NEW FEATURE No. 10 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Refresh

September 14, 2009

This is the tenth installment in a series of posts about the new features and options in AppSense Version 8 Service Pack 2.  (If you have not yet downloaded this latest release, you can read more info and download it from here )

AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 SP2 includes an automatic refresh of items which use the following registry keys, or subkeys:

control panel\accessibility\stickykeys
control panel\appearance
control panel\colors
control panel\cursors
control panel\desktop
control panel\international
control panel\keyboard
control panel\mouse
keyboard layout
software\microsoft\plus!
software\microsoft\windows\currentversion\policies\explorer
software\microsoft\windows\currentversion\policies\system\wallpaper
software\microsoft\windows\currentversion\themes

These registry keys are all refreshed by using the SystemParametersInfo win32 function to individually set known items.

In addition, any change to the desktop folders causes an icon refresh to be sent and AppSense Environment Manager also broadcasts a system wide policy update message.

Refreshes are sent after all other actions have taken place.

A broadcast message for environment variables is sent whenever Environment Manager updates any variables. Environment Manager listens for broadcasts from other programs, such as VBScripts, to pick up any environment variable changes from within them.

Tip: If the key you are setting requires a refresh but is not in the list above, try setting a dummy value that matches one of the above registry keys. This forces a refresh.

P:S
As this is an ever growing blog topic, the previous posts on the other new features we have detailed can be found below:

NEW FEATURE No. 1 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Run As

NEW FEATURE No. 2 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Connect As

NEW FEATURE No. 3 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Improved compression and data handling protocol

NEW FEATURE No. 4 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Manipulation of files in Personalization Analysis

NEW FEATURE No. 5 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Run Once

NEW FEATURE No. 6 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Group SID Refresh

NEW FEATURE No. 7 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Trigger Action Time Audit Event

NEW FEATURE No. 8 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Stop If Fails

NEW FEATURE No. 9 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – New Application Categories in the User Interface

NEW FEATURE No. 10 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Refresh

NEW FEATURE No. 11 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Registry Hive Exclusions



NEW FEATURE No. 2 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Connect As

August 25, 2009

Here is the second installment in a series of posts about the new features and options in AppSense Version 8 Service Pack 2.  (If you have not yet downloaded this latest release, you can read more info and download it from here )

AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 introduces a new option – Connect As.

Similar in functionality to the Run As option (see previous post), the Connect As option is only available from the Drive and Printers Actions.

This new feature can be used in conjunction with the existing AppSense Environment Manager policy actions, one example is that of mapping a shared network drive or folder, where multiple users would connect with the same user name and password.  By using AppSense Environment Manager and the new Connect As command, all required users will have the drive automatically mapped with the shared user name and password.

Note: When connecting as a specified user, AppSense Environment Manager impersonates the current user. This ensures the connection is added to the correct location in the registry

P:S
As this is an ever growing blog topic, more posts on the other new features we have detailed can be found below:

NEW FEATURE No. 1 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Run As

NEW FEATURE No. 2 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Connect As

NEW FEATURE No. 3 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Improved compression and data handling protocol

NEW FEATURE No. 4 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Manipulation of files in Personalization Analysis

NEW FEATURE No. 5 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Run Once

NEW FEATURE No. 6 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Group SID Refresh

NEW FEATURE No. 7 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Trigger Action Time Audit Event

NEW FEATURE No. 8 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Stop If Fails

NEW FEATURE No. 9 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – New Application Categories in the User Interface

NEW FEATURE No. 10 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Refresh

NEW FEATURE No. 11 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Registry Hive Exclusions


NEW FEATURE No. 1 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Run As

August 24, 2009

This is the first installment in a series of posts about the new features and options in AppSense Version 8 Service Pack 2.  (If you have not yet downloaded this latest release, you can read more info and download it from here )

AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 introduces a new option – Run As.

This emulates the Microsoft Run As command and allows actions to be executed in the context of another, specified user.  For example launching an application in a different user context.

When selecting the Run As tab in an action you are presented with one, two or three options:

Current User: Available on all relevant User actions. This is the default selected method and runs the action in the context of the logged on user.

System: Available on all actions. This is the default method for Computer nodes and runs the action in the context of the System user.

User: Available on all relevant User actions. On selection of this option the administrator is prompted to select a friendly name to run as. If no friendly name exists, the Run As Library can be launched where friendly names, usernames and passwords can be stored for re‐use.

The friendly names are stored in the configuration in a reusable library section. Each friendly name is accompanied by the username and password. The password is encrypted using a one‐way public key. This prevents passwords from being reverse engineered.

During installation of the AppSense Environment Manager Agent, the private key is added to the machines key store. This is a write only store, i.e. it cannot be read.

When an action is run as a specified user the associated username and password are used to impersonate said user. AppSense Environment Manager uses a handle to the private key to decrypt the password at this point.

Note: The Run As specified user only impersonates that user. This means the user’s profile and registry hive are not loaded from the domain due to the associated overhead. This results in the environment variables for the action representing the System user and not the currently logged on user or specified user.

Note: This is both a very powerful and potentially dangerous function. Even though the password is encrypted, the username and password pair can be applied to any action and a malicious user may be able to alter the configuration to possibly bypass security. Therefore, this function must be used with extreme care.

