Connection Manager Administration Kit and the Customization Process

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 Foundation, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Vista

Connection Manager is brandable, which means that you can customize it to reflect the identity of your organization. You determine which functions and features you want to include, and how Connection Manager will appear to your customers. You do this by using the Connection Manager Administration Kit (CMAK) wizard to build custom service profiles.

A connection profile consists of all of the files needed by Connection Manager to enable users to establish connections with your service. You can maximize or minimize the identification of your service or organization, depending on what you decide to include in a service profile. For example, you can include custom corporate logos or other graphics, custom icons, and your own online Help. You can also add monitored applications, specify actions to run before, during, and after a connection, and customize other features available in Connection Manager.

To customize the features and support provided in Connection Manager for your service, you can customize your connection profile in two ways:

  • Run the CMAK wizard (required to build a service profile). You can use the CMAK wizard to customize most features of Connection Manager at the same time that you build a service profile. For example, you can use the wizard to specify the name and graphics that your users see when running Connection Manager, whether virtual private network (VPN) connections to your service are available to your users, and whether your custom connect actions should run when a connection is established. How much you customize depends on your needs and those of your users. When you finish running the wizard, it automatically builds your customized service profile for you.

  • Use advanced customization techniques (optional). In some instances, there may be features or functions that you want to customize that are not available through the wizard. To add these features or functions, you can use the Advanced customization pane to edit the .cms and .cmp files when you build a connection profile. After the connection profile has been built, you can manually edit any connection profile file, but you must run the CMAK wizard again after editing the files in this way to incorporate your changes into the installer. For example, you can change case sensitivity for passwords by editing the value for the PasswordHandling key on the Advanced Customization page of the wizard.

    For more information, see Methods of Editing Connection Profile Files.

Each connection profile that you create includes the ready-to-use custom features that you specify in a complete, self-installing package so users can seamlessly connect to your service.

Although using the CMAK wizard to build your custom profiles is simple, creating the custom elements requires careful planning and development. This guide covers the six phases of planning, development, and implementation:

Phase Tasks Persons responsible


Decide and document which features to customize for Connection Manager. The information you need to complete these tasks is covered in Phase One: Planning.

Network administrator or technical lead


Design and develop a phone book and any other custom elements you want, such as graphics, text, and related programs, as needed. The information you need to complete these tasks is covered in Phase Two: Developing Custom Elements.

Technical support team


Use the CMAK wizard to build each custom profile, and then use advanced customization techniques, as appropriate, to complete the customization of each, as covered in Phase Three: Running the CMAK Wizard and Creating a Connection Profile.

Technical lead or other member of technical support team


Verify distribution readiness, including addressing any integration requirements, as covered in Phase Four: Preparing for Integration, Delivery, and Installation.

Technical lead or other member of technical support team


Test your Connection Manager deliverables, including all custom elements, on all target platforms and operating systems, using the process and criteria covered in Phase Five: Testing Your Deliverables.

Testers or other members of technical support team


Provide effective troubleshooting and other support to your customers. Phase Six: Supporting Your Customers.

Customer support team

Additional references