Posts tagged: RES Workspace Manager

Authorizing in WM – How it SHOULD work

By Max Ranzau

 

chockFrom the My-Two-Cents Dept. Working with RES Workspace Manager for about 1½ decade, I’ve been witness to many improvements. While the products gets better with each release, regardless of vendor it’s not always flowers and chocolate. By now, most seasoned Workspace Engineers familiar with the product, know the difference between learning mode and blocking mode on the security subsystems. Dialing in the security for a new client/customer always takes a bit of time, as you’ll have to deal with the security baseline – and then authorizing the things that are unique for said customer environment. The work I always seem to find myself spending time on is hopping back and forth between Authorized Files and either the Managed Application node or the Read-Only Blanketing node.

The issue at hand is this; every time that one has dealt with a log entry by right-clicking on it, said log entries will still be in the log. It makes it a challenge to maintain an overview of what’s been dealt with and what hasn’t – especially if you are using wildcard rules to kill multiple log entries with one stone. It would be wonderful if this process could be managed better. I’ve gone through the necessary steps in a previous article here. To optimize this work, below are a few of ideas off the top of my head how this ideally should work:

  • The security logs should be reworked to show a “Processed” or “Authorized” flag. Think of it like the little red flag you can set on your emails and tasks in Outlook.
  • When authorizing a specific log entry, there should be check boxes in the authorization dialog box to “Mark affected log entries as authorized” and/or a “Delete affected entries in log file”. Workspace Manager can already can filter views with the Attention flag etc. in Workspace Analysis, so it should be familiar territory, development wise.
  • In the Authorized file node there should be similar options to process all current log files through active authorizations so it becomes evident which things you haven’t dealt with yet.
  • Finally, it would be stellar to incorporate Patrick Grinsven’s excellent work on the DBlogCleaner tool (which is out in a new version, stay tuned)

Now, before some well-meaning person asks why I don’t put these ideas into UserVoice for voting etc, I will offer my thanks for the consideration, yet I am perfectly happy passing that baton with the associated credit to someone else. In other words, feel free to co-opt these ideas and make them your own.

 

Workspace Life on Windows 10

By Max Ranzau

 

Update April 28th 2015: SR3 now has experimental support for Windows 10 and probably works alot better now than described below. While they haven’t tested it fully, according to a partner seminar held today, RES will accept support tickets now on Windows 10 based systems running Service Release 3.

From the Somebody-had-to-try-it Dept. So, the other day I decided to check out Windows 10 and see how it works with RES WM SR2. You may recall I did a similar piece on Windows 8 back in the day, where we looked at alternative ways to bring back the start menu. Bringing back the start menu via the RES classic shell may not be that important anymore, as the Windows start menu is (almost) back in business. See further down. The obvious question I wanted an answer to is, how well does the RES products work at this point with the Win10 tech preview. I deployed the usual complement of endpoint items onto the Windows 10 client:

  • RES Workspace Manager 2014 SR2
  • RES Automation Manager 2014 SR2
  • RES IT Store Client

Logging in: I gave the stack a quick whirl to see what works and not. No, I did not test every nut & bolt. Allegedly there’s people at the mothership that get paid to do that.. ;) After installation I set the WM Composer to Automatic and logged in as a regular user. First thing I noticed; I got what looked like the dreaded black screen of death. Okay, unfazed this gave me an opportunity to test the Automation Manager agent. I scheduled an AM module to reboot the computer and it came up again nicely. I decided to switch the workspace composer back to manual and launch the Composer binary pwrstart.exe by hand, to see if/when anything went pear-shaped. It seemed to launch okay. Deciding it might have been a fluke (tech preview and all), I set the composer back to automatic and logged in again. WM’s Composer seemed to come up fine again and again after that. So far so good.

win8focusgroupStart Menu management: As most of us know by now, Microsoft finally opted to send the poo-flinging primates who occupied their Windows 8 focus group room back to the zoo. As mentioned above the start menu is back. Well… sort of – I guess they had to compromise somewhere, so instead of the horrible fullscreen Metro/Modern tablet experience that blotted out your Windows 8 desktop, now the Start menu has been expanded with a “mini-metro” to the right. I for one can live with that. Thanks for listening Microsoft!

win10 with res wm

nowin9By the way, if you’re wondering why they skipped the Windows 9 version, one possible explanation is to avoid potential issues with software checking for or against oldschool Windows 95 or Windows 98. Think about it; chances are if you’re a developer and wrote a line of code to make sure your software does not attempt to run on old Win9x, you might just use a wildcard like Windows 9* – Q.E.D.

schmockeandapancakeAs for RES Workspace Manager 2014 on the Win 10 Tech preview, it’s hardly surprising the WM start menu management doesn’t work 100% yet. Ischn’t tish weird? I’m shure tere’sh shomewone working on tish (that’s how you write with a Dutch accent, kids. Don’t try this at home :) Seriously though, it’s clearly evident the Startmenu has undergone a large overhaul, thus it’s likely working differently than the current release of Workspace Manager thinks. For example Replace Mode does not blow away the start menu, instead it looks like Merge Mode for now. Also there is obviously no way as of yet to handle the tiles. If the next FR/Major release of WM does not support native tile management then if someone figures out the proper HKCU/%userprofile% hacks to wrangle them, let me know. Placing desktop icons on the desktop seems to work as well too. Besides that, Process Intercept seems to work just fine too.

ITS Client: One thing I noted, when you install the RES IT Store Client, it doesn’t launch when you have switched shortcut management to replace mode. This is not entirely unexpected as Win7 does the same thing. WM removes the Startup folder when in replacemode, i.e. the ITS client doesn’t launch as a result. It’s just a little bit weird when WM seems to leave the startmenu alone on Win10. Anyway this is not a hard snafu to overcome, if you’re currently testing the tech preview, just add an Execute Command item to launch “%programfiles%\RES Software\IT Store\Client for Windows\resocw.exe” at session start. Alternatively you could create an AM job that launches said binary in HKLM\…\Windows\Run.

mr-potato-headOther small potatoes: Putting up a wallpaper logo from WM, I noticed that Windows 10 apparently doesn’t care for if you select placement in one of the upper corners. The wallpaper will be placed centered on the screen. Other than that, for obvious reasons, neither WM or AM is currently able to natively determine it’s Windows 10 as there aren’t zone/team/condition rules for it yet. Again, if you’re hacking around the tech preview, you could consider create a zone that checks for a registry key identifying the OS, like I’ve previously described here for Win8 back in the pre-release days. You would instead be looking for the value ‘Windows Technical Preview’ and perhaps the number in the CurrentBuildNumber REG_SZ value.

conclusionIn summary: the WM/Win10 combo looks very promising. Already now with a few limitations it’s actually quite usable, if not just for starting to become familiar with Windows 10 in a workspace manager context. According to the twitterati Windows 10 will be available “late 2015”, possibly in July.

Until then, keep doing things you’re not supposed to do! ;)