VMware DEM – Pre-define Default Apps & FTA’s

Release date: March 26th 2022

Welcome to my VMware Dynamic Environment Manager series. In this session I will describe how to pre-define Default Applications and File Type Associations in Windows 10 using VMware DEM.

To begin with, I have to capture a test user’s selections for Default Apps and FTA’s. This I can do by creating a new DEM Config File using the provided template: Default Applications – File Type Associations and Protocols when launching the Config File Creation Wizard in the DEM Management console. I provide a config file name as shown below.

Having this config file present in the DEM config share, will make sure that any selections that a user make during a session, will be captured at logoff and restored at logon. This config file can also be used to pre-define settings for users. For instance, to make sure Chrome is the default browser, and Outlook is the default e-mail client. To achieve this I have to capture the settings from a user, then edit an xml file with setting and finally add the xml file to a DEM config file.

Capture Setting

As I have already made the DEM Config File above, I can now log in as a user and change the Default Browser to Google Chrome and the default email client to Outlook.

Once done, I logoff the my test user and DEM export these settings to the user’s profile folder.

Edit Default Applications.xml

I can now copy this zip-file to a temporary location and open it. Within this zip-file I find the file Default Applications.xml under the Registry folder, which I will need to adjust so that only the information about Outlook and Chrome is present.

When I open this file with notepad, this file’s layout is originally with two lines. To make the file more readable, I add a Carriage Return after each tag, as shown below.

Next, I remove the unnecessary entries under File Extensions and URL Associations, which leaves me with my settings for Chrome and Outlook:

Finally I remove the Carriage Returns to restore the original XML layout to two lines and safe the XML file.

Add Predefined Setting in DEM

I can now add the xml-file as a Predefined Setting in my Default Apps – FTA config in DEM. In DEM Management Console I select the DEM Config file and go to the  Predefined Settings tab. Next I click the Add button at the bottom, and then click Create…:

Windows Explorer launches and open this folder structure. Go to the Registry subfolder:

I copy the edited Default Applications.xml into this folder and close the Windows Explorer windows and click Done

I give the Predefined Setting a name, “Outlook and Chrome Default”, Save, note that I will use this Predefined Setting as a Default Setting Type, which means that when users log in, they will get Outlook and Chrome as default Email Client and Web Browser, but if a user changes this setting to for instance MS Edge, the user’s new default browser will remain MS Edge in future sessions.

If I would want user’s default browser and email client to ALWAYS be Chrome and Outlook, I can set Type to Fully Enforced Settings, which will enforce this setting even though users change this in their sessions, shown below.

I make sure to click Save Config File in order to activate this new setting in DEM.

With that I have a method for pre-defining user’s Applications and FTA’s, which is very helpful when creating a great user experience with VMware DEM.

Official VMware Dynamic Environment Manager Documentation

Disclaimer: Every tips/tricks/posting I have published here, is tried and tested in different it-solutions. It is not guaranteed to work everywhere, but is meant as a tip for other users out there. Remember, Google is your friend and don’t be afraid to steal with pride! Feel free to comment below as needed.

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