Improving the browsing experience for creating store applications in Configuration Manager console

First published on CLOUDBLOGS on Feb 22, 2016
Author: Moiz Rassiwala, Software Engineer, Enterprise Client and Mobility

This post applies to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP2, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SP1, and the current branch of System Center Configuration Manager (version 1511).

If you have ever created a store application for iOS, Android, Windows Phone or Windows in Configuration Manager , then you will be familiar with the experience of creating the application by browsing the app store from within Configuration Manager console.

For example, take a look at the dialog box below which shows “ App Package for Android on Google Play” selected.

Hitting browse opens up a dialog that loads the respective platforms app store web page where you can browse and select an application that you want to install on managed devices. Something like the one below.

As you know the web is always evolving and things change for the better. However once in a while, things that used to work don’t work very well anymore. For example, when browsing the Android store, pretty much everything is not clickable. In short, the browsing experience became broken.

I discovered that the WebBrowser control by default emulates Internet Explorer 7. This led me to believe that this is most likely an issue with using the old browser. If anyone has Internet Explorer 7 installed, they will be easily able to verify the issue.

After some more research I discovered a simple fix for this.

Use the FEATURE_BROWSER_EMULATION Internet feature control which is a registry setting that tells the WebBrowser control to emulate the version of Internet Explorer that you want. It can be set for the user and applicable only to the application that launches the WebBrowser control. So I went ahead and created the following registry setting under HKCU for the Configuration Manager Admin Console exe.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (or HKEY_CURRENT_USER) | SOFTWARE | Microsoft | Internet Explorer | Main | FeatureControl | FEATURE_BROWSER_EMULATION | Microsoft.ConfigurationManagement.exe = (DWORD) 00010000

After that I reopened the Configuration Manager console and proceeded to create a store application by browsing. I observed that this had fixed the browsing experience. The display was very similar to what you would see when opened outside of the console as shown here. Everything was clickable and the experience was fixed.

This is how you can improve the browsing experience for creating store applications in Configuration Manager Admin Console.

If you’d like to read more about Internet Feature Control and FEATURE_BROWSER_EMULATION, then see this MSDN article.

If you have any issues with this fix then please add a comment.

--Moiz Rassiwala

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