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

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.



Royal TSX and OS X 10.11 beta 3

Hello early adpoters!

UPDATE:

We just released a new build (V2.1) which fixes the OS X 10.11 beta 3 compatibility issues.
You can get it here: http://www.royalapplications.com/ts/osx/download


Unfortunately, there’s a radical change in OS X 10.11 beta 3 which prevents all mono-based applications from launching.
The bug has been reported here (and here) and the mono team is already working on a fix.
Since it’s not trivial to update to a new mono release, it will take several days until a new Royal TSX release is available.

Since OS X 10.11 is beta right now, we cannot offer support for it until it’s officially released. There are major changes in almost every beta release and keeping up with those is a time consuming process. Furthermore, since Royal TSX has several dependencies to other software, like the previously mentioned mono project, we depend on those 3rd parties to make sure their software components work on the latest releases. The bottom line here is, if you’re daily workflow depends on Royal TSX, please don’t use a OS X beta release. If you do however use a OS X beta release, please be aware that every update might break compatibility with software like Royal TSX.

We will update this post when new information or an updated Royal TSX build is available and we hope to have a fix available soon.

cheers,
felix



New Feature: PowerShell Connection

When managing Windows servers there is no way around PowerShell. So it was only logical that one of the most requested features was to fully integrate PowerShell in our products.

Note: This feature is included in the current beta releases of Royal TS and Royal Server (Royal TSX is coming soon!).

 

Use Cases

By executing PowerShell scripts on remote machines you can achieve virtually everything an IT Pro dreams of:

  • Manage User Accounts (resetting the password, disabling/enabling them, unlocking them etc)
  • Installing Windows Features
  • Working with specialised PowerShell commands for Exchange, Sharepoint etc
  • Searching for patterns in SQL Databases
  • Work with DSC (Desired State Configuration) commands
  • and so much more …

 

Creating a PowerShell connection

Creating a new PowerShell connection is straight forward: just add it by using the context menu:

2015-05-21 11_51_55-

Enter a Display Name and a Computer Name (as usually, this can be a list of Computers):

2015-05-21 16_27_10-Add PowerShell Connection

Lets assume, we want to display all Administrators on a server. The Microsoft TechNet Script Center already has a script that does this. You can find it here.

Paste it in the Script tab:

2015-05-21 16_39_21-Edit Properties_ Get members of Administrator group

Note: Always take care which scripts you execute from the Internet.
Note: This script does not work if you have a different operating system language than English because of the hard-coded group name “Administrators”
Note: I modified the script in the way that it returns a PowerShell object instead of strings

 

Now, this script contains a function, but no output yet. Since we actually want to get back the members we have to add the following code at the end:

get-localadmin -strcomputer localhost

 

In the Display Options you can specify if the output of your script should be shown as Text (as in the PowerShell console) or as a Grid.

2015-05-21 12_56_32-Add PowerShell Connection

 

Note: The checkbox Show Script Panel displays the script directly above the script output when you connect which enables you to easily adapt the script and see the changes immediately.

 

The Text tab in the Display Options settings page allow you to configure the Font, Font Size etc as you can configure it in your normal PowerShell console.

2015-05-21 12_57_02-Add PowerShell Connection

 

If you work with remote machines, specify a Credential that has the necessary rights.

2015-05-21 13_07_13-Add PowerShell Connection

 

The Royal Server settings page allows you to specify, if you want to execute the PowerShell script by using Royal Server or Direct Connect (No Royal Server).

2015-05-21 12_57_31-Add PowerShell Connection

 

As a result you get all logged in users from the specified hosts:

2015-05-21 16_40_56-Get members of Administrator group

 

Executing on multiple Servers

If you took a close look, we had to add the following line to the end of the script:

get-localadmin -strcomputer localhost

The computer is “localhost” since the PowerShell connection executes the script for each host that is entered in the Computer Name by using PowerShell Remoting. If you enter multiple hosts, the script is executed on multiple machines:

2015-05-21 16_38_59-Get members of Administrator group

Note: See the different hosts in the __ComputerName column which was populated from the  Computer Name property from the Connection.

 

But what if you actually want to pass in parameters to the Script? Additionally these parameters should be populated by information already stored in some Royal Object.

 

Working with Parameters

Lets assume, you want to specify the Administrators groups name in the CustomField1 in Royal TS and push it to the script when it executes.

1. Specify the name in the CustomField1:

2015-05-21 16_43_52-Edit Properties_ Get members of Administrator group

 

2. Adapt the script to work with Parameters

Every script needs to be prepared to work with Parameters. This is a block at the beginning of the script that looks like this:

Params (
    $param1
)

Adapt the script to use the newly introduced parameter:

 


2015-05-21 17_00_07-Edit Properties_ Get members of Administrator group

Note: The script has been changed to use the $AdminGroupName variable

 

3. Define the parameters in the Parameters Tab

Specify the parameter by referencing the CustomField1 variable.

2015-05-21 16_48_50-Edit Properties_ Get members of Administrator group

Note: The Test Value can be used for specifying static values for testing the script in the Test tab.

 

For testing purposes you can specify test-values and execute the Script in the Test tab to see if it works as expected (the output when testing is always Text)

 

Developing a Script

When you still develop a script, its inconvenient to always reopen the properties of the PowerShell Connection if you want to change the script. As a shortcut, you can use our Script Panel and edit your script and Refresh the output to see the results.

2015-05-21 17_05_44-

 

Using the Text output

Rendering the output of the script as a Grid only works if the script actually returns objects. But if the output is just plain text chose Text as Default Output in the Display Options settings page.

Consider the following script:

2015-05-21 17_57_38-Edit Properties_ Restart Printer Spooler

 

With Default Output set to Text:

2015-05-21 17_57_52-