P:S
As this is an ever growing blog topic, more posts on the other new features we have detailed can be found below:

NEW FEATURE No. 1 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Run As

NEW FEATURE No. 2 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Connect As

NEW FEATURE No. 3 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Improved compression and data handling protocol

NEW FEATURE No. 4 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Manipulation of files in Personalization Analysis

NEW FEATURE No. 5 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Run Once

NEW FEATURE No. 6 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Group SID Refresh

NEW FEATURE No. 7 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Trigger Action Time Audit Event

NEW FEATURE No. 8 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Stop If Fails

NEW FEATURE No. 9 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – New Application Categories in the User Interface

NEW FEATURE No. 10 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Refresh

NEW FEATURE No. 11 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Registry Hive Exclusions


VDI Personalization and Configuration: Profile Management & Logon Scripts – not enough for multiple delivery mechanisms & OS platforms?

July 24, 2009

As a leading user environment management vendor, AppSense are in a unique position in that we have been involved many VDI projects and rollouts, of which the majority vary in architecture, technology and requirements.  One thing that does however remain the same between such projects is that of the requirement for user personalization management.

For many years the roaming profile provided user personalization in SBC environments, however as VDI deployments become more and more complex, with varying methods of desktop and applications delivery, along with multiple desktop operating systems and subsequently, profile versions, the roaming profile is no longer able to provide the user with their required settings in such (complex?) scenarios.

Furthermore, these desktops must now be constructed and configured based on the context of the user and/or connecting device.  i.e. mapping specific printers local to the user and device dependent on the location of the user logging on, or applying security policies to hide or remove access to network drives, folders, data and functionality such as copy and paste or print, again, based on the location of the user.  Whereby the desktop delivered to a user when connected locally inside the corporate LAN is different to that of the desktop delivered to the same user when connecting remotely from outside of the LAN.

One more point to consider is that of enabling the user to freely roam between the server hosted or provisioned virtual desktop, and the users local desktop device such as their PC or roaming laptop.  How do you as IT enable user settings to automically follow the user between different platforms?

AppSense Environment Manager was designed from the ground-up with functionality to accommodate the above requirements, making it, or, other user environment management solutions essential to the mass adoption of VDI on an enterprise scale.  In essence, AppSense provides the ability to encompass multiple delivery technologies and OS platforms by allowing the user to roam between the paradigms without any noticeable change to their desktop or user experience, enabling IT and the organization to benefit from flexibility, agility and lower TCO.  I do at this point want to highlight that this is different to the personalization management provided by the leading VDI vendors (Citrix, Microsoft, VMware etc), as their in-built functionality is typically designed for their delivery platform, not each other’s.   In essence, further to the advanced personalization and simplification of desktop management, AppSense also enables an organization to use combinations of both existing technologies, and (potentially) more importantly, any future VDI delivery technologies and vendors.
 
I have just found a very nice blog covering the functionality of not only AppSense Environment Manager, but also the base technology inherent within the leading VDI service providers – Citrix, VMware and Microsoft.  Hopefully from this blog post, and the information over at GenerationV, you will see how AppSense bridges the gap between the roaming user and a dynamic, flexible VDI model..

For more information on this, the GenerationV Profile Management blog can be found here


AppSense Technical University Training For Partners

July 22, 2009

I am excited about writing this one, the much awaited 2009 AppSense Technical University is soon upon us! It will take place in October and November!!  Following on from our previous events, there are some exciting new developments at AppSense that we would like to share with you; amongst other topics:

  • User Introduced Applications (UIA) Technology – do we need, and how do we enable, users to install applications into non-persistent VDI sessions, and have the applications (and settings and preferences) remain available in the next non persistent vdi session?!
  • AppSense Management Suite Version 8.1 Product RoadMap
  • ‘Policy & Personalization’ best practices across virtual and multi OS platform environments

Uni

 

Why attend the AppSense Technical University?

The AppSense University is a ‘free of charge’ event to our AppSense Certified Solution Partners, and is a great chance to meet up with the AppSense Technical teams, as well as your peers from within the community. As a valued member of our Certified Solutions Partner program, you are invited to this comprehensive technical update and networking event.

The 2 day event will include in-depth, hands on training designed to enable you to provide consultancy services and implement the AppSense Management Suite for prospects and customers.

Register for further information

As always, AppSense is hosting several Technical University events in locations around the globe. If you are interested in attending an AppSense Technical University, click on the country or region most relevant to you and we will keep you informed of the event details:

United States, November 2009 

United Kingdom, October 2009

Norway, November 2009

DACH Region, November 2009

BeNeLux, November 2009

Australia, October/November 2009

We look forward to seeing you there!

Best Regards,

The AppSense Technical University Team.

Website: http://www.appsense.com
Email: university@appsense.com
Telephone: +44 (0)1928 793 444


BriForum 2009! – Independent Desktop & Application Virtualization Conference

July 22, 2009

This years BriForum is well underway, and already there are many blog’s keeping us who were not fortunate enough to attend up to date with all the breaking news and gossip.

Rene Vester has kindly grouped together the BriForum blogs he is aware of -  here

BriForum can also be followed on Twitter, by either following the BriForum hashtag – #BriForum , or, following the official BriForum Twitter feed @BriForum

Brian and the team have also started uploading photos from the event to their Flickr account – here

Of course as world leading User Environment Management solution provider, AppSense are in attendance, so please pop over to the booth if you have not yet seen or do not yet use AppSense Management Suite Version 8


Review of AppSense Environment Manager 8 by vExpert Tom Howarth

July 8, 2009

Tom Howarth (a VCP/vExpert specializing in Thin Client & Virtualization solutions) and author of www.PlanetVM.net has published a comprehensive review of AppSense Environment Manager Version 8.0

Tom is well known and highly respected within the VMware and Citrix communities and as such, this positive review comes with high regards.  In Tom’s concluding words he describes AppSense Environment Manager as, “It is a Ronseal product – it does what it says on the tin.”

The article can be viewed at http://planetvm.net/blog/?p=122


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