Remote Desktop Commander 3.9 Now Available

Greetings friends and current Remote Desktop Commander customers! We’ve just released Version 3.9 of Remote Desktop Commander, both the Lite and Suite editions, so we want to tell you what’s new under the hood in terms of features.

In this RDPSoft E-Newsletter:

 

New Remote Desktop Commander 3.9 Features

End of Year Discount for New Subscriptions!

Need RDS Consulting? Contact Our Friends at RDSGurus.com

RDC 3.9 Download and Upgrade Links

 

MSP? Have a Complex Network? Remote Desktop Commander Now Lets you Monitor and Manage Remote Desktop Session Hosts and Citrix XenApp Deployments in Untrusted Domains and Workgroups

This Feature Is Present In the Following Editions: Suite

Remote Desktop Commander encrypts and stores alternate credentials in order to monitor Remote Desktop Session Hosts in untrusted domains.
Remote Desktop Commander encrypts and stores alternate credentials in order to monitor Remote Desktop Session Hosts in untrusted domains.
Assign alternate credentials to monitor Remote Desktop Session Hosts in untrusting domains.
Assign alternate credentials to monitor Remote Desktop Session Hosts in untrusting domains.
Need to manage sessions on RDSH systems in a different domain or workgroup?  Simple enter in alternate credentials and away you go!
Need to manage sessions on RDSH systems in a different domain or workgroup? Simple enter in alternate credentials and away you go!

Managed Service Providers know all too well the difficulty of managing systems in multi-tenant environments. Most MSPs isolate each of their clients in a separate domain, and if the client runs Remote Desktop Services or Citrix, the collection/farm is also bound to that domain. Previous versions of Remote Desktop Commander have required a separate deployment per AD forest. Now, in Version 3.9, we’ve made our software friendlier for MSPs. Version 3.9 supports the secure caching of user account credentials that can be used to authenticate against foreign domains.

Remote Desktop Commander administrators, after entering the appropriate credentials, can assign these credentials to RDS session hosts or Citrix servers they need to monitor or actively manage. This allows them to stand up considerably fewer deployments of our Remote Desktop Commander solution, reducing licensing costs associated with Microsoft SQL Server, as well as lowering administrative overhead. Provided that the different client domains are located on the same physical network (or common virtual network/VLAN), and provided there are rules that permit normal Windows network traffic in the datacenter (e.g. Kerberos, Dynamic RPC, etc), our software can authenticate across domains to bring the information from multiple clients into a single database. Similarly, the Farms/Collections of all clients can be managed in one area using the Remote Desktop Commander Client.

Improved Discovery of RDS Collections / Remote Desktop Session Hosts

This Feature Is Present In the Following Editions: Suite

Remote Desktop Commander 3.9 has improved Connection Broker support.
Remote Desktop Commander 3.9 has improved Connection Broker support.

Formerly, the Remote Desktop Commander Configuration Tool required you to add the names of Remote Desktop Session Hosts by hand. Now, if your RDS deployment has a server running the connection broker role, you can enter in the name of the connection broker server, and quickly import your RDSH systems for monitoring.

As described above, Remote Desktop Commander 3.9 allows you to provide alternate credentials for authenticating against foreign, non-trusting domains. You can also use alternate credentials to authenticate against connection brokers in other domains, in order to both monitor and manage those session hosts throughout the programs in the Remote Desktop Commander Suite.

Collect SPLA Usage Data From Untrusting Domains, Plus Filter Reports By Domain In Version 3.9 of the SPL Tracker Module

This Feature Is Present In the Following Editions: Suite

Now MSPs can authenticate against non-trusting domains, as well as filter SPLA usage data by domain, to rapidly produce consolidated SPLA reports.
Now MSPs can authenticate against non-trusting domains, as well as filter SPLA usage data by domain, to rapidly produce consolidated SPLA reports.

Previously, in order to obtain SPLA usage data for SPLA reporting, we required our MSP customers to stand up an instance of Remote Desktop Commander with the SPL Tracker in each of their client domains. Now, if alternate credentials are defined in the Remote Desktop Commander Configuration Tool, our SPL Tracker tool will also use them automatically to authenticate against foreign domains. And, you can now easily create multiple SPLA license usage classes per domain, by setting up domain filters and using the new Clone feature to duplicate existing license usage classes.

Improved Agent Service Performance and Dashboard

This Feature Is Present In the Following Editions: Suite

In Remote Desktop Commander 3.9, we’ve optimized our Agent service to where it operates faster and can handle a higher volume of monitored objects, such as on Remote Desktop Session Hosts that have tens of thousands of open UDP/TCP connections. We’ve also expanded our Performance Across the Farm Dashboard, so that even if you have not deployed the Agent service to your session hosts, you can still at least see current CPU and memory consumption on each session host.

