Thursday, December 20, 2012

Login VSI B.V. announces Login VSI 3.7, supporting Windows 8 and Server 2012

imageLogin VSI announced version 3.7 yesterday now supporting Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.

 

“…New features in Login VSI Pro 3.7 and Login VSI Express 3.7

  • Microsoft Windows 8 support
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 support
  • Microsoft Office 2013 support
  • Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure support
  • Pre-configured language profiles for English, Japanese, German and Dutch
  • Core workload extended with timers, allowing custom workloads to be analyzed in more detail…”

Source and details:
http://www.loginvsi.com/news/vdi-performance-testing-with-windows-8-and-server-2012-now-supported-by-login-vsi-3-7

RemoteFX-Enabled certification program

image

Jeroen van Eesteren from the Remote Desktop Virtualization team posted a blog highlighting the RemoteFX-enabled certification program. It also contains a (growing) list of  devices that have been certified.

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2012/12/17/remotefx-enabled-certification-for-thin-client-devices.aspx

Thursday, December 13, 2012

RDS/VDI showcase videos


Here are some links to showcase videos by the Remote Desktop Virtualization team. They show the various improvements in Remote Desktop Services / VDI on Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8.

· Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Overview – Summary of the value of Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2012

· Quick VDI Wizard – Set up a virtual machine based deployment on a single server.

· Set up an RDS VDI deployment – Set up a virtual machine-based deployment.

· Set up an RDS session deployment   – Set up a session-based deployment.

· RemoteFX – Learn about the enhancements made for end user discovery and experience.

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2012/12/11/new-windows-server-2012-remote-desktop-services-showcase-videos.aspx

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

Customizing the RDCB HA client Access DNS name using PowerShell on Windows Server 2012

After setting on High Availability for the RD Connection Broker role the RDCB HA client Access DNS name can be viewed using the Server Manager, however, this value is read-only.


In order to change this value we can use PowerShell and make use of the command
Set-RDClientAccessName
Parameter Set: __AllParameterSets
Set-RDClientAccessName [[-ConnectionBroker] <String> ] [-ClientAccessName] <String> [ <CommonParameters>]

For an example how to view the current name and change it, see the powershell commands below. Note that all RD Connection broker servers have to be running in order to change this value.


The value is now successfully changed and visible in the Remote Desktop Management Service (RDMS) Server Manager Console;

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Password change option also available in RD Web Access on Windows Server 2008 R2

A while back I posted about one of the new features on RD Web Access in Windows Server 2012: an option to change your password by using RD Web Access.
http://microsoftplatform.blogspot.nl/2012/03/rds-in-win8-feature-highlight-no_12.html

It seems that this option can also be made available on RD Web Access based on Windows Server 2008 R2.The option is not there by default but can be enabled by running a patch on your RD Web Access server.

Remember that the password change feature can be accessed by opening the password.aspx page, so for example https://<ServerName>/RDWeb/Pages/en-US/password.aspx. On a RD Web Access server running Windows Server 2008 R2 this file is not there be default.

image

The patch that creates the necessary files is:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2648402

Note that the KB Article does not really mention the fact that the password change option is also added. It’s actually related to fix a different, although somewhat related, issue.

The KB Article does however mention the passwords.aspx file.

image

After installing the patch (and a reboot that is required) the password.aspx file is created.

image

To enable the option we need to set a variable in IIS (the same as with RD Web Access Windows Server 2012).

image

After that, we’re able to browse to the password.aspx file and successfully change a password.

image

image

Thanks goes out to Alexey Astashin for pointing this out to me and updating the TechNet Wiki.http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/10755.enabling-the-rd-webaccess-expired-password-reset-option-in-windows-server-2012.aspx

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Available for download: System Center 2012 Monitoring Pack for Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services.

The Remote Desktop Services Management Pack for System Center Operations Manager has been released a few days ago.

 


Download:
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35812
Documentation: OM2012_MP_RDS.docx

Below some information on the key monitoring scenarios taken from the documentation provided by Microsoft.

“…The Remote Desktop Services Management Pack monitors the availability and performance of the following servers: the RD Session Host server, the Remote Desktop license server, the RD Connection Broker server, the RD Web Access server, the RD Gateway server, and the RD Virtualization Host server. The following table describes the key monitoring scenarios…”

Scenario

Description

RD Session Host server performance

Checks the status of the RD Session Host server by using three key performance monitors that are enabled by default: the number of active sessions, the number of inactive sessions, and the total processor time per session.

When the number of active sessions approaches the performance limit of the computer's hardware, the monitor changes to a critical health state and alerts you.

When a number of inactive sessions exceeds the idle session limit field of either the Remote Desktop Services node in Group Policy or the Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration console, the monitor changes to a critical state and alerts you.

When the total processing time per session exceeds 80 percent of the CPU's total capacity for 15 minutes, the monitor changes to a critical state and alerts you.

RD Session Host server monitoring

Ensures that the Remote Desktop Services service is running, and tests for connectivity to the Remote Desktop license server and the RD Connection Broker server. It also monitors the number of open sessions and disconnected sessions.

Remote Desktop license server monitoring

Ensures that the Remote Desktop Licensing service is running, and that Remote Desktop Services client access licenses (RDS CALs) are installed and available on the Remote Desktop license server. The Remote Desktop Licensing database file is restored when there is a modification to the old database file.

