Too often, I ask if people are familiar with GP Preferences and get a blank stare. I will say this over and over again:
GP Preferences will dramatically reduce your logon scripts
GP Preferences has clean, easy-to-use reporting and UI
Lots of things get accomplished in scripts (mapped drives, set registry keys, managed devices, etc. ) GP Preferences can do all of that, plus you’ll be able to manage the setting in the UI, target your config with cool filtering, and use the reporting to see what you did. I’ll show you what I mean by using GP Preferences to map a drive.
Open up GPEdit for the GPO in question; click the ‘User Configuration’ folder, then click the ‘Preferences’ folder. You can see all of the user-relevant options you can set in Preferences. Find Drive Maps under ‘Windows Settings.’
Also in Windows Settings: Applications, Drive Maps, Environment, Files, Folders, Ini files, Registry, and Shortcuts.
In Control Panel settings: Data Sources, Devices, Folder Options, Internet Settings, Local Users and Groups, Network Options, Power Options, Printers, Regional Options, Scheduled Tasks, Start Menu.
Now right-click on Drive Maps and select ‘new’. You will see the dialog below: these drop down menus allow you to configure what you’ve been scripting, and more, in UI.
Here, I just filled in a couple things, the location (\serverUsers%logonuser%) , the label (“User”), and the drive letter to use (“U:”).
And to see what that Preference item looks like in XML, just click this icon:
I’ll go into the XML part of GP Preferences in another post.
If you’d like to target this drive mapping to be more specific, go to the Common Tab and click on ‘Item-level Targeting’. This is where you can make your targeting really granular: you have 29 different filtering options…what the computer is named, what day it is, what IP range the machine is on, what type of music the user is listening to (ok, that was a joke. I don’t know how you would do that). This also includes some old favorites (WMI Query, MSI Query, LDAP Query) along with new ones (Battery Present, Language, Operating System).
Now check it out in the reporting:
The reporting is precise, clear, and findable. That’s more than what you’d get from a logon script that mapped the same drive. I think I have proved my point. Now go – explore GP Preferences! Map drives! Create shortcuts, folders, and scheduled tasks!
Get GP Preferences (and read more) here
Get more tips on how to use GP Preferences here
Hope this helps,
Group Policy PM