Just thought I'd start a dedicated thread for discussing VMWare ThinApp, as MF wanted. So please share your experiences, doubts, etc.

FYI VMWare ThinApp (Formely Thinstall) is an application virtualization platform. You can create portable applications (portable as in running without-installing) that are self-contained, deployable and updatable. Unlike other application-virtualization technologies, ThinApp adds a very low overhead (both binary size, and resource-usage wise). So say your application requires Java or .NET runtimes, and you're not sure if the target systems have them, it makes sense to package the runtimes (or a subset of it) along with your program. The result: no dependency issues, no installation required, no admin rights required and doesn't leave any traces on the host system. You can do a lot of neat stuff like running multiple versions of IE (or any other browser/app) without any registry hacks or having to bear the overhead of running a full-fledged VM.

Unfortunately, it seems like ThinApp doesn't work in Windows 7 currently. However, VMWare is planning on releasing a new 7-compatible version in the next few months.

You can download some thinstalled apps from http://www.thindownload.com/, or searching the web for a "thinstalled" version of your favorite app. There's also a 60 day trial available on the VMware site if you want to create your own thinapps.