Windows 10 Default File Type Associations and Login VSI
Back in 2013 when Login VSI 4.1 got released and the majority of desktops were running Windows 7 life was easy. We’d set the default filetype for an application and it would simply work.
The default and industry standard workloads in Login VSI include launching and using Adobe Reader as part of the virtual user simulation. Because Login VSI doesn’t always know which version of Adobe Reader is installed, or where it’s installed, the workload relies on the file type association (FTA) for .pdf documents to be associated with Adobe Reader.
Microsoft Handles FTAs Differently
Since a lot has changed in Windows 10, Microsoft has changed how these associations are handled and is increasingly pointing these to their go-to application, Microsoft Edge. Unfortunately, setting this as the default was not enough, there are many ways causing the FTA to be reset after it has been changed by the user. In the past we’ve recommended to use Group Policy’s to set these associations but since the release of Windows 10 1803 and 1809 they seem to work less reliably.
The good news is that about a year ago a friendly gentleman called Christop Kolbicz posted a response on our blog pointing to a solution he made to work-around this issue called SetUserFTA, if you do not use a workspace manager like e.g. Ivantyi AppSense or Ivanti RES you could use this free tool to set the FTA and the matching hash in the registry that Microsoft requires to validate authenticity.
How Can I Use This Work-Around Solution with Login VSI?
You have a few options, you could include SetUserFTA in your Logon script, by default this script is located in your \\Server\VSIShare\_VSI_Binaries\Target folder. Look for the file called Logon.cmd and add the following line, make sure to do this before starting VSI.exe otherwise the FTA will be set after the test competes:
CALL "FTA RESET" "\\lab-ms01\VSIShare\_VSI_Tools\SetUserFTA\SetUserFTA.cmd"
Alternatively, if you are not a vendor using the benchmark mode (a mode especially designed so that limited settings can be changed for easier comparison of results and therefore a higher test quality), you can add the following line to any workload to include SetUserFTA:
VSI_ShellExecute("FTA", "%VSI_Share%\_VSI_Tools\SetUserFTA\SetUserFTA.cmd", "")
Both options do require you to do a few things:
- Place a downloaded copy of SetUserFTA.exe in the \\Server\VSIShare\_VSI_Tools\SetUserFTA folder
- Create a SetUserFTA.cmd file in the same folder and add the following content:
- @echo off
- CALL "%~dp0SetUserFTA.exe" "%~dp0LoginVSIConfig.txt"
- Create a configuration file for SetUserFTA in the same folder called LoginVSIConfix.txt containing:
- .pdf, AcroExch.Document.11
More Useful Information
Although it might look like a lot of work at first sight, all of this can be achieved in a matter of minutes, and who knows, you can also use it for other applications in your production environment. For more information please checkout the Kolbics blog or this excellent writeup by James Rankin.
I do wonder in what direction Microsoft is going to take the File Type associations, as they’ve been opening it up little by little over the years and their recent announcements on Edge.
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About the company Login VSI
The company Login VSI provides end-user performance insights for virtualized desktop and server based computing environments. Enterprise IT departments use flagship product Login VSI (for scalability testing) and new addition Login PI (for availability testing) in all phases of their virtual desktop deployment—from planning to deployment to change management—to build and safeguard a good performance, a high availability, and (as a result) a good and consistent end-user experience. For more information about Login VSI or for a free test license contact us.
About the Author
Mark Plettenberg (@markplettenberg) is a product manager of Login VSI and has played a critical role in the development and growth of Login VSI. Ask Mark about motorcycle mechanics and breaking/repairing anything and everything that has a power plug.