Onboarding and Publishing

Onboarding an application for your users registers the application with the Frame backend and prepares it for sharing via a browser. In order to make applications available to your users via an Application Launchpad, you will need to onboard and publish your app to your production workloads. If you are planning to only deliver virtual desktops to your users, then onboarding applications is not required – simply install your desired applications to the Sandbox and publish. This guide will show Frame administrators the basics of onboarding, publishing, and deleting applications for their users.

If you would like to skip ahead to a certain section of this document, you can use the links below:

Onboard Applications

As a best practice, Nutanix Frame recommends manually backing up your Sandbox before installing your applications. This backup allows you to quickly revert to a base OS image in the case of catastrophic image corruption. With AHV, you can reset the Sandbox image to a previously registered template image using the “Reset master image” feature.


The onboarding process only applies to executables (.exe files), scripts which launch executables, and shortcuts that point to executable files.

  1. Go to the “Sandbox” page of your Dashboard. Click “Power On” to boot your Sandbox if needed (this takes about 2-3 minutes). When the Sandbox is available, click “Start Session.”

  1. If your installer is available online, you can download it directly using the browser in your Sandbox (Chrome) – this will be the fastest method for large installers since your Sandbox typically has a network bandwidth of over 500 Mbps. If your installer is not available online, and you have it on your local machine, you can upload it to your Frame session from your local machine. Additionally, you can opt to connect your cloud storage account to your Frame account, which would enable you to see the files in a virtual drive in your Sandbox. You can connect your cloud storage accounts from the admin menu in the upper right corner (to the right of the Sandbox image) or from within your Sandbox session by clicking on the icons at the bottom right corner of your desktop session.

  2. If you downloaded your installer using the browser in the Sandbox, simply launch the setup file from the “Downloads” folder. If you used a cloud storage account, navigate to “Computer” and open the appropriate drive (e.g., X: drive for Box). If you uploaded your installer from your local machine, you can access it by going into the “Uploads” folder.


    Copy your setup file(s) from the original drive to the C: drive, and then run the installation of your app as you would on a PC from the C: drive.


If you are only going to deliver desktops to your users, you may skip ahead to step 5.

See also

If you’re interested in scripting and automating app onboarding, see Onboard applications via CLI.

  1. Accept the Frame prompts to onboard your application. Frame automatically imports the application’s icon during the onboarding process.



If you did not see the onboarding dialog, have skipped this step earlier, or wish to onboard an existing application, simply right-click on the application in the program menu or directly on the application’s .exe file in its install folder (e.g. in the “Program Files (x86)” or “Program Files” folder) and select “Onboard to Frame.”

  1. Test your application from within the Sandbox to make sure everything is functioning as expected (for instance, if you need to enter a license code/load a license file, do so now). Now disconnect from your Sandbox by selecting “Disconnect” from the gear menu. The application icon will appear on your Dashboard next to your other apps. Set custom application properties by hovering over your icon and selecting the gear icon.


Before publishing your application, you will need to set your production capacity. Setting your production capacity specifies the amount of VMs you would like to publish your Sandbox image to. If you are not familiar with this, you can read more about system capacity and elastic instance management in our documentation here.


If there are no instance types with a max set to at least 1, publishing will not proceed.

Delete Applications

If your application has been installed on the Sandbox and onboarded to Frame, deleting it is easy!

  1. Navigate to the Dashboard. On the “Systems” page, look for the “Applications” section near your Sandbox. Hover over the application you would like to get rid of – you should see a gear symbol and trash can symbol, like this:

  1. Click on the trash symbol to schedule the deletion of the application on the next publish. This means that your users will still see the application until the next time you publish.

Uninstall the application from your Sandbox

  1. While this step is not essential, it is best to uninstall applications that you do not intend to use anymore from your Sandbox. Launch your Sandbox, click on the Windows Start button at the bottom left corner, and select “Computer” from the menu as shown below:

  1. Once in the “Computer” window, find and click the “Uninstall or change a program” button at the top center of the window, per the screenshot below. Then simply select the application you wish to uninstall from the list and follow the prompts to uninstall.



Once you have installed one or more applications (or set up a Desktop Launchpad), tested them in the Sandbox, and defined your production capacity, you’re ready to publish.

There are two ways to publish on your Frame account:

  1. Publishing: A regular publish will always create the max number of instances specified in the capacity settings. Follow the instructions below to enable quick publishing or skip ahead to the “Initiate a Publish” section to start a regular publish.

  2. Quick publishing: Quick publishing allows administrators to specify how many production instances are created on publish before any existing instances are terminated. This results in a quicker publish that occurs in batches with fewer instances running at once.

Enable Quick Publishing


By default, all AHV-based accounts use the quick publish function. The default number of production instances created on publish is 10. If you wish to override this number, follow the instructions below.

  1. From your account Dashboard, navigate to the “Settings” page. Under the “General” tab, enable the quick publish toggle as shown below.

  2. Once enabled, you have the option to set the number of production instances you would like to be created on each publish. You can modify this value if you wish.

  3. Click the save button in the upper right corner of your Dashboard to apply your changes.



If the min value in your capacity settings is set to less than the quick publish value specified, the quick value publish settings are ignored and a regular publish is performed.

You have successfully enabled quick publish for your Frame account. See the section below to learn how to initiate a publish.

Initiate a Publish

  1. Click the “Publish” button in the top right corner of the Sandbox section (this typically takes about 10-15 minutes or more, depending on infrastructure availability). A prompt will appear asking you to select the publish method of your choice.

  • Test Publish: Creates a test publish which is held in reserve, via a separate instance pool, for future use.

  • Promote: This option is displayed after after a Test Publish has been executed and will promote a previous test publish to a regular publish. This option also promotes all Test Launchpads to regular production Launchpads.

  • Publish: Publishes the Sandbox normally following any changes.


To protect active sandbox sessions, you will not be able to publish apps to production while a sandbox session is active.

  1. The status of the Sandbox will change to “Publishing”.

  1. The Sandbox Status will return to “Stopped” once the publish is complete. You can also see the status of your publish by clicking on the Notification center icon in the upper right corner of your console or navigating to the Activity page in Dashboard.