Windows Accelerate IT Pro Bootcamp: UE-V (Module 5 of 8)


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We ran the "Windows Accelerate IT Pro Bootcamp" one day hands-on workshop in early June 2014. These eight modules were designed to get IT managers, project managers, sysadmin and devops up to speed with the new Windows 8.1 and Office 2013. The bootcamp focused on how to move off earlier versions of Windows and Office to a modern desktop and tablet platforms with the latest security and mobility technologies.

Keep an eye in our SlideShare feed for all eight modules:

Windows Accelerate IT Pro Bootcamp: Introduction (Module 1 of 8)
Windows Accelerate IT Pro Bootcamp: Platform Delivery (Module 2 of 8)
Windows Accelerate IT Pro Bootcamp: Windows ToGo (Module 3 of 8)
Windows Accelerate IT Pro Bootcamp: Security (Module 4 of 8)
Windows Accelerate IT Pro Bootcamp: UE-V (Module 5 of 8)
Windows Accelerate IT Pro Bootcamp: App-V (Module 6 of 8)
Windows Accelerate IT Pro Bootcamp: Devices (Module 7 of 8)
Windows Accelerate IT Pro Bootcamp: Closing (Module 8 of 8)

For other events (Intergen or Microsoft Community) check our events page at

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  • A lot has changed in past few years. We are seeing a higher user demand for increased IT flexibility to accommodate their unique workstyles. Users are leveraging multiple devices to access the information they need to do their job and manage their personal lives. Some of the multiple devices are mobile computing devices like laptops and slates. As we see organizations moving to accommodate users unique workstyles, we see IT turning to desktop virtualization to help them with this.

    As organizations start to adopt application virtualization and VDI we are hearing more requests around user state virtualization. IT is beginning to see that the settings like the look and feel of their desktop or the layout of toolbars in an application along with the data users create like legal agreements, customer presentations, architecture diagrams need to be accessible however users get their desktop experience.


    What we have been hearing from organizations like yours is that traditional approaches don’t meet today’s need for a consistent user experience across devices
  • UE-V can help solve this problem and help you adapt to the flexible workstyles that your users have. Before we get into how UE-V can roam the users experience, let’s take a step back and talk about how organizations typically roamed the user’s experience.

    Click In the past organization or a department had a set of computers and they were all setup with the same applications that were deployed locally though MSI files. Click Once the MSI were deployed, the user logged into the PC and accessed Windows and their apps. Click Then the user configured the pc the way they liked it Click and when done they log off the pc. Click When they went to another pc they logged in there and saw windows and their apps Click but then had to reconfigure the pc manually to get the same experience that they had on the other pc. Click

    Click Some organizations did implement technology like roaming user profiles that automated this and stored settings in a central location. This provided a better experience. Click They still deployed applications through MSI files, Click but when the user logged into a pc the experience configured was brought down to the machine automatically. Click Then when they made a change to the experience, for example changing the look and feel of Word, Click they logged off the pc and the change was pushed up to the central location. Click When they logged into another PC, the updated experience was applied to that PC. Click

    In today’s world things are a bit different. Click

    Click As more and more organizations are adopting desktop virtualization technologies we see them not just deploying applications though MSI files, we see use of application virtualization technology like App-V and RDS remote app. We also deliver Windows differently today. We deliver it via slates, laptops and virtual machines.

    People are also using these devices at the same time so they want the same experience to roam quickly to all these devices.

    Click UE-V helps in this modern scenario by quickly roaming your experience to your devices. Click If you were to make a change to the experience like changing the look and feel of Word, we can roam that experience to the UE-V settings store and then to the devices that you access Word, without having to log off.

    Some of the core benefits of UE-V are that it can roam the app and OS experience regardless of how they are deployed. UE-V does not care if the application or OS is virtualized. You can also target just the apps that you want to roam the experience for. We can also roam the OS experience between versions. There is also little infrastructure for IT to setup and it seamless integrates with Microsoft Desktop virtualization products.
  • At its core UE-V is about changing the device and keeping your experience. We focus on a couple of things to enable this. The first is that the user gets a consistent personal windows experience that matches their unique workstyle. Some users like to work from a laptop in a coffee shop, some work on high powered desktop in their office; others work from home using virtual machines. All these users setup their experience differently, they like their toolbars in particular locations and have settings configured in a way that best matches how they like to work. We want to make sure that they get a consistent personal experience can roam across all these devices that they use.

    We also want to make it easy for IT to enable this personal user defined experience across many devices while maintaining oversight. IT should have some control around what should roam, because they don’t want every single application setting to roam. Maybe they just want the experience for Office, Adobe and a few others apps to roam; while they don’t want the experience to roam for user installed apps.

    Lastly, it is easy to scale and manage with familiar tools. We did not want IT to have to learn new tools to manage UE-V. They can leverage their existing tools like configuration manager and powershell to help deploy and manage UE-V.
  • The capabilities of the product are focused on providing a personal and flexible experience for the end user. Being simple and versatile for the IT Pro to enable what applications should have their settings roam, and integrating and scaling though into the existing tools and infrastructure in the organization.

    Lets start with how UE-V can provide a personal and flexible experience for the end user.
  • As I mentioned at the core of UE-V is that users retain their experience. Most users still use physical devices like laptops, desktops, and slates, and some use virtual desktops and remote app. A good example of this an accountant who typically works from their cubical in a corporate office. The accountant does not travel a lot so he has a desktop that he uses everyday. Once or twice a year though he travels to a regional office. In this case IT has him use a virtual machine that they setup for him so he can be productive while on the road.

    Click UE-V enables the user like the accountant, to have the same experience regardless how they access windows and their apps. UE-V works across physical and virtual deployment methods. Users don’t care how they get their applications and Windows and UE-V acts the same way. All the logic is built in UE-V and does the heavy lifting so that IT can deploy the OS and apps in the best way that suits their business while users get the experience they expect. Since users are using many of these devices at the same time, Click when they make a change, UE-V can roam that change quickly without having to log off and log back in. If the user is offline, their experience is cached on the machine and any changes will be synced when the UE-V settings package repository is available.

    UE-V also enables the OS experience to roam across Windows 7 and Windows 8. It knows which settings from Windows 7 are applicable in Windows 8 and will seamlessly bring them back and forth. This is especially important as organizations begin to adopt Windows 8 and run heterogeneous environments. UE-V will also work on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 8 RDS environments for use in VDI instances.

    As you might have also heard, in Windows Server 8 RDS, we will be introducing a new feature called user disk that allows a user’s settings and data to roam between virtual machines in the same pool. This is great for organizations that only have one pool of virtual machines or applications. In many enterprises though we find that there are multiple pools used. UE-V can benefit a user disk implementation by allow the application and OS experience to roam between pools and target just the applications that IT wants the experience to roam for.

    One thing that UE-V will not cover is user created data like word docs, pdf files, etc. Microsoft has a great solution today using folder redirection and offline files right out of the box with Windows and we recommend that organizations look at using these solutions for roaming data between machines. Folder redirection allows user created content to be stored centrally inside the organization so it can be accessed from any device the user logs into. For when the user is disconnected from the corporate network, Offline Files should be used in conjunction with Folder Redirection. Offline Files will cache content locally and sync any changes when the corporate network is available.

    UE-V will also store the experience on the local device if the user is offline. Using the same engine that powers Offline Files, any changes made to the experience will be synced when you connect back to the corporate network. If you are using Direct Access you can easily keep the experience in sync just as long as you have an internet connection.
  • Another part of being personal and flexible is that we can quickly roam the experience to other instances of Windows and applications, including Windows 8 applications, without logging off. We also want to make sure we can load/unload the experience quickly on login and logoff so the user is not waiting for their desktop to appear. This is why we built in smart policies to determine when the experience should apply.

    Unlike traditional roaming technology where you load the entire experience at login and logoff, Click UE-V loads just the OS experience when you login. Reducing the time it take to login compared to the traditional roaming technology. Click Then as you open an application like IE, we load that experience on open of IE. Click The same goes for other applications. Click To save the experience for an app, you only need to close it and the settings roam to the package repository. For saving the OS experience we use triggers like logoff, screen lock, and RDS session disconnect.

