Cloud Drive Mapper v2.7 (Epic Release)

IMPORTANT: Please read this support post before updating Cloud Drive Mapper, especially if you haven’t updated CDM in your environment before. 
Cloud Drive Mapper 2.7 contains a complete upgrade to CDM’s authentication system, which now has a fully native integration with Azure AD via MSAL. This is the single largest change we’ve ever made to Cloud Drive Mapper to date and an important step forwards. It means that Cloud Drive Mapper is now fully compliant with Microsoft latest standards for authentication. It has also allowed us to significantly simplify and streamline the Cloud Drive Mapper client itself.

A bit of history…

For the past 18 months,  Cloud Drive Mapper has been using ADAL (the predecessor of MSAL), but as it was not possible to have a native integration with SharePoint, we had to develop a creative way for Cloud Drive Mapper to hybridise ADAL with SP. Our solution involved using the Chromium browser engine. This was a clever solution but it in turn created several new problems:
  1. It inflated the size of the Cloud Drive Mapper client. CDM v2.6 is approximately 150MB, CDM v2.7 is 5MB. In other words, our client was 97% Chromium 3% our client. Talk about the “tail wagging the dog”.
  2. Chromium’s size inflation effect caused increased resource utilisation and reduced load speeds. This in itself created several problems, including a strange phenomenon in some cases where people would see a white box temporarily display and then disappear again. The white box could appear when CDM was trying to perform and authentication request but the Chromium browser was struggling to load quickly enough to do it covertly to the user.
  3. There were some scenarios where on VDI environments the Chromium instances could start having major impact on server resources.
  4. Chromium has caused a few issues with customers using Azure Conditional Access, because weirdly even though the new Microsoft Edge client uses Chromium, Azure CA didn’t have full support for it.
  5. Chromium also caused some issues with customers using AppLocker.
  6. And finally, some customers specifically had a policy where they could not use Chrome. So it was just ruled out entirely.
The great news is that, with our new 2.7 release, all of the above problems have been solved.
Cloud Drive Mapper is back down to a nice small compact size. It’s incredibly snappy at startup. And best yet, it is really robust. Whether starting up a fresh or coming back out of sleep, CDM has mapped your drives again before you’ve even noticed. It will vary from machine to machine and based on Internet performance and the number of drives you have mapped, but for a simple setup we’re now seeing drives mapped in under 5 seconds of Windows loading compared to around 15-30 seconds with Chromium.

2.7 brings several additional enhancements

  • Cloud Drive Mapper is now fully compliant with Office 365/Azure MFA. While ADAL technically supports Azure MFA, there are scenarios where the experience is not great. Because CDM is having to get access tokens for both SharePoint and MS Graph, it is having to make fairly frequent calls to O365 to refresh these tokens. This has, in some circumstances, led to users being repeatedly asked for MFA credentials. MSAL solves these problems entirely. The user experience for MFA-users has significantly improved in version 2.7.
  • For related reasons to above, 2.7 also has a significantly improved experience when operating in environments without SSO, as well as for users roaming outside the network where SSO doesn’t normally apply (e.g. on laptops working at home without a VPN).
  • One of the challenges we can occasionally come up against with some of larger environments is Office 365 throttling. While there is no way for us to modify the throttle, we have found several efficiency savings in the amount of traffic being sent to Office 365 to reduce the likelihood of throttling.
Finally, the 2.7 release also contains a number of bug fixes and minor improvements:
  • Fixed an edge-case where the ManageMyDrives feature wasn’t able to retrieve the list of the users’ drive if a prior connection to SharePoint hadn’t already been established, and a secondary issue in ManageMyDrives in cases where there are legitimately no drives to display in the list.

Team comment

We’re really happy with version 2.7. While we’ve been working hard for the past two years on the new client – the fabled “version 3” – 2.7 ensures that the current generation of CDM is in a great place. It’s faster than any version before it. It’s more stable and efficient. And it’s native, so there should be few edge-cases to worry about. 2.7 paves the way forward for us, and helps us to continue building momentum in our Cloud Drive Mapper v3 project.

What’s next?

Performance was a key theme in 2.7, and the introduction of native MSAL and removal of Chromium gave us a major win. But during the work for 2.7 we discovered a few opportunities and ideas for us to further improve the efficiency, performance and resilience between the client and Office 365. While there are many, many new features we will add to CDM, most new functionality will be reserved for version 3. For now our main aim for CDM v2 is having a rock solid tool that harmonizes as perfectly as possible with Office 365.
The one exception to this is in providing better support for Intune deployments. We’ve got some pretty cool ideas about how to make CDM nice and elegant for IT Admins to deploy and manage through MS Intune. After that we will be in touching distance of our Version 3 beta program… 🚀

Full Release Notes

1. MSAL fully integrated allowing a significant improvement to the authentication and the removal of Chromium WebKit.
2. Significant reduction in WebDAV traffic
3. Quicker startup process in cached environments
4. Significantly better handling for 403 errors
5. Reduction in binary size by 95% (138Mb to 4Mb)
6. Large performance improvements to the Manage Drives UI when selecting and interacting with Site Lists
7. Added IWAByPass option to aid optimisation during authentication and allow authentication to continue when it is blocked by proxy
8. Random time allocation for when the rebuild occurs of cache data to prevent spikes on Microsoft 365 during peak hours
9. Design improvements to the About page
10. Remove redundant checks being made for drive permissions for Teams Converge which speeds up non cached environments
1. Spelling corrections in the logs
2. Fix when cookie could be empty when mapping managed drives
3. Resolved a potential threading issue when Manage Drives is being used whilst a background drive rebuild is going on
4. OneDrive URL in the configuration is now properly preserved and compared to the disocvery of the user logged in
5. Fix to issue that prevented cache and config with special characters saving to OneDrive
6. Fix to SharePoint sites being removed incorrectly on FullConverge
7. Added logic to handle transient issues when checking permissions on SharePoint which would incorrectly mark a drive as blocked
8. Handle for better interaction with native cookie handlers when duplicate cookies were found causing us to use an old cookie preventing drive from mapping
9. Fix an issue when OneDrive and SharePoint sites were mapped together and one expires before the other, this would occasionally cause a drive to become inaccessible and show as FAT32
Feature Requests
1. Using the Control (CTRL) key and right clicking on the menu it now brings up the ability to have direct access to logging options. This option can be disabled using the DisableUserLogMenu key.
2. Unable to use UTF-16 characters has been resolved
3. Added an auto-heal option to the user within the context menu if CDM thinks it has detect an issue it cannot fix automatically
4. Conditional Access is now fully supported
5. Refresh button will now clear down the cache and rebuild drive listings
Change of behaviours
1. PreClearDown option has been removed and replaced with PreAuthClearDown and PreCacheClearDown
2. We now recommend in SSO environments to use the PreAuthClearDown key
3. Removal of the run dialog that shows when exe is run in standalone mode giving the option of Run Once or Run on startup
4. PreClearDown can no longer be used on command line
5. DisableSSO key is now obsolete
6. BrowserVerbose key is now obsolete