Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Working with Windows Virtual Desktop Diagnostic information in a Web UI

Recently the diagnostics tool for Windows Virtual Desktop was introduced. These diagnostic tools provide easier access to the diagnostic information of a WVD tenant. In particular it allows you to:
  • Look up diagnostic activities (management, connection, or feed)
  • Gather session host information for connection activities
  • Review virtual machine (VM) performance details
  • See which users are signed in to the session host, send messages and sign off users

Without the diagnostics tool if you wanted to dive into diagnostic settings, PowerShell was needed. The example below shows how to query the diagnostic service using Get-RdsDiagnosticActivities

Allthough there are many advantages to using PowerShell for such troubleshooting activities, also having a UI available for example for your helpdesk can be really benefitial. After installing diagnostics tool for Windows Virtual Desktop we can get that same information, but now in an easy accessible web UI.

From this UI we can also interact with the user sessions by sending messages and initiating a user log off.
The perfmon counters configured as part of the Diagnostic tool deployment will also start to show in the UI as shown below.

This includes the relatively new counter that measures User Input Delay

For a step-by-step guide on how to add the Diagnostic tool to you existing Windows Virtual Desktop tenant visit Deploy the diagnostics tool

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Windows Virtual Desktop: users to customize display settings and new client install types!

The latest version of the Windows Virtual Desktop Client (1.2.241) for Windows comes with a couple of great new features!

Upon installation you can now decide if you want to do a per-user of per-device installation! Which means the WVD Client can now also be installed by a user without local admin privileges.

Users are now able to customize the display settings they want from within the client! This includes settings related to multiple monitors, dynamic resolution and setting a specific resolution. These settings are stored on a per Published Desktop level, so you can also configure different settings for various published desktops you might have.

Also, since these settings are stored in the local registry it allows users to configure different settings on different devices they might own. The settings are stored in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\RdClientRadc\Feeds

You might know that the display settings, including various other .RDP properties, can also be configured on a per HostPool level by a Windows Virtual Desktop admin. For example, the command to disable multi-mon is:

Set-RdsHostPool -TenantName $tenantname -HostPoolName $hostpoolname -CustomRdpProperty "use multimon:i:0"

If display settings are configured on both a HostPool level by an admin as well as User Specified, the User Specified settings supersede the HostPool settings. In case both are not in place, the client default properties will be used.

Version 1.2.241 of the Windows Virtual Desktop Client is expected to become available to all users on August 13.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Using FIDO2 security keys with Windows Virtual Desktop!

A couple of weeks ago Microsoft introduced the public preview of FIDO2 security keys support in Azure Active Directory. More info on that announcement here:
Announcing the public preview of Azure AD support for FIDO2-based passwordless sign-in

Since Windows Virtual Desktop is based on Azure Active Directory for authentication, FIDO2 security keys can also be used to secure applications and desktops hosted on Windows Virtual Desktop (Preview).

I have configured this for my WVD lab environment, and I’m sharing the results in this blog post.

Setting up support for FIDO2 security keys for Azure Active Directory as an administrator is relatively easy. Go to the Azure Portal, browse to Azure Active Directory and under Security you will find the Authentication Methods blade.

Here you can enable FIDO2 security Key support.

A user can browse to myprofile.microsoft.com where he is able to add a security key.

 I my case I added a Yubikey 5 NFC, which is a USB key with gesture support.

When I now logon to Windows Virtual Desktop (in this case using the Windows Client) I have the option to select Sign In with Windows Hello or security key.

 It first asks me to enter my associated pin

And after that allows me to provide my gesture.

Upon doing that, the Windows Virtual Desktop client logs on and I have my applications and desktops available!

The same is obviously true for the HTML5 (Web) client that WVD also provides. The screenshot below shows the logging on to the Web Client with the same security key.
This concludes my first test of Windows Virtual Desktop secured by a FIDO2 security key. More to come!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Azure Saturday Munich - recap!

On May 18th I presented a session at the Azure Saturday Event, hosted at the Microsoft HQ in Munich. I have presented there in the past, and it was great to be back again this year. Over 400 attendees attended this year’s event! Huge thanks and shout out to the organizers Benjamin Abt (@Abt_Benjamin), Thomas Janetscheck (@azureandbeyond) and Max Melcher (@maxmelcher) for their unlimited energy to make this event an awesome experience!

The organizers kicked off the event in the mail hall of the Microsoft building.

Chris Heilmann opened the event with a keynote session on Building human interfaces powered by AI.

After that I presented my session on Windows Virtual Desktop. I covered the scenarios, use cases and technical architecture and performed a live demo of admin and end user experience. I got a great crowd! Lot’s of interest of Windows Virtual Desktop and great interaction during and after the session. Thanks everyone who joined my session!

