Group Policy Setting of the Week – 4. Shared Printer

This week I have selected the “Shared Printer” Group Policy Preference as my Group Policy Setting of the Week (GPSW). This is arguably one of the most wanted group policy settings by Group Policy admin’s that was missing before group policy preferences. It was possible previous to preferences to map printers natively in group policy using the pushprinterconnections.exe option but like the Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” we defiantly “do not discuss it with outsiders” as this is just a setting we would rather forget.

The “Shared Printer” options can be found under by right clicking on “User Configuration > Preferences > Control Panel Settings > Printers”. As with most group policy preference settings you also have the option to CRUD (see Group Policy Preferences Colorful and Mysteriously Powerful Just Like Windows 7) which means you can also use this option to remove any printer mapping that people have to printer queues that no longer exist.

new shared printer

Now it has always been fairly straight forward to map printers via logon script either via batch, vbscript or even kix scrtip however the real power of this setting is that it can now take advantage of the really powerful targeting options. More commonly you can map a printer via a single security group or IP range but you can really start to do some really advance targeting when you start to combine multiple targeting setting using Boolean logic. If you want to see some more advanced targeting options for printer mappings then check out my “How to use Group Policy Preference to dynamically map printers when using Roaming Profiles” article.

new shared printer properties

As you can see above you can also use this option to set the default printer for your users which can be very handy if people have a habit of always printing to the really expensive A3 colour printer on your floor when you are trying to reduce cost. Just use the default printer option wisely however as you could end up annoying your manager who likes to printer to their locally attached printer.

Enjoy!

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Family Pack Out Now – Get Windows 7 for less than half price

windows-7-logo Back when Windows 7 launched on October 22nd there was an Australian Consumer/Press launch event in Sydney to show case how awesome the product was and from all accounts the event went really well. But… They then opened up the floor to questions and got hammered that there is no Windows 7 family pack licensing in Australia. The response to all this was along the line of “we will look into it” but I don’t think anyone was expecting much when they left the event.

Well it is only 5 weeks later and Microsoft have announced that you will be able to buy the Windows 7 Family pack for a “limited” time in Australia. This is good news (even thought it will be for a limited time) as you are going to be able to pick up 3 copies of Windows 7 Home Premium for $249au total. At $83au for each copy of Windows 7 Home Premium it works out to be a saving over over $85au per copy (or more that 50% off)…. Nice…

Note: I visited OfficeWorks today and they did not have any copies of Windows 7 Family pack on the shelves. This could be because they are offering Wireless Comfort Desktops Keyboards for anyone who had already paid full price for 3 copies of Windows 7 before tomorrow. So I will check again tomorrow to see if they have any stock…

Windows 7 Australia Blog : Windows 7 Family Pack Limited Pilot now Available in Australia

Try Silverlight 4 for the iPhone right now

One of the new products that Microsoft announced at PDC 09 was the beta release of Silverlight 4. What has since come out is that Silverlight 4 will now offer support for the iPhone (kinda). Microsoft has been committed to making Silverlight as cross-platform as possible however Apple don’t allow applications such as Adobe Flash or Silverlight as this would allow people to bypass the application store and run what ever application they want. So to get around Apple’s restriction Microsoft’s the Microsoft User Experience Platform Manager Brian Goldfarb has said “We worked with Apple” to enabled Silverlight on the server to stream video natively to the iPhone.

The really nice thing about this is you can checkout just how nice it work right now at http://www.iis.net/iphone

Silverlight iPhone

Silverlight video on iPhone

Source: Microsoft ‘worked with Apple’ for Silverlight on iPhone, says Goldfarb

My TechEd Australia 2009 Group Policy Session Video is Now Online

Here is a the complete screen cast of my TechEd Australia 2009 session “Using the Power of Group Policy Preferences to Eliminate logon scripts and take control of your Environment [CLI308]”.

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As I mention at the start of my session if you were one of the people who came to my session but you also wanted to see Andrew Dugdell’s session “Windows 7 After Hours” click on image below to see his session.

