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Managing the (Metro) Start Screen on RDS RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • I've been looking for a way to manage the Start Screen on RDS in Server 2012, but can't find anything useful.

    Previously I have used the 'Start Menu folder redirection GPO', to present a pre-configured Start Menu to the RDS users.

    Well.... Now that the Start Menu is replaced by the Metro Start Screen, it seems that we'll have to manage that differently.

    How do I do that in Server 2012? I don't want the users to have to manually setup their "startmenu"

    regards

    nikolaj

     

    Sunday, September 23, 2012 7:42 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    Actually, the conventional access way from the start menu is still available.In server 08 r2,we need to setup feeds from the control panel (remoteapp and desktop connection icon).In the server 2012, there will be more easier to deploy thru the GPO(user configuration-administrative templates-windows component-remote desktop services-remoteapp and desktop connection ).After the policy applied, all the remoteapp will be appeared on the metro start menu:)

    In server 2012,you can also access the RDC thru the metro app which is free in the windows store.It is designed by using touch screen.Metro start screen is just adding the metroapp program support.So it doesn't have to manage differently.

    Regards,

    Clarence

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    Monday, September 24, 2012 8:25 AM
    Moderator
  • I'd like to clarify what I mean:

    I am offering endusers a session-based Remote Desktop through RDS on Server 2012. The applications are installed on the RDS Hosts in the RDS farm.

    When a user logs on, I want the "metro Start Screen" to reflect the applications that are available (not a unmanaged bunch of icons). That is exactly what I did in previous Windows Server versions by redirecting the Start Menu.

    The endusers do not want to "search for the application and manually add it to start screen" - they pay me to manage that for them.

    So I want to clear the Start Screen of what ever is there, and present the user with their applications.

    I hope that is possible.

    regards,

    Nikolaj

    Monday, September 24, 2012 8:49 AM
  • Hello

    You can manage the new Start Screen exactly as before in 2008 with a Start Meny redirection.
    Make a shared folder and make an Programs folder in it. Under Programs you copy the shortcuts you want the users to see on the start screen.

    There are unfortunately not so many new GPOs, so you have to use the same settings as in 2008 for hiding stuff for the users.
    In another thred I asked if you could point a user directly to the Start Screen in Server 2012 RDS. But it doesn't look like it is possible.

    I think it would be a nice marketing move of Microsoft for Windows 8 to let us direct RDS users on Server 2012 directly to the Start Screen



    Jens Tore Fremmegaard ::.::.:: ServerParkering AS

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 9:44 AM
  • Found out that installing the Desktop Experience feature locks the RDS users to the Start Screen. That makes administration much easier

    Jens Tore Fremmegaard ::.::.:: ServerParkering AS

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 11:08 AM
  • I cannot agree here. Recent tests on redirecting the startmenu by GPO result on Windows 2012 like in Windows 2008 R2 in event log source "folder redirection", ID 501: Successfully applied policy and redirected folder "Start Menu" to xxxx

    But it has no impact on a users' Metro icon collection in that RDP session. I guess if Windows 2012 still would have a start menu, the gpo was honored here. I am not sure, but I guess icons in Metro need to be registered in user context like pinned taskbar icons.

    So finally I haven't found a solution to make Windows 2012 session host server with Metro GUI enterprise usable.


    Oliver Pergler

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 5:19 PM
  • Found something while testing a new user.
    If not all items from the redirected start menu are showing, you have to click the all programs button on the start screen an do "Pin to start" for the applications.


    Jens Tore Fremmegaard ::.::.:: ServerParkering AS

    Thursday, September 27, 2012 10:44 AM
  • I have done a bit of testing and agree with Jens that the old START-menu redirection GPO does affect Server 2012.

    Redirecting it, affects the "All Applications" view´. It will show the top folders of the "start menu/programs" as headlines and all shortcuts (including those in subfolders).

    I need to investigate further and will post my results.

    Thursday, September 27, 2012 10:55 AM
  • I had the same problem and found a workaround. It's not that perfect yet, but I think the remaining issues may be solvable: I've got a share with all the start menu items needed. It's the same we're using for start menu redirection on Server 2008. Then I took my Administrator account on Server 2012 to insert that share as a now toolbar on the taskbar (superbar). The only thing: it's appearing on the right hand side, instead the left hand side but I think our users will manage that. After finishing this step I exported the settings from the registry. As I couldn't find an easy way to import the binary data into a GPO I'm using a script to import the settings.

    To get the following steps to work it's important, that the explorer settings may not be saved during logoff. This has to be set in a GPO.

    Steps:

        • creating an iconbar on the superbar with the context menu
        • the iconbar is pointing to a share, it's the same as used for startmenu folder redirection
        • exporting the registry key "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Streams\Desktop"
        • creating a script which is importing the registry values during user login

    Issues:

    1. the Explorer is reading that key during logon, but the script is writing it after that, so on the first logon there is no Startmenu, it appears on the second logon
    2. I've found no easy way to import the binary data to a GPO, which may solve issue 1. Perhaps I was so focused on solving this that I've overseen the correct way to do so

    Saturday, September 29, 2012 9:09 AM
  • My solution so far:

    1. On the RDSH server:  Delete everything in "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs" - except the "statup" folder and the "Desktop" shotcut.

    2. Apply redirected Startmenu with a GPO, and point it to a share with whatever applications the users need to start.

    The result is an empty startscreen, exept for a Desktop icon. The "All Apps" screen will show the shortcuts from the redirected startmenu folder. The user may customize their own Startscreen.

    Monday, October 1, 2012 2:41 PM
  • I had the same problem and found a workaround. It's not that perfect yet, but I think the remaining issues may be solvable: I've got a share with all the start menu items needed. It's the same we're using for start menu redirection on Server 2008. Then I took my Administrator account on Server 2012 to insert that share as a now toolbar on the taskbar (superbar). The only thing: it's appearing on the right hand side, instead the left hand side but I think our users will manage that. After finishing this step I exported the settings from the registry. As I couldn't find an easy way to import the binary data into a GPO I'm using a script to import the settings.

    To get the following steps to work it's important, that the explorer settings may not be saved during logoff. This has to be set in a GPO.

    Steps:

          • creating an iconbar on the superbar with the context menu
          • the iconbar is pointing to a share, it's the same as used for startmenu folder redirection
          • exporting the registry key "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Streams\Desktop"
          • creating a script which is importing the registry values during user login

    Issues:

    1. the Explorer is reading that key during logon, but the script is writing it after that, so on the first logon there is no Startmenu, it appears on the second logon
    2. I've found no easy way to import the binary data to a GPO, which may solve issue 1. Perhaps I was so focused on solving this that I've overseen the correct way to do so

    Hi Michael,

    I'm not quite following what you mean by "taskbar (superbar)". Could you explain what you mean. Does your solution manage the "startscreen" or the "taskbar" ?

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012 7:22 AM
  • Since Windows 7 the taskbar is also called superbar, so I used both names. My solution does not manage the startscreen. Until now, I found no solution for that which meets my expectations. But it handels the taskbar as it ads something like a startmenu to it.

    I think a screenshot explains it much better:

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012 11:41 AM
  • Since Windows 7 the taskbar is also called superbar, so I used both names. My solution does not manage the startscreen. Until now, I found no solution for that which meets my expectations. But it handels the taskbar as it ads something like a startmenu to it.

    I think a screenshot explains it much better:


    Bravo! This is brilliant. This never occurred to me. Problem solved. Is there a way to push that TOOLBAR to all user sessions?

    GaryPharr

    Thursday, October 4, 2012 10:52 PM
  • Bravo! This is brilliant. This never occurred to me. Problem solved. Is there a way to push that TOOLBAR to all user sessions?

    GaryPharr

    I've set up that toolbar with an administrative acount and exportet the registry key "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Streams\Desktop" into a file. All you have to do now is

    • create a toolbar, pointing to a share. I enabled ABE, generated groups for each application and set the ACL for each link. If the user is not a member of the corresponding application group, ABE will make the icon invisible to the user. That means a user gets only the icons, which he is allowed to start. So I only have one share with one Startmenu, but the users will get their own, individual Startmenu, depending on their rights. (I also set the ACL for the corresponding .exe-Files, so a user get's no workaround to open an application with a double-klick an a corresponding document.)
    • importing the exportet values into the registry. This could be done with a GPO but I didn't find any easy way to import the binary data into the GPO. So I'm just importing the generated .reg-File when executing the login script.
    • you have to disable that the explorer saves its settings at the end of the session, because then it won't work. And here's why: the explorer reads that value during it's init process. This means: at the first login the toolbar won't be shown, as the explorer doesn't know, that it's here, because the login script is executed later. When the explorer stores its settings during logoff, it overwrites the data of the toolbar. If you prevent explorer from saving it's settings, it won't overwrite the toolbar and on the second login, your bar appears

    I would like to do that with a GPO, but I cannot find an easy way to import the binary data. But, if you desire to help your users: before importing the values, compare the registry key with that in your file. If they are not equal, import the .reg-File, terminate the Explorer process and restart it. And then the menu appears even on the first login.

    So the only thing remaining is, to get rid of the Windows UI start screen, that the users gets directly to the desktop when logging in.



    Friday, October 5, 2012 12:26 PM
  • 

    I personally hate having to look for things. Not having a simple, always visible button to open the start menu or the “Charms” menu is the worst UI decision possible. The least Microsoft could do to fix this is make the blank area where the start button was, clickable to open the charms menu. Like the show desktop button that went from an icon to hiding as an unmarked area on the lower right.

    I am shocked that Microsoft’s own GFS (Global Foundation Services) team hasn’t thrown a tantrum over this not being clickable. Why? EVERYTHING they (and a lot of other companies) do is through a RDP jump box. This means that they have to RDP to one server and then to the server they want to connect to. Any keyboard shortcuts are passed to the first host they sign into so the start key won’t save you. And the hover your mouse on the right of the screen option is a complete FAIL if you have multiple screens or use the remote desktops application for sorting your server connections.

    Some quick access shortcuts to restore clickable functionality to all users:

    Create the folder C:\Users\Public\Documents\UI.

    You need to enable viewing of hidden and system files to click your way there. Otherwise in PowerShell or command prompt use the command: md C:\Users\Public\Documents\UI && start C:\Users\Public\Documents\UI to create and open the folder.

    Create the following script files as needed:

    Code for clickable control panel shortcut, save as .cmd:

    Start Control

    Code for clickable start shortcut, save as .vbs:

    set wShell=wscript.createobject("wscript.shell")
    wShell.sendkeys "^{ESC}"
    Set WshShell = Nothing

    Code for clickable shutdown shortcut (only works from desktop shortcut), save as .vbs:

    set wShell=wscript.createobject("wscript.shell")
    wShell.sendkeys "%{F4}"
    Set WshShell = Nothing

    Alternate code for clickable shutdown shortcut, save as .cmd:

    I didn’t like this approach because it has an open command prompt and the menu claims to be for a remote shutdown.

    Shutdown /i

    You can also create a god mode icon to give quick access to all configuration settings.

    Create a new folder and rename it EXACTLY as follows, you can rename it afterword:

    GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

    Mark the folder C:\Users\Public\Documents\UI and its contents as hidden and read only.

    Select all the items in C:\Users\Public\Documents\UI, right click -> send to -> desktop

    Open C:\Users\Public\Desktop (another system protected hidden folder) and cut (yes cut not copy) your icons from your desktop into the folder. If you wish to change the icons for the shortcuts right click on the shortcut -> properties -> change icon.

    Add the computer and other icons:

    Open file explorer and click the desktop shortcut. Drag the Computer or any other icons onto the desktop or into C:\Users\Public\Desktop (for all users) to create shortcuts.

    Remember to mark your shortcuts as read only so they don’t get accidently drug into the recycle bin or deleted by non admins.

    Enjoy!



    
    
    


    • Edited by T H E M Tuesday, December 25, 2012 9:26 AM
    Tuesday, December 25, 2012 9:21 AM
  • Wow what a journey this thread has taken.

    I found this link that may help for users when they first log on.

    http://microsoftplatform.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/predefining-and-customizing-modern-ui.html 
    Friday, January 4, 2013 7:37 AM
  • I found this link that may help for users when they first log on. 

    http://microsoftplatform.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/predefining-and-customizing-modern-ui.html 

    Friday, January 4, 2013 7:38 AM