Only environments configured to use single-pod brokering can use this feature. In the Horizon Universal Console, you create customization assignments to assign settings that customize your end users' environments. One type of customization is URL redirection. You can define URL handling rules where the Horizon Client redirects URLs from the end user's client machine to a desktop or application provided by your Horizon Cloud environment. A URL redirection configuration gives the Horizon Client information about which URLs should be handled by one of the end user's assigned Horizon Cloud desktops or applications instead of being opened by the user's local system.

Note:
  • The administrative console provides a user interface for you to configure client-to-agent URL redirection. To configure agent-to-client URL redirection, you must use group policy settings as described in Single-Pod Broker - Horizon Cloud Pods and the URL Content Redirection Feature. The steps below are for configuring client-to-agent URL redirection.
  • When your Horizon Cloud tenant is configured to use Universal Broker for your pods in Microsoft Azure, creating these URL redirection customizations is not currently supported.

The Horizon Client fetches an end user's assigned URL redirection rules when the user logs in to the Horizon Client on their local device. Then when that user attempts to open a link in a local document or file and the link matches a URL pattern rule in the assigned settings, Horizon Client determines the appropriate handler to use. The handlers are specified opens the user's assigned desktop or application to handle the URL link, as determined by the appropriate handler you specified in the URL redirection configuration. If the URL redirection handler specifies to use a desktop, the desktop's default application for the link's specified protocol processes the URL. If the handler specifies to use an application, the user's assigned application processes the URL. If the user is not entitled to the desktop or application specified in the handler, Horizon Client displays a message to the user, unless you have specified Strict Match as No for the handler.

In the scenario where Strict Match is set to No, the system locates a resource to use based on this fall-back behavior:

  1. The system searches the user's assignments using a substring match of the target resource specified for the handler. If the system finds an assignment that matches the substring, that assigned desktop or application is used to open the link.
  2. When the handler's Resource Type is set to Application, if the search for a substring match fails, the system searches the user's application assignments for an assigned application that can handle the protocol specified in the handler's Scheme field.
    Note: This step in the fall-back behavior only applies for applications. If the Resource Type is set to Desktops, this step is skipped.
  3. If the system cannot locate a resource in the user's assignments that can handle the protocol, Horizon Client displays a message to the user.
Important: The user's Horizon Client must be installed with the URL_FILTERING_ENABLED=1 option to give the client the capability to handle the URL redirection feature. For details, refer to the information about that option within the Horizon Remote Desktop Features and GPOs guide at VMware Horizon Documentation.

When your environment is integrated with Workspace ONE Access, the user must have opened at least one application using Horizon Client before the URL redirection feature can work for that user. By opening at least one application using the Open in Client option, the user's assigned URL redirection configuration is loaded into the client device's registry where Horizon Client can get the configuration values.

A customization assignment can be turned inactive by using the Take Offline button on the Assignments page. A user can be assigned more than one active customization for URL redirection settings. To avoid potential conflicts between rules from different active configurations, when the user logs in to Horizon Client, the system:

  • Sets only one configuration in effect, even when that user has more than one active configuration assigned.
  • Uses the URL redirection configuration that is alphabetically first as the configuration in effect for the user.

Prerequisites

In the console, you can create a customization for URL redirection even before you have any desktops or remote applications in your Horizon Cloud inventory. However, before the URL redirection flow works for those end users specified in the customization, the following prerequisites must be met:

  • When the image VM was created using the Import Virtual Machine from Marketplace workflow, you set the Horizon agent feature named URL Redirection to Yes.
  • Your Horizon Cloud inventory has the desktops and remote applications that you intend to use in the configuration.
  • If the customization has Strict Match set to Yes, assignments must exist that entitle the specific desktops and remote applications to the end users specified in the customization.

Procedure

  1. On the Assignments page, click New.
  2. In the New Assignment window, click the Customizations icon.
    The New Customization Assignment wizard opens to its first step.
  3. Make your selections and then move on to the next step.
    Option Description
    Assignment Name Enter a friendly name for this assignment.
    Location Select the location that has the pod you want to use.
    Pod Select the pod. This pod is the one from which the session desktops and remote applications are served.
    Description Optionally enter a description for the configuration.
  4. For the sources, create a list of URL patterns that this configuration will tell Horizon Client to intercept on the client system.
    1. In the URL Pattern field, type a string that specifies the URL matching pattern to be intercepted.
      You can use wildcards to specify a URL pattern that matches multiple URLs.