Retention of Shadowing Preferences

This Feature Is Present In the Following Editions: Suite and Lite (Free)

Remote Desktop Commander 3.9 now automatically remembers your shadowing preferences
Remote Desktop Commander 3.9 now automatically remembers your shadowing preferences

Several of our customers requested that we add a feature to make Remote Desktop Commander “remember” the shadowing options preferences for the help desk user or administrator. That feature is now present in Version 3.9 and is a great time saver.

Import/Export of Remote Desktop Commander Client Preferences

This Feature Is Present In the Following Editions: Suite and Lite (Free)

Have lots of help desk personnel and administrators who need to manage sessions with Remote Desktop Commander?  Use the import/export feature to quickly replicate settings across all users.
Have lots of help desk personnel and administrators who need to manage sessions with Remote Desktop Commander? Use the import/export feature to quickly replicate settings across all users.

Do you have lots of help desk personnel and admins in your organization who need to manage RDS sessions, or access the detailed reporting found in the Remote Desktop Commander Suite? If so, now replicating configuration settings across multiple users is easy. Simply configure one instance of the client as needed, and then export those settings to a dat file. Other users can then import that Preferences file into their instance of Remote Desktop Commander to obtain the same master settings.

Now Through the End of December 2016 – $2 Off Your $9 Per Month Subscription for 3 Months!

Use coupon code RDCDEC16 when you start a new Remote Desktop Commander Suite Monthly Server subscription. Doing so will reduce the monthly per server licensing cost to only $7 per server for the next 3 months. To start your monthly subscription, click here.

Is Your Remote Desktop Services Deployment Giving You Tons Of Challenges? Look No Further Than the Experts at RDSGurus.com

RDS Gurus Consultancy

As you know, running a stable and fast Remote Desktop Services deployment takes quite a bit of tweaking. Whether it’s authentication issues, group policy settings, logon times, user profile disks, or application changes, sometimes you need to bring in the big guns. Look no further than the RDS Gurus Consultancy. Led by three Microsoft RDS MVPs, they can get your RDS collection in tip top shape in short order. For the biggest impact, consider leveraging both the RDS Gurus team AND a subscription to our Remote Desktop Commander Suite. Combining the insightful data we collect with the decades of hard won expertise they offer, your RDS infrastructure will soon be running smoother than ever!

Click here to contact the experts at RDSGurus.com

Remote Desktop Commander 3.9 Download and Upgrade Links

If you are an existing Remote Desktop Commander SUITE subscription licensee and/or active maintenance agreement holder, click here to request upgrade instructions.

If you are an existing Remote Desktop Commander LITE user, click here to download the latest version, which you can install directly over previous Remote Desktop Commander Lite versions.

If you’d like to learn more about the Remote Desktop Commander Suite, including its feature set and how to start a subscription for only $9 per server per month, click here.

Remote Desktop Commander 3.7 Now Available

Greetings friends and current Remote Desktop Commander customers! We’ve just released Version 3.7 of Remote Desktop Commander, both the Lite and Suite editions, so we want to tell you what’s new under the hood in terms of features.

In this RDPSoft E-Newsletter:

 

New Remote Desktop Commander 3.7 Features

Remote Desktop Commander Lite Is Now Free For All Users!

PureRDS.org – Andy Milford’s New Free Resource Site For RDS Admins

Containers for Office 365? Yessir! – FSLogix Has a Solution For You

RDC 3.7 Download and Upgrade Links

 

Parameterized Integration of PowerShell Scripts and Commands is Now Supported in the Remote Desktop Session Navigator

This Feature Is Present In the Following Editions: Lite (Free) and Suite

Defining Your Own Parameterized PowerShell Scripts to Run Against Session Hosts, Users, Processes, and More.
Defining Your Own Parameterized PowerShell Scripts to Run Against Session Hosts, Users, Processes, and More.
Invoking Parameterized PowerShell Scripts to Run Against Session Hosts, Users, Processes, and More.
Invoking Parameterized PowerShell Scripts to Run Against Session Hosts, Users, Processes, and More.

Now you can pass the names of RDS/Citrix servers, users, processes, and more to your favorite command-line utilities and PowerShell scripts. Remote Desktop Commander 3.7 allows you to define parameter placeholders for the objects in the Remote Desktop Session Navigator. When you invoke your scripts/programs from a menu, Remote Desktop Commander automatically substitutes the object names that are focused or checked for the parameters. Plus, we’ve already added some new built-in PowerShell scripts, for things like enabling/disabling drain mode on Remote Desktop Session Hosts, AND delegating shadowing permissions to non-administrators. More built-in scripts are coming soon!

Automated Discovery Of RDS Collections and Remote Desktop Session Hosts

This Feature Is Present In the Following Editions: Lite (Free) and Suite

Remote Desktop Commander can now auto-maintain groups of session hosts by collection name.  Just add your RDS connection brokers, and it will discover everything else.
Remote Desktop Commander can now auto-maintain groups of session hosts by collection name. Just add your RDS connection brokers, and it will discover everything else.

Formerly, the Remote Desktop Commander Client required you to add in the names of session hosts by hand. Now, if your RDS deployment has a server running the connection broker role, simply enter in the name of that server. Remote Desktop Commander will then auto discover all of the collections and remote desktop session hosts in each collection, and maintain and update those groupings for you automatically.

Greatly Improved Refresh Speed in the “Performance Across the Farm” Dashboards

This Feature Is Present In the Following Editions: Suite

Due to several new optimizations, the Performance and Load Across the Farm dashboards reload much more quickly.
Due to several new optimizations, the Performance and Load Across the Farm dashboards reload much more quickly.

To increase scalability of our session host performance dashboards (e.g. those that track CPU/Memory consumption by session) for larger customers, we’ve made new optimizations in Version 3.7 of Remote Desktop Commander that have decreased loading/reloading times by over 60%! Due to new WMI and SQL query techniques, these dashboards are much quicker when reloading, providing a significant performance boost for organizations with more than 10 or 20 session hosts they monitor with our agent service.

Remote Desktop Commander Lite is Now Free! Missing TSAdmin Woes on Windows Server 2012 are No More!

Yep, we did it! By making Remote Desktop Commander Lite free, we hope that all Remote Desktop Services admins who have been struggling with the removal of TSAdmin (aka the Remote Desktop Services Manager) in Windows Server 2012 will struggle no more. Plus, with the new features related to session host discovery for RDS collections and PowerShell integration, you’ll now be able to manage your farm like a pro! It works great with Citrix XenApp deployments too – give it a whirl!

Click here for more information on this new free release, plus links to download it or to purchase support.

Andy Milford, RDPSoft CEO and Microsoft MVP in Remote Desktop Services, Has Launched His New RDS Resource Site – PureRDS.org

purerds.org

As part of his technical community outreach associated with the Microsoft MVP award, RDPSoft CEO Andy Milford has created a new resource site solely for Remote Desktop Services administrators. Packed with tips, tricks, scripts, and free tools, he hopes it will make life in the trenches easier for those responsible for setting up and maintaining remote desktop services implementations.

Click here to check out PureRDS.org

Trying To Use Office 365 in Your Virtual Desktop or Published Desktop Environment? You Need the Office 365 Container From Our Alliance Partner FSLogix

FSlogix

A few months ago we discussed how FSLogix, an RDPSoft alliance partner, was greatly improving user profile performance with its Profile Containers product. If any of our readers have tried to use built in User Profile Disks (UPDs) in Windows Server 2012, you have most likely experienced the limitations and bugs with Microsoft’s implementation. FSLogix solved those limitations with its Profile Containers solution, and now has created a new container product, this time for Office 365.

As some of you may know, Office 365 can run very poorly in virtual desktop or published desktop environments, as things like Cached Exchange Mode cannot be fully enabled. Now, thanks to Office 365 Container from FSLogix, that problem is solved. Take a quick peak at the these Office 365 Container features, and then read more at the FSLogix website:

  • Roam all of Office 365 on RDS, XenApp, and XenDesktop including Skype for Business and OneDrive
  • Enjoy super fast, enterprise class email on all your virtual desktops
  • Enable Cached Exchange Mode with large file support for OST, PST, PAB
  • Eliminate the constant deleting of corrupt OSTs
  • Easy drop-in deployment with simple configuration and GPO based management
  • Recover server and network capacity – and get rid of workarounds!

Learn more about FSLogix Office 365 Container at the FSLogix Website

Remote Desktop Commander 3.7 Download and Upgrade Links

If you are an existing Remote Desktop Commander SUITE subscription licensee and/or active maintenance agreement holder, click here to request upgrade instructions.

If you are an existing Remote Desktop Commander LITE user, click here to download the latest version, which you can install directly over previous Remote Desktop Commander Lite versions.

If you’d like to learn more about the Remote Desktop Commander Suite, including its feature set and how to start a subscription for only $9 per server per month, click here.

New MUST HAVE Remote Desktop Services Hotfixes for Windows Server 2012 R2

Greetings again, folks.

Since the time of our last RDS Hotfix/Update post, the Remote Desktop Services team at Microsoft has released additional new hotfixes for Windows Server 2012 R2 RDS deployments. All of these are considered “must have” updates to make sure that your RDS deployment on Windows Server 2012 is nice and healthy. Read on and you’ll see why.

