Wednesday Feb 28, 2007

utaction for Windows

While I was lurking around Brian Madden's site, I stumbled upon a free tool called ReconnACT from Log\*in Consultants out of the Netherlands.

Like utaction it performs actions on a session start, a disconnect, and a reconnect.  Except it does this based on session starts, disconnects and reconnects of a terminal server session

If you couple this with Device based TS CAL's,  Sun Ray Connector for Windows, and you don't use the optimized hot desking switch (i.e the -O option) you can do some pretty cool things should you hot desk to another DTU.  Like tell an application that the client has changed, or perhaps a utaction on the Sun Ray Server side could call a script that would scribble information into a text file on a mapped drive.  Then you could run a windows based script based on the information in that text file.  Maybe it's a COM port change, or a printer change.  Maybe it's someone connecting from a DTU on a disallowed subnet so you end their Windows session.

You can download Reconnact 1.3 here:;action=display;threadid=685

Extract the file ReconnAct!.exe (Don't use ReconnAct!2K.exe as that is only for windows 2K) and place it in C:\\Windows\\system32

You can download some sample scripts I put together here::

Extract my scripts to the the root of the C: drive on your terminal server.  It will create a directory structure called C:\\reconnact.

Then set your logon script (via whatever method you like, GPO would be best) for windows to run c:\\reconnact\\reconnact.cmd.  If implementing on a domain, move the reconnact directory to a public share somewhere.   You'll have to change the scripts up a bit to reflect the new location.

Reconnact will then run:
C:\\reconnact\\start.cmd on startup
C:\\reconnact\\discon.cmd on a disconnect
C:\\reconnact\\recon.cmd on a reconnect.

Under the C:\\reconnact you will see folders called S, D, and R.  (S for Start, D for disconnect and R for reconnect).  Just simple naming, play along for the how to, then change to what ever suits your needs.

The start, discon, and recon scripts look in these directories for script (cmd files) and runs each one it finds.  So if you wanted to add another disconnect action you wouldn't have to edit the login script, you'd just drop a command file in the the D file.

Right now I have a sample script in each directory to pops up a message stating "Start Message", "Reconnect Message", etc.  The disconnect message won't show, unless you happen to shadow the disconnected sessions since you have to be connected to see it work.  If you'd like to see it do something on a disconnect change C:\\reconnact\\D\\hello.cmd to do something like launch the control panel (i.e. replace the script contents with the words "control.exe")

Here's a screen shot from a new connection. Nothing much to see here that you couldn't do with a login script, something under the Run registry key, or even the Startup programs group.

The coolness factor comes into play when you disconnect or reconnect.  If you are using non-optimized hot desking with the Sun Ray Connector for Windows to a Terminal Server in Device Mode for TS CAL's, we actually disconnect and then reconnected you to ensure proper allocation of CAL's .  The following image shows the above mention change to run control panel on a disconnect and then you also see the reconnect message.

Note this will not work if you are in User licensing mode for your TS CAL's.  Your session will not get disconnected regardless of the optimized hot desking switch as we do not need to track device based CAL's.  You could however use xvkbd via utaction to send a disconnect sequence or even kill your Sun Ray Connector PID as a work-around.

Would be great in the world of VDI, except it does not run on XP.  I've exchanged a few emails with Log\*in Consultants, but nothing much has transpired.  I'd love to see something agent based that could be called from the Sun Ray Session that would do certain windows functions based on DTU connects and disconnects.  Most likely that's something Sun will have to write themselves.

Nonetheless, it's still worth checking out.  It's a great tool for terminal server if for nothing else than to forcefully log off those timed out disconnected sessions!


Thursday Feb 08, 2007

Setting Terminal Server Font Sizes

You may have noticed that users cannot access the Advanced button under Display Properties. This prevents users from setting the DPI.

Some users may want a larger overall font experience, unfortunately setting each of the fonts bigger under windows is kind of a pin. Additionally there is no nice way of making scroll bars, widgets, etc. bigger.

When you set the DPI, Windows calculates the relative sizes of the graphic elements so that not only the fonts are bigger, but scroll bars, etc as well.

Lately I have had several complaints about "the fonts are too small". This is likely due to the fact that the DTUs pick the optimal monitor timings, when the user originally had a lower resolution when it was hooked up to their PC. This is compounded by thy fact that in a "Windows on SRSS or SGD" setup, there is not always an easy way to set the resolution of the display.

After some hunting and some trial and error, I have created a couple of Registry files which make all of the necessary settings.

Please find HERE a zip file with 3 registry files.

96 (100%)
120 (125%)
144 (150%)

This will set the Windows effective DPI accordingly.

Double click on the registry file, accept the warning, logout, login, and you're all set. 

Tuesday Jul 11, 2006

The most kick-ass Citrix/Terminal Server on Earth.

300+ users on one server.

(oh yeah and one T2000 driving the all of  Sun Rays doing the connections!  @ around 58% utilization)

All "doing stuff" via AutoIT (IE, typing via Word @ 200 WPM, powerpoint, excel).

Sun Fire X4600 with four eight dual core AMD 880 proc's and 128 64 gigs of RAM and Windows 2003 Enterprise R2.  It actually has 8 dual core AMD's but Windows EE only sees four of them!  I had a slight addition problem here...It does see all 16 cores.  But only 1/2 of the 128 GB of RAM.

Up for 47 days straight.  ZERO interuptions.

Both Citrix and RDP connections (via the T2000).

If only Sun would OEM Windows 2003 Data center, I know I could get it up to 600 "light" users.  Perhaps a Sun reseller will fill this void.

MS Terminal Server Groups Starts Blogging

Cool news from Brian Madden.  The Microsoft TS group has started Blogging.  Thanks for blogging nod for Sun there Brian!

BTW, if you all have a few minutes check out Brian Madden and Rick Dehlinger's (of the MF Tuning Guide and Tweak Citrix fame) blog.  They recently did a west coast swing from SoCal to my old stomping grounds (Seattle).  Informational and entertaining, a rare combo outside of Sesame Street!

Friday Mar 17, 2006

Evil MS Hotfix

Don't install the Hotfix for KB 912945.  It's an optional update that will cause headaches for your Windows users (whether Terminal Server or VM's).

Users will be required to click a dialog box every time they want to run an ActiveX control, even signed ones. Dialog reads "Click to run an Activex control on this web page".  Must click multiple times for pages with multiple ActiveX controls.  It gets real fun viewing any quicktime movie trailers.

Web pages with the following acitve content will cause this behavior:

  • Adobe Reader
  • Apple QuickTime Player
  • Macromedia Flash
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player
  • Real Networks RealPlayer
  • Sun Java Virtual Machine

Tuesday Feb 21, 2006

24 bit RDP under Windows XP

While RDP connections to Windows 2003 Server default to 16 bit color depth and can be changed to 24 bit via the Terminal Services Configuration\\Connections mmc snap in, what about Windows XP?

Did you ever notice that when you connect to Windows XP via RDP, some colors and icons are just a bit off? This is because the single user XP RDP Server defaults to 16 bit color depth even though it is capable of running 24 bit. While there is no mmc snap in for increasing it, it can be done via the registry.

Open up the Registry Editor (Start -> Run -> regedit) and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SYSTEM\\CurrentControlSet\\Control\\Terminal Server\\WinStations\\RDP-Tcp

Change color depth to 4.

Reboot Windows XP to have the change take effect.

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