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SmartConnect - remote session reconnection scripts

SmartConnect is a small utility that detects when a remote session is reconnected and then executes a script. You can detect when a user reconnects to a Remote Desktop or Citrix ICA session that was previously disconnected. This allows you to (for example) remap printers, if the session is resumed from another location or computer.

A similar utility named SmartDock for VPN logon scripts is available here.

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SmartConnect

Remote session reconnection scripts

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Setup execution

The SmartConnect files are automatically copied to the netlogon share as part of setting up a FastTrack Logon Script, which means you do not even have to deploy anything, once you have set up the general logon script on the LAN. As part of the logon process, the files are cached in a local folder and no deployment is therefore needed. You only need to activate it in the Logon Script Builder, which looks like this:

App Factory Logon Script Connectivity

Rerun the logon script

In the simplest form, click the first option ("Rerun logon script at session reconnect") to rerun the full logon script on session reconnect. What this does, is that whenever the user resumes a session that is already running, the full logon script executes again. The only difference to the "normal" logon script is that the big splash screen is not shown, as this is would be annoying to the end user. The big advantage of rerunning the logon script is that printers will be adjusted to reflect the new location of the client running the remote session.

Custom script

If you need to do something advanced in these scenarios, you can also check the second option to run a custom script. The reason for doing this could be that you have special custom scripting for printer reconnection. In typical scenarios, this option is not needed. Refer to the advanced section below for more details on this.

Rerun at night

The next option is to run the logon script at night, which is a very useful feature - unless sessions are automatically terminated on a schedule or inactivity based. The reason this is a useful feature, is that if there is not automatic termination of sessions, users' sessions may run for weeks at a time. If you change printers for example or you need to move server storage (users' drive mappings), you would otherwise have to notify everyone to log out and on again. Also, Office 365 has expiration of sessions. If you use the SharePoint and/or OneDrive drive letter mapping, the user needs to logon again after 5 days' inactivity. With this setting on, the user will be prompted to logon again, when this applies. So when the user makes a reconnection to a session, they will be prompted to logon to Office 365 again, instead of having drive mappings unavailable. Alternatively, you can click the option to create a desktop icon to rerun the full logon script at the bottom and notify users that they can always click that instead of logging off and on.

Automatic session termination

This option simply allows you to kill sessions on a schedule. You can choose to forcibly terminate sessions. The difference is like when logging off a desktop session. If any application prompts to save or for other reasons refuse to terminate gracefully, the force option determines, if this should be honored or not.


Advanced use (custom script)


Before we look into what a custom script can look like, if you are not using the Logon Script Builder, you need to install the utility without the builder. This is very simple, just insert this command anywhere in prelogon.fsh:

InstallSmartConnect


Configuring SmartConnect

SmartConnect comes with a file called SmartConnect.xml. This XML file is the configuration file for SmartConnect. The reason that the settings are in an XML file instead of using registry keys, is that the settings can then be deployed along with the exe file. SmartConnect.xml is located in the fshbin folder on your netlogon share along with SmartConnect.exe file and looks like the below by default. Note that if you use the Logon Script Builder, most over these settings are set every time the logon script is saved. Therefore it is not adviced to change anything, if you use the Logon Script Builder.
<SmartConnect>
  <RunScript>True</RunScript>
  <RunLogonScript>True</RunLogonScript>
  <RunAtStartup>False</RunAtStartup>
  <AutoRerun>False</AutoRerun>
  <IdleHours>24</IdleHours>
  <DailyRerun>False</DailyRerun>
  <DailyTime>4</DailyTime>
  <DailyLogoff>False</DailyLogoff>
  <LogoffTime>4</LogoffTime>
  <ForceLogoff>False</ForceLogoff>
  <ExecDelayInSeconds>0</ExecDelayInSeconds>

  <LogEvents>False</LogEvents>
  <LogFile></LogFile>

  <StartupMessage>RDP session started</StartupMessage>
  <LogoffMessage>RDP session terminated</LogoffMessage>
  <ReconnectMessage>RDP session resumed</ReconnectMessage>
  <DisconnectMessage>RDP session disconnected</DisconnectMessage>
</SmartConnect>
The settings are reasonably self-explanatory, when compared to the Logon Script Builder screenshot at the top. Below are some notes on the most important ones. The bottom ones are for logging, when advanced logging is enabled in the script builder. SmartConnect is then enforcing the execution of the audit logging.
SmartConnect.xml settings
RunAtStartup Determines if the script is executed when StartConnect.exe is started.
ExecDelayInSeconds The delay in seconds before executing the script. When connecting, DNS information may not be propagated for a few seconds. The default 10 seconds is normally a good tradeoff interval.

