This time I would like to show how VMware Dynamic Environment Manager can help in managing the users Default Applications and File Type Associations.

Let’s start with the easy first step: capturing the user’s choices for Default Apps and FTA’s.

To do this, just create a DEM config file using the provided template: ‘Default Applications – File Type Associations and Protocols’. You can select this when you use the Config File Creation Wizard in the DEM Management console. Give this config file the name ‘default apps – FTA and protocols.ini’. See the screenshot below.

This will make sure that any choices or changes that the users make during their sessions will be captured at logoff and restored at logon.

While this is great, some companies want to provide the users with some default settings. For instance, they want to make sure Chrome is the default browser, and Outlook should be the default e-mail client.

This can be achieved with DEM as well, using the so-called ‘pre-defined settings.
To create these predefined settings, we need to take the following three steps:

  1. Capture the settings from a test user
  2. Edit and trim down these settings (in XML file format) to fit your needs
  3. Add the new XML file as a predefined setting using the DEM management console.

Let’s start with the 1st step; capture the settings from a test user

  • Make sure DEM is configured with the config file we just created above.
  • Logon as a test user and manually change the default mail app to Outlook and the default Browser to Chrome, like this:
  • When you are done, logoff the test user
  • DEM will export these settings to the test user DEM profile share. Find and extract the ‘default apps – FTA and’ from this test user to a temporary location.
  • This will contain a folder ‘Registry’ and in that folder 2 files:

The 2nd step is to edit and trim down these settings (in XML file format) to fit your needs.

I prefer using Notepad++ to edit the ‘Default Applications.xml’. The XML file should look like this.

The default layout is just two lines, I added a Carriage Return(enter) at the end of each tag of the XML file to make it more readable as you can see below.

Trim down the XML file and keep only the File Extensions and URL Associations that you want, in this example for Chrome and Outlook:

One you are done, remove the Carriage Returns (enter) to restore the original XML layout to two lines and safe the XML file with the original name ‘Default Applications.xml’:

The 3rd and final step remains; add the new XML file as a predefined setting using the DEM management console.

  • Open the DEM Management console, select the DEM config file called ‘default apps – FTA and protocols’ and go to the ‘Predefined Settings’ tab.
  • Click the ‘Add’ button at the bottom, and then click ‘Create’:
  • You will see Windows Explorer open this folder structure. Go to the ‘Registry’ subfolder:
  • Copy the edited ‘Default Applications.xml’ from step 2 into this folder:
  • You can close the Windows Explorer and go back to the DEM Management console. Click the ‘Done’ button:
  • Make sure to give the ‘Predefined Setting’ a name (in this case ‘Outlook and Chrome – default’) and click ‘Save’:
  • The result should look like this. Make sure to save the DEM config file.

Following these steps will make sure any user that logs on for the first time will have Outlook and Chrome as their default browser and e-mail client. The user can still alter those settings and the user’s choice will be saved by DEM for each individual user.

OPTIONAL: If you want to make sure these settings cannot be changed by the user and should return to this configuration each logon, make sure you select the ‘Fully Enforced Settings’ option.
This will enforce the settings for Chrome and Outlook at each logon, while other changes by the user (default Music player, different FTA choices) will still be captured:

Finally, it might be good to know that you can add multiple pre-defined settings to a single DEM config file. This allows you to give different settings to multiple groups of users, depending on the conditions you add to each setting. See this example below:

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