alternate application source root (ASR) (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc843817.aspx).
  4. Use two separate versions of the application for testing.
More Information

User environmental variables override system environmental variables in Windows. Executables (including services and drivers) read environmental variables when they first launch, but do not subsequently re-read values.


For the most current information please see the following KB:

KB2552111 - Understanding the %SFT_SOFTGRIDSERVER% environmental variable in Microsoft App-V

J.C. Hornbeck | System Center Knowledge Engineer

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Comments (6)

  1. Anonymous says:

    I'll second kirk_tn's comment – ApplicationSourceRoot should be the primary method of directing clients to the streaming source.

    I'll go as far as to recommend avoiding the use of SFT_SOFTGRIDSERVER whereever possible.

  2. We'll get that fixed, Rick.

  3. Thanks for the heads up, should be fixed now.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I'd rate "Application Source Root / ASR" first in the list of workarounds, because it offers the most flexible usage. Because it does not require a machine nor service restart it can be configured quite dynamic (like: Notebook: Resume action in a branch office). Keep in mind that SFT_SOFTGRIDSERVER and ApplicationSourceRoot are machine-wide settings (not user specific)

    A common misconcept is trying to use SFT_SOFTGRIDSERVER in the Publishing Server URL. That doesn't work

  5. Rick B UCF says:

    The link in item 4 cannot be accessed without an an account and password.

  6. John Depth says:

    Interesting article but I usually use boxedapp for it….

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