Monday, January 28, 2013

New KB: GP Preferences Local Groups do not accept long names

A new KB article was recently released regarding the creation of local groups (and users) using Group Policy Preferences.

“…Create a Group Policy Preference Setting for "Local User and Groups"
Computer Configuration => Preferences  => Control Panel Settings => Local User and Groups New => Group
In the "Group name" edit field, it is not possible to enter a Group/Username longer than the displayed field.
The "Group name" edit field does not allow to scroll the content, so the length is limited by the visible length of the field…”

I personally never noticed this before, but did some quick testing on Windows Server 2008 R2, the limit seems to be 32 characters. This has been fixed in Windows Server 2012.


Source and suggested workarounds:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Adding custom RDP properties in Windows Server 2012 RDS/VDI environments

If you’re familiar with Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2008(R2) you’re probably familiar with the Remote App manager. This MMC snap-in was available on servers running the RD Session Host role and could be used to publish Remote Apps. As you might know by now, with Windows Server 2012 many of the MMC snap-ins have been deprecated and configuration of those features is now performed centrally using the Remote Desktop Management Service (RDMS) as part of the new Server Manager console. For more details on that also see RDMS on Windows Server 2012: The Where, the Why and the How..

Part of this Remote App manager in Windows Server 2008 R2 was the ability to set Deployment Settings, for example the Custom RDP Settings. Custom RDP settings can be used to further customize the users session, for example by settings specific redirection options or enabling Smart Sizing.

With Windows Server 2008(R2) setting these Custom RDP settings could be modified by using the GUI.


With Windows Server 2012 there is no option to set this in the RDMS Server Manager GUI. In order to add custom RDP properties we need to use the RemoteDesktop PowerShell module

The command to do this is Set-RDSessionCollectionConfiguration

For example, if we want to remove the connectionbar we could run the following command:

Set-RDSessionCollectionConfiguration –CollectionName QuickSessionCollection "displayconnectionbar:i:0"


These settings are are stored in the registry of the RD Connection Broker(s) that are part of the Session Collections deployment.


Do note that if we wanted to add an additional custom RDP property we would have to specify all the custom RDP properties in one command. For example if we would add an additional custom RDP property to map the local C: drive and run

Set-RDSessionCollectionConfiguration –CollectionName QuickSessionCollection "drivestoredirect:s:C:"

That would overwrite the previously added custom RDP property.


We obviously have to add all the custom RDP properties at once. To make this work we need to add a linefeed character (which is: `n) between the options otherwise it won’t be applied properly. The command would look like this:

Set-RDSessionCollectionConfiguration –CollectionName QuickSessionCollection "drivestoredirect:s:C: `n displayconnectionbar:i:0"

This will result in a published desktop with the following properties


As you might know the RD Connection Broker settings (as well as other RDMS settings) are stored in a database. Without running in RD Connection Broker High Availability (HA) mode, this is a SQL Express database running on the RD Connection Broker itself, and when running in HA mode, the database is moved to a central SQL Server instance.

Since the SQL database is the central place to store configuration we would expect the Custom RDP property to also be stored in this database. I’ve done some searching inside the RDMS database, and it appears that the Custom RDP property that we set using PowerShell is not stored there. Inside the table called PoolProperty, there is a CustomRDPSettings but that only contains the setting that is there by default, not our added properties.


There also is a value called CustomRdpSettings inside the table RdpFileInfo, but that table does not seem to hold any records at all.


So as it now seems the properties are only stored inside the registry of the RD Connection Broker.

Now consider the following scenario; we define the Custom RDP properties as shown above and after that add an additional RD Connection Broker. Would our added properties make it to the additional RD Connection Brokers registry?
I have tried this in my lab and it seems that this settings does not make it to the newly added RD Connection Broker!

First RD Connection Broker server Added RD Connection Broker server



The solution here is to run the PowerShell command again so that the configuration on the 2 RD Connection Broker is in sync again.

This raises another question, what if we would add a additional Custom RDP Property in a environment that is already in HA mode, but with 1 of the RD Connection Broker servers not being available? We can simulate this by disconnecting the network adapter of the 2nd RD Connection Broker and then try to run the PowerShell command again.


