Troubleshooting an App Volumes App Stack deployment with Mozilla Firefox

Part 1 : Troubleshooting the issue

Opening your logs

As part of the process we need to establish where the problem is. It could be a problem with Dynamic Environment Manager configuration, or it could be a problem specific to this application configuration. We need to isolate the issue. It is helpful if you have worked in the organization and you know where Dynamic Environment Manager is at. But if you were called into an organization and you were not involved in the setup yourself. You would need to validate everything. The challenge is, in many cases the symptoms are the same. The configurations do not work. Therefore isolating the issue is important.

  1. On your ControlCenter server
    • Open File Explorer.
    • Go to the C: Drive
    • Open the UEMProfiles folder
    • Select FlexEngine.log,
    • right-click and select Edit with Notepad++
  • If you get prompted to update Notepad++ select No
  1. When using Notepad++, it might be helpful to colour code your settings. If this something you want to do, perform the following steps
    • Select Language in the menu bar,
    • Select C > COBOL
    • Scroll down to the bottom of Notepad++

Part 2: Isolating the issue

Isolating the issue

We will follow a methodical approach to isolating the issue. We will observe the FlexEngine logs to identify the source of the issue.

  1. Re-login to your  Horizon Client
    • As Your Custom User with the password VMware1!
    • Select the W10INST desktop entitlement
  1. On your ControlCenter2 server,
    • Switch back to your logs and notice you have to accept a Reload, select Yes
    • Scroll DOWN till the end of the Log
    • Scroll UP, until you find the Last  path-based import that has occurred since login
      • Then Scroll DOWN and observe, what is Logged. Also note that since the last Import there has been NO export
    • Scroll UP, until you find the next path-based import that has occurred . This would be the second Path-based Import, if you were to scroll up
      • Scroll Down and note until you find reference to a path-based export.
      • In Summary, all configurations are delivered to applications from the time a user logs in and  settings are saved and exported when the application closes and log-off.
      • Look for yourself if you can find any reference to an export occurring with Mozilla Firefox?
        • If your last lab failed to save the settings of Mozilla Firefox, the Answer should be NO.
        • You might even explicitly see in the logs that an entry. "Not performing export ........ Firefox"

We will now follow a process of elimination to isolate the problem. This is invariably how you would need to troubleshoot a customers environment

  1. On the  Horizon Virtual Desktop
    • Launch the MS Paint shortcut
  • To validate that all logs are captured properly, we need to complete a full logon and logoff cycle. Between the logon and logoff we would open and close applications to generate IMPORT and EXPORT requests from the FlexEngine. We can also leverage the DiretFlex feature in Dynamic Environment Manager.
  1. On the  Horizon Virtual Desktop
    • In MS Paint select the View tab
    • Enable Rulers, Gridlines and Status bar checkboxes
    • Close the application
    • Re-Open the application
  1. On your ControlCenter server Desktop
    • Switch to your open Notepad++ session
      • On the Reload Window, select Yes to update Notepad++
      • Look for a DEBUG log with an outdent starting with User: EUC-LIVEFIRE\Your Custom Username ,
        • Directly above it you will see a  DirectFLEX import for Paint.INI
      • Notice the DEBUG log has user information , Computer and build information
      • Notice an Import occurs of the Profile archive
      • Also take note where it says its a DirectFlex import
  1. In your open Notepad++ session
    • Notice a bit later an Export process is triggered and the User and Computer information is logged
    • We can also that a DirectFlex export was triggered in the INFO logs
  1. In your Horizon client session
    • Open  MSPaint again. Do you notice your settings have been saved? Close your MSPaint session again
      • What we are seeing here is the DirectFlex Component of Dynamic Environment Manager is working fine.
      • It might now be safe to conclude that the problem might be specific to the Mozilla Firefox configuration
  1. Open Mozilla Firefox.
    • Go to Options and change some configuration to trigger a potential Export. an example might set the homepage again
    • Close Mozilla Firefox (ensure you close all tabs)
      • Did you notice any update in the LOGS, was there any export or import in the logs related to Mozilla Firefox?
        • The answer is no.
      • I only get a Reload when I open and close my MSPaint.
      • If we do a Firefox search upwards we will see the Mozilla Firefox shortcuts are created
        • We also Mozilla Firefox.ini is added to the DirectFlex cache
      • I do not get any logs related DirectFlex related imports or export to  Mozilla Firefox the way I did for Paint
  1. Select Disconnect and Log Off from your Horizon Client session,
    • When prompted Are you sure you want to log off select OK
  • Again check your logs, Did you get any Reload in the logs? The answer should be Yes there select Yes when asked to Reload and scroll down
  • Was there any Export related to Mozilla Firefox Configuration in the Logs at Log off?
    • The only thing that is happening is the Mozilla Firefox shortcuts are being removed
    • Notice DirectFlex Export completed successfully at Log off yet there was not Export of Mozilla Configuration.
  1. From this part of the exercise we have isolated the issue to potentially being on the client side specific to the Mozilla Firefox configuration file.
    • FYI . This Template is a standard Template from the VMware Website. That is no guarantee it will work 100% in every scenario.
  • We also know that Mozilla Firefox configuration is failing on import and export with DirectFlex component of Dynamice Environment Manager and we know that there was no export of any configuration of Mozilla Firefox, whenever we close the application or when we log off.
  1. On the ControlCenter server
    • To Open your Management Console for Dynamic Environment Manager.
    • Select the DEM shortcut on the Taskbar
  1. Expand the Applications Folder
    • Select Mozilla Firefox
  1. On the configuration of Mozilla Firefox, select the DirectFlex tab
    • Notice for the Executables, the path is explicitly configured
  • Switch to Notepad and Notepad++. Look at Acrobat Reader, VLC and WordPad configurations and notice the on the DirectFlex path the executable is not directly configured.
  • As we mentioned previously, the origin of this template is the VMware website. When use Application Profiler and we save configuration for an application the path is also configured explicitly.


What we might want to try now, is as the other application configurations on the DirectFlex tab > Executables path is not explicitly configured. Only the executable, we might want to do this as well.

Part 3: Finding a fix for the problem

  • We will start by testing configuration changes until we get the Mozilla Firefox configuration to work.
  1. In the Dynamic Environment Manager Management Console,
    • Select Mozilla Firefox,
    • Select the DirectFlex tab ,
    • Select the explicit Path under Executables
    • Select Edit
  1. In the DirectFlex executable window
    • Next to the Executable, delete everything in the path with the exception of firefox.exe
    • When complete select OK
    • In the Taskbar at the top of the Console select Save Config File
  1. Re-login to your  Horizon Client
    • User your custom test User account with the password VMware1!
    • Select the W10INST desktop entitlement
  1. On your Controlcenter desktop
    • Revert back to your Notepad++ session for Custom test User  FlexEngine.log
    • Select Yes, when prompted to Reload
      • Notice in your logs there is a path-based import when your Custom user logs in
    • On you Horizon Virtual Desktop
      • Open Mozilla Firefox
    • On your Control Center Desktop
      • Go To Notepad++ .
        • On the Reload Window, select Yes
        • Scroll down to the bottom of the FlexEngine.log.
        • Then work back up and you will find an entry for Performing a DirectFlex import...... Mozilla Firefox.ini
  1. On the Mozilla Firefox browser
    • Select the Open Menu
    • Select Settings
  1. In the General area uncheck the Always check if Firefox is your default browser
  1. Select Home and configure a  new custom URL for example
    • Select the Home button. Ensure that your new custom URL is working
    • Close Mozilla Firefox
  1. On your ControlCenter server.
    • Switch back to your FlexEngine.log session with Notepad++
    • Notice that your logs are not reloading (This is not necessarily bad. Some applications will only perform  a path based export at logoff
    • Switch back to your Horizon Client,
      • Relaunch your Mozilla Firefox browser and you will see that your homepage setting are still saved.
      • On an Instant Clone desktop this will need to be saved externally to save these settings
    • Disconnect and Log Off
  1. On the  ControlCenter server.
    • Switch back to your FlexEngine.log session with Notepad++
    • When prompted to Reload, select Yes
    • Notice that a DirectFlex Export is being Triggered at Logoff

If you configured FlexEngine to start as a Group Policy client-side extension, but you did not configure the GPO setting,  Always wait for the network at computer startup and logon, Dynamic Environment Manager cannot run at login, or it may run every second login.  

The important thing to note here from a logs perspective is in Dynamic Environment Manager, this configuration is only logged as enabled when Dynamic Environment Manager performs a path-bath export.

So when troubleshooting, perform a complete cycle of a log in and a log off. Notice Firefox configuration is now exported with directflex

  1. Re-login to your  Horizon Client
    • As Your custom Test user with the password VMware1!
    • Select the W10INST desktop entitlement
  1. On your Horizon Virtual Desktop
    • Open your Mozilla Firefox Browser.
    • Select your Home button. Notice your changes have saved and Dynamic Environment Manager is saving Mozilla Firefox configuration.

About the Author: Reinhart Nel

Any questions related to this session, email Reinhart at RACE-Livefire-EUC <[email protected]>


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