Thursday, 27 November 2014

Getting to grips with Windows 8.1 #2 - customizing the Start Screen using DesktopNow

As I promised a while ago, let's today try to do a bit more on the Windows 8.1 side of things, as I have been spending more time than I've wanted to digging around inside, as C3PO might have said, its busty innards. Naturally, we're going to be leveraging AppSense DesktopNow Environment Manager to help us out with the customization and personalization of the Start Screen and UI, but for those of you who aren't AppSense customers, then the basic principles should remain the same.

Update - this post feels like it has been cursed, because I've run into nothing but problems trying to put it together. Hopefully the curse won't spread to those of you trying to implement what I've done here! :-)

Monday, 24 November 2014

Mapping a WebDAV share as a drive through AppSense DesktopNow Environment Manager

I'm still stuck trying to complete the world's most infuriating post - one on setting up a default Windows 8.1 Start Screen - so while I struggle against this, I thought I would put out something a bit shorter and sweeter that I actually know might work :-)

I had a requirement recently to set up a mapped drive for a WebDAV share. This wasn't something I'd come across before, so it's not necessarily a common requirement. However, as document management systems become more and more commonplace, we may see more of this, so I thought it would be a useful exercise to document.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Create Windows mandatory profiles in ten steps (for AppSense DesktopNow, or not, as the case may be)

Deciding on your profile type is an important part of any virtualized deployment, but it is particularly important when deploying AppSense DesktopNow, as AppSense merges user settings into a base profile to create the user environment. The idea is that the local copy of the profile is discarded at logoff - meaning that normally, the options for working with Personalization Server are a mandatory profile, or using a local profile with the "flip to temp" trick (which is made infinitely easier in EM 8 FR5 with the new session variables).

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Upgrading AppSense DesktopNow - a step-by-step guide

I've never really written an article based around an AppSense upgrade - they have always been fairly straightforward for me. However, given that EM 8 FR 5 offers a few radical changes, particularly on the Personalization Server end, now might be a good time to do a quick run-through of how an upgrade is done, as many more may be considering doing an upgrade to take advantage of the new features.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Disabling the Internet Explorer "Automatically detect settings" checkbox using AppSense DesktopNow

I worked at a client recently where the presence of a check in the "Automatically detect settings" box in the Connections | LAN Settings part of Internet Explorer Options appeared to cause no end of problems. Long delays loading websites and poor logon performance of published applications were the primary issues observed. There's probably some network-based reason behind this, but given that when the box was unchecked everything worked fine (because we'd deployed all the proxy server settings and the like through Environment Manager), the obvious answer seemed to find some way to uncheck the box for all users, and everything would be fine.

Customizing the visible Libraries in Windows 7 and up

This is a bit more of an EUC post rather than a specifically AppSense one. It deals with one of the most annoying bits of the user interface when upgrading users to Windows 7 or higher - that of the Libraries feature.

Libraries are a way of aggregating views in Windows Explorer (or File Explorer, as it's now known in Windows 8 and upwards). They simply bring together a collection of folders into one view. Removing folders from the Library doesn't remove the files from disk - effectively, they are just linked views that can connect to multiple locations on the same or many computers.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

AppSense EM 8 FR 5, AM 8 FR 8 and AMC 8 FR 6 are now available for download!

Just a quick spot of news today....the new versions of AppSense software we discussed in a previous post are now on GA and available on for download. There are over 250 new features available in this release, most of them in response to customer feedback, so there should be a level of maturity and stability in this release that will make it a lot more palatable to some of the hardened AppSense admins out there.

The biggest change, as I alluded to previously, is the Windows Personalization section. As soon as I've downloaded the GA version and had some time to check it over, I should have an article out discussing the finer points of this change.

Happy installing and/or upgrade planning!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The DesktopNow APPSENSESPECIAL command switch

I still get a lot of emails and queries from people about how to manipulate Personalization Server data. So today, although to many of you this may be basic stuff, we will have a quick run-through of how to make sure your use of the APPSENSESPECIAL command switch is correct, and a few troubleshooting techniques you can use with it.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Winds of change - AppSense DesktopNow EM 8 FR 5, AM 8 FR 8 and AMC 8 FR 6 are approaching!

I've been pretty quiet recently because I've been very busy doing (amongst other things) beta testing on what will very likely turn out to be a very big release for AppSense DesktopNow, Environment Manager 8 FR 5, Management Center 8 FR 6 and Application Manager 8 FR 8. It's quite an exciting release, as there are loads of new features and improvements - some of which can be covered adequately in this article, and others that are big enough changes to warrant articles of their own (coming soon!)

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Getting to grips with Windows 8.1 #1 - Using AppSense DesktopNow to eliminate the Charms Bar

Wow! I've been so busy lately, I've been unable to complete some of the articles I've been drafting for ages. I've got some great stuff in the pipeline, but in between doing presentations, writing articles, attending conferences, beta testing, day-to-day work and of course trying to spend time with my family, blogging has been sadly neglected.

To counter this, I've decided to try and do a bit of a series on something I seem to be seeing more and more questions about - Windows 8.x, and managing it from an EUC perspective (using AppSense obviously, but not exclusively). Rather than hammer everything into one article, I thought I'd flesh it out a bit, simply to try and avoid another period of sad neglect for my loyal readers!

Update - I've found an EM-based solution for this, see the last section of the article prior to the Summary.