Posted on June 16th, 2009 No comments
From the Fun-With-User-Preferences-dept. By now, you may have worked with the User Preferences (UPR’s) in PowerFuse 2008. If not, don’t worry – here’s a brief recap of what they are: User Preferences is essentially RES’s implementation of what used to be know in the business as Hybrid Profiles or Flex. They will let you carry settings across multiple computing platforms (laptops, workstations, ts, etc), regardless of profiles and Windows OS flavor. It’s all well to have containers to retain settings in, but times again, the real issue is knowing what to store in them in the first place. This technote will show you a good example on what to use UP’s for. Buildingblock included! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on February 26th, 2009 1 comment
This little blurb was inspired by an email to a partner, explaning the differences between PoweFuse’s PowerLaunch and the UserPreferences. This lead to an example on how you can combine these two parts of PowerFuse. The goal is to be able to provide the user with preconfigured, voluntary settings – in a mandatory profile environment. Let’s take a real-world example on this:
We have some users which share a mandatory profile, where the default webpage for IE has been set to about:blank or something else long ago. This setting coded into the .man profile and we don’t want to bother hacking into it since our goal would be to have it changed dynamically, according to group membership.
For example: We want to have users in group1 initially having www.batman.com as their homepage and group2 should have www.superman.com as their homepage. To make the entire thing a bit more interesting, we want to provide the user with the option to change their homepage to something else if they prefer to do so.
To summarize we are talking about creating a dynamic, group assigned voulentary user registry setting on top of a mandatory profile. Sounds iffy? Not at all. This example is easy to follow, but you can of course just download the PowerFuse buildingblock at the end of the article. The registry key we use for this example is HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerMainStart Page (REG_SZ)
- If you haven’t already done so, create a PowerFuse application for Internet Explorer (other browsers can be used, but you’ll have to figure out the registrysettings then for yourself)
- Edit the IE app and go to the Configuration | PowerLaunch tab, click Add.
- Create a powerlaunch user registry setting for the IE startup page www.batman.com. using the HKCU registry path above. Make sure to mark the reghack with the Run-Once checkmark.
- Go to the Access Control tab of the reghack, assign it to group1.
- Export the newly created reghack to a temporary file. This done in the “Registry|Export registry file…” menu inside the PowerFuse registry buffer editor. We are going to use this export one steap further ahead.
- Save the reghack and return to the PowerLaunch tab of the application
- Repeat step 2 above, then go to the Registry|Import registry file… and pull the temporary regfile in again (it can safely be deleted after this btw). In the new reghack, change the startup page to www.superman.com and assign this one to group2. Notice that the name and any comments you added before was preserved in the regfile. Once you’ve configured the reghacks for both groups it should look like this:
- Let’s setup the User Preferences. Go to Properties|User Preferences, while still editing the app. Here we can specify one or more seperate items which should be saved before the logoff destroys the mandatory profle. Using the Add button, you can choose to add:
- A single registry value (like we are using here)
- A registry key (containing multiple values)
- A registry tree (a branch containing multiple registry keys)
- A single file in the profile (such as normal.dot for office)
- A folder in the profile (such as cookies or favorites)
- Fashion the user preference so it looks something like this (remember, you can download the buildingblock below if you want to make sure you build it right). Click on the image to zoom.
When the app has been saved and the user sessions refreshed, PowerFuse will write the correct IE startup page to the registry uppon first time user launch of IE. During the session, the user may perhaps change the homepage of IE to something completely different. Regardless of this, User Preferences will capture the current value of the IE startpage key at logoff and save it, just before the mandatory profile is tossed into Mount Doom. To try all this out for yourself, download the BuildingBlock:
Posted on February 13th, 2009 No comments
Here is another Wisdom BuildingBlock for your consideration. This one will help you correctly set an environment variable across all your different computers in your organization, which will point to the local path of a mandatory profile, which should be used for the given operating system.
This may at first sound like utter nonsense, but think of it like this: Let’s say that you want to enable users to have the same profile across different systems, say Vista, XP and Terminal Services 2003. Impossible you say? Nope, this can be done. There is a nifty whitepaper from RES, available here which describes the entire procedure:
To sum up the whitepaper, you can:
- Create a mandatory profile for each of the operating systems which require it
- Upload these profiles to PowerFuse Custom Resources, which will automagically replicate them out locally to the %programfiles%\res powerfuse\data\dbcache \resources\customresources folder on all machines running PowerFuse. Make a structure in PowerFuse Custom Ressources as seen here on the right (note you do not have to create all the folders etc. just point to the root folder of an existing mandatory profile and the RES console will import it with all subdirectories)
- Run the module on all target machines where users will be logging in.
- Configure User Preferences to grab the stuff which you want to store for the users uppon logout.
- Modify the User records in AD, change the user profile path of the users to the variable, say %manprofile% (remember, this can be done in Wisdom too! – perhaps a subject for another buildingblock)
This result is quite spectacular: All users share one singular profile path (which is dynamic). The user session will be loading the right mandator profile, as it will be specified by the variable. The path will be local, resulting in zero network traffic as result of loading the profile locally.
The Wisdom module has been designed with module parameters, so you can customize your own paths etc, making it quite easy to use.