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May 2007
09

Newsletter 22. In this issue:

  • Jeremy Talks About Vista and Group Policy, and Other News from GPanswers.com
  • May the Fourth (Edition) Be With You . . .
  • Moskowitz, inc. Technology Takeaway®
    • Some tips about using GP to manage Office 2007
  • Public GP Training Schedule Update
    • Different course levels
    • XP and Vista coverage
    • Cities that are scheduled for public courses
  • Subscribe, Unsubscribe, and Usage Information

There's lots to tell you in this issue! There was so much, in fact, that I held some back for the next edition, which will be out much sooner than normal.


This Month's Newsletter Sponsored by: BeyondTrust Corporation

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Click the link to learn more:BeyondTrust


GPanswers.com News

Holy cow—it's here! 786 pages!

You wanted it, and now you can get it. The biggest GP book of all time, and it's available RIGHT NOW. That's right, I've got an updated version of my popular Group Policy book. It's not called "4th edition", but that's really what it is.

Learn more at www.GPanswers.com/book (and in the note below).

In short, it's long. Fully updated for Vista, XP/SP2, and Server 2003.

200 new pages. You're gonna love it. Get a signed copy at www.GPanswers.com/book!

Jeremy talks about Group Policy and Vista

In case you missed it, here's a link to an interview conducted by Greg Shields of Redmond Magazine where he and I chatted about some of the new customizations in Group Policy that come with Windows Vista and why you should start implementing them now to prepare for what's to come in Windows Server Longhorn.

Download the podcast from here

Updated GPanswers.com/community forum

We've moved and shaken a little bit in the forums, and now things are more streamlined. If you have a question about something in the book, or something about the material that the same chapter in the book would cover, you can just post to one place. (Trust me, this makes sense when you check it out.) So, join the community forum today!

don't forget the blog

Some people have asked why they don't see as many newsletters anymore.

Because now I have my little blog, so that when I have a neat little nugget to share, I can do it immediately.

I don't have to compile all those little tips into a big newsletter.

So, I'm saving the newsletter for longer tips that I think tell a bigger story.

Getting to the blog is easy. Just shuffle over to www.GPanswers.com/blog and you can use the RSS link on that page to get updated whenever there are goodies to be had!

Welcome to Cynthia

I have a new right-hand here in the offices of Moskowitz, inc. Her name is Cynthia Talmage, and she can help you order a case of books, sign up for Public class, or help you get that Private class you always wanted. You can also ping her just to say Hi. You can say Hi by emailing [email protected].

Welcome to Eric

Eric has joined Adam to help out with the GPanswers.com community forum. As a long-standing member, he has already provided countless tips and nuggets of advice to other visitors, and now he is also helping to keep the forum in order to make it even easier to get the best quality information about Group Policy from your peers. A warm welcome to Eric. Why not join him and our other regulars in the GPanswers forum today?

Spread the Word

If you enjoy this newsletter and are anxious to read the material we had to leave out for next time, why not share the GPanswers love?

Spread the word! How?

Simply forward the newsletter email that you received to a colleague or friend and they can decide if they like the content, and if so, they can sign up here to make sure they don't miss out on future releases.

Or maybe you can mention the newsletter in your blog or just shout "I love GPanswers.com" to the guy next to you in traffic. However you do it—let people know why you think GPanswers is THE place to go for Group Policy information.


Fourth Edition of Jeremy's Group Policy Book... renamed:

Group Policy: Management, Troubleshooting, and Security

Every single chapter has gotten an update for Vista, but I still make sure you have all the information you need for both Windows XP and Windows 2000. Here are some of the highlights of the new edition:

  • A real lab guide makes it easier to follow along with all of the hundreds of examples. So, you can walk through everything with me if you want to.
  • Multiple Local GPOs for Vista with walk-through examples.
  • Understanding and troubleshooting Vista's method for determining if you're online or offline, and what that means for GP processing.
  • Troubleshooting in a Vista world.
  • Find out what happens with ADM and ADMX files when you create a GPO. Or what happens if you edit a GPO from Vista or XP. And back again!
  • Software Restriction Policies secrets.
  • Tricking Restricted Groups so it’s not “rip and replace”.
  • Controlling User Account Control, and tweaking it for specific scenarios.

There's so much more ... read more detail and some reviewers' comments here. You can order the book from popular online retailers, or get it SIGNED if you order it directly from me. Just click here !


Technology Takeaway®, a Service of Moskowitz, inc.

A quick look at Group Policy for Office 2007

Many of you will be facing the challenge of planning a deployment of Office 2007, or you may already have some early adopters in your organization. So in this edition, we'll take a look at how to implement some of the useful Group Policy controls for this new version of Office.

First things first—the ADM templates

Microsoft has released a collection of ADM files (yes, ADM files) so you can manage these policies from an XP or 2003 machine just as easily as from Vista/Longhorn. These can be downloaded as a single extractable file here: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink?linkid=75729

A little side note: What's strange is that ADMX files for when you use Vista management stations are STILL missing in action. I've seen pre-beta versions, but they never seem to materialize.

Anyway, once you have downloaded and extracted them, add them to your GPMC by editing or creating a policy, then right-clicking Administrative Templates | Add/Remove templates | Add. Browse to the extracted files and add the ones you need.

There are settings available for the machines side or the user side but the vast majority target user settings.

Help your users save things properly

One gripe system admins often have is that their users simply don't follow corporate guidelines, ignore all their training, and save things where they should not—particularly in places such as My Documents. This is a little unfair—many users would argue that if you want them to save somewhere, you should make it an easy place to find. You might also consider just preventing them from saving anywhere else but the place you designate. Let's look at helping your users find the right place first.

On XP/2003/2000, you would look under User Configuration | Administrative Templates; with Vista go down one more level to "Classic administrative templates" (which indicates their ADM file format). There you will find Microsoft Office 2007 System | File open/Save dialog box.

The first section in there deals with the Places Bar—the "favorites" area of the Open and Save dialog boxes. You can add up to 10 locations which will appear in the order you enter them, and you can give them meaningful names—no more "X: (fileshare on SRV27)", but "Your shared work files". You can use UNCs and combine environment variables for profile locations, and so on.

So, we've made it easy to find the right place, how about blocking the "wrong" places? This requires a combination of two settings, both of them under the section "Restricted browsing". Enabling "Activate Restricted Browsing" will mean that in the Save As dialog, users will not be able to navigate to any folder which is not explicitly allowed by the second (multi-value) setting, "Approve locations". Note that if you set the first one, you MUST provide a list in the second one.

Notice that these settings restrict where users can save, but do not limit where they can browse to open files (which they might have previously put in the wrong place).

Using Corporate standard templates

Anyone working for a large company will likely be familiar with the idea that they should stick to certain corporate guidelines for their documents; in other words, layout, styles, fonts, etc. should be consistent between documents and between authors.

In order to facilitate this process, marketing departments (usually aided by IT, of course) often create standard templates for users to use for their letters, faxes, presentations, and so on.

When the process is implemented badly, users will save their own copies of these templates which become out-of-date once the originals are updated, and all their future documents then deviate from company standards. Here's some simple rules of thumb if your business has gone to the effort of making these standard documents:

  • Save them once in a central fileshare to which all users have read access and only a limited number of individuals have any modify permissions.
  • Tell users to use these and only these.
  • Better still, configure their Office apps to know where to find the templates, so when they create a new document, the application automatically gives them the right choices.

Now in Office 2000/2003, this was easy to do through the UI. In the always-connected world of Office 2007, however, it is just as likely for the app to try and find a jazzy-looking resume from the internet as it is to deliver the corporate memo template.

So, under Office 2007 System | Shared Paths | Workgroup Templates, set the UNC or the drive and folder where the templates are stored. (You can also do this for previous versions using the matching ADM files.)

Managing file types during your migration

There are lots of good reasons why the underlying file type has been changed after all these years, and many admins are thanking the development team for making all the files sitting on their fileservers and in their email systems so much smaller. But there is the potential problem of compatibility if your network is too big to upgrade everyone all at once.

