Thursday, 2 October 2014

Windows 8.1 and Environment Manager Best Practices

It seems organisations are slowly but surely starting to adopt Windows 8.1 into their corporate networks because I've had a number of emails hit my inbox over the past few weeks asking for best practice information for the operating system.

In line with these requests read this article for a few items that I configure on every single Windows 8.x Environment Manager Configuration that I build:

Friday, 22 August 2014

Persisting the Windows 8.1 Start Screen

Any System Administrator / Architect who has looked at implementing Windows 8.x within their corporate estate would have seen how difficult it is to manage the Windows 8.x start screen. This article will identify the files needed to manage this and provide some AppSense Environment Manager templates that will enable this functionality within your AppSense Managed Environment.

Continue reading to find out how to configure this within AppSense Environment Manager

Thursday, 12 June 2014

AppSense University 2014 Collateral

AppSense University 2014 Collateral

This blog post contains links to the collateral used during my AppSense University 2014 presentation on Profile Migrations.


Slide deck

Sample Configurations

Migration Configuration Examples

DataNow ADMX

DataNow ADMX

Any questions please feel free to contact myself of your account manager and I will get back to you as soon as I can.


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Simplifying Windows Migrations using ImportData

AppSenseSpecial, Helper Applications, Migrate Mode, EMPFileUtil and EMPRegUtil are names of a few of the tools / techniques available to AppSense Engineers looking to configure migrations from a local or roaming user profile into AppSense Environment Manager.

Each of the techniques above has its pro's and con's and use cases on where you would want to implement this. For example, if a customer wasn't looking to deploy the Environment Manager Agent to a legacy estate but still wanted to import crucial file and registry settings for applications like Office or Internet Explorer I would simply create a logoff script to export the data and use the helper applications method (described in a previous post - to migrate these settings.  If a customer was deploying the Environment Manager Agent I could use AppSenseSpecial or even Migrate Mode to import these settings into the AppSense Environment Manager Database. 

Each of these methods took time to identify the settings required, configure the necessary actions and then perform the migration. That was until recently... Landon Winburn has created an even easier and painless way of performing migrations... Enter ImportData.  

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Exporting Registry and Folder Items from the Personalization Server Database

Update (03/06/2014): A third method for exporting settings has been added to the article below

AppSense are often described by competitors as locking you in to their technology because of their reliance on the Microsoft SQL Server platform. A data jail for lack of a better term. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard this from prospective customers and frankly this is not true.

Before I get into the detail we need to take a step back in time...

AppSense launched the Personalization Server back in 2008 when it released AppSense Environment Manager 8.0. The reasons for introducing this Microsoft IIS based service include the fact that a properly designed 3-tier solution will almost always be more scalable than a legacy 2-tier solution and having user settings stored within a database meant searching and reporting on the data was significantly quicker. It also meant that archives (or snapshots to some) could be taken easily on demand by simply called a stored procedure either from the AppSense Personalization Server GUI or through Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio.

Before the release of the Personalization Server, AppSense were however providing user personalization capabilities to a number of customers around the globe through the use of registry hiving and folder copy actions using Environment Manager 7.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Using Process Monitor to investigate logon times and analyse applications

Two of the things I am most often asked when talking to AppSense customers and partners are:
  • How do I determine what my logon times are?
  • How do I determine what I need to personalise for an application?
This blog post will describe how I use Process Monitor, a free tool included as part of Microsoft's SysInternals Suite, to help with both of these tasks:

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Changing the Management Console User Postponement Values

This post is going to describe a mechanism to extend the default user postponement options within the Management Center console.

AppSense introduced a feature within the Management Center console to allow end users the ability to postpone a reboot following the installation of an AppSense DesktopNow agent. By default Administrators can provide their users with the ability to postpone the reboot by anything from 0 to 8 hours. This allowed a large number of customers who previously couldn't use the Management Center because it would simply reboot the machine as soon as it was ready to. This had the ability to lose data if the user was in the process of working on a document, etc.

To see the steps required to configure this continue reading.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Performance Manager 8.2... Whats new and some tips!

AppSense Performance Manager 8.2 was recently released and one of the nice new features introduced in Performance Manager 8.2 was the default configuration templates that ship with the product.

These templates provide a great starting point for anyone looking to implement AppSense Performance Manager within their estate. That said, performance must still be assessed on a case by case basis and the configuration that works for my environment may not necessarily work within your environment.

This post will share a few tips that I follow when implementing AppSense Performance Manager.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Environment Manager Post Logon Trigger

I've sat through a lot of workshops both internally and externally were logon times are a major problem. I've had customers tell me about C-Level executives who phone their assistants and ask them to logon so that when they get to the office they can start working, users logging on and then walking off to make their morning coffee whilst their system logs on, etc. With this in mind a lot of the customers I speak to are not prepared to add anything into the logon trigger.

For years people have recommended using AppSense Environment Manager and creating a set of actions that run on the process started trigger when explorer.exe runs. Others recommend assessing the logon process and find something that runs in the user context immediately after logon. These are both acceptable recommendations but in my experience are not ideal. Builds vary and you cannot always rely on a specific application running on all platforms to trigger these actions from.

This post will show you what I do instead and to date... this hasn't failed:

Monday, 10 February 2014

VMware ThinApp 5 Build modifications for AppSense Personalization

If you follow @AppSense on twitter, read the blog, etc you would have seen that AppSense now supports VMware ThinApp 5.

AppSense has always supported personalizing ThinApp applications but up until now this mean roaming the ThinApp sandbox instead of just the application settings like they do for native and App-V applications. The latest changes allow AppSense to manage ThinApp applications in exactly the same way as native applications.

That said, there are a few things you need to be aware of: