Blogging about Royal TS/X, Royal Server and Royal Passwords

Quick Tip: Using parameters in PowerShell connections

With Royal TS V3.1 we introduced a new PowerShell connection type which allows you to run any PowerShell script and display the results in a grid (for object data) or as text (like the console). In this quick tutorial I want to show how to pass on the connection credentials as parameters to be used in the script.

All you need in the script is a param script block where you define which parameters the script expects. In our example, the $usr and the $pwd, both string values are expected as script parameters:

PowerShellParams01

Note: only named parameters are supported. Indexed parameters are not supported.

In the Parameters tab we can now map those with replacement tokens from Royal TS or any static value:

PowerShellParams02

As Parameter Name, enter the name from the param script block without the $ character. As value, either enter just a static text or use a replacement token (like $EffectiveUsername$, $EffectivePassword$, $CustomField1$, etc.). The fly-out button shows a list of all available replacement tokens. Add all mappings you need to the list.

In our example, we will also configure Royal TS to prompt for a credential by setting up the Credentials configuration to Specify a credential by name and using the ? character as credential name – as described here. Once all is set up, you will get a credential prompt when you connect:

PowerShellParams03

The sample script from above will just output whatever credentials we entered:

PowerShellParams04

As you can see, the parameter mapping allows you to not only use credentials or values from the connection object, it also ensures that the script can be used *as is* without any modifications outside of Royal TS. There’s no magic, only standards based named parameters used here.



Quick Tip: Create a connection which always prompt for credentials

For years now, Royal TS offers a handy little command called Connect with Options which allows you to quickly override common connection settings without modifying the existing connection object. For example: if you are using all your connections in Embedded window mode, you may occasionally need the connection window to be External. So instead of opening the connection properties and modifying the window mode, you can just Connect with Options and instruct Royal TS to open the window externally instead. Another useful example would be to prompt for a different credential:

PromptForCredentials01

In some cases you may want to always prompt for credentials, without using the Connect with Options commands. Similar to the Ad Hoc syntax (putting a ? as credential name), you can do this by configuring the Credentials settings like this:

PromptForCredentials02

A configuration as shown above (a ? character as credential name) will always display the Credential Picker dialog to either select one of the existing credentials or enter a username and password.

PromptForCredentials03

The credential picker can easily be controlled by keyboard and allows find-as-you-type as well as search (using CTRL+F) to quickly find the credential you need. Also note, that a reconnect of the connection (as long as it is not closed) will always use the specified credentials from the picker – not configured in the connection properties.

 

 



Royal Server 1.1 is here!

Back in February this year, we released the initial Royal Server 1.0. And as promised, this was just the beginning. We continued to improve existing functionality, listened to our customers and built some awesome new features for Royal Server 1.1!

In this blog post we will introduce some of the most important features, improvements and changes of this release:

New Royal Server License Types

To make Royal Server even more interesting we introduced two new seat-based licenses at a very affordable price (in addition to the existing 25-Pack license and the Unlimited license):

The Startup License
This license is the most affordable way to get Royal Server! It is a personalised license, bound to the name of the licensee and can only be used by this person. Additionally, it only allows one installation of Royal Server. If you want to manage your personal IT infrastructure or test lab at home this is the perfect license for you!

The Individual User License
This license is intended for IT consultants who manage IT infrastructures for multiple environments/companies. It allows unlimited installations of Royal Server but these installations can only be used by the licensee. For small IT teams it is also a good option (e.g. 3 Individual User Licenses for a team of 3 sysadmins)

Read more about our new License Types here.

 PageSecureGatewaySecure Gateway (SSH Tunnels)

Royal Server has a brand new Secure Gateway component! Technically it’s an SSH Tunnel (aka port forwarding) which is tightly integrated in Royal TS/X. Currently, you can tunnel Remote Desktop (RDP), VNC, Telnet and SSH connections through a Secure Gateway. It’s easy to configure and offers a good overview over all tunnels including transfer statistics – and you can even close tunnels. Royal Server now can work as a universal secure gateway to your environment.

Read more about the Secure Gateway feature here.

RoyalPowerShellConnection PowerShell module

Royal Server now includes a PowerShell module that can execute any PowerShell cmdlet or script on one or more computers. The result can be returned as console text (as displayed in the PowerShell console, including colors, console width definitions etc) or as objects (shown in a very feature-rich datagrid in Royal TS). With the ability to create PowerShell templates in Royal TS, this is a very flexible and powerful addition that helps you to take automation to the next level!