Redirected Drives, Printers, and Ports Get Really Slow in RDS Session

When connecting with Remote Desktop Services (RDS), working on any redirected resources (drives, printers, and ports) becomes very slow.
Are users complaining about sluggish redirected drive or printer access? Apply this update.

Yikes! Blue Screen of Death “Stop Error” on Windows Server 2012 R2 Acting as Remote Desktop Session Host

On a computer that’s running Windows Server 2012 R2 and Remote Desktop Services (RDS), you may experience a Stop error with message that resembles the following:
Stop: 0x000000C2 (0000000000000007, parameter2, parameter3, parameter4)
Or:
Stop: 0x0000003B (c0000005, parameter2, parameter3, parameter4)

Obviously, if your RDSH servers are blue-screening, apply this update post haste.

Connection Broker Issues and Delays On Your Busy RDS Farm?

If there’s a significant high number of remote desktop connections that are made to a High-Availability RD Connection Broker in a short duration of time, you may encounter the following issues: 1.) The connections experience long delays, or users are never connected to the system. 2.) High CPU usage on SQL Server that’s used with High Availability-based Connection Broker.

This is a must apply update for the RDS Connection Broker on Windows Server 2012 if you’ve been running into scalability issues.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Running the Remote Desktop Gateway Role Crashes

The RD Gateway server crashes because of a conflicting operation where the user disconnects the connection at the same time when the server also ends the connection.

Apparently if a user tries to disconnect at the same time a server is trying to disconnect them on their own, the RD Gateway server goes Tango Uniform. Better apply this update.

That’s all for now.

— Your humble Microsoft RDS MVP

Do you need complete RDS/XenDesktop monitoring & reporting for only $9 per server per month? Review our sample reports and watch demonstration videos here.

Preventing Remote Desktop Logins For Privileged Users

Recently, I was working with a client who had the interesting goal of preventing a specific domain administrator from logging on via Remote Desktop Services. They wanted the domain admin and other privileged accounts to only connect via the VMWare vSphere console (through the corporate firewall), and then start a console session.

Fortunately, this is easily accomplished via user rights assignments in Group Policy / Local Security Policy. To do this, open up your Group Policy editor, or, if on a non-domain system, launch secpol.msc, and adjust the “Deny logon through Remote Desktop Services” policy entry.

Deny Logon Via Remote Desktop Services

Deny Logon Via RDS

Add the users who you want to prevent from logging on via Remote Desktop Services, save, and then apply/refresh the policy and test.

Note that this works well in all scenarios, from Windows Server 2003 onward. There is an older setting for individual users in Active Directory user management called “Deny this user permission to logon to a Remote Desktop Session Host Server.” This setting worked in all scenarios back in Windows Server 2003. However, in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2012, it only works when the RDSH server is configured in Application Mode, NOT Remote Administration mode. Only setting the “Deny logon through Remote Desktop Services” user right assignment in Group Policy will effectively block access across all RDSH modes. For more, read this Microsoft support article.

Of course, this doesn’t prevent an Administrator from altering a Group Policy object to remove themselves from this policy restriction. Therefore, using a tool like our Remote Desktop Commander Suite to audit privileged user sessions is a smart idea. Using Remote Desktop Commander in conjunction with Group Policy, you can turn on heightened session auditing for specific users, routinely creating session recordings and screen captures for review later. Quite a bargain for only $9 per server per month, don’t you think??

New Remote Desktop Services Hotfixes for Windows Server 2012 R2

Greetings folks.

The Remote Desktop Services team at Microsoft has just released several new hotfixes for Windows Server 2012 R2 RDS deployments, one of which is pretty significant:

Remote Desktop Licensing Manager
Our Old Friend, the Remote Desktop Licensing Manager.

High Importance Hotfixes

Scenario where too many users signing on can corrupt the RDS Licensing Server database.
Apparently, if there is a high volume surge of many users logging on at the same time, this can corrupt the licensing server DB. Not good!

Lower Importance Hotfixes

Remote Desktop Licensing Manager Tool corrupts reports in large farms.
Not an issue unless the report goes over 4KB in size, so this should only affect larger farms.

Disappearing RemoteApp windows
As a developer, this one fascinates me a bit. It only affects applications that temporarily disable window painting via the WM_SETREDRAW windows message. Still, if you’re having an issue with certain app windows disappearing when hosted via RemoteApp, it’s worth looking into this hotfix.

Remote Desktop Easy Print speed issues
Ahh yes, the continued bane of all RDS/Citrix admins’ existence – printing. After an OS upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2, a new *feature* can make printing through the Easy Print driver take longer. This hotfix gives you better control over whether printing starts during or after spooling is completed.

That’s all for now.

— Your humble Microsoft RDS MVP

Do you need complete RDS/XenDesktop monitoring & reporting for only $9 per server per month? Review our sample reports and watch demonstration videos here.