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ScriptLogic and Realtimepublishers Launch Windows Desktop Administration eBook

http://scriptlogic.com/eng/pressroom/PressReleases/PR-2003-01-28.asp

Definitive Guide is a Must Read for Every Network Administrator

Pompano Beach, FL – January 28, 2003 – ScriptLogic Corporation (www.scriptlogic.com), the leader in desktop administration software for Windows-based networks, and Realtimepublishers.com, Inc., the worldwide leader in corporate sponsored e-publishing, today announced the release of The Definitive Guide to Windows Desktop Administration. This new eBook, sponsored by ScriptLogic and authored by Bob Kelly, one of the industry’s top Windows management experts, provides valuable guidance and real-world examples for creating an efficient desktop administration plan.

“We are very excited to sponsor The Definitive Guide to Windows Desktop Administration,” said Jason Judge, CEO of ScriptLogic Corporation. “This eBook provides its readers with great, practical information about how to lower the total cost of ownership of their Windows-based networks-- something we know a lot about. The eBook complements our goal of helping customers reduce the time and money spent maintaining their networks.”

The Definitive Guide to Windows Desktop Administration examines the life cycle of Windows desktop administration from the initial OS deployment to change management through best practices. Topics included in this eBook will help readers learn how to do the following:

Reduce Help desk and administration costs and increase user productivity

Define and automate administration tasks using the latest tools and technologies

Manage security with Group Policy and desktop lockdown

Manage user profiles and map network resources

Embrace ‘best practices’ and script custom solutions

Exclusive to ScriptLogic, The Definitive Guide to Windows Desktop Administration will be published on a chapter-by-chapter basis, as it is written, providing an in-depth look at how to manage the Windows desktop. Registered readers will receive email notification when each chapter of the eBook is made available for download. Readers can register now for the eBook at www.scriptlogic.com/ebook.

“ScriptLogic is a well established leader in the Windows desktop administration arena and we are very excited to be partnering with them to make The Definitive Guide to Windows Desktop Administration available to our readers,” said Sean Daily, CEO of Realtimepublishers. “In these challenging economic times, it is even more important for enterprises to reduce TCO through efficient desktop administration and we know our readers will appreciate this free resource.”

The Definitive Guide Series

The Definitive Guide eBook series provides timely IT content written for technical professionals, including system administrators, senior IT personnel, advanced users, and consultants. The titles in this series provide a wealth of information that goes beyond whatÂ’s found in product manuals and white papers, and are written by expert authors who are veterans in their respective fields. The Definitive Guide series, like all RealtimepublishersÂ’ series, are high-quality eBooks that are free to readers on the Web sites of industry-leading, high-tech companies around the world.

About The Author

Bob Kelly is the founder of AppDeploy.com and author of an upcoming book about the KiXtart scripting language. Bob is recognized as an industry expert in the area of application and OS deployment—writing, speaking and consulting on these and other related topics. With 13 years of experience in engineering and support, he currently works as the principal consultant in the support of several enterprise networks providing scripting, repackaging, migration, and implementation services at Integrated Data Systems in Chantilly, VA

About ScriptLogic

ScriptLogic Corporation is the leader in desktop administration software for Microsoft Windows-based networks. ScriptLogic, its award-winning, patent-pending, flagship product is the first commercial software to combine logon scripting, group policies and user profile management – into an intuitive graphical management console supporting all 32-bit Windows platforms (95, 98, Me, NT, 2000 and XP). An innovative, multi-functional solution, ScriptLogic eliminates redundant tasks, repeated trips to each desktop, maintaining multiple batch files and many other time consuming, labor-intensive activities – leaving IT staff free to concentrate on more critical issues. With deployments ranging from 10 to over 40,000 seats, ScriptLogic offers significant benefits to any size network. ScriptLogic, a privately held company, is headquartered in Pompano Beach, Florida and can be reached at (954) 861-2300 and on the web at www.scriptlogic.com.

