Staff Remote Desktop FAQ

How are user settings saved between sessions?

The previous Staff Remote Desktop service used Roaming Profiles to transfer user settings between sessions.

The new service uses a new technology called ‘User Environment Virtualization (UE-V)’ which captures user settings and stores them in a central location. When an application is launched, as part of the launch process the user settings are applied before the application is available.

This has numerous advantages over roaming profiles, including:

  • Roaming profiles could corrupt, denying the user the ability to login until resolved by IS&T
  • Faster login and logout times because data is not retrieved or written from central storage during these events
  • Roaming profiles affect server performance for all users each time a user logs in or out of a server
  • UE-V settings are not unique to the service. It will be possible to use the same application settings with Managed Desktop, Staff Remote Desktop and new versions of each service when released
  • Settings are only applied when required for the application
  • A huge saving in expensive SAN disk space because roaming profiles require much more storage than UE-V settings files

There are some issues with UE-V, especially using Outlook which are documented below.

Why shouldn’t documents and files be saved to the desktop?

As mentioned, the previous Staff Remote Desktop service used roaming profiles which allowed users to save documents and files to the desktop that were available between sessions.
This caused a number of issues because a few users saved important or very large files to the desktop. The roaming profiles were not backed up so any files lost by deletion or in a corrupted profile were lost, and having a lot of files, or very large files dramatically affected login and logout times, as well as using a lot of central storage. These files were also unavailable each time the service was upgraded to a new version.

All documents should only be saved on central file store, such as Homespace or the N: and Q: drive as this storage is supported and backed up.

Any files saved to the desktop of the new Staff Remote Desktop will be deleted during the logout process when the user profile is deleted and will not be retrievable.

Shortcuts on the desktop that provide a link to existing applications or files will be transferred between sessions.

Why do Pinned Taskbar and Start Menu Items not save between sessions?

When a user logs into the new service a brand new profile is created on the server. Settings for applications are applied as applications are launched.
At present pinned items are not retained between sessions due to how they are created.
This issue is currently being investigated and we hope to resolve this shortly.

At present some of the most commonly used applications are pinned during login to the start menu and taskbar in order to resolve this issue.

As a solution to this issue, we have enabled the service so that shortcuts placed on the desktop will transfer between sessions, so users can have shortcuts to their favourite applications and documents available for each session.

Why do some Outlook settings not save between sessions?

The vast majority of user settings are available each time a user logs in, but Outlook keeps user settings in a number of locations and files. One of the areas some settings are kept are in is an area reserved for the setup of Outlook for the user and the settings aren’t captured as they are unique to each user and it is not recommended that these are transferred between services.

Outlook settings that are not kept between sessions include:

  • Changes to the location of the viewing pane from the side to another location
  • Adding additional mailboxes to Outlook
  • Outlook signature settings for the signature to apply to new messages and replies
  • Changing the font used within emails

This is a known issue, as documented in this Microsoft KB article:
Migrating MAPI profiles with Microsoft UE-V is not supported

Microsoft are aware that is an issue and are actively working on a solution. The next version of UE-V is supposed to resolve some of the above issues.

How do I transfer Outlook signatures from Managed Desktop to Staff Remote Desktop?

To transfer your Outlook signatures from your Managed Desktop workstation to the Staff Remote Desktop is a two step process.

On your Managed Desktop workstation:

  1. Run ‘MD Help’ application from the Start Menu\All Programs
  2. Select the ‘Self Service’ tab along the top of the application
  3. Select the ‘Backup Outlook Signatures’ button

On the Staff Remote Desktop

  1. Run ‘MD Help’ application from the Start Menu\All Programs
  2. Select the ‘Self Service’ tab along the top of the application
  3. Select the ‘Restore Outlook Signatures’ button

Once this is completed you will have access to your Outlook Signatures on the Staff Remote Desktop for your current and all future use of the Staff Remote Desktop, the above process only needs to be completed once.

To insert a signature into an email on the Staff Remote Desktop, select Insert, Signatures and then select the required signature.

Why does some software save settings between sessions, some doesn’t?

The service is setup to transfer settings for the common software such as Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer. We can also configure the service to capture user settings for additional software and this has been done for some applications, but of course not all software as yet.
If a user uses an application and would like the settings saving between sessions please use the feedback form or inform IT Help.

Is vWorkspace available on SHU Managed Desktop workstations?

The client to access vWorkspace is installed as part of Managed Desktop, so all SHU owned desktops and laptops should have access.
The vWorkspace AppPortalĀ is available from the Start Menu whilst the WebPortal is available within a web browser using, which is the recommended way of accessing the service, especially if used outside the University.

What will happen to files saved within the roaming profile from the previous service?

The new service is built using a new server operating system and can not use the roaming profiles from the old serviceĀ so previous files and settings are not available whilst using the new service.

We know that some users saved documents and applications on the desktop of the previous service that are not available within the new service so in order to allow users to retrieve these files there is a desktop shortcut on the new service called ‘Files from previous Remote Desktop’ that will open an application and allow users to transfer files to either their Homespace or a shared network drive. These files must not be saved to the desktop of the new service as they will be deleted on logout and will not be retrievable.

Can additional software be installed on the Staff Remote Desktop?

The Staff Remote Desktop has the core University software installed, but not any additional teaching applications.
The University has hundreds of applications, including some that are extremely large and that are resource-intensive or require specialised hardware.
It would be an impossibility to install all of these applications on all of the servers that are used for the Staff Remote Desktop service.

Due to some software licensing restrictions, we are not able install some software on a Remote Desktop either because of restricted license numbers, the fact that the server is a shared resource that has a number of concurrent users or because the software is restricted to SHU workstations only or even the SHU campus, which does not include users outside the University using a computer to access software on a Remote Desktop Service.

Some software does not work well on a remote connection if the software requires complex graphics or sound and video.

IS&T are intending to make additional applications available to staff for use at home via vWorkspace, but these applications will not be installed on the actual Staff Remote Desktop service.