RD Gateway server monitoring

Ensures that the Remote Desktop Gateway service is running, and checks that it is able to connect to the RD Session Host server. Monitors the number of current connections.

RD Connection Broker server monitoring

Ensures that the Remote Desktop Connection Broker service is running. Monitors the availability and configuration of the RD Web Access role service.

RD Web Access server monitoring

Ensures that the RD Web Access server is running. Monitors connectivity between the RD Session Host server and the RD Web Access server.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Predefining and customizing the Modern UI Start Screen on RDS 2012

As you probably know Windows 8 does not have a classic Start Menu anymore. To replace that we now have the Modern UI Start Screen. For Windows Server 2012 this is no different. In fact, as soon as you enable the desktop experience feature on a Windows Server 2012 (RD Session Host) server the Modern UI Start Screen is launched upon logging on.

So when running Remote Desktop Services on Windows Server 2012 that raises the question, how can we control the Start Screen the way we would usually control the Start Menu up until Windows Server 2008 R2. With Windows Server 2008 R2 a method that was commonly used (although it has it’s CON’s) was the redirecting the Start Menu to a central location. And by using Access Based Enumeration on the share that hosted the Start Menu, end users would only see shortcuts they were authorized to see, based on group membership.

So, what happen if we would stick to this solution and redirect the Start Menu using the following well-known GPO setting?

image

This is what a new user would see upon first logon:

image

That’s right, a completely empty Start Screen, whoops!
Why is that? This is because the Start Screen can simply not be redirected using folder redirection the way the Start Menu was redirected in Windows Server 2008 R2. Instead, what happens is the All Apps section of the Start Screen is redirected to the folder we specified in the folder redirection GPO.

As you might know you can access that by right clicking on the Start Screen (or by pressing CTRL-TAB).

image

Here the user is able to see shortcuts to the applications he’s authorized to.

image

From here, a user is able to pin the shortcuts he would like to see to his Start Screen

image

Using this method the end user is able to build his personal Start Screen. The fact that a user is able to customize the Start Screen to meet his needs is great. However, many users will be completely lost upon first logon when they are presented with the completely empty Start Screen.

Let’s build a configuration so that the end-users receive a default pre-defined Start Screen as a starting point at first logon and allow them to customize that to their needs by adding or removing shortcuts and adding sections to group shortcuts together.

Step 1
Logon as a test user and create the Start Screen you’d like to become the default pre-defined Start Screen. Below is an example of what’s possible.

image

Step 2
The Start Screen is stored in a binary file called appsfolder.itemdata-ms and is located in %USERPROFILE%\appdata\local\microsoft\windows\ After creating the Start Screen you want, copy this file to the following location on your RD Session Host Server(s): C:\Users\Default\appdata\local\microsoft\windows\appsfolder.itemdata-ms. If you want to save the current file make sure you create a backup of the exciting file first.

Step 3
Mark the file C:\Users\Default\appdata\local\microsoft\windows\appsfolder.itemdata-as as Read-only.

image

This configuration sets the basics. If a new user now logs in he’ll receive the Start Screen we’ve just created. Basically he received a copy of that file in his profile folder under: %USERPROFILE%\appdata\local\microsoft\windows

As you might have noticed, this folder is under the local section of the profile, meaning it would not roam. However, a copy of the file is created in %USERPROFILE%\ upon log off so that the file roams across different RD Session Host servers.

Also note that because we had to mark the appsfolder.itemdata-ms file in the default users profile to read-only is also marked read-only in the user profile. Meaning that changes a user makes to the Start Screen are not saved. To achieve this follow with step 4.

Step 4
Create a new GPO setting on a GPO that is linked to the OU that hosts your RD Session Host servers. And create the following GPO Registry Preference.

image

Key Path: Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Value data:: c:\windows\system32\attrib.exe %USERPROFILE%\appdata\local\microsoft\windows\appsfolder.itemdata-ms -R

What that does is it removes the read-only property of the appsfolder.itemdata-ms file inside the current users profile.

This allows the end user to customize his Modern UI Start Screen based on a Default Start Screen we pre-defined !

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Microsoft RDV Team: Easier User Data Management with User Profile Disks in Windows Server 2012

Rob Leitman, a developer working on the Remote Desktop Virtualization team posted a new blog on MSDN about User Profile Disks. Some of the advantages and thinks to remember below.

“…User profile disks offer several advantages:

  • Configuration and deployment is simpler than roaming profiles or folder redirection.
  • User profiles can be maintained even on pooled virtual desktops that get rolled back after logoff.
  • Logon and logoff times are reduced.
  • Previously, profiles could be corrupted if used simultaneously on multiple computers. User profile disks are specific to the collection, so they can’t be used on multiple computers simultaneously.
  • Administrators can have granular control of exactly which locations get saved to the virtual hard disk (VHDX).
  • User profile disks can be stored on Server Message Block (SMB) shares, cluster shared volumes, SANs, or local storage.
  • In pooled virtual desktop collections, user profile disks work with virtual machines running both Windows 8 and Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 (SP1).

