VMware Horizon – Helpdesk and Remote Assistance

Release date: February 7th 2023

Welcome to my VMware Horizon series. The VMware Horizon Helpdesk Tool, which started out as a fling, has grown into a mature and helpful part of Horizon. It gives level 1 support staff the possibility to assist users through Remote Assistance and is also very useful when troubleshooting slow logons, for instance. There are tons of info to extract for maximizing the user experience. In this session I will go trough Remote Assistance and Logon Segments. Before I begin I review the prerequisites below.

Prerequisites:

  • Horizon Enterprise edition license or Horizon Apps Advanced edition license for Horizon 8
  • An event database to store information about Horizon 8 components
  • The Help Desk Administrator role or the Help Desk Administrator (Read Only) role to log in to Horizon Help Desk Tool.
  • Set VMware Horizon View Logon Monitor Service to Automatic in the golden template

Preparation:

To be able to monitor the login segments, I enable the Timing Profiler on the connection server, by running the following command in an administrative prompt:

vdmadmin -I -timingProfiler -enable

I also make sure to install the Helpdesk Plugin while installing the Horizon Agent in the template.

Remote Assistance:

I start by enabling the Remote Assistance feature on the management server I will be using for this purpose, by running the following command in PowerShell:

Install-WindowsFeature RemoteAccess

To use Remote Assistance I first search for the user in Horizon Administrator Console

I select the user’s session

I can now click Remote Assistance to interact with the user in their desktop, which will generate a remote assistance file download prompt.

When I launch the downloaded file, the user gets a message in their session which they have to accept.

At this point I can view the user’s desktop and request to control it if necessary

Logon segments:

To identify slow logons, it is important to identify the possible culprits. As described above, we first search for a user, then look more closely at the session data. The first part, Client, shows detailed information about the client. For instance, if the user was using an obsolete Horizon Client, it would show up here.

In the VM section, data about the Horizon Desktop is shown. Which Operating System, which Horizon Agent version and so on. The most important info in this example, is the Logon Duration data, 90 seconds, which might rise some eyebrows.

From the User Experience Metrics, we can read the protocol performance, in this example, Blast related data.

We will also be presented with some graphs showing CPU and Memory Usage, in addition to Network and Disk Performance, which doesn’t look great

Finally, we can have a closer look at the Logon Segments, which breaks down the Logon Duration into the different sub-processes.

As we can see from the screenshot above, the Logon Duration is over 90 seconds, which is slow, even for my old lab. As I mentioned to begin with, this session has 4 applications from App Volumes.

To see how much of the Logon Duration that is used by App Volumes prosessings, I remove the App Volumes assignments. This shrinks the Logon Duration to 50 seconds, nearly half….

Although I’m quite certain the reason for my slow logons are ancient hardware in my old lab, if I wanted to drill more into the Logon Duration data, I would most probably use ControlUp, which offers great insight into these details.

VMware Official Documentation:

VMware Horizon planning, deployment etc.

Official VMware Horizon 8 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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