Firefox – Controlling settings with Mandatory profiles in Citrix

I am writing this post after a day of banging my head against a brick wall. But by the end of this article I will tell you how to control Firefox with out a GPO and stop those horrid first run bits from appearing each time.

Here is my situation, I have a number of users that require Firefox for a specific web site. So I was tasked with getting Firefox working in our XenApp 6.5 farm. One key thing to note is that we have a mandatory profile which all users get when logging on. As you will no doubt be aware, a mandatory profile means that no user settings are saved when the session/application is closed.

So, this means that with Firefox every time a user opens the application the following windows appear

  1. The Import settings wizard – Which allows you to import IE or Chrome favourites
  2. The Firefox is not your default browser check is performed and you must select an action
  3. You get the two default Firefox web pages open in two tabs

Having to do this every time during testing annoyed me so I couldn’t imagine my users having to cancel those messages every time they open the application.

Anyhow, lets discuss what I have done today.

Firstly, I have played with all the Group polices and I can say that none of them work with the newer versions. I think from certain articles I have seen you have to use this http://www.frontmotion.com/FMFirefoxCE/index.htm and their packager, but you have to pay for it.

I have also looked at these but I just didn’t have a great deal of joy and to be honest they all seem a little complicated!

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/cck/

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Locking_preferences

Solution for getting rid of the Import Wizard.

First off logon to your Citrix server as an admin and run up the Firefox installer. In my case I was using 16.0.2 that was downloaded from Mozilla as a standard installer.

Dont forget to do the usual Change user /install before you go!

When FF has installed open it up and you will have the lovely import wizard appear, you can just cancel this. By doing this you create a Mozilla profile in the local profile. You will find it in two locations, you need to copy these to the same locations in your shared mandatory profile. The format of the profile folder is something random followed by .default.

For example ghsay12.default

Location 1 XP/2003 Server – C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles

Location 2 XP/2003 – C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles

Location 1 Win7/2008 – C:\users\\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles

Location 2 Win7/2008 – C:\users\\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles

By copying a profile folder to the same location in your mandatory profile, you will cease to have the import wizard appear after each logon.

Next… How to set the home page and get rid of the default Browser check message.

In your profile location 1 you will find a little file called pref.js. Now you can edit this file directly in notepad as I did, or you can open your FF browser and go to the following webpage about:config.

In order to set the home page and stop those default start-up tabs add the following line to your preference file

user_pref(“browser.startup.homepage”, “http://www.google.co.uk/“);

I added this line above these default ones..

user_pref(“browser.startup.homepage_override.buildID”, “20121024073032”);
user_pref(“browser.startup.homepage_override.mstone”, “16.0.2”);

To get rid of the default browser check you need to make sure that this line is present and set to false.

user_pref(“browser.shell.checkDefaultBrowser”, false);

If it’s not present I found having it above the broswer.startup.homepage setting worked fine.

Anyway, I hope this helps. I would like to try to get the CCK plugin file working at some point as I think this would be ideal, but it all comes down to time!

Adobe Captivate – Recovering a lost video

Something a bit different, one of our users called me as her laptop had crashed and she had lost her captivate videos that she had worked on all day (with out saving) and had to be ready for 09:00 the following mornin I think as IT people we have all had this type of call.

I could sense the urgencyI jumped head first into Captivate a product I have no prior knowledge of, I thought that my finding below were pretty cool, so I published an internal KB and thought I would post it on my blog too,

Issue

Individual has lost a document that has not been saved and the backup project feature has not been enabled in the products general settings. In specific cases Mozy may not have backed the cache folder up as they are only created when a new project has been started.

Handy Information

If under the preferences the Backup Project option has been set you can recover from that by locating and renaming the backup file. Captivate also uses a cache folder location, this is to store objects that make up the file so opening larger projects will be quicker in the future.

The cache is normally found under the user profile. The big issue is that each cache folder uses a GUID style name so trial and error is required to locate the correct one.

The captivate .CPTX file is basically a zip file and can be renamed and opened as a regular compressed file.

 Method for recovering the file

  1. Locate the cache folder and make a copy of the folder so we don’t damage the contents. I used the time and date to locate the correct one.
  2. In my case I found the cache was empty so I used an earlier shadow copy to restore the cache before it was corrupted
  3. Under the DB folder you will see a series of files and folders. You need to select the following files and folders
    1. Compressed_data folder
    2. Objects folder
    3. Uncompressed_data folder
    4. Audio.cpad
    5. Info.cpi
    6. Text.cptd
    7. Thumbnails.cpth
    8. Add these selected files and folders to a new zip file. Call it whatever you like.
    9. Once the Zip has been created rename it to a .CPTX file
    10. Providing there is no corruption the file should open when it was last written to the cache

Note: If this doesn’t work then look down the folder structure for corrupt files and remove them before trying again.  We took a copy of the folder in step 1 so this is perfectly safe. If the cache method doesn’t work then try importing the newly created CPTX file into a blank project.