Category: 2012

The beginning of the end – for PwrGate

By Max Ranzau

 

einFrom the NostraRanzau Dept. This article describes some very interesting developments which I came across in in the Service Release 4 for Workspace Manager 2012 back around end of 2013. We’ve been used for for eons that new managed applications would contain a reference to RES’s own launcher, pwrgate.exe. With this well hidden change, it’s actually possible to let shortcuts retain their original exe+path. There are some caveats as this is early code – nevertheless this is worthwhile knowing about

doc-icon2<<< Click here to read the article

Workspace Manager 2012 SR4 Highlights

By Max Ranzau

 

From the Look-Somebody-Had-To-Write-About-This Dept. It’s been a couple of weeks and fairly unannounced the Service Release 4 was released on Nov 11th. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in training so blogging’s been kinda put on the backburner a while. Anyway, here is an overview of selected items I found interesting in the this SR. You can download the full releasenotes at the end of this article and have a closer look yourself.

  • Several performance enhancements in both the console and the agent. Pretty much all the Composition items have received a noticeable performance overhaul and things load faster into the console in general. License processing, Drivemapping and many other things have received a tune-up. Of special notice is the Context | Directory Services, where there now is a new option to “Get group membership using tokens (faster)”. You’ll want to look into this option for multi-domain environments, especially if there’s cross-domain resolving going on.
  • The App-V integration has also seen several overhauls. When you do a Execute Command configuration|action on an App-V managed app, you now have a checkbox to run outside the virtual bubble. In application UserSettings, it’s now also possible to edit what’s being picked up in the Targeted items to capture. Previously WM would grab everything but the kitchen sink for a virtual app. User Restore of App-V items have also been improved however there’s no details as to the specific improvement.
  • A new Lockdown and Behavior option to hide log off in startmenu has been added. Let’s hope this feature isn’t on per default as hide shutdown on workstations is in SR3 (for further details, see Things WM does per default)
  • Registry modification under Composition now has the ability to ignore registry redirection on x64 platforms. This is quite useful if you want to make sure a given registry key goes where it’s supposed to without interference from the OS.
  • Special registry types like OutputReport, ReportStyle, REG_NONE are now supported. I have no idea what these do just yet, but I guess we’ll find out along the way.
  • User Settings now support a direct path for specifying the location of the Personal Settings folder. Check the releasenotes for further info. This is important.
  • Application Icons either pinned or in the startmenu have received yet another overhaul. Hopefully the old blocky icons are now a thing of the past.
  • New registry setting to control if the User Settings caching process is launched (if you’re not using laptops, use this reghack to turn it off). See the updated WM registry guide here. Note, there are several other registry items in this release under the fixes section. I’ll update the registry guide with these asap.
  • There is however one particular new setting which stands out. Look for InterceptManagedApps in the releasenotes. From SR3 Update 8, an interesting new feature has been added to preserve the original command line of managed applications. This is one to watch as it effectively will no more PwrGate.exe shortcuts. Expect a future article about this particular item once I’ve tested it.

In summary this service release is mostly performance enhancements, and the obligatory bugfixes – yet there are several interesting thing to dig into. For more information, go have a look at the releasenotes.

Click here to download:

 

 

What’s up with that other WM service?

By Max Ranzau

 

From the Inquisitive Minds Want to Know dept. Since the release of Workspace Manager 2012 SR3, you may have noticed an extra service has been added, besides the well known RES service (aka “Workspace Manager Agent”), which takes care of synchronizing the local DBcache with the SQL datastore. The other service, is seen in the Services.msc as “RES Workspace Manager PE”, shortnamed RESPESVC:

respesvc

I asked one of our software folks what the purpose of this service is. I was told that RESPESVC plays a role in environment variable injection into intercepted processes & injection of DLL’s in Windows processes for logoff scenario’s. If you are wondering about what the PE part is short for, RESPESVC is RES Privileged Execution Service. In SR4 it will also do Dynamic Privileges, moving that over from the RES service, making the technical architecture of that feature a lot simpler.

I know a few of you likeminded professional tinkerers are wondering; can one do anything interesting with this service? Does it’s credentials need to be reconfigured like with the RES service if you are running SQL authentication? In both cases the honest answer is no. There’s nothing to see here, move along :) This service just needs to be left alone, running with it’s default LocalSystem credentials and the world will be a better place, architecture wise. If this changes, I’ll be sure to let you know.

 

How to roll Workspace Security into a production env

Animated, Gears, boxprod-envFrom the Industrial Might & Logic Dept: Once in a while you may come across the scenario where you need to take control over an existing production environment. While new VDI implementations are sprouting up all over the place, it’s not within everyones budget to put in new plumbing and start building from scratch. Over the years I’ve dealt with several customers who had a beat-up production environment where they were spending their workdays putting out fires (and fighting off Ogres) instead of being anywhere near a proactive state. Proactive is a much abused word, but in my context it simply means being ahead of the curve instead of trying to catch up and never emptying out an ever-growing inbox of trouble. While this may sound like a happy story of rainbows and robot-unicorns to some, I assure you a proactive state of secure workspace management is a reality within your grasp, when you consider using the RES Workspace Manager. Let me share a story on how I did it and give you some useful tips on how you can do it too:

doc-icon2<<< Click here to read the article

Things Workspace Manager does per default

defaultAnimated, Gears, boxFrom the I-Wonder-What-Happens-When-I-Press-This-Button Dept. An existing article has been moved to the Technote Library. This one covers some interesting behavior of the RES Workspace Manager, which you as an integrator need to be aware of. Out of the box the Workspace Manager does not change anything on the target environment, when you roll the software out. However, when you enable the Workspace Composer, several changes are in fact applied to the target computer, which you would do well to familiarize yourself with.

doc-icon2<<< Click here to read the article.

 

Appsense vs. RES round II – Shortcuts!

By Paul Newton

 

h2hThis is the second article in a series (read #1 here), which highlights important differences between how AppSense DesktopNow and RES Workspace Manager 2012 works in practice. This time we will have an in-depth look at how simple or hard it is to create shortcuts for the users in the respective products. While it was suggested in the commentary on the previous article that I had to search for a topic where RES Workspace Manager had the biggest difference to AppSense DesktopNow, I assure you that this was not the case: There are plenty of other examples waiting to be written and we’re just getting started… Click below to read article #2 in this series.

doc-icon2 <<< Click here to read RG058

Appsense vs RES article series

TheEditorEditor’s introduction: I have the pleasure today of welcoming Paul Newton as a guest writer here at RESguru.com! Paul has been in IT for 20 years, with the last 15 years spent in the systems management area. Paul is experienced with AppSense, SCCM, AdminStudio, App-V, Citrix and of course RES Software. He has worked in several large and medium sized enterprises in healthcare, energy, and broadcasting.

In the following article, Paul touches on an interesting subject which is sure to get the attention of the usual suspects ;) Over the years, there’s been a couple of more or less useful comparisons between what the merry folks respectively at AppSense and RES Software do, when it comes to managing the user’s persona/profile/environment/workspace (take your pick). The problem with most comparisons is that they basically end up just being a longwinded list of check boxes of who can do what.

The inherent problem with said approach is this: Whoever “dares” to create such a checkbox comparison sheet between any two or more competing vendors, is likely to have at least two vendors breathing down their neck, as the vendors all essentially want to look their best and have every last darn checkbox filled. For a long time, I’ve been advocating another approach: Presuming Vendor X and Vendor Y’s product can do the same things overall – logically the focus must shift from what CAN be done to HOW IT IS DONE.

As for vendor marketeers, this approach is obviously a lot tougher to deal with, especially if your product interface generally speaking is weak, unstructured or down right complicated to use. For the record, I am not referring to any particular vendor indirectly here – these are plain and objective terms to meter by. Of course it is any vendors prerogative to protest that things aren’t being done right, if there is an easier way that has been overlooked. Either way, this cuts the non-technical muglers out of the discussion, so us folks on the factory floor, the engineers can better figure out what product we want to use and recommend.

This is exactly the approach Paul Newton has taken in this article series, which has been moved to the Techlibrary. Let us hand it over to Paul from here: Click below to read the articles:

doc-icon2<<< Part 1: Drivemappings

doc-icon2<<< Part 2: Desktop shortcuts

 

How to manage settings for a software suite

linked-usersettings

Animated, Gears, boxFrom the Mostly Nuts and Bolts Dept. A new article RG056 has been added to the Technote Library. This article describes how to organize settings for a group of applications belonging to the same suite, using RES Workspace Manager 2012. A prime example of a suite is obviously Microsoft Office. The idea is to create a common container object, where all the applications can store their settings in, thus common settings are shared. This article will show you how to accomplish this, using one of the less known configuration items within RES Workspace Manager; namely User Settings Linking. These have traditionally been used to link virtual apps with their local counterparts installed elsewhere, so this article effectively illustrates another way to use them.

doc-icon2<<< Click here to read the article.

 

 

Workspace Manager SR3 Highlights

By Max Ranzau

 

Update: Since the June 12th, the SR3 9.7.3.0 release has been updated. If you already read this article, cut to the chase below.

From the Yay-New-Toys! Dept. Yesterday we got the long awaited Workspace Manager Service Release 3. Due to yours truly being 6-9 hours behind the rest of the RESverse here in the Bay Area, you won’t hear it first on RESguru, but at least I get dibs on diving into the deep end of the feature pool and perhaps fill in a few blanks that you weren’t aware of. This time we’re in for a treat as there are several new SR3 features to look at. [RANT=ON] It took a little while extra tonight, as the retarded WordPress editor decided to hose my article – twice! And autosave had gone fishin’ as well..#@%&! [RANT=OFF] Anyway, you will find the release notes for download at the end of this article. Here is some of the new enhancements and features in no particular order: Read more »

New technote: Guide to Environment Variables

Animated, Gears, boxFrom the WhereDoesHeGetThoseWonderFulToys Dept. It took a while to get the whole thing stood up, but here it is, a complete and current (as of Workspace Manager 2012 SR2) overview of all RES Environment Variables. The guide also covers known system environment variables and references how these tie into a RES managed environment. Finally the guide also includes buildingblocks a couple of small diagnostic tools that will show the current values of the variables within a session, without using nor exposing the Command Prompt to the users. Enjoy!

doc-icon2 <<< Click here to open the Guide.