About Realtimepublishers.com

Realtimepublishers.com is the worldwide leader in corporate-sponsored e-publishing. The company is revolutionizing the publishing industry through its unique approach of creating high-quality titles and publishing them at no charge to readers on the Web sites of industry-leading companies around the world. Current Realtimepublishers eBook sponsors include Citrix Systems, Microsoft, NetIQ, New Moon Systems, Quest Software, Aelita, and more. For information about Realtimepublishers and available eBooks, please visit www.realtimepublishers.com.

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Uninstall via wmic

I know this comes from spiceworks (shudder), but it's a really great article on how to uninstall applications using WMIC. I wish this could be implemented better in Kace.

You can do a lot with this tool, and even uninstall based off the vendor's name. Best of all, you can uninstall applications on remote hosts with a csv file.

 

Here is the link:

http://community.spiceworks.com/how_to/show/179

and my specific usage:

/failfast:on /node:@"c:\computers.txt" product where vendor="GFI Software Ltd" call uninstall /nointeractive

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Packaging Event 2012

 For the 7th year in a row, PDS will organize the Packaging Event. Just like the previous six years, we’ve chosen for the strategic location and fabulous atmosphere of the Amsterdam ArenA. 
The exhibition floor will be located in the newly build event hall. Technical Sessions will be held in the various rooms of the Amsterdam ArenA and keynotes near the exhibition floor.

This 7th edition will guarantee top (international) speakers and interesting subjects in the field of application management, packaging, application deployment, desktop management and, of course, application virtualization.  
Just a few of the confirmed speakers in 2012: Bob Kelly (www.itninja.com), Microsoft NLRuben SpruijtDarwin Sanoy, but also Jim Ryan & many many more. Stay tuned for more updates coming months.

Topics for the 2012 event are:

  • Desktop Management
  • Application Virtualization
  • (Private) cloud computing
  • Application Compatibility 
  • Windows 7/8 migrations

Sign up! 

 

 

Reasons to attend PackagingEvent:

  • Product management presentations from Microsoft, Flexera Software (AdminStudio), Quest Software(ChangeBASE) and many more. 
  • Get the latest information (on first hand) from the leading products.
  • Take a close look in the future of Desktop Management and Application Compatibility &Virtualization.
  • Get a chance to talk to the people behind the Windows Installer Technology & Application virtualization techniques
  • Experience hands-on demonstrations at the Lab Sessions.
  • Discuss with the Program Managers of your preferred products about future releases.
  • Visit the Exhibition Area and learn about the great solutions from your local Services - and Solutions companies.
  • Enjoy the company of 600+ visitors throughout the day in the fantastic atmosphere of the Amsterdam Arena.
  • Discuss with the experts about the future of Desktop Delivery & Application Management.
  • 2012 will be indoor but ... how did the 2011 edition look like (link to HD movie @ YouTube)?

Looking forward to see you October 11-12 @ the Amsterdam ArenA !
 

Kind regards,
Jeroen Braak

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Manage & Purge Local Windows User Profiles

Windows profiles have always been a challenging IT management problem. This is especially true with multiple people sharing the same computer or even if a desktop has a history of logons from multiple users. These profiles take up space and increase the size of the registry. In the past we could use the DELPROF.EXE command line tool from the resource kit. But this tool isn't supported with Windows 7 so we need to turn elsewhere. Let's see how we can manage local user profiles, primarily on Windows 7 clients. I'll leave a discussion of profiles on a terminal server to Greg Shields.

The user profile consists of files, typically under C:\Users and a registry key. So you can't truly clean up a profile by simply deleting a user's files. Although checking the total usage of C:\Users can be helpful when looking to free up some disk space. You can use Windows explorer and examine properties as I do in Figure 1.


Figure 1 Get User Properties

Or you might prefer to use PowerShell for a more granular approach.

