How-To Make XPe a View Appliance

Background:
I had a need recently to modify the behavior of a Windows XPe (embedded) device to act as a VMware View Appliance. The goal was to end up with a device which would boot and launch the View Client connect to the View Manager and challenge the user for their ID/Password. Then connect to a specific virtual desktop.

Some devices have a wizard for configuring exactly this behavior, however the device I’m working with seems to have no such feature.

This is just a little diferent from the ‘kiosk mode’ feature of View in that the View Client does challenge the user for their credentials rather than having the login credentials stored/passed to it.

Note, a variation on this idea could be used to make a repurposed desktop act as an appliance for either View or XenDesktop.

This could also be made a little prettier by using a .vbs script and wscript rather than the .bat file and cmd.exe.

Solution:
1.) Disable File write filter
2.) Write batch/cmd file which launches View Client with appropriate parameters in a loop (points to VMware – View client accepts USB pass-through and desktop to launch from the command line).
3.) Modify for the auto-login user – hkcuSoftwareMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinLogonShell to launch the batch/cmd file. You can do this using the ‘load hive’ feature of regedit running as the admin user.
4.) Logout as admin, let the auto-login login as user – test, test, test.
5.) Modify CMD launch properties to minimize the cmd window size.
6.) Kill the CMD process
7.) Logout of ‘user’ session (ctrl-alt-del)
8.) Enable File write filter

End result:
When the user logs in explorer.exe is never launched, and the view client presents it’s login challenge. When the view session terminates the .bat file re-launches the view client … forever.

Contents of Command file:
REM – ViewAppliance Shell Script
ECHO OFF
:START
C:Program FilesVMwareVMware ViewClientBinwswc.exe -serverURL ViewManager -desktopName Destkop -connectUSBOnInsert true -connectUSBOnStartup true
goto START

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