How to configure WebTrace functionality in RES Workspace Manager

How to configure WebTrace functionality in RES Workspace Manager

If you have read my previous blog posts, you will notice that they are all around Citrix products. The reason for this is simple, I just have a strong passion for the Citrix product portfolio and I’m working with them for a long time now. Even in my current role as “Independent” Technical Consultant, I sometimes doubt how independent i really are, this doesn’t mean I dislike competitors, but everybody has its preferences. I share this same passion and commitment for products from RES, and especially the combination between those two.

In this first RES blog post I wanted to talk about the WebTrace functionality in RES Workspace Manager, WebTrace allows you to track down internet usage of your users, of course this must be allowed by company policies and the users should be aware that there internet behavoir is monitored.
WebTrace is one of the few components in RES Workspace Manager that doesn’t completely work out-of-the-box, when you enable it in a WIN2008R2\WIN7 environment in combination with Internet Explorer you will soon see that there is no internet traffic being logged.
This is mainly because the Web Trace Browser Helper Object (BHO) is being blocked by the Internet Protected mode which is switched on by default on the Internet security zone.

To enable the WebTrace functionality you can follow this procedure :

Step 1: Switch on WebTrace in the Workspace Manager Console

Switch on the following option under Setup -> Usage Tracking :

Step 2: Configure an Internet Explorer policy to enable the WebTrace BHO for the users

Before we do this we first have to look up the Class ID of the Web Trace BHO by opening the properties of the BHO, the BHO can be found in Internet Explorer under Manage Add-Ons :

Ok now we know the BHO Class ID we can create the Internet Explorer policy, to enable the WebTrace BHO and block the users from disabling it you can follow this steps :

– Create a new (or edit existing) policy based on inetres.admx
– Search the policy for the option “Add-on List” and open it.
– Fill in the Class ID : {65363486-5B64-4199-9087-2CB3543A3BDC} with a value of 1, see screenshot :

– Enable the option “Do not allow users to enable or disable add-ons” (to block users from disabling the BHO)
– Enable the option “Disable add-on performance notifications” (to avoid performance popups for startup times of the add-ons)

The policy now looks like this :

Step 3: Configure an Internet Explorer registry key to disable Internet Explorer protected mode

**Warning:  Before you proceed, you should be aware that disabling Internet Explorer protected mode can have security implications**

Because the WebTrace BHO doesn’t work when Protected Mode is switched on (according to RES this is because the BHO needs more access to system resources which is blocked when running in Protected Mode) we need to turn it off for the Internet Security zone (it’s already switch off for the other zones by default). This can be done through the following registry key :

“HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Zones\3” “2500”=dword:00000003
To make it more visual (click to enlarge) :

If Protected Mode is switched off users will get a message when browsing over the internet stating that Protected Mode is not turned on, to disable this warning import the following registry key :

“HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main” “NoProtectedModeBanner”=dword:00000001
And this looks like this :

That’s it, WebTrace will now start logging Internet traffic, which you can view in the Usage Tracking viewer in the RES Workspace Manager Console.

Conclusion :

In this blog post I showed you how you can enable the WebTrace functionality in a WIN2008R2\WIN7 environment when using Internet Explorer. It’s a nice feature but you should only enable it when necessary and take into consideration that Internet Explorer Protected Mode needs to be switched off for the WebTrace BHO to function, maybe RES will update the WebTrace BHO in the future so this would not be necessary anymore.

Please note that the information in this blog is provided as is without warranty of any kind.