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May 2007
31 Special Mid-Newsletter Update

Are you going to be at Microsoft's TechEd next week?
I am, and I hope you'll come by and say Hi!
In fact, I've got some really big news, so I'm breaking it down in three bites to make it easier to digest.
I'm speaking at TechEd, and so are some other speakers you'll be interested in.
It's here: PolicyPak Software! Group Policy—Enable Your World!
More ways to connect at TechEd (free book signing and more!)
I'll be speaking twice—same talk (just repeated). Come to one, or both!
Topic: Deep Dive into Windows Vista Group Policy Changes and Troubleshooting

Session ID: CLI408
Time #1: Tuesday 8.45 Room S330
Time #2: Thursday 9.45 Room: N320 A

The beauty of Group Policy changes is not skin deep. There are some basic and detailed changes lying under the hood. And Jeremy Moskowitz of and author of "Group Policy: Management, Troubleshooting, and Security" is just the guy to bring them to you. In this session, learn why you can't just run gpresult.exe anymore and get the results you want. Discover what happens if you reconnect to the network after a long absence. Learn how to crack open the new Vista event log and trace Group Policy flow to figure out what might be going on. Learn how other areas, like Offline Files and Group Policy Software Installation can be tweaked to give you just the information you need to fix what ails you. If you're looking for Group Policy answers to your troubleshooting questions, this is the session for you.

OTHER Group Policy Speakers and Speeches

Actually, there's so much Group Policy stuff going on I can't list it all! But here's a sampling. CLI331 - Using Group Policy with Windows and Windows Server 2008
Wednesday, June 6 10:15 AM - 11:30 AM, S330
Thursday, June 7 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM, S320 A
Speaker(s): Mark Williams and Jason Leznek

This scenario-based walkthrough uses a series of demonstrations to offer an in-depth understanding of new and enhanced Group Policy functions in Windows Vista, and plans for the Windows Server 2008 timeframe. This session showcases Windows Vista as a Windows Vista Group Policy administrative workstation. Learn about new Group Policy features in Windows Vista, including the new format and functionality of Administrative Template (ADMX) files (and interop with legacy ADM files), the ADMX central store, improved awareness of changing network conditions, using multiple local Group Policy Objects (MLGPOs), and Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) integration into the operating system. Demos include using the new event viewer ("Crimson"), and showcase a selection of the hundreds of new policy settings delivered with Windows Vista. Finally, we provide an introduction to the products acquired from DesktopStandard and discuss their future availability and roadmap.

CLI316 - Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack: Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM)
Tuesday, June 5 4:30 PM - 5:45 PM, N320 A
Speaker(s): Derek Melber, Winni Verhoef

Advanced Group Policy Management, a Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack technology, adds an important level of control to Group Policy management. By adding delegation and workflow for Group Policy management, the enterprise administrator gains granular control over Group Policy deployment. This session explores the AGPM product and how it can help the Enterprise regain control over Group Policy management.

CLI03-TLC - ADMX File Creation and Management
Wednesday, June 6 3:45 PM - 5:00 PM, Yellow Theater 1
Speaker: Judith Herman

Microsoft Windows Vista introduced ADMX files to define Group Policy settings. This session describes how to create, edit, and manage ADMX files (and their associated ADML files for multi-lingual support). The discussion covers the syntax of these files and how they are used with the ADMX Central Store.

Okay—Here's the Big News: PolicyPak Software
Two TechEds ago, I had a flash of realization about Group Policy. Group Policy does some amazing stuff. It controls Windows itself really, really well. But what it doesn't control really, really well are third-party applications.
Sure, there's ADM templates. But ADMs are just NOT the ideal solution. With ADM templates you have to: Figure out all the ways the target application needs to be controlled Create the ADM files by hand Then, those ADM files "tattoo" the Registry All the while, you can't even get to some areas of the Registry with ADM files at all! (Think reg_binary.)

And finally, The ADM language doesn't let you "craft" a look and feel similar to the application you're actually trying to control. Not to mention that ADM files only manipulate the Registry. If your application has tweaks in .ini files, or custom configuration files or databases, ADM files just won't be able to get in there to adjust the settings you need them to.
Enter PolicyPak.
PolicyPak Software is a new venture of mine that offers software that lets you naturally control your existing applications with Group Policy.

How do we do it?
We have our own Group Policy CSE, a Client-Side-Extension. This isn't an "agent", it's an organic extension to Group Policy. Installation is super-easy. You run a component which extends the Group Policy Object editor on your administrative machine (where you create your GPOs). Then you deploy the CSE using Group Policy Software Installation to your target machines, and you're ready to control your applications using Group Policy. Wanna control Adobe Acrobat Reader using Group Policy? Try PolicyPak for Adobe Acrobat Reader. Wanna control Microsoft Windows Live Messenger using Group Policy? Use PolicyPak for Windows Live Messenger. Wanna control WinZip using Group Policy? We offer PolicyPak for WinZip.

Our goal is to have lots of PolicyPaks to control the applications you already have.
You'll purchase them a la carte, so you'll get only the PolicyPaks you need. And the interface looks almost exactly like the target application. No learning curve.
And PolicyPaks act a lot more like Group Policy than ADM templates do.
You're gonna love them!

So, how can you check them out?
Two ways:
Way #1: We're still in "private beta", but you can get on board if you send me an email letting me know that you're interested, and telling me how you plan to test our software out. This can be a simple test lab or a pilot group.
Way #2: Come to Booth #914 at TechEd and meet the Specops Group Policy Gurus. That's me, Darren Mar-Elia of, and SDM Software and the Specops Guys who make some awesome Group Policy software (! We'll be there most of the conference to show off our stuff and answer your tough Group Policy questions! And I'll have live demos of my new software and we can talk about what you think! We have a website,, with more information and images of the PolicyPak interface that you can check out, too. But right now there is no way to download the beta software. It is a PRIVATE BETA open only to people who email me directly. If you think you can get me some feedback before TechEd starts, I especially want to hear from you!

Book Signing at NetIQ's Booth At NetIQ's booth, I'll be giving away 100 free signed copies of my new book. All you need is one of my famous "Group Policy Book/Training Postcards" and then just be one of the first 100 people in line to get your free, signed copy. Come to NetIQ's booth before the free book signing on Wednesday from 1:00 to 2:00 for all the details!

More at TechEd to Love
There is likely going to be more news and stuff to love at TechEd this year, and when I find out about it, the quickest way I can tell you about it is via my blog at Keep checking it for updates as they happen! See you at TechEd 2007 (booth #914!, mostly!)

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