With over 400 attendees, 26 sessions and 30 speakers it was an amazing community event! I hope to be back next year and hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

FSLogix for everyone!

Last November Microsoft announced the acquisition of FSLogix.

“…Office 365 ProPlus is currently the best Office experience, and, with FSLogix enabling faster load times for user profiles in Outlook and OneDrive, Office 365 ProPlus will become even more performant in multi-user virtual environments (including Windows Virtual Desktop)…”

The main question that was left behind was what the licensing model would be like. Integrated into a Microsoft 365 license or O365 license? What about on premises deployments? Is it only going to be available on Azure?


FSLogix may be used when you have the one of the following licenses:

· Microsoft 365 E3/A3
· Microsoft 365 E5/A5
· Microsoft F1, Business
· Windows 10 Enterprise E3/E5
· Windows 10 Education A3/A5
· Windows 10 VDA per user
· Remote Desktop Services (RDS) CAL

The entitlements that have been announced are not yet in effect. Currently this is expected to be around the June timeframe. In the meantime, FSLogix solutions can be used with a trial key that lasts well beyond June and without limitations in the product. Request trials here.

We could see the Windows 10 and Microsoft 365 statements coming, but it’s super great that RDS CAL is included in this! This basically means, FSLogix for everyone! And this is not limited to the FSLogix O365 container, it applies to the full suite: O365 Container, Profile Container, AppMasking and Java redirection!

In our opinion this the best answer to all of the licensing questions and concerns out there! We can continue to have the best Office 365 experience whether it is On Premises, Azure IaaS or Windows Virtual Desktop!

Windows Virtual Desktop: Public Preview Available

As of today, Windows Virtual Desktop is available in Public Preview! Having been part of the private preview since the early releases of RDmi, it’s great to see it being available for everyone to test drive as part of the public preview!

To get started, follow this link for more information: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2019/03/21/windows-virtual-desktop-public-preview/

We can now also share some more details on the licensing of Windows Virtual Desktop. If you want to use Windows 10 Multi Session as the operating system, you can do so based on either of the following licenses

· Microsoft 365 E3/A3
· Microsoft 365 E5/A5
· Microsoft F1, Business
· Windows 10 Enterprise E3/E5
· Windows 10 Education A3/A5
· Windows 10 VDA per user

You can also use the Windows Server as a “traditional” RD Session Host role for Windows Virtual Desktop. What you only need in that case is

· Remote Desktop Services (RDS) CAL

To get started with Windows Virtual Desktop, check out this page: http://aka.ms/wvdpreview If you have questions or if you are looking for help setting up Windows Virtual Desktop, feel free to reach out!

You can expect follow up articles here on setting and using up Windows Virtual Desktop!

If you are not yet familiar with Windows Virtual Desktop, the explanation below is how Microsoft describes the service.

“…Windows Virtual Desktop enables you to create a full desktop virtualization environment in your Azure subscription without having to run any additional gateway servers. You can publish as many host pools as you need to accommodate your diverse workloads. You can use the Windows Virtual Desktop PowerShell and REST interfaces to configure the host pools, create app groups, assign users, and publish resources. Once assigned, users can launch any Windows Virtual Desktop client to connect to their published Windows desktops and applications. Users are securely established through reverse connections to the service, so you never have to leave any inbound ports open. For ongoing maintenance of your Windows Virtual Desktop environment, you can use built-in delegated access to assign roles and collect diagnostics to understand various configuration or user errors…”
Source: Windows Virtual Desktop Guide.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Microsoft Ignite | The Tour 2018-2019, you can still join!

If you have not heard about Microsoft Ignite | The Tour, it is a 2-day technical Microsoft conference where you can gather the latest information on both the Developers and IT Pro side. And, you can attend for free! Since the event is traveling to 20 cities worldwide, you can select the city that is most convenient for you. This is how Microsoft described the event;

“…Join us at the place where developers and tech professionals continue learning alongside experts. Explore the latest developer tools and cloud technologies and learn how to put your skills to work in new areas. Connect with our community to gain practical insights and best practices on the future of cloud development, data, IT, and business intelligence…”

With 9 more cities to go you can still be part of it! I had great pleasure presenting at 2 of the editions so far in Berlin and Johannesburg and hope to see you in an upcoming city! The topics I covered where Remote Desktop Services and Windows Virtual Desktop.
You can download the slide decks from my sessions using the below links. Do note these are demo heavy sessions, so the slide decks are not that detailed, but I hope to see you at one of the other cities soon! If you have questions, feel free to reach out via Twitter or LinkedIn.

Windows Virtual Desktop, the Future of App and Desktop Delivery on Azure!
Become an ARM Hero and Deploy RDS on Azure in Under 30 Minutes

    Microsoft Ignite | The Tour, Johannesburg, January 2019

     Microsoft Ignite | The Tour, Berlin, December 2018