The command now raises an error “Unable to set Custom RDP Properties for collection Quick Session Collection because one or more RD Connection broker servers are unreachable or misconfigured”. Which is good! Because this way the RD Connection Broker configuration stays consistent.

Other properties configured in the RDMS GUI can be configured while a RD Connection broker in your HA farm is offline. For example we would be able to publish a Remote App. When the 2nd RD Connection Broker comes online again it’s triggered to sync the configuration, which can also be forced by restarting the “Remote Desktop management” service. The fact that you cannot change the Custom RDP Properties with a RD Connection Broker being offline seems to proof that this setting is not stored in the RDMS database but only in the registry.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Article: Monitoring RDS 2012 with System Center Operations Manager 2012 (Part 1)

My new article on has just been published.

image“…Recently, the 2012 version of Operations Manager, part of the System Center Suite, has been released. As you would probably know, System Center Operations Manager 2012 is used to proactively monitor environments and works specifically well in monitoring Microsoft products like SQL Server, Exchange Server, etc. A new management pack has recently been released for System Center Operations Manager 2012. This management pack is to monitor Remote Desktop Servers based on Windows Server 2012. This article will discuss the possibilities of that specific management pack and will guide you through the basic setup…”

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

RDMS on Windows Server 2012: The Where, the Why and the How..

By now I’m sure you’re familiar with the Remote Desktop Management Services (RDMS) as part of the new Server Manager in Windows Server 2012. The RDMS combines most of the functions we used to have in separate MMC snap ins in previous versions of Windows Server. RDMS is now the central management interface for all your deployments (both Session-Based as well as Virtual machine-Based).

If you’d like to read more about the actual deployment processes and RDMS configuration, the links that conclude this post might help.

In this post we’ll dive a little deeper to see where this RDMS data is (initially) stored, under what conditions you can successfully access the RDMS and what errors you may run into.

Let assume we would like to set up the following deployment:

Hostname Roles
AD01 Active Directory Domain Services
RDS01 RD Connection Broker
RDS02 RD Session Host
RD Web Access

For more information on this type of deployment also see this TechNet Wiki; Deploying the RDS Quick Start deployment type in Windows Server 2012 (for Session Virtualization)

Let’s assume that we perform the Scenario Based Deployment (Remote Desktop Services Deployment) using the Server manager console on the RDS01 and deploy the roles according to the table above. Note that as a prerequisite we added the RDS02 as a “to be managed server” to the Server Manager on this RDS01.


During the installation process a Windows Internal Database is created on the server that we selected ad the initial RD Connection Broker server. The corresponding .mdf and .ldf of this database are placed in C:\Windows\rdcbDb


When the deployment succeeds, we can open the RDMS (as part of the Server Manager) on the RDS01.


By selecting the Remote Desktop Services Link as shown above we can obviously manage our RDS environment as the screenshot below shows, nothing new there.


Now what would happen if we would open up the Server Manager on the RDS02 (now containing the RD Web Access and RD Session Host roles). We would also see the Remote Desktop Services link, since at least 1 RDS role is installed on the RDS02, however if we click we’re presented with the following error.

“There are no RD Connection Broker servers in the server pool.”image

If we’d want to manage the environment using the RDMS on this server we have to add the server running the RD Connection Broker role to the Server Manager by using the “Add other servers to manage” option.

If we would try to open the RDMS console on a server where the RD Connection broker is added as a server to be managed, but at least 1 server that is also part of the deployment is not added, we get a little different error.

“The following servers in this deployment are not part of the server pool”

Conclusion: we need to add all servers to the Server Manager that are part of the deployment in order to be able to use to RDMS on that server to manage that deployment.

In some scenarios you might perform the RDS deployment on some sort of central management server to perform al RDMS related tasks (and maybe also other administrative tasks) on that server. This is possible, but do note though that the RDMS database is still placed on the first RD Connection Broker part of that deployment. The exception here is when you configure RD Connection Broker High Availability (HA) as part of your post-installation configuration. After successfully performing the HA the RDMS database is placed on a centrally running SQL Server instance. To configure HA also see Installing and configuring RD Connection Broker High Availibilty in Windows Server 2012 .

