Windows Virtual Desktop – #5 -RemoteApp & Desktop Publishing

Image: Windows Virtual Desktop remote user sat on wall overlooking city
By Mark Ison on

Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD). What services does it offer?

Windows Virtual Desktop hosts can provide both full Session Desktops and RemoteApps, but not at the same time from the same host pool. Although a single Host Pool can provide both RemoteApps and Session Desktops, users can only be assigned to one or the other. If a user requires both, multiple Host Pools would be needed. This was something that could be achieved in RDS by using an unsupported reg hack.

How do I publish Desktops and RemoteApps?

Once a Host Pool has been successfully deployed the Session Desktop offering is deployed as the default. If you do not plan to offer this service, the AppGroup for it can be deleted.
To publish RemoteApps, first you need to create an AppGroup that is configured specifically for RemoteApps. You can use the New-RDSAppGroup cmdlet with the -ResourceType parameter to do this. Apps can then be published using the New-RDSRemoteApp cmdlet. This requires several parameters being passed though. To simplify things, I personally use a command that takes advantage of a predefined set of variables:

$myTenantName = “<Tenant Name>”
$HostPool = “<Host Pool Name>”
$AppGroup = “<AppGroup Name>”
$AppName = “<Application Name>”
$AppFreindlyName = “<App Friendly Name>”
$FilePath = “<Path to executable>”
$IconPath = “<Icon file location>”
$IconIndex = “0”

New-RdsRemoteApp -TenantName $myTenantName -HostPoolName $HostPool -AppGroupName $AppGroup -Name $AppName -FilePath $FilePath -FriendlyName $AppFreindlyName -IconPath $IconPath -IconIndex $IconIndex

Additional parameters can be added for command line requirements if needed.

How are resources assigned?

Users are assigned resources using AppGroups. You can either use PowerShell (Add-RdsAppGroupUser -TenantName <tenantname> -HostPoolName <hostpoolname> -AppGroupName <appgroupname> -UserPrincipalName <userupn>) or the management portal to assign users. This must be done on a per user basis as assignment through group membership is not currently available. My guess is that this is to make sure that users don’t accidentally end up in conflicting AppGroups. Users can be a member of multiple AppGroups from a single Host Pool providing that they provide the same service.

How are resources accessed?

Image: Windows Virtual Desktop All resources page
Apps or desktops are access though the universal WVD login address. The portal takes advantage of any existing SSO configuration and can be added to existing Conditional Access rules if needed.

The feed can also be added to the preview version of the Remote Desktop Client app or be pushed into a computer’s local configuration for RemoteApp and Desktop Connections with Group Policy. This gives seamless integration into the users Start Menu, presenting the app like any other locally installed one.

Image: Windows Virtual Desktop remote desktop page


Windows Virtual Desktop. Want to know more?

Stay tuned for Part 6 of this WVD based blog series where I’ll be discussing how to manage the WVD service.

Here at Silversands we have already begun meeting with customers, designing and implementing proof of concepts for WVD with universal praise for the service.

We host regular events so please do check our schedule of current seminars, webinars and events.  We also post regular blogs on the latest updates and expert advice on Microsoft 365, Cloud and Hybrid IT, User Adoption and the Power Platform, so please do follow us.

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