OpenFin installer

Depending on whether the system you are installing to has OpenFin previously installed, you can use one of two options to install an OpenFin application:

  • OpenFin Installer Generator

  • Protocol handler

This article explains both options.

OpenFin Installer Generator

The OpenFin Installer Generator streamlines the process of installing and updating the OpenFin Runtime on a user's desktop, providing auto-update behavior in response to Runtime version changes in an application's manifest file.

The installer is pre-baked with the application’s manifest URL and is delivered as a zip file containing an installer executable, which you can provide to users, who then double-click it to start the installation.

The OpenFin installer performs the following actions:

  • Installs the RVM in the correct location.
  • Updates the existing RVM if applicable.
  • If Only Self Install is specified, quits at this point.
  • Retrieves the application manifest file.
  • Based on the application manifest:
    • Downloads the required Runtime version(s) if not present.
    • Installs the desktop and Start menu shortcuts.
  • If Do Not Launch is selected, quits at this point.
  • Launches the application

Be aware of the following factors when deploying an installer or URL:

  • Administrator rights are not required for installation.
  • The installation file is signed by OpenFin.
  • The installer copies the relevant application resources into %localappdata%/OpenFin.
  • The installer creates application shortcuts on the desktop and (on Windows) in the Start Menu (linked to the application manifest file). |

There are several ways to use an OpenFin installer, depending on your needs.

Install and launch an application

Use the App Config field in the OpenFin Installer Generator to specify a manifest file for an application to install. The generated installer does the following:

  1. Installs or updates the RVM.
  2. Installs or updates the Runtime.
  3. Loads and reads the manifest file.
  4. Creates desktop and (on Windows) Start menu shortcuts based on options in the manifest.
  5. Launches the application.

Install an application without launching it

In addition to supplying a manifest URL in the App Config field, enable the Do Not Launch toggle in the Installer Generator. The generated installer does all the steps listed above except for #5; it does not launch the application.

Install the RVM without an application

In the OpenFin Installer Generator, enable the toggle for Only Self Install, which disables the App Config field. The generated installer does only the following steps:

  1. Installs or updates the RVM.
  2. Registers the protocol handlers (fin/fins).

This scenario can be particularly useful when deploying OpenFin capabilities to a large organization in advance of allowing users to run specific applications at a later stage. See Protocol handler.

Install invisibly

By default, progress dialogs are shown while downloading the Runtime and other asset files, as downloads can take noticeable time over slower network connections. In the Installer Generator, enable the No UI toggle to suppress visible output during the download of files.

Folder structure

The OpenFin installer creates a base folder structure with full read-write permissions and places the Runtime Version Manager (RVM) and the OpenFin Runtimes within it.

The following files and folders are contained within the base folder:

  • apps\: Cached copies of the manifest, icon, app logs, and app assets
  • cache\: Runtime cache, runtime logs (debug.log), and login tokens
  • cache.dat: Cached data of OpenFin apps, including system permissions, start and end times, Runtime versions, application ID, etc.
  • data\: The hashed value of all the apps that have run
  • logs\: RVM logs
  • OpenFinRVM.exe: Openfin Runtime Version Manager, responsible for updating itself and downloading/installing new runtime versions
  • registry_dos_local.json: Cached desktop owner settings, generated automatically
  • runtime\: All the Runtime versions that are needed by OpenFin apps. Older versions of the Runtime are not overwritten when adding a new version. However, unused versions of the runtime are removed automatically.
  • rvm_cache\: Cached permissions.


The OpenFin installer creates application shortcuts that link the server-hosted manifest file with a desktop shortcut or (on Windows) Start Menu item. These shortcuts have a target that takes the following form:


%localappdata%\OpenFin\OpenFinRVM.exe  --config=""

For more information on customized shortcuts, contact [email protected].

Comparison to RVM

Because the installer invokes the RVM, the two programs are functionally similar. The installer provides a simpler operation by "baking in" some options, so you don't need to specify them manually. Users can run the installer with a double-click, rather than typing a complex command. The following table summarizes the similar functions of the installer and the RVM executable:

Auto-updates OpenFin.exeYesYes
Gets the app manifestOptional, via command line argumentBaked into installer, unless omitted via Only Self Install
Updates RuntimeYesYes
Creates shortcutsNoFrom app manifest, unless omitted via Only Self Install
Launches the appUnless --dnl=trueUnless Do Not Launch is selected

Protocol handler (fin:// fins://)

For systems that already have OpenFin installed, you have the option to use a custom protocol handler to launch OpenFin from within the browser or an email. No downloading of a file is necessary when using this method. You can also detect from a script in a web browser whether the local system has OpenFin installed.



The OpenFin RVM must be installed and registered on the system in order for the fin:// or fins:// protocol handler to be used.

The fin and fins protocol handlers are registered in the system:

The following registry class roots are used: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\fin and HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\fins

For systems that do not have OpenFin installed, you can push the RVM to the system and run it one time to register the protocol handler. Use the following command for registering the fin/fins protocol handler:


C:\%username%\AppData\Local\OpenFin>OpenFinRVM --config=none --only-self-install

For more information about the installation process, refer to Deep linking or contact [email protected].