Windows Desktop won’t load for Unity Admin on Unity in VMWare


HaileyThe UC team here at NetCraftsmen relies pretty heavy on virtualization to mock up various testing scenarios for customers.  A while ago, I mocked up a lab to simulate a Unity upgrade for a customer.  We do this to standardize procedures and head off any issues BEFORE production work occurs.  At the time, the customer had decided to upgrade a Unity 4x system to Unity 5.0(1).  Following standard practices, I installed the Unity 5.0(1) server as a virtual machine and associated the various service accounts (Unity Install, Unity Directory Services, and Unity Message Store Service) per standard protocol.  In addition, I associated the Unity Admin account to the Unity web administration interface (SA).  I haven’t validated this on other versions of Unity other than 5x; however, I have replicated the issue.  Lastly, I use VMWare Server (currently, 2.0.1) in my UC lab.  My disclaimer is that your experience may vary based on the various applications you use.  Here is what I have seen…

The Issue

The issue I found (and have verified on subsequent test installs) is that when you try to login to the “console” using the Unity Admin account, the Windows Desktop never loads.  Subsequently, you can login as Unity Install, the desktop loads, and you can run Unity SA without issue.  Oddly enough, when I checked the security logs on the server I could see that Unity Admin was successfully authenticating; however, no desktop.

The Resolution

Technically, I could have just used Unity Install for what I needed to do but we like to do things the right way.  So, I found that that you can do the following to resolve the problem.

1.     Enable Remote Desktop the virtual Unity server.

2.     Using RDP, connect to the server and login as Unity Admin.

3.     Allow the desktop to load via the RDP session and then log off.

4.     You can now login to the “console” of the virtual Unity server using the Unity Admin account.

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Nick Kelly

Cybersecurity Engineer, Cisco

Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.


Virgilio “BONG” dela Cruz Jr.

CCDP, CCNA V, CCNP, Cisco IPS Express Security for AM/EE
Field Solutions Architect, Tech Data

Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.


John Cavanaugh

CCIE #1066, CCDE #20070002, CCAr
Chief Technology Officer, Practice Lead Security Services, NetCraftsmen

John is our CTO and the practice lead for a talented team of consultants focused on designing and delivering scalable and secure infrastructure solutions to customers across multiple industry verticals and technologies. Previously he has held several positions including Executive Director/Chief Architect for Global Network Services at JPMorgan Chase. In that capacity, he led a team managing network architecture and services.  Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, John was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco working across a number of verticals including Higher Education, Finance, Retail, Government, and Health Care.

He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.