Tag Archives: Writable Volumes

VMware App Volumes – Writable Volumes – Third-party Application Exclusions (snapvol.cfg)

17 Aug

Over the years, I’ve discovered a list of exclusions that can help with the smooth functioning of VMware App Volumes – Writable Volumes. Though these exclusions are just suggestions, each environment is unique, so take them at your own risk. Testing them in your environment before implementing them in production is essential.

Path/Process/File Exclusion (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.

Cisco AnyConnect

VPN – Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client v4.x – Cisco

#Cisco AnyConnect Exclusions

Crowdstrike Falcon Agent

Falcon Agent – The CrowdStrike Falcon® platform

#Crowdstrike Exclusions

Mcafee Antivirus aka Trellix

Antivirus Software – Trellix | Revolutionary Threat Detection and Response

#McAfee Provided Exclusions as per McAfee KB89553
exclude_process_path=\Program Files\McAfee
exclude_process_path=\Program Files\Common Files\McAfee
exclude_process_path=\Program Files (x86)\McAfee
exclude_process_path=\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\McAfee

Zscalar Client Connector

Zero trust client – Zscaler Client Connector

#ZScalar Exclusions
exclude_path=\Program Files (x86)\Zscaler

BlueYonder Application

Popular supply chain applications – Blue Yonder | World’s Leading Supply Chain Management Solutions

#Exclusions to resolve issues with BlueYonder

VMware DEM

VMware Dynamic Enivornment Manager – Dynamic Environment Manager | Profile Management | VMware | AU

#VMware DEM
exclude_registry=\REGISTRY\MACHINE\SOFTWARE\VMware, Inc.\VMware UEM

I hope you will find this helpful information for applying exclusions within the snapvol.cfg file. Please let me know if I have missed any steps or details, and I will be happy to update the post. I will gladly add more exclusions if you want to share them in the comments section.

Aresh Sarkari

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 (vmware.com). 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

VMware App Volumes – Tales of the missing Writable Volumes backup

15 Aug

You have a large VMware App Volumes environment and have backed up your writable volumes using the capabilities provided in the App Volumes Manager. (You are doing the right thing!)

AV Manager – WV Backup Config

We decided to perform an audit on the backup of the writable volumes within the App Volumes Manager 2.18.10 and the VSAN Datastore. You can export all the writable volumes to a CSV using the API. My script here will provide you with a complete outlook for conducting your analysis. Now exclude your group entitlements from the list, leaving you with the total number of writable volumes within your environment. Ideally, you are after the same number of writable volumes on the VSAN datastore. (Of course, if everything is going well in the backup world!)

In my case, we observed more than 300+ missing writable volumes between the exported CSV and the VSAN datastore. Let the investigations begin – within the production.log, we could see the backup was happening, but the challenge of a large environment is impossible to track all the backup occurring just by looking at the logs. Feature request to VMW – A dedicated backup log showcases the entire environment’s status. We eventually ended up with a GSS case after few months of back and forth and the logs exchange, we finally got a working solution. This closed the mystery of the missing backup of the writable volumes.


Go the the SQL database of the App Volumes Manager. Select the DB and New Query.

AV Database – Microsoft SQL

Enter the following query and hit execute. Now this will change the default writable volumes batch size(writables_backup_batch_size) from 5 to 25. Note the value of the batch size was tweaked multiple times, we first went with 10, which drastically reduced the missing backup. However, a few were still missing and not getting backup. The final number for our environment was 25 got all the writable volumes backup.

INSERT INTO dbo.settings ("key", value, created_at, updated_at) 
VALUES ('writables_backup_batch_size', 25, CURRENT_TIMESTAMP, CURRENT_TIMESTAMP)

Disclaimer – This tweak was required for a large App Volumes environment. Please consult with VMware Support before making any changes to your setup or Database. If it works for me doesn’t mean it will work for you. The value can differ based on the size of the enivronment.

I hope you will find this helpful information on your VMware App Volumes backup strategy. Please let me know if you have observed any issues like these, and would like to share your story?

Aresh Sarkari

Script/API – Delete Orphaned Writable Volumes from VMware App Volumes Manager

10 Nov

Often within the VMware App Volumes Manager (AVM), Writable Volumes will show up as Status – Orphaned. Let’s take a look at the following topics:

  • What is Orphaned Writable Volumes?
  • Script to delete them from the App Volumes Managers

What is Orphaned Writable Volumes?

