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Windows 7 Thread, Managing the Windows 7 Start Menu in Technical; Hi everyone, how do you guys go about managing the Windows 7 start menu? I have had a look at ...
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    Jamo's Avatar
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    Managing the Windows 7 Start Menu

    Hi everyone, how do you guys go about managing the Windows 7 start menu?

    I have had a look at RES workspace manager, which is brilliant, but has one fatal flaw in that I can't seem to get it to work when a laptop is taken away from the network! RES itself works but it doesn't process the user group policy, not sure if I'm doing something wrong there, but as soon as I remove RES everything is back to normal and the user policy suddenly works again!!!


    I have seen a few scripts on here before but wondered how everyone got around the crazy amount of different software packages which are installed in different locations? Do you leave all shortcuts for all students? Remove shortcuts which aren't available? How do you handle shortcuts to applications which need to be managed by permissions?

    Help!

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Redirected start menus.

    I use a scrip that copies down the start menus and then deletes dead links (ie stuff that isnt installed). The start menu itself is stored on the local machine so laptops can work offline with no problems. Staff and students have a different start menu.

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    Jamo (21st February 2013)

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    Jamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FN-GM View Post
    Redirected start menus.

    I use a scrip that copies down the start menus and then deletes dead links (ie stuff that isnt installed). The start menu itself is stored on the local machine so laptops can work offline with no problems. Staff and students have a different start menu.
    Ah ok, so they are redirected to C: after a script copies down the shortcuts? Did you find an issue with start search having the start menu on C: coupled with the 'prevent access to C: drive' GPO?

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    Jamo's Avatar
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    Actually the same goes here for printers, are they managed through GPP?

    I had success with GPP printers, but some of the other parts of the preferences architecture just seem SO slow on Windows 7

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    I dont us GGP i use the other day in printer manager. Right click > Deploy

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    We have a single redirected Start Menu and I then set permissions on various shortcuts / folders of shortcuts. Because we have Access-Based Enumeration enabled on our file server, users can only see what they have access to, so the pupils won't see e.g. the Staff Tools folder, or Office Tools. Another example is the Subjects --> Pastoral folder, in which we have a link to the PASS Survey that all can see, plus another link to the PASS Management tool that only staff can see. The pupils see one, the staff see both.

    ABE is great for things like that, but be aware it does carry some overhead. If you use DFS, you can enable it on a namespace like this:

    dfsutil property abe enable \\<namespace_root>

    As for the Start Menu being unavailable when users are off the network, I suppose that will vary per school but once you have site-wide wireless and remote access in place, everyone should be on the network anyway.
    Last edited by Ephelyon; 21st February 2013 at 11:14 AM.

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    We don't have the remote access part at the moment, I'm guessing you mean direct access here?

    We use offline files so the SM share will be available offline, looking at the possibility of using a script to strip out the unavailable programs though as I think it might be a bit mad with all the millions of programs on the network otherwise!

    Am struggling to find one of the scripts on here now though lol

    Forgot the say the offline laptops are becuase all teachers have laptops which they use at home, our current provision doesn't work at all offline so I have redirected a static start menu, but this is not ideal as it doesn't contain any of the departmental applications
    Last edited by Jamo; 21st February 2013 at 11:31 AM.

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    I maintain two central start menus, one for staff and one for student. Upon login, a fastcopy script runs and syncs the correct menu to c:\start menu Finally, I use a reg key to redirect the start menu, works like a charm.

    Fast copy script (first line used in student gpo, second line used in staff gpo)
    c:\windows\FastCopy\FastCopy.exe /auto_close /open_window /cmd=sync "\\server\profiles\basic7\start menu" /to="c:\start menu"
    c:\windows\FastCopy\FastCopy.exe /auto_close /open_window /cmd=sync "\\server\profiles\staff7\start menu" /to="c:\start menu"

    Hive HKEY_CURRENT_USER
    Key path Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer \User Shell Folders
    Value name Start Menu
    Value type REG_EXPAND_SZ
    Value data c:\Start Menu

    Quick, nasty but works
    Andrew

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    Jamo (21st February 2013)

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    Ephelyon's Avatar
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    Our remote access provision is based on Win2K8 R2 RemoteApp. For home access they have a local admin account with its own Start Menu for local apps; if they need school apps/work, they log onto RemoteApp from there and run them seamlessly or use a full desktop session (trying to get people to run more seamless apps ATM).

    The local admin account is generated on auto-build through scripting. Staff usernames are their three-letter initials, e.g. ABC, and laptop names are LAPTOP-ABC. During the initial build, the laptop parses its own name and creates a local admin account based on the string after the dash (pulling in the AD details for the user's full name). The C:\Users\ABC folder is then shared, and when they're on the network that share is mapped to K: and called Local Work, so they don't have to switch back and forth while at school to access work done at home that they haven't uploaded to a fileshare yet (or aren't going to). Interestingly, you can't share \\localhost\Local_Work for some reason, but you can share \\127.0.0.1\Local_Work and then use a label when mapping the drive in GP Preferences so it doesn't look ugly.

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    Jamo (21st February 2013)

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    The other way is to teach users to type in the search box on the start menu. My users have redirected start menus to keep things neat when they swap machines, but mine is an unfathomable mess due to all the *essential admin tools* I've installed, so I've taken to just searching for the program I want to use.

    (Whisper it) It will help them when they come across Windows 8 too

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    I use Group Policy Preferences to deploy them to the machines then use a redirection policy to that folder.

    Works great, easy to implement and manage.



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