What is URL Content Redirection in Horizon View 7.x?

With the URL Content Redirection feature, we configure specific URLs to open on the client machine and specific URLs on the virtual desktop or application.

How does this feature help?

URL Content Redirection helps both improve security and reduce unnecessary bandwidth and resource consumption in virtual desktop when users browse certain Internet based content.

Let us understand with some example here.

Let us assume that user is connecting to a virtual desktop and we basically do not want to allow certain websites (say “yahoo.com”) to be accessed in virtual desktop but at the same time we do not want to block the website when user tries to connect to it.

Instead of blocking the website, whenever user tries to access yahoo.com inside virtual desktop, the moment user types URL in IE address bar and hits enter, users browser session gets redirected to client machine IE as shown in image below. So yahoo.com will be opened but using the IE of client machine and not that of virtual desktop.

Image: VMware

Similar to above example, we can configure redirection other way around as well. For example, we want certain webpage like internal SharePoint site to be opened inside virtual desktop and not on client as in our example, being an internal SharePoint site, it will not open on client if user is not in LAN.

So when user opens IE in client machine and types the URL of SharePoint site, automatically, it will redirect the request in virtual desktop or application. If the session is not running already, it will prompt user to enter credentials and then establish the session so that redirection request is completed

As discussed above, URL Content Redirection feature supports redirection from VDI (virtual desktop or app) to a client called as agent-to-client redirection, and from a client to VDI (virtual desktop or app) called client-to-agent redirection..

Below is the demo of URL content redirection, for Client to agent and agent to client redirection along with group policy settings.

Agent-to-client redirection 

With agent-to-client redirection, Horizon Agent sends the URL to Horizon Client, which opens the default application for the protocol in the URL on the client machine. 

Client-to-agent redirection 

With client-to-agent redirection, Horizon Client opens a remote desktop or remote application that you specify to handle the URL.

If the URL is redirected to a remote desktop, the link is opened in the default browser for the protocol on the desktop. If the URL is redirected to a remote application, the link is opened by the specified application.

We can configure redirection for protocols like HTTP, HTTPS, mailto, and callto.

Requirements for URL Content Redirection

To use the URL Content Redirection, client machines, virtual desktop machines, and RDS hosts must meet certain requirements.  This section is updated for release Horizon 7.12. Earlier versions do share similar requirements

Web browsers 

  • Internet Explorer 9, 10, and 11 
  • Chrome 60.0.3112.101 or later (Official Build), 64-bit or 32-bit 
    • VMware Horizon URL Content Redirection Helper extension must be installed and enabled

Windows clients 

  • Horizon Client 4.0 for Windows or later. 
  • To use the Chrome browser with URL Content Redirection, you must install Horizon Client 4.7 or later. 
  • To use client-to-agent redirection, you must enable the URL Content Redirection feature during Horizon Client for Windows installation. 

Mac clients 

  • Horizon Client 4.2 for Mac or later (Tech preview mode for client version 4.2 and 4.3 and supports only agent-to-client redirection). 
  • In Horizon Client 4.4 for Mac and later, URL Content Redirection is officially supported and it supports both agent-to-client and client-to-agent redirection. 
  • To use the Chrome browser with URL Content Redirection, you must install Horizon Client 4.7 or later. 

Linux clients

  • Horizon Client 5.4 for Linux or later.

Virtual desktop and RDS hosts 

  • Horizon Agent 7.0 or later in desktop virtual machines and RDS hosts that provide published desktops and published applications. 
  • To use the Chrome browser with URL Content Redirection, you must install Horizon Agent 7.4 or later. 
  • You must enable the URL Content Redirection feature during Horizon Agent installation. 

Display protocols 

  • VMware Blast 
  • PCoIP


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