PS C:\> dir c:\users | foreach -begin {$d=@{}} -process {
>>' $size=(dir $_.fullname -rec -force -ea silentlycontinue |
>>' measure-object length -sum).sum
>>' $d.Add($_.fullname,$size)
>>' } -end {$d}
>>
Name'''''''''''''''''''''''''' Value
----'''''''''''''''''''''''''' -----
C:\users\administrator'''''''' 36246274
C:\users\jfrost''''''''''''''' 22558391
C:\users\rgbiv'''''''''''''''' 16235381
C:\users\Public''''''''''''''' 5841501
C:\users\Administrator.CLIENT1 22037994

The value is the total folder size for each account in bytes.

The more traditional way to view profiles and their resource usage is through the control panel: System and Security ' System ' Advanced System Settings. This should get you to the dialog like Figure 2.


Figure 2 Advanced System Properties

From here, click the Settings button under User Profiles to get the list of all profiles. Figure 3 shows some profiles on my Windows 7 client.


Figure 3 Local User Profiles

Unfortunately, there is no way to resize the dialog. The best you can do is click and drag a column heading to widen it. The modified date should give you a good indication of when a user last logged on. It you want to clean up now, simply select the profile and click the Delete button. You'll get a confirmation popup. Click Yes and the user's profile is gone. Of course, the next time the user logs on a new profile will be created. If you take advantage of Group Policy settings, especially items like folder redirection, then deleting a local user profile should have minimal impact on the user.

Of course, managing more than a few machines like this is nonsense. But there are alternatives for cleaning up old profiles on multiple machines. The best solution is to use a Group Policy setting. Under Computer Configuration ' Administrative Templates ' System ' User Profiles you should find a policy setting called 'Delete user profiles older than a specified number of days on system restart'. The policy dialog is displayed in Figure 4.


Figure 4 Group Policy Profile Deletion

As you can see this requires at least Windows Vista so you could also use it to keep profiles on servers cleaned up as well. To use this policy, enable it and specify the age of the policy in days before it will be deleted. In my policy I have it set to 30 days. When applied, this policy will have the computer delete old profiles, but only on a reboot. Don't expect profiles to automatically be deleted when the clock runs out. For desktops which most likely reboot frequently, this shouldn't be much of an issue. But if you are using this policy to also clean up servers, you won't get the cleanup until your maintenance window and a reboot.

If you aren't worried so much about old profiles and their size, you might also want to set a user Group Policy setting under User ' Administrative Templates - System ' User Profiles look at Limit User Profiles. The policy definition is shown in Figure 5.


Figure 5 Limit User Profile Size

This policy has been configured to limit the user's profile, including the registry to 25MB.

When this policy is applied the user should see a notification in the system tray indicating how much profile space remains. Once the user exceeds the available space they'll get the dialog box like Figure 6.


Figure 6 Profile Exceeded Warning

The message is configurable in the Group Policy. This message will also periodically popup which is also configurable in the policy. When the user attempts to logoff they will be prompted one more time. But this time they also get a dialog showing their large files. Figure 7 shows an example for a policy set at 15MB.


Figure 7 Profile Storage Space

Once the user cleans up some local files they can logoff.

Another approach you can take to purge old profiles is to use Windows PowerShell and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). The Win32_UserProfile class is the place to start.

PS C:\> Get-WmiObject win32_userprofile 'computer chi-win7-22

Each user profile will result in an object like this:

__GENUS'''''''''' : 2
__CLASS'''''''''' : Win32_UserProfile
__SUPERCLASS''''' :
__DYNASTY'''''''' : Win32_UserProfile
__RELPATH'''''''' : Win32_UserProfile.SID="S-1-5-21-2552845031-219702523...
__PROPERTY_COUNT' : 12
__DERIVATION''''' : {}
__SERVER''''''''' : CHI-WIN7-22
__NAMESPACE'''''' : root\cimv2
__PATH''''''''''' : \\CHI-WIN7-22\root\cimv2:Win32_UserProfile.SID="S-1-...
LastDownloadTime' :
LastUploadTime''' :
LastUseTime'''''' : 20110819224526.644000 000
Loaded''''''''''' : False
LocalPath'''''''' : C:\Users\jfrost
RefCount''''''''' : 0
RoamingConfigured : False
RoamingPath'''''' :
RoamingPreference :
SID'''''''''''''' : S-1-5-21-2552845031-2197025230-307725880-1601
Special'''''''''' : False
Status''''''''''' : 0

More than likely, you will want to refine this a bit to get rid of the system properties and to turn the LastUseTime into a more user friendly value. You will also usually want to exclude the special or system profiles.

PS C:\> Get-WmiObject win32_userprofile -filter "Special<>'True'" -computername CHI-Win7-22 | Select @{Name="Computername";Expression={$_.__SERVER}},LocalPath,@{Name=
"LastUsed";Expression={$_.ConvertToDateTime($_.LastUseTime)}}
Computername'''''''''''''' LocalPath'''''''''''''''''' LastUsed
------------'''''''''''''' ---------'''''''''''''''''' --------
CHI-WIN7-22''''''''''''''' C:\Users\Administrator.C... 8/19/2011 3:52:01 AM
CHI-WIN7-22''''''''''''''' C:\Users\administrator''''' 8/19/2011 6:52:51 PM
CHI-WIN7-22''''''''''''''' C:\Users\jfrost'''''''''''' 8/19/2011 6:45:26 PM
CHI-WIN7-22''''''''''''''' C:\Users\rgbiv''''''''''''' 8/19/2011 9:32:29 AM

To delete a profile, you can use the Remove-WMIObject cmdlet for the individual profile object. First, get a reference to the object.

PS C:\> $userprofile=get-wmiobject win32_userprofile -filter "localpath='c:\\users\\jfrost'" -computer chi-win7-22

Then we can pipe it to Remove-WMIObject which has a handy 'WhatIf parameter so you can verify you are deleting the right profile.

PS C:\> $userprofile | Remove-WmiObject -whatif
What if: Performing operation "Remove-WmiObject" on Target "\\CHI-WIN7-22\root\cimv
2:Win32_UserProfile.SID="S-1-5-21-2552845031-2197025230-307725880-1601"".

Because you may want to get a handle on profiles in your enterprise, I put together a PowerShell module called ManageUserProfiles which you can download here. The module is designed to run locally but be able to query remote computers so you only need to install it on your admin desktop. Extract the zip file to C:\Users\YOU\WindowsPowerShell\Modules. You might need to create the WindowsPowerShell and Modules folders. You should end up with a folder called ManageUserProfiles in the Modules directory.

The module consists primarily of two functions, Get-UserProfile and Remove-UserProfile. These functions wrap up much of the WMI code I've already shown you. However, you will need to run the functions with admin credentials for any remote computers you wish to query. The remote computers also need to be running PowerShell 2.0 with remoting enabled. Otherwise you won't be able to delete profiles or get disk usage for a profile.

The Get-UserProfile function takes a computername as a parameter and you can also pipe names to it. This means you can take a list of computernames and build a report of all user profiles. First, import the module.

PS C:\> import-module ManageUserProfiles

Now you can go through a list of computers and get profile information. The Get-UserProfile function includes an optional parameter, IncludeSize, which will calculate the total file size for the given profile. For some profiles this might take a few minutes to calculate which is why I made it optional. But if you aren't in a hurry, you can build a report like this:

PS C:\> get-content mydesktops.txt | get-userprofile 'includesize | export-csv myuserprofiles.csv

Or run this as a background job. The end result is a CSV file which you can then re-import into PowerShell for further analysis.

The function will return an object like this for each user profile:

Computername''''' : CHI-WIN7-22
Account'''''''''' : GLOBOMANTICS\rgbiv
LastDownloadTime' :
LastDownload''''' :
LastUpload''''''' :
LastUse'''''''''' : 8/19/2011 9:32:29 AM
Loaded''''''''''' : False
LocalPath'''''''' : C:\Users\rgbiv
LocalSize'''''''' : 16235381
RoamingConfigured : False
RoamingPath'''''' :
RoamingPreference :
SID'''''''''''''' : S-1-5-21-2552845031-2197025230-307725880-1130
Status''''''''''' : 0

Because the local path may not necessarily make it clear who the profile belongs to, the module has an internal function to convert the SID to a user account and I use that data in the custom object output. One bonus is that you could search the CSV for a given user and find out all the machines where he has a profile.

To delete a user profile use Remove-UserProfile. This function requires the user's SID and optionally a computername.

Or you might use this interactively to delete profiles older than a certain number of days.

PS C:\> get-content mydesktops.txt | get-userprofile | where {$_.LastUse 'lt (Get-Date).AddDays(-90)}} | remove-userprofile -whatif

This one line expression will get all user profiles from the computers listed in mydesktops.txt that are older than 90 days and then remove them. Well, it would remove them if you didn't use 'Whatif.

environment and make sure you understand how to use the PowerShell module. The functions include help and examples.

By now you should be armed with tools to first get a handle on user profiles: where they are, who they belong to and how much disk space they are consuming. Then you have a variety of mechanisms for ridding your network of obsolete or unneeded user profiles.

Finally, as with most help desk topics, these are not the only tools at your disposal. You'll most likely find any number of command line and other 3rd party tools that help manage user profiles. But if budget is tight and you aren't trying to manage profiles on 10,000 desktops, the solutions I've offered here should help.


Figure 1 Delete Old Profiles with a GPO

This policy requires Windows Vista or later which means you could also set a policy to apply to newer member servers. There's not much to configure here except the number of days that a profile can go unused before it is deleted. In Figure 1 this policy will delete profiles that haven't been used in 30 days. But pay close attention to the fine print. Profiles aren't deleted as soon as the clock runs down. If the policy applies the clean-up happens when the computer restarts. For desktop computers this shouldn't be an issue because they are most likely getting shut down periodically, if not daily. Obviously for member servers you don't see the benefit until your maintenance window.

To learn more about how to best manage user profiles, check out my full-length article which also includes a PowerShell module I wrote for finding and removing profiles. The accompanying video shows the module in action. What do you do to keep user profiles in check? Is this a real issue or in the days of multi-terabyte drives totally irrelevant?

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Dell Privilege Manager 3.1 Beta Available

We are pleased to announce the release of the beta version of Privilege Manager 3.1.  Version 3.1 offers significant new features and enhancements including improved self-service workflow, enhanced reporting functionality, better integration with GPMC and new platform support.

Privilege Manager 3.1 new features include:

  • Self-Service Notifications – Version 3.0 added the ability for users to request elevated privileges whenever they come across an application for which no rule already exists.  The self-service request is currently only available to the administrator through a report in the Privilege Manager console.  Version 3.1 enhances this functionality to add email notifications for self-service requests.  This ensures administrators are promptly notified any time a new request enters the system.
  • Reporting Enhancements – Reporting has been enhanced to allow users to create and save custom sets of filters for reports allowing for ad-hoc reports to be saved and run at any time.  Additionally, saved reports can be scheduled to run on a recurring basis and delivered automatically via email or to a file share.
  • Integration with Group Policy Management Console – Administrators can now fully manage their Privilege Manager rules directly through the Group Policy Management Console.  This feature allows for full control over privilege elevation rules and advanced policy settings directly from within GPMC, eliminating the need to launch the Privilege Manager console to modify rule settings.
  • Integration with Resultant Set of Policy Snap-In – Privilege Manager now integrates with the Resultant Set of Policy MMC snap-in allowing administrators to run an RSoP report showing all privilege elevation rules along with advanced policy settings for any user or computer on the domain.
  • New Platform Support – Privilege Manager 3.1 introduces support for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 for both console and client. 

For a full list of new features and fixes for this release, please review the Release Notes in the beta download file.

You can download the beta here: Privilege Manager Beta.

Please direct all product feedback and support questions for the beta to the 3.1 Beta page of the Privilege Manager Community: 3.1 Beta Product Suggestions and Bug Reports forum

Note on Beta licensing:

  • If you are an existing Privilege Manager customer, please apply your production license key to the beta version (must be a version 3 license).
  • If you are not an existing Privilege Manager customer, please register for a Free Trial before downloading the beta product.

Thank you for your time, and we hope you will take a look at the Privilege Manager beta.

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