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Remoteapp and Network Drives - Errors when not using UNC Paths

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  • Remoteapp and Network Drives - Errors when not using UNC Paths

    Bottom Line: How can I allow clients to open files into a RemoteApp without using a UNC file path?

    Goal: Create "Thin Client" environment where basic users access and use needed programs (eg. MS Office) via an "application server" that can be centrally administered.

    General Background:
    I am attempting to set up a "thin client" environment using server 2008 as our application server. Applications have been installed on the 2008 server, made into Remote Apps deployed via .MSI files (and set to take over local file extensions).

    Everything seemed to be working well. Our "thin clients" are a mix of XP and windows 7 machines that have the .Net 3.5 and RDP 7.0 required for successful server 2008 rdp. All clients have remote apps deployed via .msi files to appear as if installed locally.

    Specific Challenge:
    In order to give our users as normal of an experience as possible, users have mapped drives locally and browse to files as normal on mapped drives and then double click to open them , but instead of a locally installed "thick client" instance of Word opening (which isnt installed locally), the remote app version opens the file for them instead just like a regular desktop user would be able to do.

    The method provided by server 2008 sound great at first.
    1) Take each remote app and create a Windows Installer Package (MSI) from it.
    2) When creating the MSI, associate the file extensions with the appropriate Remote App.
    3) Install the MSI on the client machines. 4) Result: client is supposed to be able to double click on, say, a Word file and have it open up in remote-app-Word. Brilliant! Right???

    Problem:
    Well...almost! The problem is NOT that this new Server 2008 feature doesn't work. The problem is that it will ONLY work if the path used to reach the file you are trying to launch/open is a UNC path! Even if I have identically named mapped drives on both the client and the server, no letter drive of any kind will work. The Result of doing this yields the following: "RemoteApp Error- The program xxx was not found. For assistance, contact your system administrator."

    HOWEVER, if I go back and browse to any file via UNC path, the files launch perfectly! The obvious problem here is that clients don't know how to browse by UNC and often do not have the access to do it anyway. Users browse to files based on mapped drive letters.

    Remember, this is my goal:

    Create "Thin Client" environment where basic users access and use needed programs (eg. MS Office) via an "application server" that can be centrally administered.

    I'm almost there but I'm just missing the part where it is actually usable for an average user.

    We did have the group policy for Remote Desktop Session Host\Device and Resource Redirection set to "Disabled" and have just changed it to "Not Configured" to see if this improves matters.



    Can anyone confirm if remoteapp can work in the way we are attempting to use it?



    I imagine it would be a pretty major design flaw if it didn't?


    We are putting it down to drive redirection as being the cause, based on the following:


    User has G: drive mapped locally. If a user opens the remoteapp by clicking the shortcut to the app and then clicks File > Open, they see the G: drive (mapped locally to the remote app server), and then after a period of time (20 seconds or so), their redirected G: drive from their local machine (shown as "G on users PC name") also appears on the list of available drives.


    Is the issue we are experiencing caused by this delay in mapping redirected local drives to the Remote Desktop Server, as I assume it is the mapping for this redirected drive that the remote app is attempting to use when opening the file?


    Is there anything that can be done to resolve this?


    We are of course also hoping that the changing of the group policy for drive redirection from "disabled" to "not configured" resolves it too.

    Thank you for any assistance.

    Paul
    Last edited by pjrouse; 21st March 2012, 15:19.
    MCITP:Enterprise Admin,
    MSCE
    MCSA: Messaging

  • #2
    Re: Remoteapp and Network Drives - Errors when not using UNC Paths

    Do you use the GPO settings "Do not allow drive redirection" / set it on the server side?
    Best Regards,

    Yuval Sinay

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yuval14, Blog: http://blogs.microsoft.co.il/blogs/yuval14

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Remoteapp and Network Drives - Errors when not using UNC Paths

      We have set the policy that applies to the remote desktop servers to "not configured" for "Do Not allow Drive Redirection".

      This was previously set to "disabled"

      Both settings still cause the same error.

      Paul
      MCITP:Enterprise Admin,
      MSCE
      MCSA: Messaging

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Remoteapp and Network Drives - Errors when not using UNC Paths

        If the user using Full RDP, the issue exits?
        Best Regards,

        Yuval Sinay

        LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yuval14, Blog: http://blogs.microsoft.co.il/blogs/yuval14

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Remoteapp and Network Drives - Errors when not using UNC Paths

          I assume this behaviour is by design, as otherwise network redirectors would have traffic flowing back through workstation rather than directly between remoteapp server and file server--would think performance would be unacceptable even if it did work this way. Could you just create UNC shortcuts to file share for users?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Remoteapp and Network Drives - Errors when not using UNC Paths

            I would hope this is not by design. We have a case open with Microsoft at present regarding this and they have been taking lots of log file dumps to analyse which suggests to me this should be working as we need it to.

