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Hiding drives on the virtual desktop

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Recently I wrote an article about the handling of client mapped drives when using VMware View. RDP supports the redirection of the clients drives which will be forwarded to the virtual client and shown as network drives. With an GPO template which is included in View or the default Active Directory policy you can control this mapping. But what if the drive is a local drive like the OS disk in a automated linked clone pool?

A linked clone virtual desktop from a persistent pool has two hard disk drives. One is called the OS disk the other is called the User data disk. You can find more information on that on the VMware web site.

The OS disk includes all changes which differentiates the linked clone from the master image. It’s a delta disk. All data of this disk will be dropped when doing a Refresh or Recompose (Please check the manual or whitepapers if you need further information). So if a user would store data on this disk, it would also be dropped. Someone asked me last week: "How can I hide the OS disk from the user, so he can’t store any data there?" Good question! I remembered the old days when I used to be an administrator for a Terminal Server farm. Back in these days we had the same requirements due to 20-25 users working on the same Terminal Server and having the same drive C:\. When a user saved a file on the local drive C:\ it was uncertain that he will ever get his file back because we had a load balancing and he could possibly work on 30 servers. Same case here but with the OS disk the file would be deleted. The approach to hide the drive from the user is the same for virtual desktops and Terminal Server.

  1. Open Registry Editor Navigate to this key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
  2. In the right-pane, create a new DWORD entry "NoDrives".
  3. Now use the above given ‘NoDrives’ Registry Key Value Calculator, to find the value for your choice of drive combinations to hide.
  4. Enter that value as the Decimal value for the "NoDrives" DWORD key that you created before
  5. Use: http://www.precedence.co.uk/support/tools/nodrive/ to calculate the right value for the drives to hide.
  6. Reboot your VM.

With this registry hack you can hide the drive C:\ or other drives from the user so he can’t save any data on the specific drives. The are still there but invisible. If you Google the web you’ll also find ADM templates which can set the needed parameters in the Registry.

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Written by Christoph Harding

May 14th, 2009 at 10:08 am

  • Sanchez Dust

    Great Article ! Do you manage to hide drives from physical computer in the virtual desktop ? In facts all physical drives are redirected in the virtual desktops, and I can’t find a way to disable this redirection when the physical computer is not manage by GPO