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Recording a web application browser session driving you crazy?

Sometimes – getting this to work is frustrating.  The problems generally are caused by the security hardening of the OS hosting the console… not an issue with OpsMgr.  Here are some tips.

This is seen especially on hardened versions of Vista and Server 2008.  Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configration, and UAC (User Account Control) can cause your web recording session to be less than stellar.  All of this can be configured – however, to allow the recorder to work perfectly.  Lets walk through the challenges:

The first time you run this wizard – and start a capture – you will see the following popup:

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Since the recorder pane is a browser extension – we need to enable this capability, which is disabled by default on many hardened browsers.  Just open IE, tools, Internet Options, Advanced Tab, and check the box to “Enable Third Party Browser Extensions”

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Easy enough….  However – now when we launch the recorder – we don’t see a recorder bar where we should – we just see a blank pane where it would be:

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This is caused by UAC (User Account control).  This is enabled on Windows Server 2008 and Vista by default.  Your options are to run the console “As An Administrator” or just turn off UAC altogether on the OS.   Since we dont recommend disabling UAC… I am going to just close the console, then run the console “As an Administrator”

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Now – we can see the web recorder add-in, as expected.

Note – this *might* RESET your browser settings – so once more – you might have to open IE – and enable 3rd party browser extensions.

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HOWEVER – once we start recording – we hit another snag…. we get constantly prompted about IE Enhanced Security.  You have to turn this off in order to browse any website that isnt explicitly trusted.

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So… lets disable IE ESC… you can do this from server manager in Windows 2008:

I am going to turn it OFF for Administrators.

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Note – this *might* RESET your browser settings – so once more – you might have to open IE – and enable 3rd party browser extensions.

Ahhhh…. IE ESC is disabled… UAC is disabled (or console is run as an Administrator) and all is well:

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You basically have two options here….

1.  Run the console on the server.  You must disable IE ESC hardening, and work around UAC security.

2.  (Recommended) Run the console on a less secured workstation, that does not have IE ESC hardening enabled, and does not have UAC enabled.  If UAC is enabled on the workstation (Vista) then run the console “As an Administrator)

**** NOTE:

One thing that has been found in the field…. if you do a fresh install of the console, the web recorder wont always come up, even after checking all these configuration settings, even on older systems like 2003 and XP.  You need to do a reboot of the box, in order to use the web recorder, sometimes.

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