XenDesktop Shadowing via Desktop Director – WinRM configuration for Windows 7

I think we can all agree that XenDesktop has VMware View beat as far as feature sets are concerned.  One of the best features of a XenDesktop 5.5/5.6 is the Virtual Desktop management via the Desktop Director.  It provides Admins, Support/NOC folks with an excellent overview on what is going on inside your deployment which can be utilized for user connection troubleshooting.  What is really nice, is that it gives you information on user sessions including Audio, USB devices, Flash Redirection, Printing as well as others.  One of the best features is to allow connections (AKA Shadowing) directly to XD sessions.

HDX session information

To use this feature you must configure WinRM, if this is not set up on your XD’s, you will receive the error below when establishing a connection, which will end up in a call at 2:00 AM for the Admins

Remote Assistance Connection issue


Unlike Windows XP, WinRM is installed by default on a Windows 7 desktop so there is no need to install it.

Enabling Offer Remote Assistance Helpers Group

Creating a new GPO and assign it to the OU with the XD AD computer objects.  Edit the group policy and navigate to Computer Configuration –> Policies –> Administrative Templates –> System –> Remote Assistance:


Open up the setting Solicited Remote Assistance, enable the feature and set the following configuration as such:

Permit remote control of this computer: Allow helpers to remotely control the computer

Maximum ticket time (value): 1

Maximum ticket time (units): Hours

Method for sending e-mail invitations: Simple MAPI


Apply the settings, open up the setting Offer Remote Assistance, enable the feature and configure the settings as such:

Permit remote control of this computer: Allow helpers to remotely control the computer

Helpers: domain\domain admins or your preferred group

**Note: that you can set the helpers to any group you choose.



Apply the settings and you should see the following:


Once the GPO has been applied to the desktops, you should now see the group Offer Remote Assistance Helpers listed:



Once you’ve verified that the GPO has been applied, proceed by attempting to shadow a user’s desktop and remote assistance should launch: