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[AWS Workspace] How to Fix: “Directory Unavailable” error when logging onto Workspace

When logging onto the AWS Workspaces Client – one may get an error stating “Directory Unavailable” and denying them access to their workspace. This issue has been seen many times before- and can have one of many underlying causes. First we shall discuss the few causes it may be, then the solutions that can be provided for it.

Cause 1:

The first cause may just be latency. This may be the cause more often than not when your Workspace users are overseas, and your region (the region the workspaces are hosted on) are local and quite a distance away. This can be monitored by doing a Network health check through their client:

To do a Network Health Check, I always use Logmein123.com or whichever Remote assistance program you prefer to check a users’s workspace client. Once connected, I open their client and on the bottom right there is either a green checkmark or yellow question mark depending on your network status. Select that, and it will automatically perform a health check with results looking like the ones below:

We are looking to check Round Trip Time measured in milliseconds.AWS themselves don’t flag it as an issue until it is 200ms or above, however I’ve seen issues with anything above 100 in connecting to your federated directory. If this is the issue, have the users attempt to log in a few more times until successful.

Fix:

If moving the Workspaces into a region closer to the users physical location is not an option, the next best thing one can do is give the users hard tokens if using MFA. The act of using a hard token takes an extra step away, and can result in more successful logins with less attempts.

Cause 2:

Another cause for this issue is related to the client being outdated. Often, users are not able to update their own client due to restrictions requiring administrator passwords set by the admins. Furthermore, AWS Workspaces Client usually notifies you when an update is required, but that may not always be the case. The best way to ensure the client is up to date is to uninstall the one you have now, and go directly to their website and reinstall. The website is found here: https://clients.amazonworkspaces.com/ 

Best of luck! If you figure out any other fixes, please leave a comment below and we can get this updated 🙂

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