policy

VMWare Horizon View Client: Disable Client Drive Redirection

TL;DR:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\VMware, Inc.\VMware VDM\Client]
“DisableSharing”=”true”

VMWare has been tinkering with the name, version, function and anything other they can come up with for a while now. For example, we’ve upgraded the VMWare View Client version 5.x to VMWare Horizon Client 4.3.0 recently, i think. I get that the name “view” is disappearing from the product, but why they are **** around with versionnumbers is beyond me.

Anyway, since VMWare Horizon View 6.x the function “Client Drive Redirection” has been added, which lets you redirect local client drives and folders to your View/Horizon/whatever session. This function, frankly, is useless and I don’t want it. We use a UPM tool (RES) to map networkdrives and have USB redirection enabled. Client Drive Redirection only presents a security risk, as it seems to ignore drive restriction policies. For example, by default, the View client on our thin clients shows the “share drive” option, giving the user access to the local drive of the thinclient that they are using. They can’t do real damage because of the write-filter ofcourse, but I just dont want it.

Since the 4.x clients for VMWare Horizon. (which has VMWare-view.exe as executable.. thanks VMWare), it seems that we’ve lost all control of which components we can install: Client Drive Redirection becomes mandatory.

Searching the net, i’ve found the following registry setting: HKLM\Software\VMware, Inc.\VMware TSDR\disabled=true

Unfortunately, this seems to be an agent setting, which doesn’t remove the sharing option from the client itself.

Fortunatly, since client version 4.3.0, the people at VMWare have seen fit to supply us with an option to disable the whole option. See table 3-7 of “Using VMware Horizon Client for Windows Horizon Client 4.3”

If you open the PDF, you will find the mention of “Disable sharing files and folders” in table 3-7, and also see that this is a “User Configuration setting”.

Well, **** VMWare.

First of all, i’m configuring thin clients, which won’t be member of our Active Directory domain, so AD GPO’s are out.
Local Group policy would work, but cannot be configured programmatically, from for example, a SCCM or MDT task sequence.

As a test i’ve enabled the policy on a testing system, and found that the following registry keys and values had been created:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\VMware, Inc.\VMware VDM\Client]
“DisableSharing”=”true”

Because i’m stubborn, i tried creating the same keys and values on a system that doesn’t have the ADM-templates loaded, and also, changed HKCU to HKLM, and what do you know: IT WORKS.

So, if you are like me and only need a simple registry setting for the local machine, put the following in your installscript, and go enjoy the weekend:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\VMware, Inc.\VMware VDM\Client]
“DisableSharing”=”true”

Windows Driver Installation: Searching Windows Update..

PolicyBy default, when you plug in a USB device, Windows will search Windows Update for the latest drivers. While this might be a fantastic solution for your home computer, it’s useless in an organization, because usually Windows Update is blocked so it will sit for about 5 minutes searching, until it times out and uses the locally available driver or tell you that you need to go get some drivers yourself.

So, lazy admin as you are, you fire up Google, and find a policy:

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Internet Communication Management\Internet Communication settings\Turn off Windows Update device driver searching.

Well.. wrong. This policy has been deprecated and will only work up to Vista. For some reason the new policy has had very little coverage on the web, so it took some time to find it.

The new policy, which you should use with Windows 7 or later, can be found at:

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Device Installation\Specify Search Order for device driver source locations

Select the option “Do not search Windows Update” and you’re gold.