Category: Tools

Updated: DB Cleanup Tool 2.0

By Max Ranzau

 

From the Tools-R-Us Dept. You may recall a while back in February, I reported on a cool utility to address the issue with clearing individual log files in RES Workspace Manager. There’s now a new version 2.0 out from one of our community heroes (=someone who contributes and shares stuff), Patrick van Grinsven in the Netherlands (For the record, Morgan Freeman did not develop it ;). The SQL Database Logging Cleanup Tool has seen a few GUI changes and some other improvements:

  • It is now possible to directly Analyze / Query / Clear the configured logging database if the supplied connection details and logs are valid.
  • It is now possible to Analyze / Query / Clear the logging between dates, or to completely clear the selected log (1)
  • Logging analysis is being sorted descending.
  • Displayed record count added (2)

If you are a RES engineer or admin, this utility should most definitely be in your Bat-utility belt.

For further information and downloads, see the updated article here: doc-icon2

 

Secret Weapons of a Master Trainer

By Max Ranzau

 

From the Teacher’s Tips Dept. Having trained a lot of great folks in RES tech over the years, one particular question I often get on the side is this: “Max, what is that digital whiteboard solution that you are using?” I thought I might as well share that with you here, as well as a couple of useful tips. You’ll need these as circumstances have changed around the product’s availability.

cpsFirst of, what I use is called Canson Papershow. It is a quite ingenious solution to white boarding. The Canson Papershow solution differs itself by using a real ballpoint pen tip on real paper. It’s not a recorder pen that plays back later, or one of these Wacom tablet jobs where you can’t see what you’re doing. I’ve even seen folks trying to finger paint on a VGA connected iPad – ye gods! With this kit, everything you write will be drawn precisely in real-time in the whiteboard app on screen as well as on the paper. The kit consists of a USB key, a pen and a special micro-dotted paper pad. The USB key has 3 functions:

  • It’s a Bluetooth receiver for the pen device.
  • It stores the software for the host computer (it supports both Windows PC and Mac)
  • It provides storage for your saved whiteboard drawings (I think the key in total has about half a Gig). The drawings are stored in a vector based format, not as bitmap, so you can edit them later or continue next day of training in the same file.

The pen runs off a single AAA battery. It’ll run for about 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.

New utility: Printer Migration Wizard

Animated, Gears, boxFrom the Technote Dept. One of the RES developers have been kind enough to share a utility, which may help you import existing printers into Workspace Manager via a BuildingBlock. You can import printers directly from Active Directory or from a CSV file. The tool also supports hooking up printers to zones via the CSV file. This article may be updated with further info, so stay tuned for updates.

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

New technote: Creating a Maintenance Shell

Animated, Gears, boxFrom the Technotes-R-Us Dept. How often have you been in the situation that you need to make some changes to some computers out there, but no matter when you try, them pesky users seem to be logging in everywhere at any time! There is of course traditional ways to prevent this, but this article by my fellow RESguru writer Rob Aarts delivers an novel yet effective means to do this. The secret sauce is using RES Automation Manager to deploy and configure a smart little app which is then configured as the shell of the target computer(s). It has other bells and whistles, so you may want to check it out.

Update Feb 11th: Sourcecode for the Maint.Shell executable is now included in the article

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

New Tool: GPO to RES Converter

From the Community Hero Dept. One of the things I state over and over, is that we're our own worst critics here at RES Software. While this is good thing, yammering about stuff, is one way of getting things changed. Another approach is actually DOING something about it yourself. This is the reason why I want to highlight a really nice tool, called ImportGPO – which my good friend and colleague, Dennis Raemakers has developed on his own. Today I'm proud to be able share it with the RES community at large:

The ability to read the given configuration information stored in GPO's and import it into the RES Workspace Manager, has been a long sought after feature. This is exactly what this tool does and a bit more! While there are other tools out there, such as the previously covered VEToolkit, which does similar – the more tools of this kind enriches the RES community resource pool. Either way, the advantage of exporting the GPO's themselves is that they contain the whole picture, not just the resulting set o settings being applied via the .POL files. The ImportGPO utility works like this:

  1. First go to a Win7/2008 box and start your Group Policy Management Console, for example by running GPMC.MSC
  2. Now navigate to the policy which you want to convert. Go to the Settings tab
  3. Rightclick and chose "Save Report.."
  4. Chose to save the report as .XML format (not .TXT) This is important.

Just do it like shown above on the right, where I've used the Domain Default policy as an example.

Once you got the XML export of the given GPO, it's time to fire up the ImportGPO utility, which can be downloaded further down.

In the tool, you want to use the Import XML file button on the right and get the report you've just created into the tool. Once imported, there is a couple of things to know about what you're looking at. All settings in RED are disabled settings. With the checkboxes at the bottom of the screen you can chose to hide disabled settings. You can also decide not to export disabled settings. You might also see some settings appearing in BLUE. These are HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE based settings. The tool will export both HKCU and HKLM settings as seperate .reg files, which you now can import respectively into Workspace Manager and RES Automation Manager.

The tool also supports GPO's for Folder Redirection. This means if you have a policy which specifies that some shellfolders (such as Desktop or MyDocuments) should be living somewhere else, you can export this to a BuildingBlock that will import directly into the Folder Redirection node of Workspace Manager 2012 (yes, only this version and up). If you import a GPO file which contains any folder redirections, an asterix (*) will flash on each side of the Folder Redirection tab in the tool. All you need to do is go there and select which shellfolder redirections you want to include.

One important thing is the checkbox to enable the Folder Redirection node at the bottom of the tab. Enabeling this box, will instruct Workspace Manager to turn on the Folder Redirection feature under Composition | Actions by Type | File and Folders | Folder Redirection when you import the BuildingBlock. Only do this when you are absolutely sure the paths are valid and sound, otherwise first review the redirection paths in the Workspace Manager console. Also, if you uncheck a given redirection policy, it will still be exported to the BuildingBlock, but will be disabled per default. This concludes the walkthrough of the ImportGPO tool.

Download the ImportGPO v0.3 tool here – This package contains a couple of sample GPO xml exports as well, one for some generic HKCU based settings, and one that contains folder redirection settings.

This is a tool in development and provided as-is. There is good things to come – Stay tuned! If you have ideas or feedback to Dennis on the ImportGPO tool in the meantime, feel free to comment below.

Enjoy!

 

VDX Online Test Drive

Today, I have an exciting new online tool to announce to you. RES Customers and partners can now try RES VDX in an free cloud-based test environment . This online testdrive site allows users to evaluate the capabilities of RES Virtual Desktop Extender with their own computer as a remote desktop client. If you are new to the whole VDX thing, go have a look at this article. In order to try it, a couple of things are needed:

  • On the testdrive landing page you’ll need to enter your contact details. An email with a link will be sent to the address you provide.
  • You need IE6 for this service (Sorry, it seems the launch interface from Runaware.com does not support FireFox or Chrome at the moment)
  • If you don’t have it already, install the Citrix ICA Client plugin.
  • Last but not least, install the VDX client plugin. Both plugins are available for download on the demo page also.

In essence with this testdrive option, users can try RES VDX, allowing users to evaluate the product in a sandbox environment in the cloud. This makes evaluating our software faster and easier. I’m told that if this online test drive is successful, we will create online test drives for our other products as well, so be sure to give the good folks of Product Management some good feedback on this! Once you’re logged in, follow the onsite tutorial instructions to take VDX for a spin.

The registration form for the Online Test Drive can be found here. Enjoy!

 

Presenting the VEToolkit

From the RES Community Hero dept. My good friend Iain Brighton over at Virtual Engine in the UK has for quite some time offered a pretty amazing toolkit which will help you in your daily work with RES Workspace Manager. It’s about time I gave it a proper review. The VEToolkit is to the RES Workspace Manager what Robin is to Batman! It’s a great sidekick as it picks up where WM leaves off by offering multiple functions, which are all triggered by the green button in the lower right of the app.

This application is in continued development (beta 3) at the time of writing. In this article I’ll give you a detailed introduction to it’s capabilities along with usecases and show you where to download. I should probably also mention the VEToolkit is free! Interested? Read more »