Here’s one that recently had me scratching my head. I was not confused by the technical complexity of the process but more that it had to be done at all.
VMware provides a few Group Policy administrative templates to configure the settings of the View agent and other related components. Unfortunately, the templates are in the old Server 2003 .adm format and not in the modern .admx format introduced with Server 2008. Taking a step back and realizing how long ago 2008 was, I had a hard time believing that a company like VMware and an actively developed program does not provide a download of the files in the “new” format.
Their documentation tells you where you can find a copy of the .adm files – install_directoryVMwareVMware ViewServerextrasGroupPolicyFiles. There are six files to configure Horizon View Agent, client, server, PCoIP, Persona, and other common settings. To get the files in the ADMX format, another VMware KB article recommends converting the files through an automated tool provided by Microsoft. This is the part that makes me shake my head. Why not just provide an authoritative copy of the converted files and provide it for download from the website?
I could have used the .adm templates in the Group Policy Management Console and imported the legacy templates into my editor but I wanted to be able to place them in my Central Store for a more managable experience and have them available from any other domain computer. Since there was no good alternative and I was requested to make the configuration change for computers using our VDI, I followed the KB article to convert the files to the .admx format.
I downloaded the recommended ADMX Migrator tool from Microsoft and installed it. This gave me FullArmor ADMX Migrator installed on the computer. I launched it, imported the existing .adm files and went through the ‘Generate ADMX from ADM’ process. This successfully provided me with equivalent .admx files.
I copied the new files into the Central Store and edited a GPO to test it out. Errors popped up immediately, particularly with pcoip.admx and ViewPM.admx when editing a GPO and drilling down into Administrative Templates in either Computer or User Configuration. I was able to see some of the new settings after clicking through the error messages but this certainly was not an acceptable way to leave things. Upon removing these two admx files from the Central Store I was able to edit a GPO without any error and see some of the new configurable settings.
The errors reported provided line and column numbers so I edited the new XML files with Notepad++ and investigated each problem. I was able to solve the pcoip file problems by removing spaces from a tag attribute and changing a converted ampersand from & to an underscore. The ViewPM.admx file had entire sections of string values that were reported as unknown and throwing errors. I removed the entire element tag and the errors stopped but I did not like that as a consistent solution.
The ADMX Migrator also includes a command line tool in addition to its GUI program. I went through the command line process to convert the two problematic Templates again and got new .admx files through the process. They were different file sizes but after copying them into the Central Store, I received the same errors when editing a GPO.
Since the recommended tool was not working for a simple straight-forward conversion, I was even more baffled at VMware’s approach or lack of effort on this front.
I found another tool for .adm to .admx conversion from SysPro Software. It is available for a single machine for a $60 license and offers a 30 day trial license.
I downloaded the latest version of the software and installed it. Upon activating the license (you won’t be able to save without a license), the program opened up and I was able to import each of the .adm files through the ‘Add existing ADM file…’ dialog under the File menu. After all of the files were imported, I went through the Convert ADM to ADMX dialog and one-by-one converted each file. The only change I really made through the dialog was filling in the Description of each file. After the conversion dialog, I was able to save the files and produce the new .admx files.
Both tools actually create the respective .admx and .adml files for the settings and language information. After copying the new .admx files from the SysPro ADM Template editor or Policy Builder into my Central Store, I tested editing a GPO again. This time, upon drilling down to Administrative Templates, I received no errors and was able to see each of the new settings. I was able to configure the requested setting and everything seemed to work correctly from there, though I’m still baffled that VMware expects each customer to waste their time and convert their files to the 7 year old format rather than provide an authoritative copy to download. Based on the 1-star rating of that article, I am guessing other customers might hold the same opinion of the process.