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Fooling the VMWare View portal

By James Rankin | 22nd February 2012

Frustrating day today, compounded by the fact that a) a XenApp server keeps telling me its PVS disk image is in Private Mode, whereas the PVS console swears blind it’s not, and b) the work-issued Windows XP laptop I was using decided to start repeatedly blue-screening on boot. I haven’t got to the bottom of a) yet, but I thought I could easily deal with b) by firing up my trusty Windows 7 netbook.

But no, further frustration awaited. Logging on to the VMWare View portal to connect to my VDI session, I was bluntly informed “VMWare View portal does not support your operating system”. Aside from my initial thought of “well, you’d better, because soon Microsoft won’t support the ones that you do”, I wondered how I’d get around this? I could have installed the full-fat View Client, but I didn’t fancy wasting time by waiting for a field-service guy to do this, and didn’t want to clutter up my trusty netbook with unnecessary software.

Maybe if I couldn’t convince the View portal to support Windows 7, maybe I could convince it that I wasn’t really a Windows 7 user? Internet Explorer and other browsers use a user agent string to pass websites info about the operating environment. So maybe we could mess about with that and get some results?

It turns out that you can. The Registry file below works for Internet Explorer 8, and basically convinces the stroppy View portal – and, naturally, all other websites, so be careful! – that you are a Vista user (embarrassing, I know). You can deploy this manually, through a script or policy, even use AppSense Environment Manager to do it, but don’t forget to take a backup of the settings first and import them back in when you are finished. Leaving this set to Vista will probably have some unforeseen effect in the distant future, so always reverse tweaks like this when they aren’t needed any more.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\5.0\User Agent]
“Version”=”MSIE 8.0”
“Platform”=”Windows NT 6.0”

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\User Agent\Post Platform]
“SV1″=-

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Version Vector]
“IE”=”8.0000”

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\5.0\User Agent]
“Version”=”MSIE 8.0”
“Platform”=”Windows NT 6.0”

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\User Agent\Post Platform]
“SV1″=-

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Version Vector]
“IE”=”8.0000”

And straight away – no more attitude from the View portal, back on my virtual desktop and happy. Now all I have to do is figure out what’s wrong with that crazy PVS disk 🙂

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