One of the reasons I really like my job is that there are such innovative approaches to helping End Users get their work done.  I think from the technical side of things we can sometimes struggle with the solutions being simple for the End User.  RemoteApps are a wonderful way to fill our need for our database to perform better for the User as well as management and maintenance by our Database Administrator.

A challenge that was becoming an increasing issue with ACS as a RemoteApp is the confusion it would cause staff and volunteers when they would move to a different computer.  The first time you login to a Remote App, you get a screen with a lot of words on it about trusting the security of the server you are trying to connect to.  After that you get another screen that wants your network credentials–which truly confuses the User!  Then, if they don’t tell it to save the network credentials (which we are okay with on site), they have to do it all again the next time they launch the application.  Paul Salvo, one of my volunteers was happy to look to resolve this issue.  Vista and Windows 7 were pretty easy to resolve, and we could push the changes through Group Policy.  Our XP clients required a registry change which we pushed using a filter in Group Policy (Thanks to the guys in the CITRT IRC Chat room who helped me figure out how we needed to push that only to XP machines).  This solution also works if your site has Users working regularly in Remote Desktop servers on your site.

All Windows Clients GPO:

This policy instructs the clients to trust a list of servers for pass-through authentication.  We applied this to the computers in our Group Policy:

  • Computer Configuration
    Administrative Templates
    Credential Delegation
    Allow Delegating Default Credentials with NTLM = Enabled
    Set to TERMSRV/<FQDN of server>
    Set to TERMSRV/<server hostname>
  • We added all of the Remote Desktop Servers we wanted to trust with pass-through.  We created entries with the FQDN and entries with the server’s short name.  We’ve heard that this is recommended.

Windows XP GPO:

  • You really need SP3 and to have the latest RDC on the client machine We used this KB file for that information.

Here is the Registry we imported into Group Policy:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINEKey path SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders
    Name: SecurityProviders
    Value Type: REG_SZ

    msapsspc.dll, schannel.dll, digest.dll, msnsspc.dll, credssp.dll

    Key path SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa
    Name: Security Packages
    Value type: REG_MULTI_SZ

Then we created a WMI Filter for XP Machines so that the Registry change only applied to XP Machines.  It wasn’t necessary to apply it to Vista or Windows 7, and I’ve learned to be careful when editing the Registry.

  • Namespace:  root\CIMV2
    Query:  Select * from Win32_OperatingSystem where Version = “5.1.2600”

What this didn’t fix:

Now users double-click the ACS Icon (RemoteApp), they see that it is starting a RemoteApp, then they get the login screen for ACS.  They are mostly happy with the above changes.

The first time a user uses the RemoteApp, they still get this screen.  We think it has to do with the domain not having a Certificate Authority.  We haven’t decided if it is worth all of the extra work.  I imagine we will pursue this in the future, but right now I have my team working on other things.  Basically, the User is instructed to check the box and click Connect.