            Also - if remoteapp were to succeed as a technology, the ability to launch a file from a mapped drive is a pretty significant basic function, but I take your point.

            Paul
            MCITP:Enterprise Admin,
            MSCE
            MCSA: Messaging

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Remoteapp and Network Drives - Errors when not using UNC Paths

              Originally posted by pjrouse View Post
              I would hope this is not by design. We have a case open with Microsoft at present regarding this and they have been taking lots of log file dumps to analyse which suggests to me this should be working as we need it to.

              Also - if remoteapp were to succeed as a technology, the ability to launch a file from a mapped drive is a pretty significant basic function, but I take your point.

              Paul
              Paul,

              Did you ever get this resolved? I'm experiencing the same issue and have been pulling my hair out trying to get it squared away. How did the case with MS resolve?

              Thanks,

              Nathan
              MCITP:EA, MCSA 2003

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Remoteapp and Network Drives - Errors when not using UNC Paths

                Originally posted by Nebulis01 View Post
                Paul,

                Did you ever get this resolved? I'm experiencing the same issue and have been pulling my hair out trying to get it squared away. How did the case with MS resolve?

                Thanks,

                Nathan
                MCITP:EA, MCSA 2003
                Hi Nathan,

                We were sent the following list of hotfixes by Microsoft and to apply them one at a time to see if the issue was resolved.

                Apply the following hotfix on the server:
                KB 2647401 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2647401 "file not found" when you try to open a file in an application in ...

                If the issue remains apply this one:
                KB 2685893 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2685893 Error messages after you change the 2047 character limit in an ...

                Apply this hotfix at the last if none of the above resolves the issue:

                KB 2636613 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2636613 Rdpshell.exe process leaks memory in windows server 2008 r2 when ...

                We got as far as applying the 2nd hotfix and have no more reports from users, but this doesnt mean the issue is solved - it may just mean the users have given up reporting it to us as it's taken so long to get to this stage, I think they have just gotten used to working round the issue.

                Paul
                MCITP:Enterprise Admin,
                MSCE
                MCSA: Messaging

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Remoteapp and Network Drives - Errors when not using UNC Paths

                  Originally posted by pjrouse View Post
                  Hi Nathan,

                  We were sent the following list of hotfixes by Microsoft and to apply them one at a time to see if the issue was resolved.

                  Apply the following hotfix on the server:
                  KB 2647401 "file not found" when you try to open a file in an application in ...

                  If the issue remains apply this one:
                  KB 2685893 Error messages after you change the 2047 character limit in an ...

                  Apply this hotfix at the last if none of the above resolves the issue:

                  KB 2636613 Rdpshell.exe process leaks memory in windows server 2008 r2 when ...

                  We got as far as applying the 2nd hotfix and have no more reports from users, but this doesnt mean the issue is solved - it may just mean the users have given up reporting it to us as it's taken so long to get to this stage, I think they have just gotten used to working round the issue.

                  Paul

                  Paul,

                  thanks for replying. Unfortunately applying all three of the hotfixes didn't resolve the issue for me. I did find a curious mention under the online Help for Common RDP settings relating to digital signing of the .rdp file. We currently don't sign the files and as such users don't get the check box for drive redirection.

                  As we recently stood up PKI in house I'm going to give signing the RDP files a shot and if that doesn't work I'll open a case with MS.

                  I'm unable to post a URL due to board limitations but it's technet(dot)microsoft(dot)com(slash)en-us(slash)library(slash)cc732741

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Remoteapp and Network Drives - Errors when not using UNC Paths

                    Originally posted by Nebulis01 View Post
                    Paul,

                    Did you ever get this resolved? I'm experiencing the same issue and have been pulling my hair out trying to get it squared away. How did the case with MS resolve?

                    Thanks,

                    Nathan
                    MCITP:EA, MCSA 2003
                    I have just been notified that a publically available hotfix for this specific issue is now available

                    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2716163

                    Hope that helps

                    Paul
                    MCITP:Enterprise Admin,
                    MSCE
                    MCSA: Messaging

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Remoteapp and Network Drives - Errors when not using UNC Paths

                      Originally posted by pjrouse View Post
                      I have just been notified that a publically available hotfix for this specific issue is now available

                      Hope that helps

                      Paul
                      Thanks for this, ended up not resolving the issue. Soon as I'm finished with another project we'll be opening a case with MS.

                      Comment

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