Tag Archives: VMware App Volumes

Unable to uninstall/upgrade VMware Horizon Client within the VMware App Volumes AppStack

22 Jul

We had a very long ongoing issue wherein we couldn’t uninstall or upgrade the VMware Horizon Client within the AppStack. We had successfully installed the Horizon Client within the AppStack. However, when it was time to perform an upgrade or uninstall to the latest version, it would fail during a reboot with the following error.

Unknown HardError

We initially saw the issue on App Volumes 2.14. While we were troubleshooting for an extended period, we upgrade to App Volumes 2.18.1, and both the versions exhibited the same failure during uninstall or upgrade.

Process to reproduce the error

  • Upgrade horizon client –> reboot –> hard error
  • Uninstall horizon client –> reboot –>hard error
  • Uninstall horizon client –> install horizon client –> reboot –> hard error
  • Upgrade horizon client –> complete provisioning without reboot –> completes successful –> during next update of AppStack it crashes with Hard error
  • Uninstall horizon client –> complete provisioning without reboot –> completes successful –> during next update of AppStack it crashes with Hard error

Environment Details

VMware Horizon 7.11
VMware App Volumes 2.18.1
VMware Dynamic Environment Manager 9.10
VMware Horizon Client 5.x

Process of elimination

  • Upgrade the Horizon Client to the various 5.x version to remove any version specific Client related issues
  • We didn’t have Antivirus running on the AppStack capturing template
  • We could build the AppStack from scratch with the newer version of Horizon Client but only upgrade/uninstall would fail
  • We were honestly running out of troubleshooting ideas

Resolution

After trying out all the usual steps and avoid re-creating AppStack every single time during life cycle management, we managed to open a VMware GSS case handled by Karan Ahuja(Very helpful support engineer), which ended been worked by the engineering team(Art Rothstein – Champ in AV Eng Team). Note quite alot of logs and Procmon were exchanged from the problematic application capturing VM template. Finally, the fix was determined as a AppStack snapvol.cfg exclusion. After putting this exclusion into the AppStack – App capturing VM during provisioning we could upgrade or uninstall Horizon Client.

exclude_registry=\REGISTRY\MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileService
Path exclusion in AppStack snapvol.cfg

Disclaimer – Due to the nature of the issue and time taken to resolve it we decided to move the Horizon Client from AppStack into the base image. However, the fix is validated, and 100% working post the exclusion.

I hope you will find this information useful if you encounter the issue. A big thanks to Manivannan Arul my teammate for his continuous effort while troubleshooting with GSS over a period of 4+ months.

Thanks,
Aresh Sarkari

Black screen when re-connect to VMware Horizon virtual desktop

27 May

We had an issue after we upgraded our EUC Stack, especially VMware App Volumes 2.14 to 2.18.1. Quite a few end-users started reporting black screen when they were trying to re-connect to their desktops post the original session launch. This would mean re-connect post breaks, endpoint screen locks, next working day re-connections, etc.

EUC Environment Details:
VMware Horizon 7.11
VMware App Volumes 2.18.1
VMware Dynamic Environment Manager 9.10
VMware Horizon Client 5.x
VMware Workspace One 3.3

Process of elimination

  • If we re-created the writable volumes of the problematic end-users the black screen issue would go away. This provided us with a clue that the problem lied with VMware App Volumes – Writable Volumes
  • No errors/failures observed within the VMware DEM/Horizon logs
  • Upgrade the Horizon Client to the latest 5.x version to remove any Client related issues
  • We already had the necessary anti-virus exclusion based on VMware Antivirus Considerations in a VMware Horizon 7 Environment

Resolution
After trying out all the usual steps and avoid re-creating writable volumes for problematic end-users, we managed to open a VMware GSS case handled by Karan Ahuja(Very helpful support engineer), which ended been worked by the engineering team(Art Rothstein – Champ in AV Eng Team). Note quite alot of logs, memory dumps, and Procmon were exchanged from the problematic VM using various remote gathering techniques. Finally, the fix was determined as a writable volume snapvol.cfg exclusion. (In our case, the problem is caused by smss.exe using a copy of winlogon.exe that is on the writable volume). After putting this exclusion into all problematic end-users, they stopped seeing Black screen issues upon re-connect.

exclude_path=%SystemRoot%\System32\winlogon.exe
Path exclusion in writable volumes snapvol.cfg

In this blog, I am not outlining the steps on how to add the snapvol.cfg exclusion as my ex-colleague Daniel Bakshi outlines on a VMware blog post on how to do it step by step. I hope you will find this information useful if you encounter intermittent black screen issues.

Thanks,
Aresh Sarkari