When you install a default Windows 8.1 machine, there’re a few modern apps available. In some environments, you want
to remove these modern apps for your users.
With the following steps, you can delete specific apps or all the modern apps.
1.) To get a overview off all the package, use the following command:
Get-AppxPackage | ft Name, PackageFullName -AutoSize
2.) Let’s remove the Finance modern app
Remove-AppxPackage -Package Microsoft.BingFinance_184.108.40.206_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe -Confirm:$false
3.) Return to the start menu and now you’ll see the Finance app is gone
4.) To remove all the modern apps, use the following command:
Get-AppxPackage | Remove-AppxPackage -Confirm:$false
During a OS deployment you don’t want to deploy all your packages and software to every workstation. You can deploy the software after a full OS deployment, but you can also deploy packages during the OSD using collection variables. Now it is possible to deploy packages only if a specific machine is a member of a collection. This collection can be query based, for example OU membership or Active Directory security group, or it can be static (direct membership).
In this example I’ve created a realy simple deployment, Adobe Reader 11.0. I’ve two virtual machines, SCWIN81-01 and SCWIN81-02. Both machines are members of the collection “Deploy – Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64”, where the task sequence is deployed on. Machine SCWIN81-01 is also member of the collection “Install – Adobe Reader 11.0”. This collection has a limited collection of “Deploy – Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64”. Both machines are deployed on the same time, the only difference is that machine SCWIN81-01 has Adobe Reader 11.0 installed and machine SCWIN81-02 not. Why……based on the collection variable during the OSD 🙂
1.) First create the collections
2.) Make the specific machines members of the right collections (query based or direct membership)
3.) Open the properties of the collection “Install – Adobe Reader 11.0” and navigate to the “Collection Variables” tab
4.) Add one or more variables with some values. In this example the variable is “APP-AdobeReader” with the value “Yes”
5.) Open the task sequence and add a package installation step
6.) Add the package with the program and navigate to the “Options” tab
7.) Select “Add Condition” and select “Task Sequence Variable”
8.) Enter the collection variable you’ve created earlier with the same value. In my example:
Task Sequences Variable APP-AdobeReader equals “Yes”
9.) Select “Apply” and close the task sequence.
10.) Start the OSD on both machines and wait until the installation is done!
11.) Watch the differences between both machines, if everything is okay, one machine has Adobe Reader installed and the other not.
This is an extremely powerfull thing within ConfigMgr, and really helpfull is some scenario’s. For example VDI golden image deployments or hybrid environments with laptops/desktops or multiple organizations using one ConfigMgr environment. One main reason could be consolidation in task sequences. If you want, there should be only one task sequence for all you different deployments. This is why I’m loving collection varaibles! 🙂
When a user login the very first time on a Windows 8 of 8.1 machine, they will see a “animation” with some helpful tips. During this stage the userprofile is being created and prepared. While the first sign-in animation may be helpful to new users to see, but it slows down the logintimes. So let’s turn this animation off using ConfigMgr 2012 R2.
1.) Open your task sequence
2.) Add a action “Run Command Line” after Setup Windows and ConfigMgr
3.) Copy and paste the following command line:
reg ADD “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System” /v EnableFirstLogonAnimation /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f
4.) Give it the value 0 to disable and 1 to enable
5.) Deploy your task sequence to a collection of devices
When you do a lot of deployments whitin your Windows 8.1 Client Hyper-V machine, the disk space is getting more and more. Because I’ve only one SSD drive of 250 GB, the free space becomes critical. I’ve got to find a way to reduce it. I read a few blogs and found a solution which is the dedup. But data deduplication is not available whitin Windows 8.1.
This method is not officially supported by Microsoft ,however found a way to save my disk space.
This method requires the CAB files from the Windows Server 2012 R2. Either you can get those files from a Windows Server 2012 R2 or you can download the files from my OneDrive here.
The files are as follow :
I downloaded the files to a folder as below and installed all the CAB files:
Next step is to install the CAD files on your Windows 8.1 machine. I’ve used DISM to install these files.
After you’ve succesfully installed the CAB files, you’re able to install the “Data Deduplication” role. I’ve also used DISM (see screenshot below).
The next step is to enable Data Deduplication on the volume or volumes. First I’ve readthe current free space on my E: drive. After enabling Data Deduplication on this volume, I’ve manually started the Data Dedup task.
But after enabling Data Depuplication and running the Dedup Job, there’s nothing happening!! Why?? Because the minimumFileAgeDays is 3 and my files on the hard drives are 2 days old 🙂 So I’ve added the MinimumFileAgeDays to 0 (zero days). After running the Dedup Job again, let’s have a look on the current free space!! Dedup is doing his job!!! 🙂 Cool!
The final screenshot are the commands I’ve used to configure this in my lab environment. Once again, this method is not officially supported by Microsoft.It’s a great way to save some disk space on your expensive SSD hard drive! Now you can deploy more virtual machines on the same hard drive, so happy automation and deployment!! 🙂
Whitin Windiws 8.1 users are able to add there own Windows tiles on the start screen. Here you can create your own selection of the most used applications and group them together. When you’re usning Windows 8.1 with RES Workspace Manager 2014, you can save this layout. So after logout and login again, the layout is still there.
1.) Open the RES Workspace Manager 2014 Console
2.) Navigate to Compsotion \ User Settings
3.) Create a new setting named: Save Windows Tiles
4.) Add the following two files to be saved
5.) Assign the settings to the right user(s) and Workspace
6.) Login, change your Windows tiles and logout….
7.) Browse to your PersonalSettings folder and see if there is any UPF file
Last week I’ve been working on a big VDI environment with RES Workspace Manager 2014, Windows 8 and VMWare Horizon View. Everything looks realy nice and is working realy well!! But I’ve seen one strange thing. One of the applications “Sticky Notes” couldn’t be started from the start menu or Windows tiles. In this blogpost you’ll find a solution for this problem.
1.) Add Sticky Notes to RES Workspace Manager 2014
2.) Open the Properties of the new application and navigate to the second tab “Settings”
3.) Scroll down to “Disable file system redirector on 64-bit systems” and Enable this setting
4.) Refresh the User Workspace and start the application again
5.) Sticky Notes can now be used
When you’ve installed Microsoft Office in your environment, the first time the user starts one of the Office products, they receive a pop-up box for the initials. Default there are two things the user has to fill in. The username and the initials. The username is the displayname within Active Directory. The initials is the first letter of the username. But, what if you want to fill this field also with some Active Directory information, like the property Initials.
In this environment I’m using RES Workspace Manager 2014, so there’re also possibilities to set some user variables in your session. First I’ve created a new environment variable with a query to read the information from Active Directory.
1.) Open the RES Workspace Manager Console and create a new environment variable. In my example it is Initials
2.) Give the new variable the following value $adinfo(Initials) There’re some more values possible, like firstname, lastname, etc….
3.) Login to your session, in my example a Windows 8.1 VDI desktop and open the command prompt
4.) Type the command set and search for the new variable Initials. It’s the information from the Active Directory
5.) Now return to the RES Workspace Manager Console and create a new User Setting (User Registry)
6.) The values are stored in the following registrykey:
7.) Add this path in the new registry setting and create two new REG_SZ keys
UserInitials with the value %Initials%
Username with the value %Username%
8.) Configure the Access Control and the Workspace Container
9.) Login again into a new session and start Microsoft Office, for example Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, etc…
10.) Open the options and take a look at the user initials.
This is a realy powerfull solution to control your users initials. You can choose to apply the User Registry settings once, so the users are able to edit the initials. You can use a User Preference to store this information in a .UPR (User Preference) with RES Workspace Manager.