Onboard Applications

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 the Launchpad, you will need to onboard and publish your app to your production workload. If you are only planning on delivering desktops to your users, then onboarding applications is not required – simply install your desired applications to the Sandbox and publish.

  1. You will be taken 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.

  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.

Publish Applications

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


Publishing on AHV infrastructure is implemented a bit differently. An AHV publish is considered a “lite publish,” which means only a fraction of the VMs in the shadow pool are provisioned (the default value is 10 VMs). Once that fraction of shadow VMs is ready, the UI will reflect that the publish action is finished. The system then terminates existing VMs and provisions the rest of the production VMs. Publishing is essentially done in “batches” to improve performance and efficiency.

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


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

  1. A “Pending requests” dialog will appear above your Sandbox console and provide you with status updates throughout the process.
  1. The “Pending requests” dialog will disappear once the publish is complete.

Why Does Publishing Consume Hours?

Every time you publish, all instances in your pool (determined by your “max” setting) are replaced with newly provisioned instances and, in the process, are powered on (but only left on for a one hour increment). Having all of them fully provisioned during the publishing step is what allows them to be powered on via scaling within 2-3 minutes. Otherwise, users would have to wait for a full provisioning step (15+ minutes) when requesting a session on demand. This means that each publishing step has a minimum hourly usage cost equivalent to your max setting. For example, if your max is set to 20, each time you publish, you will incur 20 hours of usage.


The publishing process will never interrupt a user who is in an active session. Frame will automatically wait to terminate an instance until the user has finished their session. As a result, publishing updates to your users is a “zero downtime” action.