Example script 1 - printer connection through scripts

If you are starting fresh on a new logon script, you should use the Logon Script Builder as explained here instead of manually writing scripts. If you already have an existing logon script that is not based on the builder, or your needs cannot be covered using it, you can use a custom script. If you are mapping printers through such a script (see examples of such on the Logon Script examples page), the easiest way to handle reconnection, is to simply use the very same script for both logon and reconnection. If the printer mapping snippet is put into its own script called for example PrinterMapping.fsh, we can simply include this script both in PreLogon.fsh and SmartConnect.fsh files like this:

Include PrinterMapping.fsh

This would require us to remember use the transparent InClientIpScope and ClientIP functionality, so the script works both with and without RDP/ICA and desktop execution. The PrinterMapping.fsh could for example look like this:

If InClientIpScope 172.18.0.0,172.18.255.255 Then

  ConnectPrinter \\AcmeSrvHouston\AcmePrt002

  ConnectPrinter \\AcmeSrvHouston\AcmePrt008

  ConnectPrinter \\AcmeSrvHouston\AcmePrt018

  SetPrinterDefault \\AcmeSrvHouston\AcmePrt018

End If

 

If InClientIpScope 172.20.0.0,172.20.255.255 Then

  ConnectPrinter \\AcmeSrvSeattle\AcmePrt019

  ConnectPrinter \\AcmeSrvSeattle\AcmePrt021

  SetPrinterDefault \\AcmeSrvSeattle\AcmePrt021

End If

If there are shares that need to be remapped, we can include them in the script file as well.

Example script 2 - printer connection through Group Policy

If we are using Group Policies to connect printers, we still need SmartConnect. The script below will find all Printer.xml Group Policy files and all instances of the client name and then map the printers found. You can also call the MapPrinters command with some specific files and not use the loop.

This default SmartConnect.fsh script can also be inserted in the script editor by selecting "GPO Printer Remap" in the "New Script" window.

'' Find all Printers.XML Group Policy printer files for the dns domain of the computer.

'' If the computer is not under a found xml file, the computer would not be in the file.

ForEach File in [SubFileTree \\[ComputerDomain]\sysvol\[ComputerDNSDomain]\Policies]

  If EndsWith [Var File],Printers.XML Then

    MapPrinters [Var File]

  End If

End ForEach

 

'' Map printer from Group Policy printer xml file

Command MapPrinters(XMLFile)

  ForEach Node in [XMLSubNodesXML [Param XMLFile], Printers]

    If XmlNodeExists [Var Node],SharedPrinter Then               ''Collect only the ones called "SharedPrinter"

      ForEach Filter in [XMLSubNodesXML [Var Node],SharedPrinter/Filters]

        Set Client = [XMLAttribute [Var Filter],FilterTerminal,value]

        If [Var Client] = [ClientName] Then

          Set Printer = [XMLAttribute [Var Node],SharedPrinter/Properties,Path]

          Set Default = [XMLAttribute [Var Node],SharedPrinter/Properties,Default]

          ConnectPrinter [Var Printer]

          If [Var Default] = 1 Then SetPrinterDefault [Var Printer]

        End If

      End ForEach

    End If

  End ForEach

End Command

This script will find all references to the current session client name and map the matching printers. The Group Policy XML files are normally very long. If we strip one of the information that is not used by the script, a sample Printers.XML can look like the one below.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Printers>
  <SharedPrinter>
    <Properties path="\\ACMESERVER01\PRINTER002" default="1"/>
    <Filters>
     <FilterTerminal value="ACMEPC0001"/>
     <FilterTerminal value="ACMEPC0007"/>
     <FilterTerminal value="ACMEPC0009"/>
     <FilterTerminal value="ACMEPC0012"/>
     <FilterTerminal value="ACMEPC0015"/>
    </Filters>
  </SharedPrinter>
  <SharedPrinter>
    <Properties path="\\ACMESERVER01\PRINTER005" default="0"/>
    <Filters>
     <FilterTerminal value="ACMEPC0001"/>
     <FilterTerminal value="ACMEPC0003"/>
     <FilterTerminal value="ACMEPC0004"/>
     <FilterTerminal value="ACMEPC0007"/>
     <FilterTerminal value="ACMEPC0008"/>
     <FilterTerminal value="ACMEPC0009"/>
     <FilterTerminal value="ACMEPC0010"/>
     <FilterTerminal value="ACMEPC0012"/>
     <FilterTerminal value="ACMEPC0014"/>
     <FilterTerminal value="ACMEPC0015"/>
    </Filters>
  </SharedPrinter>
</Printers>
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Rating: 5 out of 5

"Use this as a replacement for VBScript and PowerShell"

"It's easy to include attractive GUI elements in FastTrack scripts, beyond the basic dialog boxes and text input that VBScript offers ... Another powerful feature is the ability to distribute scripts as Windows Installer (.msi) or standard .exe files. Although interesting in its own right, this ability results in a much more intriguing capability: to repackage -- or wrap -- software installers as .msi files without using snapshots. If you've ever created an .msi installer file from before-and-after system snapshots, for use with a software distribution system such as Group Policy or System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), then you know how hit-and-miss the results can be."

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Rating: 8 out of 10

"Faster than the rest"

"We found the FastTrack syntax to be more transparent and easier to learn than Microsoft's PowerShell – the editor in particular provided good support in this regard. Scripting mode offers a large number of options from the command set through to simple output of graphical elements, which cannot be achieved at all with PowerShell or other solutions or only with a significantly greater level of effort."

"Anyone wanting to tackle the many hurdles in everyday admin and especially anyone for whom logon scripts and client automation is a priority will benefit from the variety of functions offered by FastTrack."

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