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I work in business environment with the following setup:

  1. Our PCs are added to a work account (and being managed)
  2. We are allowed to keep admin access to the machine

I have a client with strong security. What that means, if you don't have a machine managed by THEIR work account, you cannot add their email address to your Outlook, you cannot download stuff from their Sharepoint, you cannot even open for editing anything in Word/Excel/Powerpoint, and so on ... which effectively reduces our efficiency a lot.

So I got a bright idea - what if I install something similar to WSL, create a lighter VM with Windows, let the VM be managed by the client, and use seamless windows to my Host?

Well, so far that's where I am .. as I found out, Hyper-V cannot do that, VirtualBox as well ... so any way, any software, that would allow me to run a Windows VM in the background, and allow seamless windows to the Host?

Thank you!

2 Answers 2

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Create a VM using any software, then connect to it via Remote Desktop in RemoteApp mode (which is the seamless "we have Citrix at home" mode that RDP has). The VM itself can remain 'headless', so Hyper-V would work fine.

Although officially RemoteApp needs a Server edition and the full RDS Host role setup, you can actually use RemoteApp Tool to enable it on any Windows Pro machine (as well as on Server if you just don't want to mess around with server roles).

You'll need to create .rdp files for individual apps, but it should be enough to have one for Firefox or Windows Explorer; it can then start other apps on the same connection. Clipboard sync works the same way as with regular RDP, and similarly you can access host drives via \\tsclient if enabled in the .rdp file.

(WSLg uses very nearly the same mechanism to run Linux apps seamlessly – on the Windows side, the apps are actually displayed by a RDP client.)

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  • That sounds cool, thank you very much! I'll try this shortly! (Although I have suspicion that it won't work in a full scope (e.g. click on link from seamless browser and boot up new seamless office app, but let's see, maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised :) )
    – Zorak
    Apr 15 at 15:29
  • Works like charm. Thanks a lot!
    – Zorak
    Apr 15 at 18:06
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Microsoft did exactly this and built it into Windows work versions, starting in Windows 10. Search for Microsoft Defender Application Guard.

Individual applications run in their own VM, but their windows are seamlessly combined. Edge is supported in-box, Office Enterprise editions also have built-in compatibility.

Obviously, there's a performance and memory hit, but from my experience it works well.

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