Posts tagged: User settings

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 »

Grabbing everything Explorer does

From the So-Ein-Ding-Muss-Ich-Auch-Haben Department. Here the other day I came across a nice article by Michel Stevelmans, where he’s taken the time to dig out some really useful explorer registry keys. These are the settings one needs to pick up from the users registry in order to serve up a consistent desktop experience, when moving across a computing estate. While the article was written with a competing vendor in mind, I have the luxury of really not having to care about that. This article will show you how to to put this knowledge into practice with RES Workspace Manager – and yes, you guessed it: BuildingBlock Included!

<<< Click here to read the full article

New Technote: Viewing contents of UPR* files

From the Technotes-R-Us Dept. A new article has been published in the Technote library by resident co-author Mr. Patrik Kaak. This time he takes us through how you troubleshoot if you have large User Settings files in Workspace Manager. This article illustrates how to figure out what’s actually being stored inside of these files.

<<< Click here to read the article.

Inside the PowerFuse SR2 Release

Yesterday August 23rd 2010, RES Software released the anticipated Service Release 2 for RES PowerFuse 2010. The focus of this release is primarily User Settings. Among other things, this release contains User Settings templates for some of the most common applications on the market. More further down.

For OS migration purposes, there is one feature you cannot afford to miss: A new option has been added, called “Capture targeted items once, then track further changes”.  Essentially what this option does is to flip the zero profile mode from Specified to Immediate, combined with a run-once flag.

To quote the releasenotes: “By using this mode it becomes very easy to use User Settings to migrate personal settings from one machine to another: With the Capture targeted items on application/session start/end mode it is easy to transfer all stored changes that were made on system A and track all new changes on system B with Track any setting changed by application immediately.”

The other key feature in this release are the User Settings templates. When you edit your managed applications, you now have a pleatora of standard applications for which PowerFuse now includes pre-canned user settings. In order to use them. To find the templates go to the User Settings part of a new managed application and select Targeted Items. When you hit the Add button, you will now see a Templates menu, which includes many standard apps. Below is a complete list of all the included templates and the versions of the applications they support:

  • MS Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Project, Publisher, Visio, Word, Office Common, Office Tools: Versions 2003, 2007 and 2010
  • MS Frontpage 2003
  • MS Groove 2007
  • MS InfoPath: Versions 2003, 2007, Designer 2010, Filler 2010
  • MS OneNote: 2007 and 2010
  • MS SharePoint: Designer 2007, Designer 2010, WorkSpace 2010
  • MS Internet Explorer: Versions 6..8
  • MS Outlook Express (no specific versions)
  • MSN Messenger: Versions 7.0 and 7.5
  • Adobe Acrobat Professional: Versions 6..9
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader: Versions 6..9
  • AOL Instant messenger (no specific versions)
  • Filezilla: Versions 2 and 3
  • Mozilla Firefox: Versions 1..3
  • Winzip: Versions 9, 12 and 14
  • Yahoo Messenger: Versions 7.5 and 8

In addition to the above application specific user settings templates, you also have the ability to grab user settings for the control panel. This can however only be done using a global user setting, as found in the Composition | User settings node. The templates available here currently are:

  • Display (XP only)
  • Internet Options
  • Keyboard Settings
  • Mouse settings
  • Regional and Language options
  • All Control Panel settings

The above settings should make it much easier for you to get a proof-of-concept job going and to harness the full capabilities of RES PowerFuse Zero Profile technology. If your application is not listed here, do not despair though. You still have the ability to create custom User Settings and import them through buildingblocks. This leaves you two options. Either you can check in the Forums if somebody has or would like to share some user settings they’ve created. I’d probably go look in the BuildingBlock board. Second you can always create your own. Using the sampling mode to figure out what an unknown application is doing is a very valuable tool as the log of the sampling mode can be converted directly into user settings.

In addition to the above described key features, there are a bunch of usefull new registry tweaks and enhancements and about 53 fixes. To get all the details, see the releasenotes which you can download below.

Click here to download the SR2 releasenotes:

Last minute update: I was informed by my good friend Mr. De Koster over at CDG UK that an problem with the license count, using the Workspace Designer seems also to have been solved in SR2. Alledgedly, under some circumstances the workspace designer would not allow you to analyze the number of .DTS files than you actually had licenses for. This has been fixed.

Preconfigured voluntary settings in a mandatory profile

By Max Ranzau

 

This little blurb was inspired by an email to a partner, explaining the differences between the old PoweFuse products PowerLaunch section and the User Preferences (these are now known as User Settings from Powerfuse 2010 and up. This lead to an example on how you can combine these two parts of PowerFuse. The goal is to be able to provide the user with preconfigured, voluntary settings – in a mandatory profile environment. Let’s take a real-world example on this:

We have some users which share a mandatory profile, where the default webpage for IE has been set to about:blank or something else long ago. This setting coded into the .man profile and we don’t want to bother hacking into it since our goal would be to have it changed dynamically, according to group membership.

