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Thinprint issue after Vmware ESX 3.5 –> vSphere 4 upgrade

March 19, 2010

Today I want to write about a problem that, some time ago, we had in our XenApp farm. In fact some of the servers of the farm is running on Vmware (I know, with XenServer the number of XenApp users could be higher, but our customer spent a lot of money building his Vmware Infrastructure…) and all the printing environment is managed by ThinPrint software.
Well, when we upgraded our ESX servers from 3.5 to 4.0 (vSphere) release, many Citrix Servers, in a random way, was giving printing problems so that only some users was affected by this issue. As you probably already knows, the upgrade of any existing virtual machine, was made in more steps: after the vCenter and Vmware hosts upgrade, first you have to upgrade the Vmtools (and reboot), then you have to upgrade the virtual hardware (VM type change from 4 to 7 during this step) and reboot, then wait for Windows installing new hardware devices and reboot again…
Just after the Vmtools update, problems with printing begin in our environment, with VM still type 4.
You can imagine my surprise when, trying to troubleshoot, I noticed that the registry keys relating to Thin Print has been modified by the installation of VMtools and which now contain entries with the words “vmware” instead… Investigating furthermore I learned that, since Vmware Workstation 6.5 the setup of Vmtools installs an OEM version of ThinPrint and this may “interfere” with any already-installed retail version of this software.
In this Vmware KB there is a link to ThinPrint forum that provided a tool for removing the ThinPrint portion of Vmware tools. You can find the manual procedure here instead.
After this problems Vmware included in vSphere Update 1 a check to verify any existing version of ThinPrint during Vmtools installation, but consider this issue if you are creating simple demo environment with product like Workstation or you are making an upgrade with vSphere 4 without U1 included.

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