Some things to remember about user profile disks:

  • User profile disks are available only in pooled virtual desktop collections and session collections—not in personal virtual desktop collections.
  • Share permissions are automatically set up by the management tools.
  • Use Server Manager or Windows PowerShell to manage user profile disks.
  • User profile disks are for a single collection only. A user connecting to two different collections will have two separate profiles. If you want to synchronize settings, refer to Microsoft User Experience Virtualization…

Source and complete blog post:
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2012/11/13/easier-user-data-management-with-user-profile-disks-in-windows-server-2012.aspx

New KB: Visual elements are displayed incorrectly when you connect to a computer that is running Windows Server 2008 R2 by using the Remote Desktop Protocol (KB2768741)

A new KB has released regarding some visual elements being incorrectly displayed when using the RDP protocol to connect to a Windows Server 2008 R2 (or Windows 7) machine.

“…Assume that you connect to a computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 by using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). The aspect ratio of the computer that you are connected to is displayed wider than a standard display aspect ratio (4:3) in full-screen mode on your local computer. In this situation, some visual elements are displayed incorrectly in the Remote Desktop session. For example, a file in the enhanced metafile format (EMF) cannot be displayed correctly.

This issue occurs because the GetDeviceCaps API returns the incorrect HORSIZE value and VERTSIZE value…”

Source and fix: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2768741

image

New KB: User profile folder name is displayed as "user name@domain name" when use a UPN to log on (KB2748437)

A new KB article was released today related to a specific situation that leads to a user profile folder being created with the UPN as the name of the folder instead of the sAMAccountname.

“…Consider the following scenario:

  • You have a client computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 in an Active Directory domain.
  • You enable the User must change password at next logon option for the domain users.
  • You log on to a client computer by using a user principal name (UPN).  
  • The user profile folder is created on the client computer.
In this scenario, the format of the user profile folder name is displayed as follows: 

User name@domain name

Notes

  • The expected format of user profile folder name is in the sAMAccountName format.
  • This issue only occurs when you log on to a client computer for the first time. When you log on to the client computer again, the user profile folder is in the sAMAccountName format as expected…”

Source and fix: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2748437/en-us?sd=rss&spid=14134image

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Upcoming Article Series on Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services

We, Kristin Griffin and Freek Berson, (Microsoft MVP’s for Remote Desktop Services), are planning on doing a series of articles focused on Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services. The series will guide you through the new features and aspects of session virtualization and VDI deployment, and we’ll talk in depth about some of the underlying technologies. It’s our goal to write an article series that you will want to read so please share your thoughts on topics you would like to see covered. On December 9th we will take your input and use it to create our series Table Of Contents.

Look for this series to start in February 2013; links to the articles will be posted on both of our blogs.

Cheers,

Kristin & Freek

Friday, November 9, 2012

Customize RD Web Access, a drop down server list

As you might know, RD Web Access provides two different ways to allow users to connect. The tab “RemoteApp and Desktops” tab contains the Remote Apps and Desktops that are authorized to user. The tab “Connect to a remote PC” allows users to specify the destination remote client, server of farm by providing the DNS or hostname.
image
In some cases you might want to pre-define the hostname users have to enter. In this blog post I’ll guide you through the process of configuring a drop down list containing destinations we want users to be able to select.
STEP 1. We’ll be editing the desktops.aspx which is located in C:\Windows\Web\RDWeb\Pages\en-US\Desktops.aspx (may differ based on the language of the Server OS). Be sure to create a backup of that file first.
STEP 2. Locate the definition of the function function GetParam(sParam, bReqd, vDefault) and add the following function specified below that function definition. We’ll use this function to retrieve selected value of the dropdown box. We can’t use the existing GetParams function as this returns the number of the select item in de dropdown box. (Uses by for example the Remote desktop size dropdown box).
function GetDestination(sParam, bReqd, vDefault)
{
    var obj = document.getElementById(sParam);
    if(obj != null)
    {
        switch(obj.tagName)
        {
            case "SELECT":
                return obj.options[obj.selectedIndex].value;
                break;
            default:
                break;
        }
    }
    else
    {
        if ((bReqd) && ((vDefault == "") || (vDefault == null) || (obj == null)))
        {
            var L_ErrMsgInvalid_Text = "%ParameterName% is not a valid or available parameter name.";  // {Placeholder="%ParameterName%"}
            var errMsgInvalid = sParam;
            errMsgInvalid = errMsgInvalid.replace("%ParameterName%", sParam);
            var retval = TSMsgBox(errMsgInvalid, vbInformation, L_sTitle_Text);
            return null;
        }
        else
        {
            return vDefault;
        }
    }
}
STEP 3. Replace the following code <input name="MachineName" maxlength="255" id="MachineName" class="textInputField" type="text"
                                    onfocus="updateConnectButtonState(this);" onblur="updateConnectButtonState(this);"
                                    onkeyup="onConnectToKeyUp(this);" onpropertychange="onConnectToPropertyChange(this);"/>
With the code: <select id="MachineName" style="width: 270px" name="MachineName">
                                        <option value="rds01.lab.local" selected="selected">rds01.lab.local</option>
                                        <option value="rds02.lab.local">rds02.lab.local</option>
                                        <option value="rds03.lab.local">rds03.lab.local</option>
                                    </select>

STEP 4. To make sure the connect button is always available find the following string and remove the part disabled="disabled"<button type="button" id="ButtonConnect" name="ButtonConnect" disabled="disabled"
STEP 5. Replace the following piece of code
var RDPstr = "full address:s:" + GetParam("MachineName", true, "") + "\n";
With the code:
var RDPstr = "full address:s:" + GetDestination("MachineName", true, "") + "\n";
STEP 6. The end result should look like something below:

Upon clicking Connect a RDP session to the selected destination is launched.
image




Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Distribution of Remote Apps and desktops in Windows Server 2012

image

My new article “Distribution of Remote Apps and desktops in Windows Server 2012” just got published on VirtualizationAdmin.com

 “…With the Release To Manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows Server 2012 being available (September 4th) many people have been test-driving Windows Server 2012, or will do so in the near future. Windows Server 2012 has been improved in many different areas, Remote Desktop Services being one of them. In this article, we’ll take a look at a common action while using Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2012, which is the distribution of Remote Apps and Desktops. In this article, we’ll discuss what has changed, what the consequences of those changes are compared to Windows Server 2008 R2, what’s possible with Windows Server 2012, and what’s not…”

View the complete article:
http://www.virtualizationadmin.com/articles-tutorials/vdi-articles/general/distribution-of-remote-apps-and-desktops-in-windows-server-2012.html

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2012 is now available for download including UE-V

image Karri Alexion-Tiernan announced today that Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2012 is now available for download! This also includes User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) !

“….As a quick refresher, MDOP includes six products. Its virtualization technologies help personalize the user experience, simplify application deployment and improve application compatibility with the Windows operating system, while its management technologies help to manage, monitor, deploy and repair key Windows features such as BitLocker and Group Policy. By using MDOP, IT departments are able to shift desktop repairs from reactive to proactive, save time and remove many challenges associated with troubleshooting and repairing system failures. And with 44 million licenses sold its clear businesses are finding value in the products…”

Source: http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/business/archive/2012/11/01/mdop-2012-now-available.aspx

Monday, October 29, 2012

Microsoft RDV team blog post: Single Image Management for Virtual Desktop Collections in Windows Server 2012

Ajay Kumar, member of the Microsoft Remote Desktop Virtualization team, created a new blog post on Single Image Management for Virtual Desktop Collections in Windows Server 2012.

“…In this blog post I will share some more details about managed virtual desktop collections and how an admin can use single Master VM to create and update hundreds of VMs in a managed virtual desktop collection (Single Image Management)…”

The blog post discusses Master (Gold) VM in Managed Virtual Desktop Collections, Rolling Out Updates to a Pooled Virtual Desktop Collection and User Session Aware Update.

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2012/10/29/single-image-management-for-virtual-desktop-collections-in-windows-server-2012.aspx

Remote Desktop Protocol 8.0 update for Windows 7 (kb2592687)

The update to Remote Desktop Protocol 8.0 has been released last week.
The update package is available here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2592687

“…New features for client computers that are running Windows 7 SP1 or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

The RDP 8.0 update contains the following new features for client computers that are running Windows 7 SP1 or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1:

Remote Desktop Connection 8.0 client
Dynamic In-Session USB Redirection
Reconnect for RemoteApp and Desktop Connections
Improved single sign-on experience for Remote Desktop Web Access
Support for RemoteFX Media Redirection APIs for VoIP applications
Support for Nested Sessions

New features for remote computers that are running Windows 7 SP1

The RDP 8.0 update lets remote computers that are running Windows 7 SP1 use RDP 8.0. The update contains the following features for remote computers that are running Windows 7 SP1: 

RemoteFX for WAN
RemoteFX Network Auto Detect
RemoteFX Adaptive Graphics
RemoteFX USB Redirection for non-RemoteFX vGPU virtual desktops
Support for Nested Sessions
Performance counters for monitoring the user experience…”

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

RD Connection Broker HA - SQL Server 2012 HA solutions

The Microsoft Remote Desktop Virtualization team did a blog post on the RD Connection Broker High Availability options in Windows Server 2012. It shows SQL Server 2012 high availability solutions to make data highly available for RD Connection Broker servers.

“…Hello, this is Jingyuan, Munindra and Sriram from the Remote Desktop Virtualization team. In our previous blog post, we described how to configure RD Connection Broker high availability in Windows Server 2012. One requirement for RD Connection Broker high availability is the use of SQL Server. In this blog post, we are going to take a step further, and show you how to leverage SQL Server 2012 high availability solutions to make data highly available for RD Connection Broker servers. The SQL Server high availability solutions we are going to cover in this blog post are: AlwaysOn Failover Cluster Instances, AlwaysOn Availability Groups and Database Mirroring…”

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2012/10/16/configure-remote-desktop-connection-broker-in-windows-server-2012-with-sql-server-2012-high-availability.aspx

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

KB: “High CPU utilization in Remote Desktop session after remotely connecting to a computer that is Windows Server 2008 R2”

A new KB article was released to resolve an issue; in case you remotely connect to a computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2, the Svchost.exe process for terminal services and the Lsass.exe process consumes excessive CPU resources. This issue occurs because of an infinite failure loop that occurs in the Termsrv.dll file.

It applies to:

  • Windows 7
  • Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1)
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1)

    Source en download: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2750090/en-us?sd=rss&spid=14134

  • Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    RDP 8.0 update will be released later this month

    The Microsoft Remote Desktop Virtualization Team released a new blog post containing a lot of details on the update for the Remote Desktop Client for Windows 7 updating it to the Remote Desktop Protocol 8.0 !

    It also refers to a blog post by Karri Alexion-Tiernan did announcing the update later this month.

    “…For businesses that have decided on VDI as the ideal solution, we have some exciting news regarding the Remote Desktop Protocol 8.0 Update for Windows 7. Once the RDP 8.0 Update is released later this month, it will apply to all Windows 7 SP1 instances; this includes your laptop or desktop device, as well as a Windows 7 SP1 virtual machines hosted in the datacenter and accessed through Microsoft VDI with Windows Server 2012. The RDP 8.0 Update will allow both the access device and the virtual machine being accessed to benefit from the same great enhancements in RemoteFX with Windows Server 2012. Additional detail about Remote Desktop Protocol 8.0 Update is available here…”

    MS RDV Team blog post: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2012/10/09/remote-desktop-protocol-8-0-update-for-windows-7-sp1-enabling-a-great-wan-user-experience-for-windows-7-sp1-virtual-desktops.aspx

    Karri Alexion-Tiernan blog post: http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/business/archive/2012/10/09/virtualization-beyond-vdi.aspx

    Windows Server 2012 RDS Reference Architecture and Scale Test by HP

    image The Microsoft RDV Team posted a new blog on the Windows 2012 RDS Reference Architecture and Scale Test by HP.

    “…Targeting small and medium business customers, the reference architecture describes the components needed to assemble a high-performing, cost-effective solution…”

    “…For anyone thinking about deploying VDI on Microsoft Remote Desktop Services, we encourage reviewing the “HP Client Virtualization SMB Reference Architecture for Windows Server 2012”.   We will continue to provide pointers to solutions, reference architectures, and tests as they become available…”

    Source:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2012/10/08/hp-publishes-windows-server-2012-remote-desktop-services-reference-architecture-and-scale-test.aspx

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    My MVP status is renewed for 2012!

    I received the email yesterday, my MVP status is renewed for 2012!
    Thanks Microsoft and everyone who made this possible, it’s an honor!

    image
    “…Dear Freek Berson,

    Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2012 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in Remote Desktop Services technical communities during the past year…”

    Friday, September 21, 2012

    Running a Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services environment on Azure

    image


     

    I recently set up a trial account for Azure. The trial allows you to explore the new possibilities and create Virtual Machines, Websites and other Cloud services. Get your trial account here: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/)

    Deploying new Virtual Machines is a matter of minutes. I deployed a set of 9 virtual machines running Window Server 2012 in no time. After deployment you can immediately access and manage the VM's using RDP and the machine is also accessible using a automatically created DNS name (ending on cloudapp.net)

     

     

    Before deploying the machines I created a new virtual network to allow communication between the virtual machines.

    image

    On the Virtual Machines I deployed a complete Virtual Desktop Infrastructure environment serving a Session-Based Desktop Deployment.

    After setting up the necessary endpoints to allow communication over port 443 to the RD Gateway and port 443 to the RD Connection Broker. The environment was accessible from my client.

    image

    Accessing the environment on my client running Windows 8 even created a full Single Sign On to all my published Remote Apps and Remote Desktop seamlessly integrated on my client.

    azure1

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    Overview of all new Windows 2012 GPO’s related to Remote Desktop Services


    The Group Policy Settings Reference for Windows and Windows Server has been updated with Windows Server 2012.

    The download offers Excel Sheets with all the GPO’s policies available and also contains a “Status” column to allow you to filter on New GPO settings and a “Registry information” column to get the registry equivalent of the GPO setting.

    Below an overview of all the new GPO settings related to Remote Desktop Services:

    image

    Terminalserver-Server.admx
    Turn off Fair Share CPU Scheduling
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Connections

    Terminalserver-Server.admx
    Use the hardware default graphics adapter for all Remote Desktop Services sessions
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Remote Session Environment

    TerminalServer-WinIP.admx
    Configure image quality for RemoteFX Adaptive Graphics
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Remote Session Environment

    TerminalServer-WinIP.admx
    Configure RemoteFX Adaptive Graphics
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Remote Session Environment

    TerminalServer-WinIP.admx
    Enable Remote Desktop Protocol 8.0
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Remote Session Environment

    TerminalServer-WinIP.admx
    Select network detection on the server
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Connections

    TerminalServer-WinIP.admx
    Select RDP transport protocols
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Connections

    TerminalServer-WinIP.admx
    Turn Off UDP On Client
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Connection Client

    TerminalServer.admx
    Limit maximum display resolution
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Remote Session Environment

    TerminalServer.admx
    Suspend user sign-in to complete app registration
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Connections

    TerminalServer.admx
    Configure image quality for RemoteFX Adaptive Graphics
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Remote Session Environment

    TerminalServer.admx
    Configure RemoteFX Adaptive Graphics
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Remote Session Environment

    TerminalServer.admx
    Allow RDP redirection of other supported RemoteFX USB devices from this computer
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Connection Client\RemoteFX USB Device Redirection

    TerminalServer.admx
    Configure RemoteFX
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Remote Session Environment\RemoteFX for Windows Server 2008 R2

    TerminalServer.admx
    Optimize visual experience when using RemoteFX
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Remote Session Environment\RemoteFX for Windows Server 2008 R2

    TerminalServer.admx
    Enable RemoteFX encoding for RemoteFX clients designed for Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Remote Session Environment

    TerminalServer.admx
    Specify default connection URL
    User
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\RemoteApp and Desktop Connections

