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´┐ŻAnother thing I don't like about Altiris´┐Ż
2005-01-10, 23:30:00

My team at work is on a quest to reimage all our clinical workstations from Windows 2000 to Windows XP Pro. Since we're using Altiris for deployments and remote management now, we're planning to use its remote imaging to automate the migration.

Sounds reasonable, right?

Well, I was asked by the guy who's in charge of this project to write a small app that loads up the current default printer for the accounts that automatically log these machines in and writes a batch file out to a share that will add it back using the PrintUI.dll print interface. Thus, once we reimage these and add them to the domain, the printers will be captured for quick restoration.

Sounds simple enough Ś in the past with SMS, I'd write a little program in Delphi to do simple things like collect the information, and since all the accounts in question are domain users, I could just write to a simple share. SMS would handle the details about getting the information from the current user account even though it's running under the service's token account, no problem.

Instead, when this app is run with one of our Altiris Deployment Servers, we get errors. An hour of debugging shows that the app doesn't do any impersonation of the logged in user, and there is no option with Deployment Server to do such a thing. I have to build in network authentication with WNetAddConnection2 and use Colin Wilson's TImpersonator class (that he should really update and put on his site) to get at the current user's printer.

Is it just me, or is that too much work, especially in a product that touts itself as superior to SMS?

We're going to recommend an "impersonate currently logged-in user" option for the Deployment Server product to Altiris so that we get the ease with development of these quick scripts and programs that we had before. I really wish we'd just upgraded to SMS 2003.

On the upside? Today we discovered a little-known key that will help us out with a couple small projects. Everybody knows how to make a user log in automatically in Windows NT-based products. However, did you know that if you define an auto logon value set in HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogon and define a string value pair of ForceAutoLogon="1", that even if you log off the current user, Windows will log the auto logon user again immediately?




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