How to setup Microsoft Azure RemoteApp with a custom image (step-by-step)

In this blog I will guide you step-by-step on how to setup Microsoft Azure RemoteApp with a custom image. First I will create a custom image with a few custom applications installed on it. In the following steps I will show you how to import this image to RemoteApp, publish the applications and give users access to these applications. For this blog I will use a clean Azure environment (with nothing configured yet) and keep everything basic. For the user provisioning I have validated my robinhobo.com domain and manually created a test user. You can find these step-by-step instructions in my previous blog (click here).

At this moment Azure RemoteApp is only available within the Classic Azure portal, however, most parts of the preparation can be made from the new portal, so if possible, I will use the new Azure Portal for this blog.

Step 1 : Create a Resource Group

The first step is to create a Azure Resource Group. Within this resource group we will create a Virtual Network and a Virtual Machine in later steps.
Login to the Microsoft Azure portal ( https://portal.azure.com/ ) and open the Resource groups page.

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Click the Plus (Add) button in the upper left corner.

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Fill in a Resource group name (anything you like). Select a Subscription and a Resource group location. Click Create.

 Step 2 : Create a Virtual Network

The second step is to create a Virtual network. For this blog I keep it simple and apply all the default settings but we have to make sure we build this Virtual network for the Classic Azure environment so we can easily use the images we are going to create for RemoteApp in the next few steps. Therefor open the Virtual networks (classic) page.

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Click the Plus (Add) button in the upper left corner.

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Fill in a Name (anything you like), I leave the Name, Address space, Subnet name and Subnet address default. Select the Resource Group we created in step 1. Click Create.

Step 3 : Create a Storage Account

Just like in step 2 with the Virtual Network, we need to create a Storage Account in the Classic environment of Azure. Therefore open the Storage accounts (classic) page.

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Click the Plus (Add) button in the upper left corner.

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For this blog I keep it simple and as cheap as possible 🙂 Make sure you select the Classic Deployment model and that you select the Resource group created in step one. Click Create.

Step 4 : Create a Virtual Machine (for master image)

In this step I will create the Virtual Machine used for creating the custom image. Open the Virtual Machines (classic) page.

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Click the Plus (Add) button in the upper left corner.

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Search for remote or RemoteApp and select Windows Serer Remote Desktop Session Host with Microsoft Office 365 proPlus or Windows Server Remote Desktop Session Host on Windows Serer 2012 R2 (without Office pre-installed).

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Make sure the Classic deployment model is selected and click Create

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Fill in a Host Name, User Name and a Password

By default the Standard D3 pricing Tier is selected. For this blog I select a cheaper one, the A2 Basic.

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Select Optional Configuration (Network, Storage, diagnostics) > Network (Review default settings)

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Select Virtual Network and then select the existing virtual network created in step 2

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Select Subnet and then select the existing subnet created in step 2

For this blog I keep the domain name default and leave the IP address set to dynamic

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Select Storage Account and select the existing storage account created in step 3 and click OK

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Click Create

Step 5 : Customize the master image

The next step is to customize the base/master image. For this blog I will install FileZilla and Notepad++ on it.

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After a few minutes the server created in step 4 is up and running. Open the Virtual machines (classic) page to see if the serer status is Running.

If that is the case, double click on it.

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Take a look at the DNS name, in my case this is “ra-master1.cloudapp.net”. In the first place you don’t need to remind this name, but I got some errors when connecting to this server (see next steps) when clicking on the Connect button. So I had to connect with a alternative method. Click Connect to see if it works for you.

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After entering the User account information to logon I got this error message; The remote session was disconnected because there are no Remote Desktop License Servers available to provide a license. Please contact the server administrator.

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Open a run dialog and run the following command; mstsc /admin

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Connect to your server DNS name, in my case ra-master1.cloudapp.net

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Login with the created user account and you will see that you now can logon successful.

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If you check the installed application, you see that Adobe Reader XI and Microsoft Office (including Visio) is already installed.

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Now is the time to install some custom applications. For this blog I have installed the FileZilla Client and Notepad++ (just for testing)

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If you are done installing and configuring apps double click the PowerShell ValidateAzureRemoteAppImage located on the desktop

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Press Y by the question to launch Sysprep

After Sysprep is completed, the system will be shut down.

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After a few minutes the server status will change to Stopped. When that is the case, double click on it.

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Click on Capture. Fill in a Image name and Image Label and select I’ve run Sysprep on the virtual machine.

Click OK

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After a few minutes the status will change to Success

Step 6 : Import the customized image to RemoteApp

Click on the RemoteApp collections menu item. This will launch the Azure Classic portal. After login, the RemoteApp page is displayed.

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Open the Template Images tab and click on Import or upload a template image

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Click on Import an image from your Virtual Machines library (recommended).

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Select the custom image and select I confirm that I followed these steps to create my image. Click on the arrow to the right.

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Give it a name and click the checkmark

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After a while the Import is complete.

Step 7 : Create a RemoteApp Collection

The last step before we can test the custom image is to create a Microsoft Azure RemoteApp Collection with the custom image.

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Open the RemoteApp Collections tab and click Create A RemoteApp Collection

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Select Create with VNET. Give the collection a name, select een PLAN and select the correct Virtual Network and Subnet.

Click the Checkmark

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Click on the arrow to the right next to the Collection name when the status is changed to Input Required

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Click Link a template image

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Click on Link an existing template image

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Select the custom image imported in step 6 and click the checkmark

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The collection will now be provisioned. Click on the big arrow to the left in the upper left corner.

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The Provisioning of the Azure RemoteApp Collection can take up to one hour.

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Click on the arrow to the right next to the Collection name when the status is changed to Active

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Click on Publish RemoteApp programs

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Select the applications you want to publish and click the checkmark

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After a few minutes the applications are published. Open the User Access page.

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Add the users you want to give access to your published applications and click Save

Step 8 : Test the Azure RemoteApp collection

In this final step I will test the Azure RemoteApp Collection. To do this, download the Microsoft Azure RemoteApp app : https://www.remoteapp.windowsazure.com/en/clients.aspx

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Login with a user you added in the previous step.

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The published apps are now displayed. For the test I will launch Notepad++

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The application is starting up..

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..and started without any problems.

2 comments

  • Recently Microsoft has announced it’s partnership with Citrix with delivering Azure Remote App via Citrix Xenapp Express. This means in order to get RemoteApp Azure you have to get Xenapp Express for Azure.

About Robin Hobo

I work as a Senior Solution Architect with focus on the Modern Workspace. I am specialized in Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), Windows 365 and Microsoft EM+S (including Microsoft Endpoint Manager - Microsoft Intune).

For my full bio, check the About Me page.

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