    TerminalServer.admx
    Select network detection on the server
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Connections

    TerminalServer.admx
    Select RDP transport protocols
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Connections

    TerminalServer.admx
    Turn Off UDP On Client
    Machine
    Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Connection Client

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012

    Microsoft RDV Team: RemoteFX USB Redirection in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8

    The Microsoft Remote Desktop Virtualization team posted a great blog post with some highlights on RemoteFX USB Redirection in Windows Server 2012. The features discussed:

    • Dynamic In-Session USB Redirection
    • Expanded USB Device Support
    • USB Redirection for RD Session Host (Session Isolation)
    • Windows PowerShell Interface for USB Redirection Configuration.

    clip_image001

    Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2012/09/11/remotefx-usb-redirection-in-windows-server-2012-and-windows-8.aspx

    Protocol 8.0 update for Windows 7 in Q4 2012

    Microsoft announced via windowsteamblog.com that a update will be available in Q4 of 2012 to update the Remote Desktop Client (RDC) in Windows to Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) version 8.0 allowing it to benefit from enhancements in regards to RemoteFX!

    “…I frequently get asked if the enhancements we've made for Windows 8 access devices will also work on Windows 7 access devices. I am happy to share that the answer is yes, they will. In late Q4, we will deliver, via download, the Remote Desktop Protocol 8.0 Update for Windows 7, which can be applied to Windows 7 SP1 access devices, allowing them to benefit from the same great enhancements in RemoteFX with Windows Server 2012….”

    Source: http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/business/archive/2012/09/06/microsoft-desktop-virtualization-taking-another-step-forward-with-ue-v-and-vdi.aspx

    Friday, September 7, 2012

    Remote Desktop Protocol 8.0 officially supports ‘Nested Sessions’

    You probably have been using nested RDP sessions (RDP Session initiated from another RDP session) for years, and so have I. Up until now Microsoft never officially supported this. There now is a official statement from Microsoft:

    Remote Desktop Protocol 8.0 is tested for and supports “nested sessions”

    A quick reference table on what's supported below.

    More information can be found in KB2754550:
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2754550

    And on the RDS MSDN blog:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2012/09/06/remote-desktop-protocol-8-0-supports-nested-sessions.aspx?CommentPosted=true#commentmessage

    image

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Microsoft User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) RC is now available !

    The Release Candidate (RC) version of Microsoft’s User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) is now available on connect !

    “…UE-V will reach general availability when the Microsoft Desktop Virtualization Pack (MDOP) 2012 becomes available in the fourth quarter of this calendar year…”

    https://connect.microsoft.com/MDOPTAP/Downloads

    Also, the Microsoft User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) agent can npw be managed using existing Group Policy infrastructure. The UE-V ADMX template configures the synchronization settings for the UE-V agent and is also available on Connect.

    For more info read these blog posts Karri Alexion-Tiernan and Stephen L Rose:

    http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/business/archive/2012/09/06/microsoft-desktop-virtualization-taking-another-step-forward-with-ue-v-and-vdi.aspx

    http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/springboard/archive/2012/09/06/microsoft-user-experience-virtualization-ue-v-release-candidate-now-available.aspx?utm_term=RESTweet&utm_content=REST+Corporation+TechUps&utm_source=twitterfeed@RC&utm_medium=twitter@RC

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    Microsoft RDV team blog post –“Introducing the Remote Desktop Windows Store App”

    The Microsoft Remote Desktop Virtualization team posted a new blog on MSDN about the Remote Desktop App, available in the Windows App Store.

    Questions answered in the blog post:

    • What do you get with the Remote Desktop app?
    • How do you get the Remote Desktop app?
    • What is the launch experience?
    • How do you connect to a new PC?
    • How do you interact with the remote PC?

    View the blog post here:Introducing the Remote Desktop Windows Store App

    image

    “…In summary, the Remote Desktop app offers a fresh approach for accessing your remote PCs and RemoteApp programs. Please install this free Remote Desktop app from the Windows Store and try out the new experience today. With its rich features and touch-friendly UI, we hope you will have a pleasant RemoteFX experience…”

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    Video’s related to VDI / RDS on Windows Server 2012 launch site

    imageWindows Server 2012 is here!
    The Windows Server 2012 launch site contains some great video’s. Below the link to some video’s related to Desktop Virtualization:
    http://www.windows-server-launch.com/TechnicalTracks/VDI

    Windows Server 2012 will arrive today, get prepared for RDS 2012!

     image

    I’ve collected some links to TechNet Wiki’s I wrote recently regarding Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2012:

    Scenario Based Deployment of RDS in Windows Server 2012
    Deploying the RDS Quick Start deployment type in Windows Server 2012 (for Session Virtualization)
    Deploying the RDS Standard deployment type in Windows Server 2012 (for Session Virtualization) (en-US)

    Installing and configuring RD Connection Broker High Availability in Windows Server 2012
    Deploying RD Connection Broker High Availability in Windows Server 2012
    RD Connection Broker HA and the RDP properties on the client
    RD Connection Broker HA – SQL Permissions

    Deploying and configuring RD WebAccess in Windows Server 2012
    Enabling the RD WebAccess Expired password reset option in Windows Server 2012
    Adding folders in RD WebAccess in Windows Server 2012
    Publishing RemoteApps in Windows Server 2012

    Deploying and configuring RD Gateway in Windows Server 2012
    Changing the default port of RD Gateway in Windows Server 2012
    Configuring UDP support on the RD Gateway in Windows Server 2012

    Using Powershell to install, configure and maintain RDS in Windows Server 2012 (en-US)
    Deploying a Session Based Desktop Deployment using PowerShell on Windows Server 2012 (en-US)
    Managing Remote Apps using PowerShell on Windows Server 2012 (en-US)
    Managing RDS licensing using PowerShell on Windows Server 2012

    Monday, August 20, 2012

    Co-authoring a new book on RDS in Windows Server 2012, soon to be published!

