Vol. 52, #8 - October 21, 2013 - Issue #952
User Experience Virtualization
- Editor's Corner
- User Experience Virtualization
- Tip of the Week
- Recommended for Learning
- Quote of the Week
- Admin Toolbox
- Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
- Events Calendar
- Webcast Calendar
- Register for Webcasts
- Tech Briefing
- Windows Server
- Windows PowerShell
- System Center
- Other cloud computing
- Windows Server News
- Three things that could derail cloud computing success
- Pros and cons of using VDI for BYOD management
- Expected Windows Server 2012 R2 updates focus on cloud and agility
- Hybrid cloud may be more than an enterprise stepping stone
- WServerNews FAVE Links
- This Week's Links We Like. Fun Stuff.
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- What’s new in Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview
- SAVE THIS NEWSLETTER so you can refer back to it later for helpful tips, tools and resources!
- FORWARD THIS NEWSLETTER to a colleague who you think might find it useful!
- SEND YOUR FEEDBACK to [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions!
This week's newsletter is all about User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) a feature of Windows Server 2012 and later that makes it easier for users to roam across multiple devices. We'll have a guest editorial on this topic by Adnan Hendricks in a moment, but first let's look at Dogbert's proposal called Free Range Day Care in this classic Dilbert comic strip:
That dog is evil. Now let's proceed to our guest editorial by Adnan Hendricks...
User Experience Virtualization
Microsoft User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) allows you to virtualize or roam a user's windows and application settings across windows devices. With most people using multiple devices on a daily basis UE-V allows a personal consistent experience across these devices. UE-V is an enterprise scalable solution, fairly simple to implement and deploy using your existing deployment and management solutions.
It forms part of the MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization pack) suite of products such as App-V, Med-V etc. and really came about because what Microsoft called User State Virtualization, technology consisting of roaming profiles, redirected folders and offline files didn't create an optimum experience not mentioning the limitations and shortcomings of the technology. The problem with roaming profiles was that they would get really large and unmanageable over time. UE-V addresses that problem by removing the windows settings and application settings from the user profile. It also applies those settings seamlessly whether the user is working with physical or virtual, windows or applications. Settings can always be reset to the default value.
The current RTM of the product consists of UE-V 1.0 SP1 having started out recently as a version 1 product sp1 provided minor changes and fixes with UE-V 2.0 currently in Beta released June 2013 t more on the changes version 2 brings later on in this post.
Figure 1: The UE-V Architecture
UE-V has a flat architecture with components consisting of an Agent, Settings storage location where settings packages are created and stored and Settings location templates. Some standard / default templates are provided with the installation or custom templates can be created with the UE-V Generator.
The UE-V Agent -- You install the agent on each computer where you want to synchronize the user's windows and application settings with the user's Settings storage location. The UE-V Agent synchronizes the Windows settings when users log onto or off of Windows, locks or unlocks the screen, or connect to or disconnect from a Remote Desktop session. It synchronizes application settings when they open or close applications that are defined in the settings location templates.
Settings Storage Location -- The UE-Agent stores the user's settings consisting of settings packages at this location in hidden folders. You can either let the agent use the user's home folder or best practice is to create a dedicated share where each user can have an exclusive folder created.
Settings Location Templates -- These are XML files that tell the agent where to look for settings on a computer. The UE-V agent will only sync settings in locations defined in these templates. UE-V comes with the following default templates:
- Start menu
- Folder options
- Region / language settings
- Ease of access (accessibility and input settings)
- Themes (desktop theme including background, color, sounds and screen saver)
- Windows applications (Calculator, Notepad, WordPad)
- Office 2010 / 2007 (Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Project, Visio, SharePoint Workspace, InfoPath)
- Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 (favorites, home page, tabs and toolbars)
Applications can be msi/exe installed applications or virtual applications (AppV)
Settings Packages -- They contain the actual settings that are roamed across windows devices.
Figure 2: Settings Packages
UE-V Generator -- You use the Generator to create custom settings location templates for your (L.O.B.) company specific applications.
Settings Template Catalog -- This is another file share where you place all your settings location templates that you want downloaded to the clients. The agent registers newly added templates and deregisters removed templates from this location.
Offline folders - A requirement with UE-V 1.0 sp1, caches settings when working offline.
Installing the UE-V Agent
The Agent can be installed using group policy, script or any method you already use deploy applications in your organization.
- Std with Home Folder - AgentSetup.exe /quiet
- VDI - AgentSetup.exe /quiet SyncMethod="None"
- Per User AgentSetup.exe /quiet EnableSync="False"
- Settings location AgentSetup.exe /quiet SettingsStoragePath=\\Server\Share\%username%
Once installed you use group policy to manage the agent.
Figure 3: UE-V Group Policy
What's new in UE-V 2.0
The latest version of Microsoft's User Experience Virtualization provides new features and functionality such as:
Windows 8 Apps - UE-V can now monitor and sync Windows 8 / 8.1 App settings. You can specify an allow list of apps to monitor and synchronize / roam their settings. A default list of Windows 8 apps is included.
Microsoft Account Linking -- Settings synchronization with windows 8 can be done via SkyDrive. UE-V can be set to allow only the synching of desktop application settings and let SkyDrive handle the roaming of the Windows and app settings when the Microsoft account is linked to the domain account.
New Sync Provider -- This uses scheduled tasks as well as sync events to synchronize changes. It utilizes local cache removing the need to use offline files. The sync time limit can also be set or the user has the ability to select sync now from the new Company Settings Center.
Company Settings Center -- Is a user interface menu installed during the UE-V agent installation and allows the user to manually control what settings get synched and also when to synchronize them if those actions have been allowed by the administrator.
Figure 4: Company Settings Center
So with the latest version of the product Microsoft is fully prepared for the app model available in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 including the Server 2012 and Server 2012 R2.
More UE-V xml community created templates can be found on the Microsoft TechNet Gallery:
Microsoft UE-V provides a simple way to provide users with a consistent personal windows experience.
About Adnan Hendricks
Adnan Hendricks is an international Microsoft infrastructure consultant and Microsoft certified trainer with more than 20 years' experience that span all fields in IT. Implementing core Microsoft solutions such as the System Center suite of products and, his personal favorites, OS deployment and virtualization. He often spends his time assisting and speaking at community events, as well as mentoring those new to IT. You can follow him on Twitter:
Send us feedback
Have you tried UE-V yet? Are you using any third-party roaming solutions? Let us know at [email protected]
Tip of the Week
Test-drive Windows Server Essentials online
If you've used or heard about Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS) in the past and you're considering whether to deploy or migrate to Windows Server Essentials, you might want to start by getting some hands-on experience deploying and managing the new platform. Did you know you can do this without having to use your own hardware? Check out Windows Server Virtual Labs for Small Business on TechNet:
GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at [email protected]
Recommended for Learning
Here are some new titles on virtualization that will be released soon and which you can pre-order today:
Windows Server 2012 R2 Virtualization Best Practices (Microsoft Press)
Mastering Hyper-V 2012 R2 with System Center and Azure (Sybex)
Virtualizing SQL Server 2012 with VMware: Doing IT Right (VMware Press Technology)
Quote of the Week
"Success is not counted by how high you have climbed but by how many people you brought with you." - Will Rose
Note to subscribers: If for some reason you don’t receive your weekly issue of this newsletter, please notify us at [email protected] and we’ll try to troubleshoot things from our end.
Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
Get Free Hyper-V Backup from Veeam! No expiration and no limit on the number of hosts or VMs.
Download 2X ApplicationServer XG to deliver virtual desktops and applications from a central location, providing continuous availability, resource-based load balancing and complete end-to-end network transparency for administrators.
Server performance problems? Find out why with FactFinder Express. See whether the issue is a slow app, slow SQL requests, or a CPU/Memory/Disk bottleneck. 30 day free trial.
