Thursday 3 February 2011

On a higher level

I had a nice day at work. What could have been a tedious excercise in not getting bored turned out to be one of trying out stuff i haven't tried in the wild. Normally, the job of installing two identical PCs with Windows, Office and whatnot is one that i've considered time for the mind to rest. The only part i really despise is waiting for stuff to download. Like Office.

Another thing i dislike is unnecessarily repeated effort. Thus, instead of installing F-Secure antivirus on two machines, i created an OU for computers under construction and added the .msi installer in a group policy i used for software installation. I would have used the F-Secure policy manager but the Windows firewall was blocking my attempts to overtake computers in a thusly organized fashion.

I also wanted to install the management agent we use to take care of our clients' computers, but since this installer was an .exe, i had to add it as a startup script. Fortunately the installer has a switch to not have it run if the agent already is installed.

I then proceeded with trying out Published apps (versus the Assigned ones above). I put Google Chrome ("business" edition) and Adobe Reader X for installation on demand. Reader complained that it didn't have any options to set (or something) but both installers were visible on the client computers' Install from the network control panel bit.

After that the two machine users were to have a catalogue software they use in their work. These installers come as old fashion CDs with loads of everything. At this stage i started experimenting with RemoteApps. The client has a terminal server that they really didn't use for much. I might have added a TS RemoteApp role service there, but after that it was a thoroughly enjoyable ride. I installed the software on the terminal server and added Domain Users as ones who are allowed to make remote desktop connections to the server. Then i opened up the Terminal services RemoteApp admin tool and added the newly installed program as a RemoteApp. Then i was struck by lazy so i just created an .rdp file for the app and saved that in a shared folder. Sure there are more elegant ways but this was good enough...

In the end, the RemoteApp worked fine on a Windows 7 machine but less so on an XP, which croaked that the machine name didn't match the certificate.

So to recap, no higher magic was applied. These are all normal stage tricks, but ones that i'd never actually bothered trying, and ones that turned out really fun to try!

I know i'm being less technically specific in this posting, but there was not really that much magic involved. I can fill in the specs if anybody needs 'em.

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