App Volumes Manager is integrated with Microsoft Active Directory (AD), and it’s in continuous synchronization. Whenever an end-user account gets disabled into the AD during the next sync activity of App Volumes Manager, it will mark the writable volumes with Writable Status = Orphaned.

Now in the ideal world, these accounts have been disabled and should be okay to delete? Maybe, if you don’t have the obligation of data retention, then you are ready to delete them. If you need to retain them, keep them as-is for compliance purposes.

Script to delete them for App Volumes Manager

Before we talk about the script, the deletion is very straightforward within the App Volumes Manager. Select the volumes with Status = Orphaned and select the Delete button. However, when you have to do the same against multiple POD, which becomes challenging, and as always, if it’s not automated, there is the scope of human error.


  • You need the App Volumes Manager URL
  • You need the username and password of the App Volumes Manager
  • You need to enter y/Y to proceed further with the deletion
  • The script was tested on PowerShell V5.x with App Volumes Manager version 2.18.10 (The logic will be the same however, the API call for App Volumes 4.x will be different)
# Get List of Wrtiable Volumes from AppVolumes Manager for Status=Orphaned
# Delete the Orphaned Wrtiable Volumes
# You need username and password for the App Volumes Manager
# Author - Aresh Sarkari (Twitter - @askaresh)
# Version - V5.0

#App Volumes Manager Name or IP Address
$AVManager = "https://avm001.askaresh.local"

# Run at the start of each script to import the credentials
$RESTAPIUser = "domain\username"
$RESTAPIPassword = "enteryourpassword"

#Ignore cert errors
add-type @"
    using System.Net;
    using System.Security.Cryptography.X509Certificates;
    public class TrustAllCertsPolicy : ICertificatePolicy {
        public bool CheckValidationResult(
            ServicePoint srvPoint, X509Certificate certificate,
            WebRequest request, int certificateProblem) {
            return true;
[System.Net.ServicePointManager]::CertificatePolicy = New-Object TrustAllCertsPolicy
[System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [System.Net.SecurityProtocolType]'Ssl3,Tls,Tls11,Tls12'

#Login AV Manager Body
$body = @{
    username = “$RESTAPIUser"
    password = “$RESTAPIPassword”

#Login API call to the AV Manager
Invoke-RestMethod -SessionVariable DaLogin -Method Post -Uri "$AVManager/cv_api/sessions” -Body $body

#Get the list of Writbale Volumes from the AV Manager
$output = Invoke-RestMethod -WebSession $DaLogin -Method Get -Uri "$AVManager/cv_api/writables" -ContentType "application/json"

#Selecting the WV with status Orphaned into a variable
$WVouput = $output.datastores.writable_volumes | Select-Object id, owner_name, owner_upn, title, status | Where-Object {[string]$_.status -match "Orphaned"}

#Output on the console (Validate carefully before proceeding ahead)
$WVouput | Format-Table | Out-String | % {Write-Host $_}

#Confirmation logic to proceed with the deletion
$confirmation = Read-Host -Prompt "Are you Sure You Want To Proceed with the deletion:" 
if ($confirmation -match "[yY]" ) {
    # proceed

# The WV Deletion API call only looks for IDs. We are filtering the ids only
$WVOutputIDs = $WVouput.id

#Looping to delete each Writable Volumes via its ID
foreach ($WVOutputIDss in $WVOutputIDs) {

# Writable Volumes deletion Parameters body
$jsonbody = @{
    bg = "0"
    volumes = "$WVOutputIDss"
} | ConvertTo-Json

#API call to delete the Wrtiable Volumes
#We are using Invoke-webrequest for getting the Content of the deletion (Success) in oneline
$WVdeletecall = Invoke-WebRequest -WebSession $DaLogin -Method Post -Uri "$AVManager/cv_api/volumes/delete_writable" -Body $jsonbody -ContentType "application/json"


#Dig into the exception to get the Response details.
Write-Host $WVdeletecall.StatusCode
Write-Host $WVdeletecall.StatusDescription
Write-Host $WVdeletecall.Content


GitHub scripts/del-writablevolume-status-orphaned at master · askaresh/scripts (github.com)


  • When you run the script, it will identify all the end-users with Status = Orphaned. If you like, you can copy and paste the output in an editior (Notepad++) to verify the output.
  • Once you press y/Y it will go ahead and delete the Orphaned writable volumes.

I hope you will find this script useful to bulk delete orphaned Writable Volumes in App Volumes Manager. A small request if you further enhance the script or make it more creative, I hope you can share it back with me?

Aresh Sarkari