    I’m currently co-authoring a new book on Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2012 together with fellow RDS-MVP Cláudio Rodrigues! The book is a new release of a book Cláudio wrote earlier on Terminal Services in Windows Server 2003. We are updating the book and will be covering Remote Desktop Services (mostly Session Based Desktop Deployment) on Windows Server 2012.

    We are planning to release this very soon, stay tuned for more info on the release date! A quick sneak preview of the beta edition of the book below:

    image

    image

    Friday, August 17, 2012

    MS RDV Team: “Enabling a Seamless Multimedia Experience with RemoteFX Media Streaming in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8”

    A new blog post from the Microsoft Remote Desktop Virtualization team. Alvin Lau, a Software Development Engineer in Test (SDET) from the RDV Team from wrote a blog post on the Multimedia experience with RemoteFX media steaming on Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8.

    “…Previously, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 introduced Windows Multimedia Redirection, which provided a great experience when playing multimedia content by using Windows Media Player (WMP) in a remote session. Since Multimedia Redirection was based on redirecting the native media stream to the client, the experience was great for supported video formats on LAN networks. However, there were a few key shortcomings…”

    “…To address these shortcomings, Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 introduced RemoteFX Media Streaming, which uses host-side rendering techniques (which provide broad video format support) in combination with the industry standard H.264 codec (which benefits online media streaming) to seamlessly redirect video content…”

    The blog post also shows a nice video which shows Windows 7 and Windows 8 remote desktops side by side playing a video over a slow link with latency and packet loss.

    Read the complete article here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2012/08/16/enabling-a-seamless-multimedia-experience-with-remotefx-media-streaming-in-windows-server-2012-and-windows-8.aspx?wa=wsignin1.0

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    New Article: Using PowerShell to control RDS in Windows Server 2012 (Part 2)

    image3

    A few weeks ago I did a first article on using PowerShell to control RDS in Windows Server 2012. Today the part II of this article has been release on virtualizationadmin.com. Read it here:

    Using PowerShell to control RDS in Windows Server 2012 (Part 2)

    image“…Introduction. In a previous article, I discussed how to use PowerShell to set up a basic Remote Desktop Services environment. In that article, amongst other things, we discussed how to do a quick RDS deployment, add a Session Collection and add a RemoteApp. In this article we’ll dive a little bit deeper into PowerShell for RDS to take a look at how we can even further automate the installation, configuration and maintenance of Remote Desktop Services using the new PowerShell commands available with Windows Server 2012.…”

    Source: http://www.virtualizationadmin.com/articles-tutorials/vdi-articles/general/using-powershell-control-rds-windows-server-2012-Part2.html

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012

    Remote Desktop Services terminate on startup

    A new KB article (2728032 ) was released by Microsoft yesterday related to a logged Application Crash event on every server reboot when Remote Desktop Services is installed. The issue seems to occurs if you have configured the Remote Desktop License Servers directly in the Registry. It applies to Windows Server 2008 R2. For more details taken from the KB article below

    Symptoms
    On a Windows Server 2008 R2, you have Remote Deskop Services (RDS) role installed, and on every server reboot you get the following Application Crash event logged:

    Log Name: Application
    Source: Application Error
    Event ID: 1000
    Task Category: (100)
    Level: Error
    Keywords: Classic
    User: N/A
    Computer: <ComputerName>
    Description:
    Faulting application name: svchost.exe_TermService, version: 6.1.7600.16385, time stamp: 0x4a5bc3c1
    Faulting module name: mstlsapi.dll, version: 6.1.7601.17514, time stamp: 0x4ce7c829

    Cause
    This issue occurs if you have configured the Terminal Services License Servers directly in the Registry.

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\TermService\Parameters\LicenseServers

    Value Type: REG_MULTI_SZ
    Value SpecifiedLicenseServers
    Note: The above registry value is a Mult Line entry, and if the last line is not an additonal emptyLine, but terminated early, the crash may occur.

    Resolution
    Add an addional empty Line to the List of SpecifiedLicenseServers, or configure the License Servers with Group Policy

    Source: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2728032/en-us?sd=rss&spid=14134

    Friday, July 27, 2012

    Fast and fluid audio/video experience with the new Lync and RemoteFX

    Great announcement on the RDS blog by Shanmugam Kulandaivel, a senior program manager on the Remote Desktop Virtualization (RDV) team : Fast and fluid audio/video experience with the new Lync and RemoteFX This is great news as this covers vm-based scenarios as well as session (traditional terminal servers) !

    "... One of the announcements that will particularly interest readers of this blog is the support for Lync audio and video in virtual machine-based and session-based desktop deployments. You can find more details in the section titled ‘Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Plug-in’ in this TechNet article. The RDV and Lync teams worked over the past year to help enable a seamless, fast, and fluid conferencing experience that works with the new Lync in Windows Server 2012 deployments by using RemoteFX..."