Announcing PSReadLine - A bash-inspired readline implementation for PowerShell:
Fast scriptable desktop automation with hotkeys makes creating your own apps and macros easy:
Project Conference, 2014 on February 2-5 in Anaheim, California
Lync Conference 2014 on February 18-20, 2014 at The Aria in Las Vegas, Nevada
SharePoint Conference 2014 on March 3-6, 2014 at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC 2014) coming in July, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
European SharePoint Conference on May 5-8, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain
Add your event
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Register for Webcasts
Add your Webcast
PLANNING A WEBCAST you'd like to tell our subscribers about? Contact [email protected]
This section is organized topically by platform/product and provides you with links to tips, tools, information and other resources that can help you in your job role whether you're an IT professional or an IT decision-maker.
EMC Support for the SMB 3.0 Protocol – the Future of Storage Protocols (Windows Server Blog)
Consolidating & Cleaning Up Group Policy — Best Practices (Group Policy Blog)
PowerShell 4.0 A First Look (The Lonely Administrator)
Querying An Event Log Of One Or Multiple Computers For A String (Jorge's Quest for Knowledge)
#PSTip How to prevent script execution for non-admin users (PowerShell Magazine)
VMware View Adobe Flash Optimizer (Cliff Davies)
Introduction to Networking for VMware Admins: Part 1, The Basics (Cliff Davies)
Putting the User Back in VMware User Group (Scott Lowe)
Step-By-Step: Forcing a Full Hardware Inventory for SCCM (Canadian IT Pro Connection)
The Hybrid Cloud Storage Transformation (Windows Server Blog)
Introducing Network Virtualization with Virtual Machine Manager (Virtualization and Some Coffee)
Other cloud computing
Why the IT Industry Needs Cloud Certification (IT Careers Blog)
Cloud Security: New Challenges, Same Principles (Trustworthy Computing)
Take Time to Reflect as Microsoft Patch Tuesday Turns 10 (ThreatPost)
Security 101: The Firewall, A Fundamental Defense (Security 101)
We'd like to thank the following individuals for contributing items for this section from time to time:
- Florian Klaffenbach, a Solution Expert in Microsoft & Cloud Computing working at Dell TechCenter Germany. Be sure to check out Flo's Datacenter Report:
- Yuri Diogenes, Senior Technical Writer in the Server and Cloud Division at Microsoft. You can find Yuri's blog on TechNet:
- Heather Witz of the Microsoft Customer, Architecture & Technologies (CAT) team for Windows Server & System Center. Check out their team blog Building Clouds on TechNet:
Three things that could derail cloud computing success
Despite predictions of significant growth in the cloud market, there are a few roadblocks that could potentially lead to downturn in the cloud. Hear what our experts are saying must change in order for cloud computing to succeed long-term.
Pros and cons of using VDI for BYOD management
VDI holds the potential to reduce the administrative and management frustrations of BYOD, but also causes new challenges to surface with network connectivity and device compatibility. In this IT tip, we'll evaluate the benefits and downsides of using VDI for BYOD management.
Expected Windows Server 2012 R2 updates focus on cloud and agility
The upcoming release of Windows Server 2012 R2 has created a significant buzz for virtualization pros. Inside, review the most important advancements to Hyper-V and System Center R2 in this latest Microsoft upgrade.
Hybrid cloud may be more than an enterprise stepping stone
Although not without a unique set of obstacles, real-world implementations of the cloud suggest a hybrid future. In this exclusive download of Modern Infrastructure E-Zine, hear from industry pros as they analyze recent hybrid cloud successes and address the foreseeable obstacles.
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]
Water Car Panther is the fastest amphibious car in the World - capable of 80 mph (127 km/h) on the road and 44 mph (70 km/h) on water.
Jumpy the Border Collie knows a lot of cool tricks.
If you need to remove rust from your car's bumper, don't buy expensive cleaners -- use Coca-Cola instead!
Mathematician Mariano Tomatis demonstrates how to create chocolate out of nothing. A delicious twist on the 'missing square puzzle.'
If Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, Bach and Mozart were still alive, how would they play one of today's most popular songs?
WServerNews - Editors
Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press and has published hundreds of articles for IT pros. Mitch is also a seven-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com