Thursday, 30 June 2016

QuickPost: Setting file type associations (FTAs) using AppSense Environment Manager v10

Remember the huge debacle of FTAs (file type associations) we've discussed on this blog a few times previously? Remember how Microsoft have made it so horribly difficult to set or enforce or roam a specific FTA for different sets of users? Remember how the article I wrote showed you how to do it by removing Registry values (rather backwardly)? Well, this is only good news if you're an AppSense customer, but if you are, you can now manage your FTAs directly from Environment Manager.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Creating a custom Outlook signature in AppSense Environment Manager v10

AppSense DesktopNow version 10 has landed, bringing with it a raft of new features and improvements on the old version 8. One of the ones I was looking forward to was the ability to create custom Outlook signatures for users as they log in for the first time. It's always been possible to do this with scripts, but it was quite complicated and often resulted in some "weirdness" as Word and Outlook processes fired up at logon time.

Monday, 27 June 2016

QuickPost: Throwing your errors into the Notification Center

On a lot of the projects I work on, support staff are keen to run a few "pre-flight checks" as part of the logon process. Ensuring that machines are named, homed and running correctly is often something they like to do to avoid any potential issues during the user's session - sometimes going so far as to log the user out or even shut the machine down if an errant value is detected.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Deploying per-user file type associations (FTAs) on XenApp 7.x, Server 2012 R2, Windows 8.1, Server 2016 and Windows 10

We've been down the file type associations route before. I've had quite a lot of emails and questions as a result of my previous articles, so I think it's ripe for a bit more clarification and a bit of a (second!) revamp. They're a particular bugbear to those of us using XenApp 7.x or RDSH systems, because we're used to doing them the old easy way, and now the rules have unceremoniously changed.

Note - the background to this article has simply been lifted-and-shifted, for the most part, from the previous article referenced above. However, once we're down in the detail sections, there will be a lot more detail than before. Also, I'm going to remove the previous article in a couple of weeks, as I feel this one is more complete.

Monday, 23 May 2016

The last pieces of the jigsaw – dealing with Office 365 performance issues in virtual environments using FSLogix Office 365 Containers for Citrix

Ain't that a mouthful of a title for a post? :-)

Anyways, having spent part of last week at BriForum London, it’s interesting to come away with a broader view of what is happening in the virtualization world.

One of the things I found most intriguing was the perception that on a number of levels, desktop virtualization – either on full-fat VDI or hosted shared desktops – is moving into a much more mature phase. Issues with storage and infrastructure are much less noticeable, and Moore’s Law has seen that we now have solutions that are much more capable of dealing with the nuances of a virtualized desktop environment. Hyperconvergence, superfast storage arrays, GPUs – technologies that can deliver have overcome a lot of the early blockers to widespread virtualization adoption.

But of course, there are still problems to be overcome – the final pieces of the jigsaw to be put into place, the last bumps in the user experience to be ironed out.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Windows 10 part #9 - removing Modern Apps from your image

One of Windows 10's most noticeable changes is the integration of Microsoft's new "Modern" or "Universal" apps. They're intended to offer a new method of delivering and creating applications that sit right alongside your old, familiar desktop applications. The idea is that Modern Apps offer a unified experience across desktop, laptop, phone and console - assuming you use Windows on your PCs, Windows Phone on your phone, and XBox on your console. At the same time, they give a single API core layer for development and a single distribution point through the Windows Store (or Windows Store for Business, when it arrives). So if you're sucking up the Microsoft kool-aid, it all sounds good, no?

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Windows 10 part #8 - speeding up the first logon process

I sent out some Tweets recently regarding knocking around 66% off the first logon time of a Windows 10 machine. Whilst people are not overly concerned about the actual first logon time (as long as the subsequent ones are speedy enough), there are environments where users will quite often be exposed to "first logons". As an example, we have in current engagement a selection of "open access" machines, where due to their very nature, local copies of profiles are not maintained. This in essence means that every time a user logs on, they are experiencing the long and drawn-out "first logon" process.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Windows 10 part #7 - maintaining ALL your settings using a standard roaming profile (including the Start Tiles)

Windows 10 is, by its nature of constant updates, a moving target. So far I've had a couple of cracks at roaming a full Windows 10 user state between domain-joined machines. Both of them so far proved to be quite intrusive, necessitating in each case the restart of a system service to accomplish anything near to what we were after. This just doesn't sit well with me - it complicates the tooling required, for one thing - and looks messy. However, as Microsoft release updates to it, bug fixes appear to be included which are making things slightly easier.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Windows 10 part #6 - roaming the Windows 10 Start Tile settings using AppSense (an alternative way) without locking the tiles!

I wrote a post some time ago detailing how to save the Windows 10 Start Tile settings and roam them through AppSense Environment Manager. However, it wasn't 100% reliable - intermittently, I would see what I've come to call the Windows 10 "dead man click", when the Start Menu simply stops functioning because we've inadvertently corrupted the database that runs it. In fact, I'd hazard a guess that the database they use is composed of the electronic equivalent of crisps, because it's very fragile and gloriously easy to break.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

QuickPost: AppSense Personalization Server synchronization failures when using Google Chrome

I came across an issue over the last few weeks regarding regular Personalization failures for users who were browsing via Google Chrome. With help from AppSense support, and Ollie and Hiten from APS, we got this narrowed down to a known issue on the IIS end, so I'm going to quickly write it up so I don't forget about it!