You could download and install the Office 2007 compatibility pack on all your machines that have older versions, but this could be quite time consuming. As a short-term measure you might want to simply change the default for your Office 2007 applications to save in the older format.

Using Excel as our example, you need to look under User Configuration | Administrative Templates | [Classic Administrative Templates(ADM)] | Microsoft Excel 2007 | Excel Options | Save. The setting for "Save Excel Files as", once enabled, has a drop-down list of choices. The most likely option you would want is "Excel 97-2003 workbook".

Note that the application will use this as the default file format when saving, but does not prevent the user from making a different choice. It also does not prevent the user from changing the default in the UI by graying out the choice under the Office button | Excel options | Save. However, when they restart Excel it resets the policy setting, even before a GP refresh.

That's all the time we have for tips in this issue! Next time there'll be more about the way the GP engine works, and some information about the improved troubleshooting tools available under Vista. Please continue to submit your own tips or links to useful information in the GPanswers.com forums.


Choose the Right Active Directory and Group Policy Course for You

Did you know that here at GPanswers.com, we have GP courses that fit what YOU need?

  • Are you dealing with mostly XP machines? We have an XP-focused course.
  • Are you warming up to Vista? We have a Vista-focused course.
  • Do you want to learn in an intensive format? Learn it in TWO DAYS.
  • Less intensive? Learn it in THREE days.
  • Want even more Advanced material? We've got that too.
  • Already know XP GPOs pretty well? How about our XP-to-Vista Catch-Up course?

You can find out more about the different public and private courses available from the workshops section of GPanswers.com.

We also have a Group Policy "Rightsize" Tool which guides you step by step in choosing the best course to take for your situation. Read the course details for the dates you have in mind to make sure you get the skills that match your needs. We have both private and public classes. Use the Rightsize tool to get a complete understanding of your options.

public courses—2007 (First Half) scheduled

You used the "Suggest a city" form at https://www.gpanswers.com/suggest and told me where you would like me to go! So, here's the 2007 (first half) line-up:

  • May 21–22, Washington, DC: Two-Day Group Policy Intensive Course (XP Focused)
    • We almost have enough people to run this class. Sign up TODAY to secure your seat! We need you to sign up ASAP (or we might have to cancel!)
  • May 23–24, New York, NY: Two-Day Group Policy Intensive Course (XP Focused)
    • We almost have enough people to run this class. Sign up TODAY to secure your seat!
  • May 25, New York, NY: One-Day Group Policy Advanced Course (XP/Vista Focused)
  • June 18–19, Phoenix, AZ: Two-Day Group Policy Intensive Course (XP Focused)
    • We almost have enough people to run this class. Sign up TODAY to secure your seat!
  • June 20, Phoenix, AZ: One-Day Group Policy Advanced Course (XP/Vista Focused)
  • June 21, Phoenix, AZ: One-Day Group Policy XP-to-Vista Catch-Up Course
  • July 16–17, San Francisco, CA: Two-Day Group Policy Intensive Course (XP Focused)
  • July 18: San Francisco, CA: One-Day Group Policy Advanced Course (XP/Vista Focused)
  • August 8–9: Chicago, IL: Two-Day Group Policy Intensive Course (XP Focused)
  • August 10: Chicago, IL: One-Day Group Policy Advanced Course (XP/Vista Focused)

For any public class, sign up online at: https://www.gpanswers.com/workshop/ Some notes:

  • This is the first time the Advanced Group Policy course has been made available to the public. If you've taken the Two-Day or Three-Day course, check it out. If you sign up for the Two-Day Intensive and One-Day Advanced at the same time, you'll get $100 off the third day.
  • Phoenix is the only place you can take the One-Day XP-to-Vista Catch-Up course right now.

Here's a deal you can't pass up!

Okay, so I'll be in your city teaching a public class. But how would you like to get a FREE student in the class? Easy: Be the "host" of the class. Allow me and our GPanswers.com students to use your conference room for the two or three days, and you get a free student attendee!