    "...A key part of the new architecture is the RemoteFX Media Redirection API, which allows Voice over IP (VoIP) applications to natively integrate with RemoteFX, and enables transmission and rendering of audio and video content directly on the client side.

    Some of the significant advantages of this approach include:





  • Audio and video performance similar to that of running Lync locally. Since a double hop of media content is avoided, even WAN users can have a great Lync conferencing experience.
  • Reduced bandwidth usage between the client and the data center because Lync media content is not sent from the server-based desktop anymore.
  • Improved server scalability because CPU intensive media processing happens on the client side..."

    Source : http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2012/07/24/fast-and-fluid-audio-video-experience-with-the-new-lync-and-remotefx.aspx
  • Thursday, July 19, 2012

    RDV team blog post: virtual machine-based desktop deployment using PowerShell

     

    imageYesterday my article post “Using PowerShell to control RDS in Windows Server 2012” was published. That article had a focus on Session Based Deployment using PowerShell. Today Omair Gillani, a program manager on the Microsoft Remote Desktop Virtualization team published a great new post on using PowerShell for RDS as well. This post has a focus on virtual machine-based desktop deployment.

    Read it here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2012/07/18/setting-up-a-new-remote-desktop-services-deployment-using-windows-powershell.aspx

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

    New article: Using PowerShell to control RDS in Windows Server 2012

    imageMy new article entitled "Using PowerShell to control RDS in Windows Server 2012" on virtualizationadmin.com just got published. In this article I do dive into some of the new PowerShell commands for the Remote Desktop Services scenarios that are available with Windows Server 2012. The article discusses the installation of a RDS deployment, the creation of a Session Collection and the creation of RemoteApps. All using Powershell. I’m already working on a part II of this article in which we’ll dive even deeper. Stay tuned!

    image“…Introduction. PowerShell has been around for many years now. There is no way to work around PowerShell anymore, and you should not even want to work around it. With every new release of every new Microsoft product or service, we see an even tighter integration with PowerShell. With the upcoming release, it’s even bigger than before. With Windows Server 2012, we have over 2400 cmdlets available! That is a huge number! In this article, we will take a look at how PowerShell is integrated with Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2012. We will dive into PowerShell commands for both RDS scenarios that are available with Windows Server 2012. That is, the Virtual machine-based desktop deployment as well as the Session-based desktop deployment…”

    Source: http://www.virtualizationadmin.com/articles-tutorials/vdi-articles/general/using-powershell-control-rds-windows-server-2012.html

    Friday, July 13, 2012

    Everything you ever wanted to know about Microsoft VDI - from TechEd 2012

    imageGaurav Daga, the Lead Program Manager on Microsoft's Remote Desktop Virtualization team did a great summary blog post containing links to all the Channel9 video’s on VDI recorded at TechEd 2012!

    “…In June, Dean Paron posted two TechEd overview videos for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) in Windows Server 2012. Today’s blog post summarizes the key presentations from TechEd. We suggest you watch these presentations in the order shown so that you will go from a high-level overview of RDS to a deep technical analysis (with demos) of everything you want to know about the Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) investments in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. You will also take away some general knowledge about VDI and other related desktop virtualization technologies..”

    Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2012/07/12/all-you-want-to-learn-about-microsoft-vdi-from-teched-2012.aspx 

    image

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    Home folder is not mapped to a client computer when multiple users are logged on to a computer that is running Windows Server 2008 R2

    imageA new hotfix was released today regarding an issue when configuring folder redirection of the the home drive for multiple users on a DFS share in conjunction with Slow Configure slow-link mode being enabled. Apparently, the second user that logs on does not get the mapped drive

    “…Consider the following scenario:

    • You have a client computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 in an Active Directory domain.
    • You set up home folders for domain user accounts on a Distributed File System (DFS) share.
    • You redirect the home folders to the DFS root by configuring the Folder Redirection Group Policy setting on the server.

      Note
      You can use the %HOMEDRIVE% variable to map to the DFS root.
    • You use the slow-link mode for redirected folders. To do this, you enable the following Group Policy setting:
      Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Network\Offline Files\Configure slow-link mode
    • A domain user logs on to the client computer, and then the home folder is mapped to the client computer.
    • The mapped home folder is configured to use slow-link mode.
    • A second domain user who shares the same DFS root with the previous domain user logs on to the same client computer.

    In this scenario, folder redirection fails. More specifically, the home folder of the second user is not mapped to the client computer…”

    Source: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2715922/en-us?sd=rss&spid=14134

    Monday, July 9, 2012

    Windows Server 2012 will be released to manufacturing in the first week of August

    imageWe’re close to the availability of Windows Server 2012. The following was announced today:

    ”…we are announcing that Windows Server 2012 will be released to manufacturing in the first week of August. The code will be complete and we will begin delivering it to our hardware partners. Then, the product will be generally available to customers worldwide through multiple channels in September.

    You, our customers and partners, have downloaded pre-release versions of Windows Server 2012 more than 500,000 times - more than any other server from Microsoft before. We can’t wait to get the final version out the door to you!…”

    This means we have exciting times ahead of us!
    Source: http://blogs.technet.com/b/windowsserver/archive/2012/07/09/windows-server-2012-final-release-timing.aspx