Read more about the new PowerShell connection in Royal TS and how to integrate it with Royal Server here.

RoyalPowerShellConnection Royal Server PowerShell cmdlets

Royal TS is not the only way to access Royal Server: for the management modules (Windows Events, Windows Processes, Windows Services, Hyper-V, Terminal Services and PowerShell) there is a set of PowerShell cmdlets. This way, you have the flexibility of PowerShell combined with the advantages of Royal Server (secure access, centralized logging etc.).

Read more about the new PowerShell cmdlets here.

Many little things

Additionally, we have polished Royal Server and fixed a number of smaller bugs and introduced improvements. Especially the UI received some usability improvements. But we already have a list of further improvements – thanks to valuable feedback from our customers – so after a release is before a release!



Royal TSX 2.1 for OS X is here!

It has only been a couple of months since we released the major new version 2.0 of Royal TSX (for OS X) and here we are again with a huge pile of awesome! Royal TSX V2.1 has many new features and improvements, we could almost make this a V3 😉

In this blog post I will introduce you to some of the most important features, improvements and changes of this release:

Secure Gateway Secure Gateway (SSH Tunnels)

That’s right, Royal TSX can now seamlessly tunnel Remote Desktop, VNC, Telnet and SSH connections through any SSH standards based server supporting tunneling. Configuration in Royal TSX is easy and with the new Tunnels toolbar item you get an overview of all your currently open tunnels including data transfer stats. Best of all, Royal Server now also includes an SSH server and can be used as a universal gateway server into your environment.

Read more about the Secure Gateway feature here.

Overrides Overrides

In a nutshell, Overrides allow you to apply specific (configurable) connection settings before you connect. This is one of my favorite new feature, mostly because it can be used for many scenarios and can help to overcome many challenges.

One scenario I always like to share is the following: Imagine you have a shared team document with Terminal (SSH) connections. The Terminal connections use the default color scheme but you prefer a different color scheme. Since the document is shared, you can’t just change the color scheme in those connections without affecting all your team members. With Overrides you can specify your own color scheme and apply them before you connect without changing the shared connections! Of course, this feature is universal and can be used with any setting of any connection or plugin.

Read more about the Overrides feature here.

Document Import CSV and Amazon EC2 Import

CSV Import is a feature that has been requested by many users and was originally planned to be included in 2.0. While it didn’t quite make it into the initial release, it’s now included in 2.1 and ready to serve via File – Import – CSV file.

The process of importing CSV files is pretty self-explanatory and is essentially identical to that of the Windows version. If you still need a quick start guide, this old post, originally written for Royal TS (for Windows) should get you going.

We’ve also added basic support for importing your VMs from Amazon’s EC2 service. This requires that you have a valid Access Key ID and Secret Access Key pair. If you don’t have those, you can create a new key pair in Amazon’s AWS console. Please note that importing VMs this way is a one-way process. So if you, for instance change the IP address or hostname of your machines the process has to be repeated.

TeamViewer New Connection Type

With the 2.1 release we also ship a new connection type: The TeamViewer connection, which allows you to open connections to TeamViewer enabled hosts (including meetings, VPNs or file transfers).

The little things…

Check out the release notes here. You can see that this build is packed with lots of new features and improvements. Also don’t miss our plugin release notes after installing the update. There’s lots of improvements there too.

A few additional noteworthy improvements:

  • We’ve completely revamped the Notes Editor in this release to be both, more powerful and easier to use.
  • We’ve improved support for custom icons by adding support for more file types. All the major image types are now supported, including png, jpg, gif, icns, etc.
  • Web URLs can now be dragged directly to the navigation panel to create new web page connections. We’ve tested this with Safari, Chrome and Firefox and as long as your browser of choice uses default OS X mechanisms for drag and drop, it should just work.
  • Folder icons are now colorized when a custom color is configured.

A few FreeRDP specific improvements:

  • We’ve added support for a new RDP 8.1 feature to trigger screen resolution changes (requires Smart Reconnect).
  • Support for restricted admin mode, automatic reconnect and playing the system beep sound are now also on board.
  • We’ve also added experimental support for some RDP 8 specific features including support for the RDP8 Graphics Pipeline and RDP8 Gateways.

Last but not least: to make our relatively new product Royal Server more accessible, we decided to provide additional license types. Home users and smaller teams will benefit from those new license types and makes Royal Server very affordable and attractive in those environments. Check out our pricing on our Buy page.