Also note that although the name is RD Connection Broker HA, in a sense we’re also doing HA on the RDMS since the database does not only contain RD Connection Broker information, but all RDMS information.

Also note that from 1 server you can only manage 1 deployment at the same time. However, you can dynamically switch deployments. If you added more RD Connection Brokers from multiple deployments to a single RDMS console, you can use the option called “Connect to Another deployment” to switch between deployments.


That will show you what deployment you’re currently connected to and what other deployment(s) you can currently switch to.


Additional links to TechNet Wiki’s that describe working with the RDMS in more detail:

Scenario Based Deployment of RDS in Windows Server 2012
Distribution of Remote Apps and desktops in Windows Server 2012
Deploying and configuring RD Gateway in Windows Server 2012 Deploying and configuring RD WebAccess in Windows Server 2012

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dynamically enable the RDP setting Smart Sizing in RDP 8 (Windows 8)

On a client running Windows 8 (using Remote Desktop Protocol 8.0) you’re now able to dynamically turn on and off the RDP setting Smart Sizing.


This allows you to resize the RDP screen to scale it to your needs. Before RDP 8.0 you had to change this settings in the .RDP file before connecting. You can now dynamically switch this on and off while running the session without having to disconnect and reconnect.

Credits to fellow MVP Shannon Fritz for pointing this out:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

“Client Side Rendering Print Provider" registry key growth on a Win 2008 R2-based RD Session Host server

A new KB article is now available regarding the issue with the fast growth of the registry key Client Side Rendering Print Provider.

“…Consider the following scenario:

  • You install the Remote Desktop Services (RDS) role on a Windows Server 2008 R2-based computer.
  • The server uses the client-side rendering feature for print jobs.
  • Clients from different locations connect to the RDS server, and they use different printers based on their location.

In this scenario, the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Print\Providers\Client Side Rendering Print Provider registry key can quickly grow to 1 gigabyte (GB) or larger. Additionally, you may experience performance issues on the RDS server, such as slow logon times or high CPU usage by the print spooler. Additionally, when you try to map a printer on the RDS server, you receive an error message that resembles the following:

Error 0x00000006…”

Source and download:

Dialog boxes & new windows displayed as blank in Office 2013 RemoteApps on a Win 2008 R2-RD Session Host

KB article about an issue when publishing Office 2013 as a Remote App on Windows Server 2008 R2.

“…Consider the following scenario:

  • You have a Windows Server 2008 R2-based computer that has the Remote Desktop Session Host role service installed.
  • You publish the RemoteApps applications on the computer by using Microsoft Office 2013.
    Note Office 2013 applications support the Remote Applications Integrated Locally (RAIL) feature.
  • You connect to the Office 2013 application from a client computer.
  • You to perform an operation in the Office 2013 application that creates a window.
In this scenario, the newly created window is not rendered and displayed as blank.

For example:
  • When you try to create new items in Outlook 2013, an unusable blank window appears. Therefore, you must switch to another application and then switch back to Outlook 2013 to create an item.
  • When you close an Office application that has unsaved data, a dialog box is displayed to remind you to save the file. In this situation, the dialog box is displayed as blank. Therefore, to correctly view the dialog box you have to save the data or close the application by using the keyboard…”

Source and download:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

RDS and TS CAL Interoperability Matrix

A few weeks ago Klaas Langhout created a TechNet Wiki on RDS and TS CALs. It answer a question that is often heard:

What CAL types can be used with what OS versions of Remote Desktop Licensing Server and Remote Desktop host server?

The Wiki provides a nice matrix that answers this question from Windows 2000 to Windows 2012.

Source en more info:


Friday, January 4, 2013

SBC Printers, A simple printers interface

Andy Morgen has written a simple tool to replace the Devices and Printers dialog specifically for VDI (Session-based as well as Virtual Machine-based).

Source and download: