The Final! Managing XenDesktop Clients

I have spent a bit of time recently as you know from my previous post working on getting XenDesktop clients to report into SCCM without creating duplicates.

The theory in the last post is all well and good but putting this into practice is a little more tricky. First of all you need to prepare the master XenDesktop image by doing the following:

  • Stop CCMExec Service
  • Delete C:\Windows\SMSCFG.INI
  • Run CCMDelCert.exe

Once this is done, shut down the master image, change it into standard mode via the console. Then the next time you load up a new VHD image you can look in ClientIDManagerStartup.log which will inform you that the certificate is been generated followed by the hardware ID which will create you a new GUID.

This information then goes into the DDR which will be sent to the management point for processing. Then in a short time you should see the information reporting back in the console that the client is unique with the client installed. I also posted a link to a couple of computer startup and shutdown scripts in my previous post, these still need implementing to persist the SMSCFG.INI file.

Next Steps, Configuring Policy

Obviously in ConfigMgr 2012 we have the ability to create custom policies for devices and users and assign them to collections. We are going to create a new device settings policy which will be assigned to a collection we create which is query based for our virtual desktops.

So what we are doing here is creating a query based collection membership rule which allows us to look for all our XenDesktop machines. All of my clients virtual desktops started with NVH so we just simply look where the NetBIOS name is like this value.

Next we create a new policy, this policy will enable software inventory, hardware inventory and client policy polling to happen more frequently as these machines are binned when they are shut down (or at least back to the default state). So we want this information to collect as soon as possible rather than the default schedule.

So here we have set the polling interval to 15 minutes, these clients are on a well-connected network in our data centre so that means we can afford a lower setting for these clients. Additionally in this scenario my customer did not want to be able to push things out to their virtual desktop.

Here we are setting the hardware inventory collection down to every 5 hours to make sure everything is collected while the machine is turned on. This enables the process to happen more quickly on our virtual desktops. We also do the same with software inventory.

In order to control patching we turn this feature off. Why? We want to control the master image and none of the virtual desktops.

Once these settings have been completed then assign the policy to the newly created collection and the setup is completed. Give it a test and spin up some virtual desktops and make sure they report in properly. If you have any issues leave a comment below.


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About Martyn

Martyn is one of the Senior Cloud Architects and DevOps Team Leader at one of the worlds leading Cloud Transformation Specialists Inframon. Martyn is responsible for the architecture of some of the largest Azure deployments in EMEA and is a advisor to a many businesses on their strategies. Martyn is a regular speaker at Microsoft events and community events on Azure and DevOps, giving his insight to a growing number of audiences.

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