There are also a couple of new features in Royal Server 1.1: Click here for an overview of what Royal Server 1.1 has to offer.

I hope you all enjoy our new version. In case you have questions or issues, do not hesitate to contact us using our support portal.



Royal TS 3.1 for Windows is here!

It has only been a couple of months since we released the major new version 3 of Royal TS for Windows and here we are again with a huge pile of awesome! Royal TS V3.1 has many new features and improvements, we could almost make this a V4 😉

In this blog post I will introduce you to some of the most important features, improvements and changes of this release:

PageSecureGateway Secure Gateway (SSH Tunnels)

That’s right, Royal TS can now seamlessly tunnel Remote Desktop, VNC, Telnet and SSH connections through any SSH standards based server supporting tunneling. Configuration in Royal TS is easy and with the new Tunnels panel you get an overview of all your current tunnels including data transfer stats. Best of all, Royal Server now also includes an SSH server and can be used as a universal gateway server into your environment.

Read more about the Secure Gateway feature here.

PageOverview Overview

Many of our Royal TSX or bundle users missed that one in the Windows version of Royal TS. And now it’s finally here! Overview provides real-time thumbnails of all your connections, including Remote Desktop, external Apps, etc. The new Overview feature is available on the Dashboard tab by just clicking the tab icon. Just like in Royal TSX on OS X you can switch between the Dashboard and the Overview by clicking that icon.

Read more about the Overview feature here.

EditOverrides Overrides

In a nutshell, Overrides allow you to apply specific (configurable) connection settings before you connect. This is one of my favorite new feature, mostly because it can be used for many scenarios and can help to overcome many challenges. One scenario I always like to share is the following: Imagine you have a shared team document with Terminal (SSH) connections. The Terminal connections use the default color scheme but you prefer a different color scheme. Since the document is shared, you can’t just change the color scheme in those connections. With Overrides you can specify your own color scheme and apply them before you connect without changing the shared connections! Of course, this feature is universal and can be used with any setting of any connection or plugin.

Read more about the Overrides feature here.

RoyalPowerShellConnection New Connection Types

With the 3.1 release we ship also two new connection types: TeamViewer and PowerShell connection. The TeamViewer connection is pretty much self-explanatory; it allows you to open TeamViewer connections (including meetings, VPNs or file transfers). The PowerShell connection is much more interesting. You can use the PowerShell connection to run any cmdlet or script on one or more computers and display the script output either in a grid view (for structured data) or as a console text output. With full Royal Server support and the ability to create templates based on that connection type, this is probably one of the most powerful additions in Royal TS since it has been released. Very soon, you can also use Royal TSX and our mobile clients to execute those scripts on your remote servers. Endless possibilities! Take automation to the next level!

Read more about the new PowerShell connection here.

High DPI Support

High DPI displays are trending. First on notebooks or laptops, now they conquer the desktop as well.Prices are constantly dropping and the image quality is just amazing. Hell, I’m also thinking of getting a nice 4k display (or two)! With Royal TS V3.1 we started to implement some major improvements in that area. First of all, you as the user can now decide whether or not use display scaling with Royal TS. A new option “Disable display scaling on high DPI settings” is now available under View -> Options -> User Interface. If you check that option, Royal TS will act as a “dpi aware” application and makes use of all the pixels available. It will still take some time to fine tune all the icons and layouts to look nice but we are committed to improve support for the 3 major high DPI settings available on Windows: 125% (120 DPI), 150% (144 DPI) and 200% (192 DPI).

On top of that, we also enhanced the Remote Desktop experience when running on high DPI screens. The remote desktop session is now scaled properly based on your DPI settings and also allows you to further zoom in or out using the zoom buttons on the Actions tab.

Check out our KB article about display scaling here.

Many, many little things…

Check out the release notes here. You can see that this build is packed with lots of new features and improvements.

Also check out our help file, locally or online. The help is up-to-date and is a great starting point to explore Royal TS – especially if you just recently joined the Royal Family!

Last but not least: to make our relatively new product Royal Server more accessible, we decided to provide additional license types. Home users and smaller teams will benefit from those new license types and makes Royal Server very affordable and attractive in those environments. Check out our pricing on our Buy page.

There are also a couple of new features in Royal Server 1.1: Click here for an overview of what Royal Server 1.1 has to offer.

I hope you all enjoy our new version. In case you have questions or issues, do not hesitate to contact us using our support portal.