    Due to how Windows is designed, there are some parts of operating system experience that can only be safely applied and synced at login and logoff. We also know that some organizations though are very sensitive to having anything that slows the login process no matter how minor that delay might be. With this in mind we provide choice in what parts of OS experience they roam. By default these parts of the experience are not synced, but an IT Pro can easily turn these on via Group Policy or PowerShell.
  • Let me give you a first hand look at the user experience with UE-V.
  • UE-V is also simple and versatile for the IT Pro to use. As we have heard, most IT Pro’s don’t care about roaming the experience for all applications. They only want to target the business applications that have settings that need to be roamed. UE-V gives the IT Pro this choice by using settings location templates.

    Installed with the UE-V agent that is on each computer we include the templates for Office 2010, Office 2007, Windows 7 and 8, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 default apps, Windows Server 2008 R2 and 2012, IE8, IE9, IE10, and some of the Windows accessories like Calculator and Wordpad. We know that some organizations will want to roam the experience for other 3rd party or in house developed applications and to help the IT Pro with these, they can use the UE-V Generator to create custom settings location templates. The Generator is a wizard based tool that walks the IT Pro though creating a template. It has just a few steps. The first is to pick the application executable that you want to create a template for. Next the Generator launches the application and reviews where it reads and writes settings. Once you close the application, it provides you a list of all the locations were it found settings. In the screenshot you can see what this looks like.

    Here you review what we call the standard and non-standard locations in the registry and file locations that the application is writing to. Standard locations are places where we would typically expect to see a well behaved application store it settings (HKCU and the appdata folder in the users profile for example) Non-standard locations are the other areas where settings might have be written. Some apps assume that you have administrative rights and writes files to C:program files so you might want to grab these locations as part of the template. The last step is reviewing the template properties and making any last changes to the locations captured.

    We have also made it easy for you to find templates that other people have created and share the ones you created with the community by using the UE-V TechNet Gallery. This way you don’t have to create templates if they have been created by others in the community and you can share your work with others. You can find templates for apps like Adobe Reader X, Notepad ++, WinZip, and more.
  • We also know that unexpected changes happen to the users experience and sometimes they need to help to rollback these changes and get to a working state. Picture this; Craig is working from home one evening, sitting on his couch with his laptop. He decides to get a drink from the kitchen and sets the laptop down on the coffee table. While he is away his four year old son comes over to the coffee table and starts to play on his laptop. By the time he gets back his son has changed the experience of the application so much that he does not know how to fix it.

    In the past, he would have called the help desk and they would have done one of two things. First try to manually put it back to the way it was or restore the entire profile from backup tape and Craig losses all the experience changes from his apps and his desktop and apps not just the one that is “broken”.

    With UE-V all is not lost for Craig. Click The way that UE-V handles this is that it treats each application experience separately. Click So if the PowerPoint experience is changed by his son or a settings change he made to an application will not allow the application to open, Click IT can help him roll the experience back to the point where it was when UE-V first saw that application.
  • As I mentioned earlier, UE-V integrates and scales leveraging existing investments in tools that many organizations have already made. The UE-V agent and the settings location templates created by IT can be deployed through System Center Configuration Manager or any other software distribution tool. If the organization is using configuration manager though, UE-V will have a group policy template and a Compliance Settings Configuration Pack to help keep the agent’s configuration consistent across the organization.

    We also know that IT Pros are using Windows PowerShell to write scripts in make their everyday tasks easier. We want to leverage that knowledge so we made it easy to automate common tasks like registering a template or seeing which template are installed using PowerShell.

    UE-V also seamlessly integrates with the Microsoft desktop virtualization products to roam the user experience in complex environments. There is nothing that the IT Pro has to do to App-V or RDS to enable UE-V to work. The agent does all the heavy lifting here and all the IT Pro has to do is install the agent on the Windows instance where they want the experience to roam to and from.