Such a deal!

Lots of companies have been the hosts for public classes, and they've gotten free training for one of their folks! So, if you're interested in free training for one of your teammates (maybe even you!) contact me if you're in one of the above cities, and we'll see about working out the details to have you host the class.

Private courses

If you think you might want your own private in-house training (with all the personalized attention that affords), I'd love to join you onsite!

If you have even a handful of in-house people interested in the training (about 6–8), the course pays for itself (since you don't need to ship people offsite!). I'll even travel overseas to the U.K., other parts of Europe, or Japan—or wherever! Have passport, will travel!

Again, while the training course isn't officially endorsed by Microsoft, the class does have the distinction of being a suggested avenue for intense Group Policy training by members of the Group Policy, Microsoft Consulting Services, and Product Support Services teams at Microsoft!

For a public class, sign up online at: https://www.gpanswers.com/workshop/.
For a private class, just contact me at [email protected] or call me at 302-351-8408.

Private Course Special Offer

If you book a private class which completes before August 31, 2007, I'll include all travel expenses. I have some free time in the summer I want to fill, and want to give you an incentive to help me book that unused time. So, you pay no travel expenses if the class completes before Aug 31, 2007!


Get signed copies of...

Group Policy: Management, Troubleshooting, and Security

For Windows Vista, Windows 2003, Windows XP, and Windows 2000

-and-

Windows & Linux Integration: Hands-on Solutions for a Mixed Environment

  If you’re in the continental USA, you can order the Fourth Edition of Group Policy: Management, Troubleshooting, and Securitydirectly from me for $45 (including shipping).

  • If you order the book from me, I’ll sign the book for you, free! I’ve had many requests for this service, and I’m honored that you'd ask!
  • If you order it from me, the shipping is included! Usually, I try to ship out the orders the SAME DAY. But if you positively need a guaranteed shipping date, then Amazon might be a better choice.
  • The slight extra cost goes toward the shipping from Sybex to me, then me to you (not for the signature). Again, note that shipping is included.
  • We take all kinds of credit cards. No PO orders for books, please, unless it's an order for 10 or more.

This book is in stock! We can ship it out today!
Note, that I can only take orders from and ship to those in the continental United States. Thanks for your understanding.

Order your signed copy today by clicking here.

Also available is Windows & Linux Integration: Hands-on Solutions for a Mixed Environment from www.WinLinAnswers.com/book.

Oh, and if you own either book, and want to say nice things on Amazon, please do so! That would be great. Thanks! You can do so here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0470106425 (GPO book)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0782144284 (WinLin book)


Don't forget our Sponsors

I can't tell you how often I hear that people LOVE the Solutions Guide we have at GPanswers.com/solutions. Inside, you'll find both free and third-party products which extend the reach of Group Policy, or let you do something you haven't discovered before! So, head on over to the Solutions Guide and see what other goodies are available! Our newest sponsors at the Solutions Guide:

  • Biscom Corp with their FaxCom Suite for Windows
  • BeyondTrust Corporation with their BeyondTrust Privilege Manager product
  • NetIQ with their GP Guardian product
  • SDM software with their GP Health Reporter

Subscribe, Unsubscribe, and Usage Information

If you've received this message as a forward from a friend, or are reading it online in the archives, you can sign up for your own newsletter subscription.

 

Also, if you want to unsubscribe, you can do that, too (but we'll be sad to see you go).

For all Subscription and Unsubscription information, we have a one-stop-shop page at the following address:https://www.gpanswers.com/newsletter

You can use this information as you see fit, but if you're going to copy any portion, please FORWARD THE ENTIRE email.

While Moskowitz, inc. tries to ensure that all information is technically accurate, we make no warranty with regard to the information within. Please use at your own risk.

If you need personalized attention regarding subscriptions and unsubscriptions, just email me: [email protected]

Please POST your technical question on the GPanswers.com/community forum whenever possible.

If you have questions about ordering a book, contact my assistant Cynthia at: [email protected]. I endeavor to respond to everyone who emails.

Thanks for reading!

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