Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why move to Windows 10?

Problem with SnippingTool.exe

Enable/Disable USB does not work.

The Supervisor password does not work.

Is there a way to hide the universal time in the status bar of the Secure Desktop shell?

Can there be a background image behind the Secure Desktop shell?

There is an error message: "Could not Set Attributes in C:\ProgramData\VisualAutomation\SecureDesktop\sdesktop.xml"

Application XYZ works fine when Explorer is the shell, but not when Secure Desktop is the shell.

Do you have a CD-ROM version of Secure Desktop that can be physically shipped?

Is there a free trial version of Secure Desktop?

In 64-bit Windows, Windows Powershell is working correctly when Explorer is the shell, but not when Secure Desktop is the shell

Why move to Windows 10?

  • Windows 7 will become more susceptible to exploitation due to lack of security updates and the discovery of new vulnerabilities. Microsoft and other industry professionals strongly recommend upgrading computer systems to an actively supported operating system. Continuing to use any operating system within an enterprise beyond the end of life status may provide cyber criminals access into computer systems.
  • Cyber actors continue to find entry points into legacy Windows operating systems and leverage Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) exploits.
  • Read the Joint Cybersecurity Advisory about the unauthorized access to a SCADA system at a drinking water treatment plant on February 5th, 2021.
  • us-cert.cisa.gov

Problem with SnippingTool.exe

  • sDesktop.exe (Secure Desktop Shell) is a 32bit application.
  • 64-Bit Windows does what's called "File System Virtualization" for certain folders, including the System32 folder.
  • The Virtualization swaps the contents of the
    • C:\windows\system32
    • and
    • C:\windows\syswow64
  • folders depending on if the calling application is 32-bit or 64-bit.
  • To launch the SnippingTool.exe from Secure Desktop, manually type the following string into the Command field for an icon:
    • C:\Windows\Sysnative\SnippingTool.exe

Enable/Disable USB does not work.

  • In Windows XP, 7 and 8 this Secure Desktop feature works by renaming 2 files in the Windows/Inf folder and a registry setting
  • If the Windows folder or the Windows/Inf folder has the wrong folder ownership, this may not work correctly
  • There is an alternate method in Windows 7, 8 and 10
    • To disable USB, open the Local Group Policy Editor (GPEdit.msc) and navigate to:
      • Local Computer Policy
      • Computer Configuration
      • Administrative Templates
      • System
      • Removable Storage Access
    • In the right pane, locate the following policies:
      • Removable Disks: Deny execute access
      • Removable Disks: Deny read access
      • Removable Disks: Deny write access
    • Set each of these policies to Enabled.
    • Restart the system for these policies to take effect.
    • Note: The Local Group Policy Editor is not available in Windows Home Edition.

The Supervisor password does not work.

  • Check to see if Calculation Password is turned on for Supervisor
  • Secure Desktop Tools | Administrator tab | Supervisor button | Calculation Passwords tab | Supervisor checkbox
  • If the checkbox is not checked, the password should be straight up identical text
  • If the checkbox is checked, the password is different than the password text
  • Please read Secure Desktop documentation for more details

Is there a way to hide the universal time in the status bar of the Secure Desktop shell?

  • If you are using Secure Desktop 8.xx, download a free upgrade to version 8.28
  • https://visualautomation.com/download/sup828.exe
  • If you are using Secure Desktop 10.xx, download a free upgrade to the latest version
  • Secure Desktop Download
  • Secure Desktop Tools | Secure Desktop tab | Option button | Icon tab | checkbox list | Hide Universal Time on Status Bar checkbox
  • If you are not able to upgrade, you can hide the entire status bar
  • Secure Desktop Tools | Secure Desktop tab | Option button | Icon tab | checkbox list | Hide Status Bar checkbox

Can there be a background image behind the Secure Desktop shell?

  • Starting with version 8.10, Secure Desktop now has a wallpaper feature
  • Secure Desktop Tools | Secure Desktop tab | Option button | Startup tab | Display Wallpaper when Secure Desktop is the Shell checkbox
  • Secure Desktop Download

There is an error message: "Could not Set Attributes in C:\ProgramData\VisualAutomation\SecureDesktop\sdesktop.xml"

  • sdesktop.xml is Secure Desktop's configuration file
  • Secure Desktop sets the file attributes for this file to be read-only, hidden and system
  • You may get this message when copying an sdesktop.xml file from one machine to another machine
  • To resolve, simply clear all attributes for this file using File Explorer

Application XYZ works fine when Explorer is the shell, but not when Secure Desktop is the shell.

  • Many software applications that are running in the background have a “stub” program that is started automatically by the Explorer shell
  • Secure Desktop intentionally does not automatically start applications that the Explorer shell automatically starts
  • Secure Desktop only starts applications automatically that are configured in the Secure Desktop Startup tab
  • There are many registry locations where a “stub” application might be started by the Explorer shell
  • The easiest way to find these locations and applications is to use a free utility from Microsoft named Autoruns:
  • https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963902.aspx
  • Once you have launched this utility, simply look for the “stub” application named similar to the name of XYZ application that you are using
  • Once you have determined path and exe name of the application, simply configure Secure Desktop to start this application in the Startup tab
  • Autoruns does not make any changes to your system, it simply reports which applications are configured to start automatically by the Explorer shell

Do you have a CD-ROM version of Secure Desktop that can be physically shipped?

  • Visual Automation no longer ships physical CD-ROM disks
  • Software delivery is an e-mail message for an order with software download information and serial numbers

Is there a free trial version of Secure Desktop?

  • There is not a free trial version of Secure Desktop
  • We do offer a 30 day evaluation period
  • If our software does not meet your needs, you may ask for a refund within 30 days of the original purchase
  • The easiest way to purchase Secure Desktop for evaluation is from our online Shopify store
  • https://visual-automation.myshopify.com/
  • Several different payment methods are available
  • If Secure Desktop does not meet your needs, within 30 days, simply contact us and we will credit the payment method used

In 64-bit Windows, Windows Powershell is working correctly when Explorer is the shell, but not when Secure Desktop is the shell

  • You might be running the 32-bit version of Powershell when Secure Desktop is the shell
  • And the 64-bit version when Explorer is the shell
  • The file paths to the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Powershell are not intuitive
  • 32-bit version: C:\Windows\SysWOW64\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe
  • 64-bit version: C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe