MDM & GP Tips Blog

Apr 2008

New Tool for Softgrid + GPSI marriage

So, I can confess it. I love Microsoft Softgrid. I really do. For the uninitiated, Softgrid (newly renamed Microsoft Application Virtualization) can take an application and "stream" it from a server to your desktop. Keen-o-rific. This means you're not actually INSTALLING anything; but rather, just running it streamed. Except there was no way to "deploy" that application using GP. Until now. Enter in the Softgrid MSI "wrapper" utility (found here.)

The idea is simple: if you can wrap an existing Softgrid package into an MSI, then you can use GP (or SMS, or Landesk or anything) to maintain your deployment practices.

I haven't had a chance to try this out yet.. So, if you do, and you're a Softgrid + GP head, then shoot me an email and let me know how it went! Thanks !

PS: Thanks to Shortstop Eric Johnson for bringing to my attention that this tool was FINALLY available.

Apr 2008

Vista slower than XP?

So my good friend Mark Minasi and I have this running debate about Vista. It's not about if Vista is BETTER than XP or not. It's about if Vista is SLOWER than XP. Mark is awesome, but he must have some killer hardware. I upgraded my laptop to a Dell D620 (you see me present on this puppy in my classes and at conferences.) It has 4GB RAM, 160GB 7200 RPM hard disk and all the bells and whistles. And Vista on it just runs like crud. So I went back to XP. But on my DESKTOPS, I find that I'm happier with Vista. Things are a lot punchier. I'm wondering if it's the disk (2.5 for laptop vs 3.5 for desktop) that makes the difference. Or a speedier Front Side Bus. Or something. But anyway.. this report just came out about how ON THE SAME HARDWARE that XP is FASTER than Vista. And I could have told you that already. I'm not bashing Microsoft. I'm just reporting my experience.. And I wish my experience was faster, not slower on the same hardware, is all.

Apr 2008


The big news is finally here: What is Microsoft doing with the "crown jewels" of the DesktopStandard acquisition? In short: It's gonna be free. Here's the breakdown of the announcement:

  • The PolicyMaker technologies will officially be called Group Policy Preferences.
  • There are 20-some-odd "big" things you can do, like zap down drive mapping and shortcuts and a whole lot more.
  • PolicyMaker Share Manager (which helps you set up and dictate share permissions) will also be part of the set.
  • They require a CSE (Client Side Extension) as do all GP extensions.
    • The CSE will ship in the box for Windows Server 2008.
    • The CSE will be an extra download for XP, 2003 and Vista
    • The CSE will not work for 2000

So, why are they called the "Group Policy Preferences" and not more something.. "Policy-ish?" I'll explain that in an upcoming newsletter. However, Microsoft has a whitepaper which details the major new categories of features and describes some other odds and ends including the distinction between a Policy and a Preference.

That paper is here which every GP admin should read.

I will be covering this in an upcoming newsletter soon as well as have FULL coverage in the next book; I promise !!

Apr 2008

ADMX files for Office 2007

It's only 11 months after RTM, so these files are right on time! :-) Just kidding, I'm sure it was a lot of work. These ADMX files for Office 2007 localize the GP settings into 8 languages, so that's pretty impressive. Just pop 'em in your central store, and get a beer. Don't know what ADMX files are? Then read the last two newsletters. Don't know what a central store is? Then read my free Chapter 5 in the "Book Resources" section here on this site. That's what we do here at -- giving you the building blocks to get smarter in Group Policy. Since 2003 ! Check out the ADM and ADMX files here (one download.)

Apr 2008

Greg Shields' new book

I like this idea a lot. It's a book on JUST the WS208 changes. But wait! Here's their cool deal. You can get the eBook today (it's a little rough around the edge) and any other edited eBook versions for free AND they'll also send you the printed book when it's ready. Wow. Check it out. Good job Greg (and Don.. Jones that is.) Click here. PS: Greg calls me a nice name in the book. It's fun.. check it out.