Microsoft Releases User Experience Virtualization 2.1 Beta

The virtual desktop solution gains Office 2013 and Windows 8 support, along with enhanced user setting roaming, backup and restore features.


Following on the heels of the Desktop Optimization Pack 2014 release, Microsoft has announced a beta of the user settings management component, called User Experience Virtualization (UE-V). Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) is the software giant's desktop virtualization and management toolset.

Mainstream corporate adoption of smartphones and tablets make it less likely that users will rush to their laptops and desktop PCs for all of their computing needs. The downside is inconsistent settings across devices that can impede productivity.

Microsoft's answer is UE-V. The on-premise software harmonizes user experiences by enabling application and Windows settings roaming.

By capturing and centralizing settings, UE-V "enables users to change devices without reconfiguring their applications or settings," Ronald Dockery, senior product marketing manager for the Windows Commercial division, wrote in a blog post. In short, tailored Windows and application settings follow the user, providing a familiar computing environment.

UE-V 2.1 Beta continues in this tradition with support for Windows 8 and 8.1. "UE-V 2.1 provides the ability to synchronize credentials and certificates stored in the Windows Credential Manager," informed Dockery. This syncs up domain credentials and certificates, allowing credentials to roam across UE-V-enabled devices after users sign in just once.

UE-V can now be used to sync Microsoft Account (MSA) settings on Windows 8.x systems in place of MSA sync. According to Dockery, the feature empowers users "to continue to enjoy the Windows store and app experience while synchronizing OS and Windows Store settings via UE-V."

The new version also includes more full-featured backup and restore capabilities.

IT administrators can use UE-V 2.1 "to restore additional settings when a user adopts a new device," said Dockery. "Administrators can put a settings location template in a 'backup' or 'roam (default)' profile using the Set-UevTemplateProfile PowerShell cmdlet." As a result, now both computer settings and user settings are applied to newly issued PCs for a more seamless transition to new hardware.

The software also now supports Office 2013, allowing for the personalization of more than 1,500 Office 2013 settings.

"UE-V 2.1 now includes the Microsoft Office 2013 settings location template," stated Dockery. In addition, it provides "improved Outlook signature support, by adding enhanced synchronization of signature settings for new, reply, and forwarded emails."

Office 2013 and Office 2010 templates are included; however, UE-V 2.1 drops support for Office 2007 templates. "Users can still use Office 2007 templates from UE-V 2.0 or earlier," said Dockery. Office 365 integration ensures that UE-V doesn't conflict with the settings synchronization features built into the cloud-enabled version of Microsoft's productivity suite.

All told, UE-V 2.1 beta is designed to help organizations "experience increased personalization, flexibility and management of your OS and application settings, on any physical or virtualized device," asserted Dockery. The software will ship as "as part of a future version of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP)," he added.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...