Archive | September, 2022

Making Microsoft Quick Assist work with VMware App Volumes – Writable Volumes

6 Sep

Microsoft Quick Assist is a tool widely used by service desk teams to take remote control of a computer and help end-users with a screen share. We noticed with the recent changes Microsoft made to Quick Assist, it stopped working when VMware App Volumes – Writable Volumes were present.

Error launching Quick Assist

We tried many steps of installing the Quick Assist offline using various Powershell commands, and nothing worked out. We also got to a point Quick Assist will launch without the Writable Volumes present or local admins with Writable Volumes. In the end, VMware Support GSS, with help from backend engineering, provided a working solution.

Solution (Workaround)

Step 1 – Download the offline version of the Quick Assist App from the Microsoft store and place all the files into C:\Temp\QuickAssist. Following are the steps to download the offline version of MS store apps.

Offline Files MS Quick Assist

Step 2 – Delete the old version of the Quick Assist App (Not part of the MS Store). Start Menu > Settings > Apps > Optional features > Microsoft Quick Assist > Uninstall. 

Uninstall Optional Features – Microsoft Quick Assist

Step 3 – Install the Offline version of the Microsoft Quick Assist package using PowerShell

PowerShell Add-AppxProvisionedPackage -PackagePath C:\Install\MicrosoftCorporationII.QuickAssist_2022.614.2314.0_neutral___8wekyb3d8bbwe.AppxBundle -online -SkipLicense
PowerShell Install Appx Package

Step 4 – Install WebView2 component which is a pre-requisite for Quick Assist. Note this step is quite important and not something that has been emphazied alot.

  reg add HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\EdgeUpdate /v InstallDefault /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
  reg add HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\EdgeUpdate /v InstallDefault /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f
Install Microsoft Edge WebView

Step 5 – Launch the Quick Assist App once. Make sure, without launching the app, don’t move to the next step. Please wait at least 10 mins on this step or/else reboot the template VM and launch the app

explorer shell:AppsFolder\MicrosoftCorporationII.QuickAssist_8wekyb3d8bbwe!app
Launching Quick Assist

Step 6 – Create an OS scheduled task to run at every logon. This will launch the Quick Assist and register at every logon.

schtasks /create /RU "SYSTEM" /TN RegisterQuickAssist /SC ONLOGON /TR "C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe Add-AppxProvisionedPackage -PackagePath C:\Temp\QuickAssist\MicrosoftCorporationII.QuickAssist_2022.614.2314.0_neutral___8wekyb3d8bbwe.AppxBundle -online -SkipLicense"
Schedule Task – Register of Microsoft Quick Assist at User Login

Step 7 – Take a snapshot of the golden image and the remaning steps will be performed in App Volumes files.

Step 8 – We need to prepare the template bundle of Writable Volumes (UIA+Profile) to contain a file startup_postsvc.bat with the following contents. Note Alter the file path if you decide to use something else.

  @echo off
  setlocal enabledelayedexpansion
  set WV_Path=none
  for /F "tokens=3" %%A in ('reg query HKLM\System\ControlSet001\Services\svservice\Parameters /v WritableVolume 2^>nul') do (
    set WV_Path=C:%%A
    fltmc attach bindflt !WV_PATH!
  reg query "HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Microsoft EdgeWebView" /v DisplayName >nul 2>&1
    reg add HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\EdgeUpdate /v InstallDefault /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
    start /wait C:\Temp\QuickAssist\MicrosoftEdgeWebView2RuntimeInstallerX64.exe
    reg add HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\EdgeUpdate /v InstallDefault /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

Here is the procedure to update the writable volume’s file – Update Writable Volumes ( Zip all the files and push the changes using AV Manager > Writables > Update Writable Volumes

Additional Files for writable volumes startup

Step 9 – Validation login to the virtual desktop (Make sure the updated file – startup_postsvc.bat are pushed onto the WV). After a few seconds, the Microsoft Edge WebView2 Runtime component and Quick Assist should appear in Programs and Features.

PowerShell Get-AppxPackage *assist*

Step 10 – Launch Quick Assist via Start Menu or Explorer and Voila!

explorer shell:AppsFolder\MicrosoftCorporationII.QuickAssist_8wekyb3d8bbwe!app

If you encounter a similar issue, you can follow the above solution. I hope you will find this information useful if you encounter the same issue. A big thanks to my teammate Jishan T for his continuous effort while troubleshooting with GSS over 3+ months.

Aresh Sarkari