      For example:

      • If you type google.*, all URLs that include the text google are intercepted.
      • If you type .* (period asterisk), all URLs are intercepted for all protocol schemes (matches all).
      • If you type mailto://.*.example.com all URLs that contain the text mailto://.*.example.com are intercepted.
      Important: You should always consider that the URLs you enter in the URL Pattern field are case-sensitive, including the host name part like docs.vmware.com. The URL redirection feature behavior is sensitive to the case of the URL patterns you enter here. As an example, if you enter DOCS.VMWARE.COM/* as the pattern and the end user clicks a link https://docs.vmware.com, the URL redirection does not happen, because the host name exists actually in lowercase. For host names, enter them as lowercase. If you need to match subdirectories in the URL path, use a wildcard or enter those URLs as the path actually exists, such as docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Horizon-Cloud-Service/*
    2. Press Enter to add your specified URL pattern to the list.
    3. Repeat the steps of typing in a pattern and pressing Enter to add more URL matching patterns.
  5. For the rules, define the set of handlers that determine which target inventory resource should handle various protocols.
    A handler defines which of the user's entitled desktops or applications should handle that specific protocol. For example, if the user opens a Microsoft Word document that has a mailto hypertext link and the user clicks on that link in the document, the handler defines what entitled application should handle the request, such as Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird.
    1. Configure the rule settings.
      Option Description
      Scheme Enter the protocol to which this handler applies, such as http, https, mailto, callto, and so on.
      Resource Type Select whether a desktop or application is to handle the specified protocol.
      Target Resource Enter the name of the target resource in your inventory that you want handling the protocol specified in the Scheme field.
      Strict Match Select Yes to force an exact match between the name specified in the Target Resource field and the names of the user's available entitled session desktops or remote applications.

      Select No if you want the system to use its fall-back behavior to support the situation where an end user does not have an assignment for a resource with the exact name specified in the Target Resource field.

      For example, when the Resource Type is set to Applications and you specify Microsoft Outlook as the target resource to handle the mailto protocol, but the user does not have an assignment for any Microsoft Outlook applications, when Strict Match is set to No, the system will search for a compatible application assigned to that user to handle the mailto protocol, such as Mozilla Thunderbird.

    2. To add more handlers, click Add a row and complete the fields.
  6. Proceed to the next wizard step.
  7. Search for and select the users and groups for this assignment and then move to the next step.
  8. Review the summarized information and then complete the wizard.

Single-Pod Broker - Horizon Cloud Pods and the URL Content Redirection Feature

This documentation page describes how the URL content redirection feature works in a Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure deployment. The deployment must be configured to use single-pod brokering to have use of the URL content redirection feature.

Brief Introduction

Redirection from a remote desktop or application to a client is called agent-to-client redirection. Redirection from a client to a remote desktop or application is called client-to-agent redirection.

Agent-to-client redirection
With agent-to-client redirection, Horizon Agent sends the URL to Horizon Client, which opens the default application for the protocol in the URL on the client machine. For details about configuring agent-to-client redirection, read this page's sections.
Client-to-agent redirection
With client-to-agent redirection, the system opens a remote desktop or remote application that you specified to handle the URL. For details about configuring client-to-agent redirection, see Single-Pod Broker - Horizon Cloud Pods - Create a URL Redirection Customization and Assign it to Users .

You can redirect some URLs from a remote desktop or application to a client, and redirect other URLs from a client to a remote desktop or application. You can redirect any number of protocols, including HTTP, HTTPS, mailto, and callto.

Configuring Agent-to-Client Redirection

To enable agent-to-client redirection, you perform the following configuration tasks.

  • Ensure the URL content redirection feature is enabled in Horizon Agent in the image VM, as described in the prerequisites section in Single-Pod Broker - Horizon Cloud Pods - Create a URL Redirection Customization and Assign it to Users.
  • Apply the URL Content Redirection group policy settings to your remote desktops and applications. See the following section about adding the ADMX template to a GPO.
  • Configure group policy settings to indicate, for each protocol, how the Horizon Agent should redirect the URL. See the following section about the group policy settings.

Add the URL Content Redirection ADMX Template to a GPO

The URL Content Redirection ADMX template file, called urlRedirection.admx, contains settings that enable you to control whether a URL link is opened on the client (agent-to-client redirection) or in a remote desktop or application (client-to-agent redirection).

To apply the URL Content Redirection group policy settings to your remote desktops and applications, add the ADMX template file to GPOs on your Active Directory server. For rules regarding URL links clicked in a remote desktop or application, the GPOs must be linked to the OU that contains your virtual desktops and RDS hosts.