    UE-V can also provide an ideal mobile experience when using DirectAccess to connect to the corporate network. This way the experience information can be synced back to the remote repository. UE-V will also work on Windows to Go, for organizations who decide to empower their users with the ability to run Windows 8 from a USB stick on any PC capable of running Windows 8.
  • Note: UE-V 2.0 provides support for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 apps settings on the start screen.

  • Key features in UE-V 2.0 beta include

    Windows 8.1 preview support. (See springboard blog for more details, )

    Windows 8 and 8.1 App support
     Included in UE-V 2.0 beta is support for Windows 8 (and including 8.1) applications enabling our customers to selectively manage how they roam their application settings, across the full Application spectrum from mainstream Windows Store apps, purchased commercial apps, to in house developed line of business apps.

    Sync improvements
    UEV 2.0 beta also provides improvements to UE-V settings sync engine, UE-V previous behavior synchronized settings when an application opened or when Windows unlocked or started. The new sync provider in UE-V 2.0 has additional functionality in a new sync engine, building on existing sync behavior, to allow a sync every 30 minutes (configurable) thereafter. This new sync engine supports offline users, eliminating the need for offline files.

    Company Settings Center
    UE-V installs Company Settings Center with the UE-V Agent. Users access the Company Settings Center from the Control Panel, Start menu or Start screen, and from the UE-V tray icon. If enabled by administrators, Company Settings Center allows users to control, view and troubleshoot application and OS settings monitored by UE-V, including a new Sync Now function to force or trigger a sync event without having to wait for the scheduled task to run.


    Use this slide in reaction to customer requests on how UE-V compares with Roaming User Profiles in Windows 7 and 8 and the sync technology as part of the Microsoft account feature in Windows 8.

    Here is a quick overview of how UE-V compares with some of the other technologies that can be used to roam your experience. You can see that roaming user profiles in Windows 7 and Windows 8 works great in specific scenarios where you just need to roam settings between computers but UE-V is a better solution when roaming the experience across physical and virtual apps and desktops.

    With the sync technology in the Microsoft account feature in Windows 8, you can roam the OS settings from one Windows 8 machine to another but you have to store all the experience information in the Microsoft cloud and not on prem. There is also a limit to the amount of storage you can use for the experience information with a Microsoft account.

  • Windows Accelerate IT Pro Bootcamp: UE-V (Module 5 of 8)

    1. 1. Module 5.1: Microsoft User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) Overview Name Title The CA Accelerate 1:M IT Pro Boot Camp
    2. 2. Unique Workstyles Multiple Devices More Mobile Desktop Virtualization Traditional approaches don’t meet today’s need for a consistent user experience across devices
    3. 3. ` Change the device, keep your experience Easily scale and manage with familiar tools Enable experience across many devices while maintaining oversight Consistent, personal experience that matches their unique workstyle
    4. 4. Personal & Flexible Simple & Versatile Integrated & Scalable User Experience Virtualization capabilities
    5. 5. ` Personal & Flexible: Retain your experience Reconfiguration no longer required Physical and virtual deployment methods Roam between Windows 7 and 8 Offline mode UE-V Setting Store VDI / RDSPhysical desktops Firewall
    6. 6. ` Personal & flexible: Fast login and sync Smart policies determine synchronization Login only loads OS experience Application open loads application experience Settings that affect login not enabled by default UE-V Setting Store
    7. 7. ` Simple & versatile: Choice in what to roam In-box settings location templates for Windows, Office 2010, Office 2007 and IE Custom templates are easily created with the UE-V Generator Share and download templates using the UE- V TechNet Gallery
    8. 8. Personal & Flexible Users no longer need to reconfigure Windows and applications Works across physical and virtual deployment methods Fast login/logoff and settings sync Summary Simple & Versatile Office 2010/2007, OS, Windows 8 apps and IE settings supported out of the box Create custom templates for line of business apps Rollback settings to initial state Integrated & Scalable Seamlessly integrates with Microsoft desktop virtualization solutions Use your existing tools to simplify deployment and management Group policy and Configuration Manager compliance settings pack help manage agent
    9. 9. Resources Datasheet How to Deploy UE-V Paper Videos UE-V Homepage