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High-Level Architecture for UE-V 2.0

Updated: December 2, 2013

Applies To: User Experience Virtualization 2.0

This topic describes high-level architectural elements of the Microsoft User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) 2.0 settings synchronization solution. The following elements are part of a standard UE-V deployment.

UEV2 Architectural Diagram

The UE-V Agent monitors the applications and the operating system processes as they are identified in the UE-V settings location templates for desktop applications or the Windows 8 app list for Windows 8 apps. When the application or operating system settings are synchronized by the sync provider, the settings are read from the settings package. When the operating system is locked, or the user logs off, or the sync provider runs, by default every 30 minutes, settings are saved in a UE-V settings package in the settings storage location.

Settings storage location

The settings storage location is a file share that the UE-V Agent accesses to read and write settings for desktop applications. This location can be defined in the following ways:

  • During the UE-V Agent installation

  • An attribute of Active Directory as either the AD home directory or as a directory that is defined as an Active Directory attribute

  • Via Group Policy by using the MDOP ADMX templates

  • Via Configuration Manager by using the System Center 2012 Configuration Pack for UE-V

You can set the location during the installation of the UE-V Agent, or you can set it later by using Group Policy, or Windows PowerShell and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). The location can be on any common file share that users can access. If no setting storage location is set during installation, then UE-V uses the home directory in Active Directory. The UE-V Agent verifies the location and creates a system folder that is hidden from the user in which to store and access the user settings. For more information about settings storage, see Preparing Your Environment for UE-V 2.0.

UE-V Agent

The UE-V Agent is installed on each computer with settings that are synchronized by User Experience Virtualization. The agent monitors the registered applications and the operating system for any changes that are made to settings, and it synchronizes those settings between computers. Settings are applied to desktop applications when an application starts. Windows 8 app settings are applied dynamically. The changed settings are then captured when the application closes. Operating system settings are applied when the user logs on, when the computer is unlocked, or when the user connects remotely to the computer by using the remote desktop protocol (RDP). The agent saves settings when the user logs off, when the computer is locked, or when a remote connection is disconnected. For more information about the UE-V Agent, see Preparing Your Environment for UE-V 2.0.

Settings location templates

The settings location template is an .xml file that defines the desktop application settings and Windows settings locations that should be monitored by UE-V. Only the settings locations that are defined in these settings templates are synchronized on computers that run the UE-V Agent. The settings location template does not contain settings values, only the locations where values are stored on the computer, for example, file locations or registry locations.

UE-V includes a set of settings location templates that specify settings locations for some Microsoft applications and Windows settings. An administrator can create custom settings location templates by using the UE-V Generator.

Settings location templates are only available for Windows desktop settings and for desktop applications. For Windows 8 apps, use the UE-V Windows 8 app allow list.

Windows 8 app list

UE-V uses a managed list to determine which Windows 8 app settings to synchronize. By default, this list includes most of the apps that are installed in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. The administrator can add or remove applications from the list by using Group Policy, the Configuration Pack for UE-V, or Windows PowerShell and WMI. Settings location templates are not required for Windows 8 apps. The app developer determines which settings synchronize, if any.

Settings packages

Application settings and Windows settings are stored in settings packages, which the UE-V Agent creates. A settings package is a collection of the settings that are represented in the settings location templates. These settings packages are built, locally stored, and then copied to the settings storage location. "Last write wins" determines which setting is preserved when a single user synchronizes more than one computer to a storage location. Overwriting is resolved on a setting-by-setting basis. The agent that runs on one computer reads and writes to the settings location, which is independent of agents that run on other computers. The most recently written settings and values are applied when the next agent reads from the settings storage location.

UE-V Generator Process

Settings template catalog

The settings template catalog is a folder path on UE-V computers or a Server Message Block (SMB) network share that stores all the custom settings location templates. The UE-V Agent retrieves new or updated templates from this location. The UE-V Agent checks this location one time each day, and it updates its synchronization behavior, which is based on the templates in this folder. The templates that were added or updated in this folder after the last check are registered by the UE-V Agent. The UE-V Agent removes the templates from the registry that were removed from this folder. The Task Scheduler registers and unregisters templates one time per day. If you use only the default settings location templates that are included with UE-V, then a settings template catalog is unnecessary. For more information about settings deployment catalogs, see Planning for Custom Template Deployment for Desktop Applications in UE-V 2.0.

Catalogs only work for settings location templates and are only available for Windows desktop settings and for desktop applications. For Windows 8 apps, use the UE-V Windows 8 app list. You can manage and update the UE-V Windows 8 app list via Group Policy or Windows PowerShell and WMI.

User Experience Virtualization Generator

The UE-V Generator enables you to create custom settings location templates, which store the settings locations of the applications that are used in the enterprise and that you want to include in the synchronization settings solution. The UE-V Generator seeks to discover the locations of registry values and the settings files for applications, and then it records those locations in a settings location template .xml file. You can then distribute these settings location templates to the user computers. The UE-V Generator also enables an administrator to edit an existing template or validate a template that was created by using another XML editor.

The UE-V Generator monitors an application to discover and record where it stores its settings. In this process, it monitors where the application reads or writes in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER registry or in the file folders under Users \ [User name] \ AppData \ Roaming and Users \ [User name] \ AppData \ Local.

The discovery process excludes registry keys and files to which the logged-on user cannot write values. None of these is to be included in the .xml file. The discovery process also excludes registry keys and files that are associated with the core functionality of the Windows operating system.

Because Windows 8 apps support settings synchronization, a discovery tool to create templates is not required. The Windows 8 app developer defines whether the app supports settings synchronization that includes which settings are synchronized. To determine if settings are synchronized for a Windows 8 app, review the documentation of the app or work with the software provider.

Custom settings location templates that are created with the UE-V 2 Generator are not synchronized with UE-V 1 Agents. The UE-V 2.0 Generator includes an updated XML schema that is unsupported by UE-V 1.

For more information about the UE-V Generator, see Installing the UE-V 2.0 Generator.

See Also

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