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My last 50 tweets…

  • Had to reboot #iPhone again today. This time to get 3G data working. #fail
  • @leadfollowmove Flash 10.1 still crashed when I installed it.
  • RT @maryjofoley No IE 9 code expected yet, but MS is on tap to say something about it at PDC on Wed (via@tom_warren): http://bit.ly/P2pO6
  • ZUNE is now available in Australia!
  • @jeffa36 Zune Market Place is now working for Video on the Xbox 360. No device or Zune Pass yet however… Its a start
  • @GTRoberts where? how?
  • @GTRoberts I wounder if they are selling it via official channels?
  • @GTRoberts just spoke with then and the Zune HD they have in stock is an import… Damn
  • @GTRoberts Warranty is only done via the place you bough it and there is no Zune online support
  • Going to catch up on SG:Uni and Heroes tonight.
  • @NickHodge meh. they were flying around all last week to
  • Just learnt that we are getting 100% of bonus’s this year. Awesome! #fb
  • Watching Glee with Alicia and Steph via MSN Messneger Chat #fb
  • RT @orinthomas Short Restricted Groups Policy screencast for those looking for a quick intro: http://bit.ly/2e1cLj
  • Hey Google! I already have a browser on my OS so go back and do what you do best and sell some more adds.
  • Looks like I have office web apps on my skydrive now.
  • Office Web Apps is totally Awesome!
  • Leaving sydney CBD now
  • WTF! Homeless guy just flashed me in Belmore Park,Sydney. #fb
  • @themolk Sorry dude you are on one of my lists. Just send me an email.
  • Going offline now.
  • Back on line. Still in Sydney! Plane has a broken AC, never got off the ground.
  • Just got my first Microsoft NDA.
  • @coatsy what’s the URL for the podcast?
  • WOW… Chrome OS is really shit
  • Waiting for taxi to go to the airport for flight to Sydney. Again.
  • Boarding plane to Sydney now. #fb
  • Landed in Sydney. Current temp is 20c. Glad I missed the heat wave yesterday. #fb
  • Group Policy Setting of the Week – 3. Group Policy Preferences Power Plans http://bit.ly/GPSW3 #gpsw
  • Did you know you can control power plans in windows 7 using group policy. See how @ http://bit.ly/GPSW3 #gpsw
  • @kathyhughesMVP is it 802.11n?
  • @NickHodge only .5 over 1000 years I might go back to burning my rubbish.
  • Windows 7: Fastest selling OS ever, says atomic mpc http://bit.ly/4E30cX #fb
  • I just spotted a kindel in the wild. They are still rare in Australia.
  • Are people really that dumb that they don’t know how to hang up a telephone hand set #fb
  • How not to impress your boyfriend… Smash his Xbox 360 http://bit.ly/692tSK
  • See my latest Group Policy Setting of the week at http://bit.ly/5H0o5B #gpsw
  • @mattcorr if you followed @translinkseq you would have know that…
  • http://bit.ly/abskbase is getting close to 10,000 hits, if not tomorrow then definitely on Thursday…
  • How to use Group Policy + BitLock to Go with Windows 7 http://bit.ly/3Fwj0Y
  • About to have lunch with @jeffa36
  • @auteched i nominate #cli306 to be free. that way everyone can come to my group policy session. #auteced
  • Yahoo / Bing deal is now APPROVED!!! http://bit.ly/5TAb1t (in Australia)
  • Western Australia daylight savings update for Windows is out now http://bit.ly/5elvua

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Group Policy Setting of the Week – 3. Group Policy Preferences Power Plans

I have selected for this weeks Group Policy Setting of the Week (GPSW) the group policy preferences that is used to configure Power Plans. While configuring power plans for your environment may be nothing new if you have deployed third party tools, you can now avoid the added expense and complexity of doing this as this functionality is now provided out of the box.

This option can be found under User Configuration > Preferences > Control Panel Settings > Power Options and is used to control the individual power plan for your computers. Strangely I have found that this option only works under the User Configuration setting which I presume is the case because it is normally a user configured setting even though the option is under the computer configuration section as well. This power plan option also work with Windows XP however you do need to explicitly select the correct OS power plan as the XP plan will not work on Vista+ and vice versa.

Windows Vista and later Power Plan

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Windows XP Power Plan

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As you can see this can be used to configured almost all the power plan setting that your version of windows has to offer. One notable omission is the CPU System Cooling Policy setting that was introduced with Windows 7 which is not available to be configured in the Vista (or later) power plan.

Left (Windows 7 System cooling policy) Right (Windows Vista and Later plan without the System cool policy option)

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If you are interested in more advanced targeting option with Group Policy Preferences and want to learn how to apply different power plans to computers based on the time of the day check out my previous blog article at http://abskb.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!8834054641A09100!1133.entry

If you have not already got Group Policy Preferences deployed in your organisation then this is definitely the excuse you need to get it deployed. Go to any manager today and say you can start reducing the power consumption of you computer fleet using software they are already licensed and almost always the reaction will be to have it done yesterday.

Notes:

  • This setting will work on Windows XP or greater if you have the Group Policy Client side extensions installed.
  • You need to be running the Group Policy Management consol on Windows Vista (Windows 7 recommended) to manage these settings

Group Policy Setting of the Week – 2. Verbose vs normal status messages

This weeks Group Policy Setting of the Week (GPSW) can be found under Computer > Policies > Administrative Templates > System and is called “Verbose vs normal status message”. It is a really simple setting that doesn’t actually do much but I dub this setting the “Make my computer start faster” setting which give users the illusion that their computer are working faster.

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So what does it do and how does it make my Computer start faster? This setting displays a number of extra status messages during the start up and shutdown of the computer and when the user is logging on and off.

Some of the verbose status messages you will see are (but not limited to):

  • Mapping Drives
  • Playing Logon Sound
  • Mapping Printers
  • Applying Power Settings
  • Stopping Services

You will still see your Applying Computer settings and Preparing Desktop messages however these will be shown for a lot shorter time.

Unfortunately it will not actually make your computer start any quicker but I have generally found that by enabling this option users seem to perceive that their computers are starting up quicker. Why? Well I think its because the extra status messages are holding their attention for a few seconds each time a new one is displayed something like the opposite of watching grass grow or a watched pot that never boils…  In any case this is still a handy setting to enable as at the very least will help your IT support troubleshoot logon performance issues.

This setting will work on Windows 2000 and above and it will also show the processing of newer Group Policy Preferences.