How do people get around…

Have you ever asked yourself how system administrators get around certain problems (cheaply, if not for free)? Simply put in a comment with what you would like to better understand and I will try my best to write an article about it.. So go on, give it a go. Add a comment of a problem … Read more

Exchange OWA logon customisations

There are several customisations that can be done to Exchange OWA so that the look and feel can be tailored to your company needs. The changes that are possible are:

  • Sign-in and Sign-out pages
  • OWA Logo
  • Font colors and styles
  • Themes and web-parts (not covered here)

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Adobe Flash 11 Deployment via GPO

At last Adobe have come to the party and released Adobe Flash 11 that comes as 32-Bit and the long awaited 64-Bit versions. This is great news to me because I can now try to use IE 64-Bit browser as my main browser.
Now we have to understand how to deploy Flash 11 using Group Policy for both 32 and 64 bit versions to your clients in a manageable way. This guide will be about deploying Adobe Flash ActiveX version, however the plug-in version would work just the same.

There is a new article which covers the auto-updating aspect of Adobe Flash for enterprise. Read it here:

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How to clear old unused distribution lists from Exchange 2010 programatically

If you are an Exchange administrator you would most likely have hundreds of distribution lists in your organisation and no idea which ones are being used. Well I had this problem and decided to do something about it. I set out to see who was actually using these DL’s and remove all the ones that have not been used in months. I will be looking at Static DL’s. If you use Dynamic DL’s then the concept will be the same however some of the syntax may differ slightly.

High level overview of steps

Here are the steps I went through on a high level to identify and remove unused Distribution Lists in my Exchange 2010 SP1 environment:

  1. Increase Exchange MessageTrackingLogs from the default of 30 days to 90 days
  2. Export list of ALL distribution lists
  3. Export list of ALL active distribution lists based off Exchange Tracking Logs
  4. Compare the results and output the inactive DL’s
  5. Hide all unused DL’s from the GAL
  6. Delete all unused DL’s from Exchange

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How to run domain admin tasks without being logged in as an administrator

My problem was I did not want to always “Run As…” all my important admin programs and mmc snap-ins all day because i didnt log on as an admin. It simply took up alot of my time and it frustrated me. What i really needed was a way to automatically (and securely) load all my administrative programs without having to enter any user names or passwords. Well i have a solution for anyone that had the same pain as i did.

The solution started off with the Free Elevation PowerToy found here where i used the elevation files in their original way, however i altered the original registry keys that go in the context menus along with the elevate.vbs to cater for certain anomalies.

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Adobe Flash 10.3 deployment via GPO

This article has been superseded by a new article that includes Adobe Flash 11 (including 32Bit and 64Bit deployments)

So we need to update Adobe Flash for our users…again. With all the security vulnerabilities this one I like to keep on top of as much as I can even though it slips from time to time. Below is a quick summary of how I deploy Adobe Flash using Group Policy.

In brief i will document:

  • Where to download the distribution version
  • How to deploy it via GPO
  • How to prevent the automatic updating

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How to package and deploy Java JRE 1.6.0_26 via Group Policy

UPDATE: 18/11/2013 – I have an updated post on how to package and deploy Java 7 Update 45. Read them here:
Deploying Java 7 JRE – Deep Dive! (Part 1)
Deploying Java 7 JRE – Deep Dive! (Part 2)

I have documented the steps to package and deploy the latest (currently) version of Java JRE (Java Runtime Environment) with an MSI via Group Policy. Its a relatively easy task to do but due to information being scattered around the internet when I was doing it I thought I would do a write-up.

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How I deploy GPO software in my enviroment

There is no wrong or right way of deploying software via Group Policies, however through my experience I now recommend using the below method because it is the most flexible.

The Key points about how I deploy GPO software:

  • I use an individual GPO per software title.
  • I upgrade each software title using the same GPO
  • I utilise the security tab under the individual software package to test the application with my stakeholders before I push it to everyone
  • I use a DFS-R name space for a number of reasons:
    • I can change the location of the source files without breaking the GPO package
    • I can replicate the software across multiple sites to speed up deployment for clients
  • I deploy software Per Computer as I have found Per User to be more problematic

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