Avanite

(Re-)gain control of your web-data with Avanite and cleanup user profiles – install and config


In my last blog, I wrote about cookie handling by news sites as presented at E2EVC. Avanite was presenting their solution there and I thought it would be a good idea to give it a test ride. Avanite developed a solution called WebData control to clean up user profiles after users have visited websites that clutter them. In this blog, I will show how to setup WebData control and what it does for your profile. I was interested in them as profiles of users are growing and UEM solution can just do that much to fix that. My blog will show products that are either niche products or products that integrate with Citrix products. Avanite WebData control integrates with Citrix UPM hence this blog (it also integrates with others)

Setup and architecture

The architecture of Avantie WebData Control is rather simple, there is no backend environment, no servers required. It operates through Group Policies and your current Active Directory.

On the client side, a client is installed that is executed through a logoff script. That’s all there is, a client, a couple of GPO settings and a logoff script. The rest is their magic.

Requirements

Pre-reqs are simple, it just requires Dot.Net Framework 4.5 (or higher) running to install the client. The client package is downloaded from https://avanite.com/downloads.

Setup

The installation is a next-next-finish.Avanite

 

The trickiest part of the installation, spoiler alert –  there is none, is that you can install the client with a trial license. I unchecked everything and installed it. I entered the license later on in the GPO setting and configured it there.

GPO configuration

After the installation, you need to setup the GPO to configure the settings. Copy the files (ADMX/ADML) in the PolicyDefinitions folder (you might have to create the folder first).

Avanite

Create a new GPO in the user folder, for this test I had the user and virtual machines in one OU but in production cases that Avanitewouldn’t be the case. There is a computer config and a user config, make sure the logoff task is running for the user so that it is executed the right moment.

There are a couple of settings that are important, settings are grouped in Global and per Browser instance. So they differentiate there and if you only want to clean up Chrome you can just do that.

They also allow you to work with Windows Store apps, another annoying data consuming feature.

Basically, there are a few simple setting to set up in the GPO, enable these settings;

  • Global policy
    • Data optimization
    • Event logging

Next, set the license in the Global policy.

For each browser, you want to configure to following setting in GPO. So if you want to configure IE or Edge you go to the folder in the GPO for that browser and configure the following settings;

  • Cookie Retention
    • Retain specified number of calendar days, default 7
    • Remove expired cookies
  • Cookie Type Removal
    • Remove known advertising and tracking cookies
  • Data report
    • The path to the Export folder
  • DOM Data removal
  • History retention
    • Retain specified number of calendar days, default 7
  • Temporary internet data removal
  • Third party cookie removal

Batch file – logoff script

The last thing to do, before you can taste the pudding, is to create a logoff script. The logoff script only contains the following line – C:\Progra~1\Avanite\AvaWDC\AvaWDC.exe – after this, restart the machines and it will start to work.

The proof of the pudding……

In the test, I started Chrome and browsed to a number of news sites. Each of them asked for cookies and I clicked yes. So after closing Chrome, I took a look at the size of the user data folder and it turned out to be 40+MB.

Avanite Avanite

 

 

 

 

 

 

After running Avanite WebData Control the user data folder shrank to 24+MB, almost half the size. There is much more to show but the idea is clear I think. In the temp folder, the folder I set up for logging I see the following files.

Avanite

If we look in the Chrome files around the time I did log off we see the following entries. A number of cookies are removed at logoff but not all. When I log back on I can browse the sites without having to consent to cookies again.

Integrate it with UEM

One last word about integration. Many environments are set up with a UEM solution these days as we moved away from Roaming profile. All folders and registry keys configured will be saved for the user, no matter the size of them. This because it is impossible to configure which one to save and which one to delete (in the UEm solutions). To combine e.g. Citrix UPM with WebData control offers a solution where the set of data is minimized and the performance of the user session is improved. A win-win situation they call this. Everything described here is all you need to do to integrate it with Citrix UPM, simple as that.

I think they make a simple configurable tool that really could be a value-add for customers.


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