Monday, 18 April 2016

Windows 10 part #9 - removing Modern Apps from your image

One of Windows 10's most noticeable changes is the integration of Microsoft's new "Modern" or "Universal" apps. They're intended to offer a new method of delivering and creating applications that sit right alongside your old, familiar desktop applications. The idea is that Modern Apps offer a unified experience across desktop, laptop, phone and console - assuming you use Windows on your PCs, Windows Phone on your phone, and XBox on your console. At the same time, they give a single API core layer for development and a single distribution point through the Windows Store (or Windows Store for Business, when it arrives). So if you're sucking up the Microsoft kool-aid, it all sounds good, no?

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Windows 10 part #8 - speeding up the first logon process

I sent out some Tweets recently regarding knocking around 66% off the first logon time of a Windows 10 machine. Whilst people are not overly concerned about the actual first logon time (as long as the subsequent ones are speedy enough), there are environments where users will quite often be exposed to "first logons". As an example, we have in current engagement a selection of "open access" machines, where due to their very nature, local copies of profiles are not maintained. This in essence means that every time a user logs on, they are experiencing the long and drawn-out "first logon" process.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Windows 10 part #7 - maintaining ALL your settings using a standard roaming profile (including the Start Tiles)

Windows 10 is, by its nature of constant updates, a moving target. So far I've had a couple of cracks at roaming a full Windows 10 user state between domain-joined machines. Both of them so far proved to be quite intrusive, necessitating in each case the restart of a system service to accomplish anything near to what we were after. This just doesn't sit well with me - it complicates the tooling required, for one thing - and looks messy. However, as Microsoft release updates to it, bug fixes appear to be included which are making things slightly easier.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Windows 10 part #6 - roaming the Windows 10 Start Tile settings using AppSense (an alternative way) without locking the tiles!

I wrote a post some time ago detailing how to save the Windows 10 Start Tile settings and roam them through AppSense Environment Manager. However, it wasn't 100% reliable - intermittently, I would see what I've come to call the Windows 10 "dead man click", when the Start Menu simply stops functioning because we've inadvertently corrupted the database that runs it. In fact, I'd hazard a guess that the database they use is composed of the electronic equivalent of crisps, because it's very fragile and gloriously easy to break.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

QuickPost: AppSense Personalization Server synchronization failures when using Google Chrome

I came across an issue over the last few weeks regarding regular Personalization failures for users who were browsing via Google Chrome. With help from AppSense support, and Ollie and Hiten from APS, we got this narrowed down to a known issue on the IIS end, so I'm going to quickly write it up so I don't forget about it!

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Custom triggers in AppSense DesktopNow Environment Manager - user-initiated and auto-refresh (and fun with Scheduled Tasks)

Let's get back to some AppSense content for a change. You may have noticed I've been trying to broaden the scope of this blog (despite the name!) and concentrate a bit more broadly on the EUC sector. However, it's time we paid some attention back to the core subject for our first post of 2016.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

QuickPost: Customizing Office and Outlook 2016 using AppSense DesktopNow

As well as being dumped unceremoniously with Windows 10 for deployment recently (regular readers may have noticed), I'm doubly on the bleeding edge because we're also pushing out Office 2016. I've had to personalize this using AppSense Environment Manager Personalization Server, so here are my notes on getting this up and running.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Windows 10 part #5 - have Microsoft declared war on the UEM sector?

I know I come across as a rabid Microsoft basher sometimes, what with the fun we had with IE10+ Cookies and the like, but I am prepared to give any tech company a good tongue-lashing should I feel they deserve it. However, in light of early testing with Windows 10 in roaming enterprise environments, and some of the things I'm hearing on the grapevine, I am starting to feel more pressing concerns regarding Microsoft's latest entry into the operating system market.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Windows 10 part #4 - secure your privacy with AppSense DesktopNow

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year or so, I'm sure you've encountered the general hubbub about Windows 10 and how it uses advanced "telemetry" (one of the most wonderful euphemisms for "logging" or "monitoring" I've ever heard). Now we all know there's no such thing as a free lunch (unless you're at a Citrix User Group), and with Windows 10 being a free download, it was always to be expected that they'd use a tried-and-tested monetization model to make it worth their while to deliver a new operating system free of charge. Ever since I started my current deployment of Windows 10 (which is running across a mix of physical desktops and XenDesktop 7.6 thin clients), privacy, telemetry and compliance are words I've been hearing in focus meetings more and more often.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

QuickPost: How to automatically mute the volume on XenDesktop sessions

Recently I was deploying a few XenDesktop instances into thin clients on open-access (library) areas. One of the requirements was to automatically mute the volume on these Windows 10 machines so people couldn't disturb their neighbours.