There has been a lot of focus on VMware UEM (formerly Immidio) in recent months since its acquisition and release as VMware User Environment Manager (UEM).
In this blog entry I will walk through the process of capturing Google Chrome settings and incorporating that configuration into UEM.
UEM can be deployed with configuration items for common applications like Microsoft Office, which saves a lot of work. For applications not included in UEM, you can use the UEM Application Profiler to capture specific configuration settings. Deploying UEM is generally not a time-consuming task, though it does require some thought and planning. A majority of your time will be spent configuring UEM, specifically, applications you wish to add to your UEM environment.
Windows applications generally store configuration information in the registry and/or files on the computer. The UEM Application Profiler “watches” an application, and captures the location where its settings are stored. This process is referred to as “application profiling,“ which basically is the process of understanding where an application stores its settings. The UEM Application Profiler can also capture specific settings, which can then be stored in UEM and enforced at logon. Today we will focus on capturing or “profiling” a new application and bringing that configuration into UEM.
There are a few things I’d recommend you do if you plan to profile applications.
- Install at least one desktop with the applications you wish to profile. We will refer to these systems as the UEM capture systems. In larger environments you may wish to deploy additional capture systems.
- Install the UEM Application Profiler on the capture systems. It is important to note that you cannot install the UEM client on the same system as the UEM Application Profiler. The UEM Application Profiler installation files are found in the “Optional Components” folder of the VMware-UEM-x.x.x.zip file.
- Take a snapshot of the capture systems in case you need to roll back.
We are now ready to begin profiling applications. We will begin by launching the UEM Application Profiler from the Start Menu on your capture system. We see a blank “Flex Config File” this is the file that will contain the application configuration once the “application profiling” is complete.
It is helpful to have an understanding of the application before capture begins. I recommend researching where an application saves its configuration data before starting the profiling process; it will be time well spent.
In the case of Google Chrome, we know the application stores much of its configuration and settings in files in the user profile (C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Google).
UEM Application Profiler has built-in registry and file system exclusions that prevent the Application Profiler from capturing data unrelated to the application being profiled. In order to successfully profile an application’s behavior, you may need to modify the exclusions path if an application saves configuration data in one of these locations.
In the case of Google Chrome, we know the application saves data in the local AppData folder; so we remove the exclusion so UEM Application Profiler will profile Chrome’s behavior in this location.
This is done by selecting “Manage Exclusions” above “File System” and removing the <LocalAppData>\* line as shown in the screenshot below.
To begin the profile process, click “Start Session” and navigate to the location of Google Chrome and click “OK.” In order to profile an application, UEM Application Profiler must launch the application.
It is generally sufficient to modify a few common settings, unless there is specific configuration/behavior you need to capture. In the case of Google Chrome, making a few common changes is sufficient. Once you’ve made these changes close Google Chrome and choose “Stop Analysis” in the Analyzing Application dialogue box.
After the profile process is complete you will see that the previously blank Flex Config File contains configuration data that can be saved and integrated into your UEM implementation. In some cases it may be necessary to edit the Flex Config File in order to remove any unwanted configuration paths. The image below shows the correct Flex Config for Google Chrome.
To save the Flex Configuration click the save button and choose “Save Config File,” then navigate to the UNC path of your UEM config share.
I like to create a separate folder for each application to keep the folder structure clean. In this case it would look something like this:
\\UEMserver\uemconfig\general\Applications\Google Chrome\Google Chrome.ini
I recommend saving the new configuration to a UEM test environment first. The settings can be validated and changed, if necessary, before moving to a production UEM environment.
This saves the configuration from the profile process to the UEM environment. The next time you open or refresh the UEM Management Console application list, you will see Google Chrome listed as an application.
UEM users who log in after the new configuration has been added will have their Google Chrome settings persist across sessions.
The goal and benefit of UEM is capturing application-specific settings and maintain that application experience across heterogeneous desktop environments without conflicts.
Jeffrey Davidson, Senior Consultant, VMware EUC. Jeffrey has over 15 years of IT experience and joined VMware in 2014. He is also a VCP5-DCV and VCP5-DT. He is a strong advocate of virtualization technologies, focusing on operational readiness with customers.