How to specify the version of Visio that is launched by an App-V client

imageThere seems to be some confusion surrounding the licensing model used by Microsoft Visio and how it affects App-V deployments of Visio packages so I wanted to take a minute and see if I could clear this up a little bit.

The licensing model used by Visio is unique among the Microsoft Office suite in that the version deployed is based on the product key that is being used. For example, if you install the Standard Edition of Visio and then later decide that you want the Premium Edition all you have to do is change the key. The key determines the edition presented, not the install image. In other words all the code for Standard, Professional and Premium are in a single image of the product.

So what does this have to do with Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V)? This means that if you sequence the Standard Edition of Visio 2010 and deploy it to an App-V client, the version of the product that the App-V client launches is based on the Office Deployment Kit (ODK) configuration on that client.

For example, let’s say you configure the ODK using the following syntax:


In this case, the App-V client will always launch the Premium Edition of Visio. If you rerun the above command and you remove VISIOPREM=1, App-V will launch the Professional Edition. Once again, this is because the version being run is determined by the key not the installed image of the product. This means that unlike other Office products where you can configure the ODK with all the versions, you cannot do so with Visio as the highest version defined by the ODK configuration will always be the version that is run.

Ramifications of this issue:

1. You can only deploy one version of a Visio 2010 App-V Package to a single machine, meaning an RDS/Terminal Server can only have one version of a Visio 2010 package installed and it cannot be based on App-V AD groups.

2. If you want to deploy all three versions of Visio you only have to sequence Visio 2010 once, not three times.

3. To deploy different versions to different machines, you will have to deploy the ODK configuration specifically for the version you want on a per machine basis. In other words, you have to target the ODK deployment to a set of machines like a specific collection in Configuration Manager.

Please keep in mind this is not an issue with App-V and it is not a bug, it is simply how Visio was designed to work.

This issue is briefly mentioned in the following KB article:

Known issues and limitations when using virtualized Office 2010 applications on App-V 4.6 and App-V 4.5 SP2 clients

For more information on sequencing Visio see the following:

John Behneman | Support Engineer | Management and Security Division

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Comments (3)
  1. Thank you for your feedback although it sounds like this is more of a concern with the Office deployment. Perhaps you may want to also follow and provide feedback on the office Deployment blog –…/odsupport

  2. balthazar says:

    lol…Microsofts new slogan should be "it's not a bug…we designed it that way".

    I like how nobody seems to stop and ask "why?"

    Why would we do this? Why would we only do this here? Why would we not do it to all of the office products? Why do we hate consistency so much?

    I'm sure there is some very poor defense for why this choice was made with visio and nothing else, and I'm sure there's some equally bad logic behind why you would actually charge people for an MDOP license to use a product so bad you literally scrap the whole thing and start over.

    Office, and it's licensing scheme, has gotten more and more onerous every single release. At least on the upside nobody pirates it anymore right, all this hassle and insanity but at least no-one pirates it now.

    I love this post almost as much as the SCCM 2012 "ooops, changes don't get deployed" post.

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