FSLogix

Exploring FSLogix Profiles feature

Introduction

One of the most important decisions to make when designing your Non-persistent VDI environment is your profile management choice.  Over the years there have been many different profile management solutions out there (Local Profiles, Roaming Profiles, Ivanti User Workspace Management, Citrix User Profile Management and LiquidWare ProfileUnity), each offering their own benefits and use case, and some of them costing large sums of money and complicated infrastructure setup. 

In 2013 Jeremy Hurren, Kevin Goodman & Randy Cook setup of company called FSLogix and released FSLogix Apps which enabled policy-based control of when application should be visible to users or groups, enabling a single golden image to be shared with multiple use cases.

Over the years the company grew, released more tools and was  eventually acquired by Microsoft on November 19th 2018 due to its amazing products which fixed many problems around using Office, Teams and OneDrive in a VDI Environment.  This is especially useful for the upcoming release of Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD).

In this post I am doing to discuss the basics of getting the FSLogix managed profile’s up and running. There are many many many different things which FSLogix can do but for now I am going to focus on basic user profile management.

FSLogix Profiles basically moves all of your profile files and folders to a VHD or a VHDX and then mounts it as a container when you log on.  This works seamless to the end user and it will only stream down settings when they are needed. This way it is super quick and it means that your settings follow you wherever you go.

It is supported on Windows Vista and later, and Server 2008 and later. It can also be deployed to any environment, so physical, Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop, VMware and more recently the CloudCache feature was released enabling us to use it in Azure, AWS & Google Cloud.

Below is a snippet of the log file so you can see what it is doing in the background.

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So who is able to use this brilliant tool?? If you currently have any of the below then you are licensed to use FSLogix in your environment at no extra cost. – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/fslogix/overview#requirements. Why would you NOT want to do that?!

  • Microsoft 365 E3/E5
  • Microsoft 365 A3/A5/ Student Use Benefits
  • Microsoft 365 F1
  • Microsoft 365 Business
  • Windows 10 Enterprise E3/E5
  • Windows 10 Education A3/A5
  • Windows 10 VDA per user
  • Remote Desktop Services (RDS) Client Access License (CAL)
  • Remote Desktop Services (RDS) Subscriber Access License (SAL)

So lets begin

1) Download and Install

Head over here and download the Agent to install onto your endpoints – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/fslogix/install-ht. Run the “FSLogixAppSetup” on your devices your users will be using. Obviously this is a manual install so this can be deployed via CMCB or into your golden master image.

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After running through the standard installation steps the agent install should complete successfully and the FSLogix Apps Services should be started successfully

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2) Import and Configure FSLogix Group Policies

FSLogix Profiles is managed by configuring registry settings. The easy way to manage these settings is to use GPO’s.  Thankfully the admx and adml files are contained within the download files.

Copy these files into the PolicyDefinitions directory on your sysvol share

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After doing so when you fire up the group policy management console you should see FSLogix settings and be able to create a new GPO and configure the settings accordingly.

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The table below is a description of the settings that basic settings that can be configured:

Setting Description Options
Profile Type Controls whether the VHD/X file should be accessed directly.
  • Normal direct-access profile
  • Read-only profile
  • Read-write profile
  • Try for read-write profile and fallback to read-only
Store search database in profile container Used to control the FSLogix Search Roaming feature and store search data in the profile container
  • Single-user search
  • Multi-user search
  • Disabled
Set Outlook cached mode on successful container attach When the Office 365 Container is successfully attached, set Outlook to work in cached mode for the user. The setting change will only be effective for the specific user and for the length of the user session.
  • Set Outlook Cached mode on successful container attach
Enabled Controls whether or not the Profiles feature is active
  • Enabled
VHD Location Specifies the network location where the VHD(X) files are stored. For example, \\servername\share\containers.
  • VHD Location
Dynamic VHD allocation If checked, VHD(X)s will be dynamically allocated (VHD(X) file size will grow as data is added to the VHD(X)). If not checked, VHD(X)s that are auto-created will be fully allocated. Defaults to Dynamic.
  • Dynamic VHD allocation
Delete local profile when FSLogix profile should apply Please use caution with this setting. When the FSLogix Profiles system determines that a user should have a FSLogix profile but a local profile exists, the local profile WILL BE REMOVED and the user logged on with the FSLogix profile.
  • Delete local profile when FSLogix profile should apply
Size in MBs Specify the size for auto-created VHD(X) files. Default is 30,000 (30 GBs).
  • Size in MBs
Allow concurrent users sessions Enable FSLogix to handle concurrent user sessions on the same machine. Note: If you are using the Windows server feature to allow concurrent logins for the same Windows account on the same server (seen most often with Citrix XenApp), you must enable this policy. Allow concurrent user sessions

For the minimum configuration we should just enable the feature and configure a path to contain the VHD Files. Once you have configured the settings applicable to your environment you can link the GPO to whatever OU containers your computer accounts. 

Step 3 – Test and prove the solution

OK so now we have the FSLogix agent installed, the GPO’s imported, configured and linked so we should be good to go!

As a test I logged onto a Windows 10 1803 workstation, configured a few settings and then logged off again.  After doing so you should see the VHD File on your storage:

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I then logged onto another Windows 10 1803 workstation and the settings that I had previously set were applied successfully.

We can also check the log files which are held in C:\ProgramData\FSLogix\Logs and if you open up Disk Management MMC you should see the attached VHD

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I hope this guide has been useful to you.  This is just the very basics of the tool. There are many more things that it can do so I encourage you to go to https://fslogix.com/products and have a look around. 

Here are some resources to explore a bit further if you want to:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/fslogix/overview

https://fslogix.com/

https://www.christiaanbrinkhoff.com/2019/06/21/the-future-of-storing-your-fslogix-microsoft-profile-container-on-azure-files-as-platform-service-lowest-tco-for-windows-virtual-desktop

https://www.christiaanbrinkhoff.com/2019/03/21/the-future-of-roaming-profiles-add-fast-logon-performance-and-office-365-support-to-your-virtual-desktop-vdi-daas-environment-with-microsoft-fslogix-profile-container-including-existing-uem-sol/

https://stealthpuppy.com/user-experience-virtualzation-profile-container/#undefined

https://stealthpuppy.com/fslogix-containers-capacity/#undefined

https://james-rankin.com/articles/fslogix-official-release-version-1907-from-microsoft/

https://james-rankin.com/articles/quickpost-using-fslogix-to-create-multiple-default-profiles-and-start-tiles-layouts/

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