Chrome and the VMware Authentication Plug-In

VMware Authenciation Plug-inOne of my customer mentioned recently that there is a problem with Chrome and the VMware Authentication Plug-In which keeps asking him if he wants to open the “vmware-cip-launcher.exe” or not.

Reason

In the past there was a way to remember the settings of such plug-in but it looks like it’s not there any more. After same Google research I found the following information. A “recent” update to Chrome 77 intentionally removed the “remember this action” checkbox when launching applications through the browser. The corresponding Chromium Git commit can be found here.

We realized in a conversation around issue 951540 that we don’t have settings UI that allows users to reconsider decisions they’ve made around external protocol support. Until we work that out, and make longer-term decisions about the permission model around the feature generally, we should stop making the problem worse by removing that checkbox from the UI.

I can fully understand the reason behind this change but it also incorporates some challenges. Because it’s not well documented, a user don’t know if this was a Chrome change or a VMware change in the plug-in. In addition to that it’s little bit annoying to always click “Open” when the VMware Authentication Plug-In tries to run.

Workaround

Thanks god I found a VMTN forum posts how to work around this “issue” and I need to thank the Users HWit1 and Lewpy form this post for pointing me into the right direction.

To work around this issue you need to do the following (Windows based):

  1. Locate the Chrome Preference file under %LOCALAPPDATA%\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Preferences
  2. Open it in e.g. Notepad++ with installed JSON Viewer plugin
  3. Add the following lines at the top level of the JSON file. There is already a protocol_handler entry but as sub-key of another top level entry. To make it work it MUST be at the top level!
    “protocol_handler”: {
    “excluded_schemes”: {
    “vmrc”: false,
    “vmware-plugin”: false
    }
    },
  4. This will not only remove the popup for the VMware Authentication plug-in (vmware-plugin) but also for the VMware Remote Console (vmrc).
  5. Check if the entry is there with this Powershell one liner:
    (Get-Content “$env:LOCALAPPDATA\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\preferences” -Raw | ConvertFrom-Json).protocol_handler
    If the output is empty it wasn’t added as a top level item.

To make the previous task more easier I wrote a PowerShell script which will do the job for you. You can find it (FixAuthPlugInForChrome.ps1) in my GitHub repository here.

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