You can also apply the group policy settings to a GPO that is linked to the OU that contains your Windows client computers, but the preferred method for configuring client-to-agent redirection is to use the vdmutil command-line utility. Because macOS does not support GPOs, you must use vmdutil if you have Mac clients.

Prerequisites
Steps
  1. Download the Horizon GPO Bundle from VMware Customer Connect at Download VMware Horizon Service.

    From that URL, navigate into the Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure downloads location. In that page, you will see a list of downloadable items. Locate the entry named Horizon GPO Bundle and download its ZIP file. All of the ADMX files that provide group policy settings for Horizon-related components are in this file.

  2. Unzip the ZIP file and copy the following files to the indicated locations in your Active Directory server:
    1. Copy the urlRedirection.admx file to the C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions folder.
    2. Copy the urlRedirection.adml language resource file to the appropriate subfolder in C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions.

      For example, for the EN locale, copy the urlRedirection.adml file to the C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions\en-US folder.

  3. On your Active Directory server, open the Group Policy Management Editor.

    The URL Content Redirection group policy settings are installed in Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > VMware Horizon URL Redirection.

Then configure the group policy settings in your Active Directory server. See the following section about the group policy settings.

URL Content Redirection Group Policy Settings

The URL Content Redirection template file contains group policy settings that enable you to create rules for configuring the agent-to-client redirection capability for your Horizon Cloud environment. The template file contains only Computer Configuration settings. All of the settings are in the VMware Horizon URL Redirection folder in the Group Policy Management Editor.

Important: Even though the URL Content Redirection template file contains group policy settings related to client-to-agent redirection, in Horizon Cloud, you do not use group policy settings to configure client-to-agent redirection. Instead, you use the Horizon Universal Console to create the rules for client-to-agent redirection. You create rules for client-to-agent redirection when you create a URL redirection assignment in the console. For detailed steps, see Single-Pod Broker - Horizon Cloud Pods - Create a URL Redirection Customization and Assign it to Users.

The following table describes the group policy settings available in the URL Content Redirection template file.

Table 1. URL Content Redirection Group Policy Settings
Setting Properties
IE Policy: Prevent users from changing URL Redirection plugin loading behavior Determines whether users can deactivate the URL Content Redirection feature.

This setting is not configured by default.

IE Policy: Automatically enable URL Redirection plugin Determines whether newly installed Internet Explorer plug-ins are automatically activated.

This setting is not configured by default.

Url Redirection Enabled Determines whether the URL Content Redirection feature is enabled. You can use this setting to deactivate the URL Content Redirection feature even if the feature has been installed in the client or agent.

This setting is not configured by default.

Url Redirection Protocol 'http' For all URLs that use the HTTP protocol, specifies the URLs that should be redirected. This setting has the following options:
  • Broker Hostname - IP address or fully qualified name of the Connection Server host to use when redirecting URLs to a remote desktop or application.
  • Remote Item - display name of the remote desktop or application pool that can handle the URLs specified in Agent Rules.
  • Client Rules - the URLs that should be redirected to the client. For example, if you set Client Rules to .*.mycompany.com, all URLs that include the text mycompany.com are redirected to the Windows-based client and are opened in the default browser on the client.
  • Agent Rules - the URLs that should be redirected to the remote desktop or application specified in Remote Item. For example, if you set Agent Rules to .*.mycompany.com, all URLs that include mycompany.com are redirected to the remote desktop or application.

When you create agent rules, you must also use the Broker Hostname option to specify the IP address or fully qualified domain name of the Connection Server host, and the Remote Item option to specify the display name of the desktop or application pool.

Note: The preferred method for configuring client rules is to use the vdmutil command-line utility.

This setting is enabled by default.

Url Redirection Protocol '[...]' Use this setting for any protocol other than HTTP, such as HTTPS, email, or callto.

The options are the same as for Url Redirection Protocol 'http'.

If you do not need to configure other protocols, you can delete or comment out this entry before adding the URL Content Redirection template file to Active Directory.

As a best practice, configure the same redirection settings for the HTTP and HTTPS protocols. That way, if a user types a partial URL into Internet Explorer, such as mycompany.com, and that site automatically redirects from HTTP to HTTPS, the URL Content Redirection feature will work as expected. In this example, if you set a rule for HTTPS but do not set the same redirection setting for HTTP, the partial URL that the user types is not redirected.

This setting is not configured by default.