You see only a white screen when viewing Lync 2013 desktop sharing

On a couple of Windows 8 computers I have seen the issue where I receive only white screen when someone shares their desktop with me in Lync 2013.

This applies to

  • Fresh installed Windows 8 computer
  • One year old Windows 8 computer
  • Lync Peer to Peer collaboration
    • The issue is consequent so it is not a specific deployment issue
  • Lync conference
    • All other attendees can see the screen fine so it is not an appsharing issue
  • The issue is client related so it will be present for Lync Online as well as Lync on-premises

The experience

WhiteAppSharing

The failure is on the client computer and it is related to ActiveX Security settings in IE

When you reproduce the problem you can find a new entry in EventViewer

  • To see if you have the event entries
    • look for EventID 301 in the Microsoft Office-Alerts folder
  • Find the related issues using PowerShell
    • Get-EventLog -LogName OAlerts -InstanceId 301 | Where-Object {$_.message -match “lync”
  • By expanding the Message property you can see the CLSID entry for Lync
    • Get-EventLog -LogName OAlerts -InstanceId 301 | Where-Object {$_.message -match “lync”} | Select-Object -ExpandProperty Message -First 1
    • The CLSID and CATID is the same for all Lync clients accross computers, note that it is the same as the GUID’s we use in the resolution
    • View the output below

activex

The Resolution

Searching around I found this blog by Joao Loureiro posted about a year ago. The resolution is to change some registry settings

  • To resolve the issue you can set the ActiveX compatibility flag in the registry
  • To check if you have the entry use the following oneliner
    • Get-ItemProperty  -Path “HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ActiveX Compatibility\{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}” -Name “Compatibility Flags”
    • Get-ItemProperty -Path “HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ActiveX Compatibility\{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}” -Name “Compatibility Flags”
  • We can set the allow flag for this registry setting, instead of deleting it since it can come back
    • Setting the allow flag makes sure it stays that way
  • You need to open PowerShell in administrator mode in order to change registry settings
  • Setting the compatibility mode for Lync 2013 64 bits or running Lync 2013 32 bits on Windows 8 32 bits
    • Set-ItemProperty -Path “HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ActiveX Compatibility\{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}” -Name “Compatibility Flags” -Value 8388608
  • Setting the compatibility mode for Lync 2013 32 bits on Windows 8 64 bits
    • Set-ItemProperty -Path “HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ActiveX Compatibility\{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}” -Name “Compatibility Flags” -Value 8388608
  • All you need to do is restart the application sharing session and the issue should be resolved, no need to restart client or computer

Technical References

6 thoughts on “You see only a white screen when viewing Lync 2013 desktop sharing

  1. Wow! This finally fixed the problem for me. I have been trying various methods that didn’t work. Including deleting/adding this key to the Registry manually. For some reason, that didn’t work. But your scripts worked. Thanks so much!!!

  2. Just remove the Key “HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ActiveX Compatibility\{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}” in the Regedit.

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