For example: We want to have users in group1 initially having www.batman.com as their homepage and group2 should have www.superman.com as their homepage. To make the entire thing a bit more interesting, we want to provide the user with the option to change their homepage to something else if they prefer to do so.

To summarize we are talking about creating a dynamic, group assigned voulentary user registry setting on top of a mandatory profile. Sounds iffy? Not at all. This example is easy to follow, but you can of course just download the PowerFuse buildingblock at the end of the article. The registry key we use for this example is HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerMainStart Page (REG_SZ)

  1. If you haven’t already done so, create a PowerFuse application for Internet Explorer (other browsers can be used, but you’ll have to figure out the registrysettings then for yourself)
  2. Edit the IE app and go to the Configuration | PowerLaunch tab, click Add.
  3. run-onceCreate a powerlaunch user registry setting for the IE startup page www.batman.com. using the HKCU registry path above. Make sure to mark the reghack with the Run-Once checkmark.
  4. group1Go to the Access Control tab of the reghack, assign it to group1.
  5. Export the newly created reghack to a temporary file. This done in the “Registry|Export registry file…” menu inside the PowerFuse export-regregistry buffer editor. We are going to use this export one steap further ahead.
  6. Save the reghack and return to the PowerLaunch tab of the application
  7. Repeat step 2 above, then go to the Registry|Import registry file… and pull the temporary regfile in again (it can safely be deleted after this btw).  In the new reghack, change the startup page to www.superman.com and assign this one to group2. Notice that the name and any comments you added before was preserved in the regfile. Once you’ve configured the reghacks for both groups it should look like this: app-registry
  8. Let’s setup the User Preferences. Go to Properties|User Preferences, while still editing the app. Here we can specify one or more seperate items which should be saved before the logoff destroys the mandatory profle. Using the Add button, you can choose to add:
    1. A single registry value (like we are using here)
    2. A registry key (containing multiple values)
    3. A registry tree (a branch containing multiple registry keys)
    4. A single file in the profile (such as normal.dot for office)
    5. A folder in the profile (such as cookies or favorites)
  9. Fashion the user preference so it looks something like this (remember, you can download the buildingblock below if you want to make sure you build it right). Click on the image to zoom.userpref-ie

When the app has been saved and the user sessions refreshed, PowerFuse will write the correct IE startup page to the registry uppon first time user launch of IE. During the session, the user may perhaps change the homepage of IE to something completely different. Regardless of this, User Preferences will capture the current value of the IE startpage key at logoff and save it, just before the mandatory profile is tossed into Mount Doom. To try all this out for yourself, download the BuildingBlock:

Rightclick and save-target-as here: legobrick_red

Wisdom BuildingBlock: Mandatory Profile Path

legobrick_redHere is another Wisdom BuildingBlock for your consideration. This one will help you correctly set an environment variable across all your different computers in your organization, which will point to the local path of a mandatory profile, which should be used for the given operating system.

This may at first sound like utter nonsense, but think of it like this: Let’s say that you want to enable users to have the same profile across different systems, say Vista, XP and Terminal Services 2003. Impossible you say? Nope, this can be done.  There is a nifty whitepaper from RES, available here which describes the entire procedure: Icon, PDF file 

To sum up the whitepaper, you can:custom-resources

  • Create a mandatory profile for each of the operating systems which require it
  • Upload these profiles to PowerFuse Custom Resources, which will automagically replicate them out locally to the %programfiles%\res powerfuse\data\dbcache \resources\customresources folder on all machines running PowerFuse. Make a structure in PowerFuse Custom Ressources as seen here on the right (note you do not have to create all the folders etc. just point to the root folder of an existing mandatory profile and the RES console will import it with all subdirectories)
  • Run the module on all target machines where users will be logging in.
  • Configure User Preferences to grab the stuff which you want to store for the users uppon logout.
  • Modify the User records in AD, change the user profile path of the users to the variable, say %manprofile% (remember, this can be done in Wisdom too! – perhaps a subject for another buildingblock)

This result is quite spectacular:  All users share one singular profile path (which is dynamic).  The user session will be loading the right mandator profile, as it will be specified by the variable. The path will be local, resulting in zero network traffic as result of loading the profile locally.

The Wisdom module has been designed with module parameters, so you can customize your own paths etc, making it quite easy to use.

Click here to download the module:  Icon, RarFile