Step by Step: UE-V Setup and Template Creation

Usually these step by step guides include a lengthy system requirements including the software pre-requisites you require to install as well as any back-end database and hardware requirements. When looking at UE-V you might think it's going to be similar to the products on the market from AppSense and RES. Well, UE-V is not quite as powerful. The only 'back-end' requirement is some file storage as you'll require two network shares for storing some user data and the templates which you will be generating throughout the lifetime of the tool in your environment. As far as Software Requirements are concerned. The Agent install requires .Net Framework 4.0 or later and Powershell 3.0 or later. As is the case with most of the MDOP Suite, if you're running Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2, you'll want to ensure you have at least SP1 on there. One thing UE-V certainly has going for it, is the fact it is pretty lightweight, it doesn't require any expensive hardware or really much technical expertise to manage.

As I hope this post will illustrate, it doesn't take much to deploy UE-V. To ensure you are capturing your users application settings, you need to create UE-V Templates, these templates are specific to an application, so each app you want to capture the user settings for will require a template. The process for creating these templates is very simple and I'll cover this further down the post. Let's get crackin'

System Requirements

  • Two File Shares
  • If running Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2, you must be running at least SP1
  • .Net Framework 4.0 of later
  • Powershell 3.0 or later

Deploying and Installing the Agent

The UE-V Agent is the catalyst of the entire product. The agent is responsible for ensuring the users application settings and certain personalization settings persist in your environment. This is obviously desirable as no matter what machine in your environment your users log into, they should have all of their settings and personalization preferences right there.

There's two very distinct modes that the Agent can run in. One which is designed for mobile users who may go from online to offline such as when using a laptop and this is the mode the agent setup actually defaults to. This mode ensures the agent actually synchronizes the local cache, So when the laptop is online and the agent syncs, the local cache data syncs to the network share. However, if you are working in an always connected scenario such as with VDI, you will likely want to deploy the agent with the parameter SyncMethod=None , This ensures any user made changes will get saved directly to the file share. This is obviously desirable in a Non-Persistent Desktop environment as the data will not be written to a local disk.

No matter how you intend to use the agent, I believe the easiest way to deploy is just using the silent switch /quiet and then deploy the settings via a Group Policy Object. There's a Group Policy Template available for download right HERE

Note: The Agent does require a restart. /norestart will suppress this, however you should schedule a reboot to ensure the agent can sync.

e.g. Agent.exe /quiet /norestart /log "%temp%\AgentInstall.log"

You can use Powershell to deploy the agent, you can also use Powershell for making configuration changes to the client, as well as managing the application templates. For more on this, you can find the info HERE

GPO

You can configure the Offline vs Online Setting, you can configure the Template location and the Settings location, you can choose to enable or disable some of the built in application template for popular Microsoft applications. It's very simple and there's detailed explanations of what each setting can do.

Of course in a POC you may want to manually install the Agent, which is very easy. You can do this by launching the Agent installer.

Agent1

Click Next

Agent2

Click Next

Agent3

Choose whether you'd like to allow to contribute to the Customer Improvement Program. In most environments this is going to mean selecting Do not join in the program at the time. If it's a POC you may want to provide the feedback. Click Next

Agent4

 

Click Install

Agent6

Click Restart. Note that if you choose to Restart Later, the Agent will not start to sync until you complete the restart

AgentLaunch

Upon logging back into your machine, you can launch the Company Settings Center to ensure it launches successfully.

Creating the Templates

Ideally you should setup a Virtual Machine with your companies primary target Operating System. If the majority of users are running Windows 7 64-bit, setup a VM running Windows 7 64-bit! It's best to keep this VM pretty bare. Ensure there's a snapshot taken of the VM in a clean state with the UE-V Generator installed on it, you'll want a clean VM as you should ideally revert to a clean state after you create a template.

To install the Generator, launch the installer.

Step1

Click Next

Step2

Click the Checkbox for I accept the terms in the License Agreement and Click Next

Step3

Choose whether or not you'd like to allow the Microsoft Updates. In a managed environment, you'd likely select to 'Do not use Microsoft Update' and Click Next

Step4

Choose whether you'd like to allow to contribute to the Customer Improvement Program. In most environments this is going to mean selecting Do not join in the program at the time. If it's a POC you may want to provide the feedback. Click Next

Step5

Click Install

Step6

After the install has completed. Click Finish.

Once you've got your VM Snapshot taken you can install whatever application you'd like to ensure the user settings are captured for. Once installed, run the Generator. If you'd like a video tutorial check out the video below or just skip on to the step by step further below:

UEV-Demo from Rory Monaghan on Vimeo.
Gen1

Click Create a settings location template

Gen2

Browse to the executable for the application. If you notice that the application in question has a shortcut that uses extra parameters, you should enter these under Command Line Arguments. The Working folder is also optional, this is the Working Directory of the application. Click Next

Gen3

A window will appear to indicate the Generator is processing. Wait until your application launches.

Gen4

The application should launch

Gen5

Modify some preferences which are relevant.

Gen6

Try to ensure you capture anything which is important to your users.

Gen7

When ready, ensure you close out the application. In my example this meant click Quit for Skype.

Gen8

The Window which appeared before the application launched should show a green circle with a check mark. Click Next >

Gen9

You can review the registry

Gen10

You can also review the Files and Click Next>

Gen11

Finally you can edit the properties or Registry and Files one last time before creating the template. When complete, click Create.

Gen12

Save the template to your network share, the share you created to store the templates.

Gen13

Click Close

XML

If you open the XML file created you should see references to the registry and file information. As well as the applications executable. It might look a little familiar if you ever used USMT.

With the template created and stored in the Templates path, you can go to any machine in your environment with the Agent installed and configured to point to the file share paths. You can either log off and log on or just launch the Company Settings Center and Click Sync Now

Sync1

Click Sync Now

Sync2

You'll notice the Sync Status should change to Syncing.

Sync3

When complete you can click on the arrow beside Application Settings, you should now see your application in the list. If you change these settings on your machine and log into any other machine with the agent setup and configured, you should notice those settings will follow.

That's it! Pretty Simple, right!?

Conclusion

UE-V is a very straight forward and simple tool to use. It seems like it's only really a winner for managing virtual desktops. When I've had it setup across virtual and physical and taken the physical offline, everything continues to work just fine but I would receive a UE-V loading screen as it tried to hit the shares but couldn't. So the experience was a little clunky. It's by no means as powerful as RES or AppSenses' products but at the same time, it doesn't require a steep learning curve or expensive back-end like those do. You can get pretty creative and not just configure for third party or Microsoft applications but also apply certain Templates to built in every day Windows OS features like the Start Menu if you please. Overall...I'd still take RES or AppSenses' products any day due to the extra functionality and power it gives me when managing my infrastructure but it if I ever find myself on a tight budget. I will certainly use UE-V.

Sponsors

Rory Monaghan

Microsoft MVP,  Citrix CTP,  VMware EUC Champion & vExpert. 

Partners