Shadowing to or from multi-monitor desktops is broken in Windows Server 2008 R2, which means Citrix XenApp 6.x. Nothing new here, I read about this on Joshua Mueller’s blog about a year ago, and Citrix also has an article based on explaining how to use Microsoft Remote Assistance as alternative shadowing method.
While RA is a good alternative the problem is that there is no integration with the XenApp farm; a support person must find the user session within the XenApp console, find the XenApp server the session is on, open RA using msra.exe /offerra, enter the server name and finally select the user session from the drop-down list. Phew. A few too many steps for support staff who do this day-in day-out.
Surely there must be a better way! There is, but it’s not perfect either. I had some fun using Sapien PrimalForms CE to create a PowerShell GUI which helps automate the task of finding a XenApp user session and shadowing the user via Remote Assistance. To find the free version of PrimalForms go to downloads, sign up, and look in the Community Tools section for the free download.
Here is a quick overview of the script:
Run the script RemoteAssistance.ps1 from a XenApp server and you will be prompted for a username, enter a username and hit search and all the user’s sessions will be listed:
Select a session, hit Connect and Remote Assistance will open and connect to the XenApp server.
Select the user from the drop-down list and click Next to shadow the session.
Hold on. If you can automatically connect to the server, surely you can also connect straight to the user session and eliminate this last step? Right? Simple? No. Please, someone tell me I have missed something simple and there is a way to make Remote Assistance connect to the server and the session. All the script is doing is passing arguments to msra.exe, and these are the options msra.exe excepts:
Yes there is a argument, but no argument 🙁
So this Remote Assistance GUI is helpful, but far from perfect. Please let me know if you find it useful, would like it modified, or know of another way of invoking a Remote Assistance session where the username can be parsed.
The script can be published in XenApp using this command line:
C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe -WindowStyle Hidden -File “\\server\share\RemoteAssistance.ps1”
Download the script from here.
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