As more and more customers move towards a model of non-persistent VDI specially during the pandemic era and more and more companies moving towards work from home model, they start to realize the benefits this approach has over persistent VDI. Non-persistent VDI allows IT to easily set up pools of desktops that can revert back to an original state after being used, instead of having to manage each individual persistent desktop throughout its lifecycle.

VMware App Volumes helps customers to move towards this non-persistent model with AppStacks and Writeable Volumes. We even have customers using a combination of App Volumes and VMware Dynamic Environment Manager to manage apps for some very interesting use cases. One example of this is managing Microsoft Outlook OST files.

Before using App Volumes and DEM solution we were trying to redirect the OST files using group policy to a different share. While the redirection was working fine. Every time user logged into a new VDI he had to configure outlook again and a new OST file was created and all his mails were downloaded from the server. This was causing unnecessary delays for the users and nightmares for me.

After a lot of research on the internet we finally applied the below solution which fixed the issue for us.

The Solution: Managing OST Files with App Volumes & Dynamic Environment Manager

  1. In the App Volumes Manager, assign a writable volume to a user.
    • Use a regular user-installed applications template (vmdk).
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2. In the User Environment Manager console, create an ADMX based setting to control the location of the Outlook cache OST file.

  • Go to ADMX-based Settings and import the ADMX templates for Office 2013.You can download the ADMX templates for newer version of Office as well from Microsoft download site or a simple google search should also help.
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  • Create a new setting called Office 2013 cache to configure the Outlook cache of Microsoft Office 2013.
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  • Select the ‘Microsoft Outlook 2013’ category.
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  • Click Edit Policies and go to Microsoft Outlook 2013 > Miscellaneous > PST Settings > Default location for OST files.
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  • In Options, enter the directory to point to your OST cache file.
  • C:\SnapVolumesTemp\writable is available by default as a persistent directory that is not virtualized and can be used at native-performance fast speeds since items here are not virtualized.
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The Outlook cache file will now automatically follow the user across any non-persistent VDI session improving the user’s experience with better performance. Simple, right!?

In User Environment Manager, under the Personalization tab, you can manage the Outlook profile settings. Using this you can configure more parameters for your Outlook profile.

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In this way, the combination of App Volumes and User Environment Manager ensures that your OST file follows you, even across non-persistent environments.

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