Preconfigured voluntary settings in a mandatory profile

By Max Ranzau

 

This little blurb was inspired by an email to a partner, explaining the differences between the old PoweFuse products PowerLaunch section and the User Preferences (these are now known as User Settings from Powerfuse 2010 and up. This lead to an example on how you can combine these two parts of PowerFuse. The goal is to be able to provide the user with preconfigured, voluntary settings – in a mandatory profile environment. Let’s take a real-world example on this:

We have some users which share a mandatory profile, where the default webpage for IE has been set to about:blank or something else long ago. This setting coded into the .man profile and we don’t want to bother hacking into it since our goal would be to have it changed dynamically, according to group membership.

For example: We want to have users in group1 initially having www.batman.com as their homepage and group2 should have www.superman.com as their homepage. To make the entire thing a bit more interesting, we want to provide the user with the option to change their homepage to something else if they prefer to do so.

To summarize we are talking about creating a dynamic, group assigned voulentary user registry setting on top of a mandatory profile. Sounds iffy? Not at all. This example is easy to follow, but you can of course just download the PowerFuse buildingblock at the end of the article. The registry key we use for this example is HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerMainStart Page (REG_SZ)

  1. If you haven’t already done so, create a PowerFuse application for Internet Explorer (other browsers can be used, but you’ll have to figure out the registrysettings then for yourself)
  2. Edit the IE app and go to the Configuration | PowerLaunch tab, click Add.
  3. run-onceCreate a powerlaunch user registry setting for the IE startup page www.batman.com. using the HKCU registry path above. Make sure to mark the reghack with the Run-Once checkmark.
  4. group1Go to the Access Control tab of the reghack, assign it to group1.
  5. Export the newly created reghack to a temporary file. This done in the “Registry|Export registry file…” menu inside the PowerFuse export-regregistry buffer editor. We are going to use this export one steap further ahead.
  6. Save the reghack and return to the PowerLaunch tab of the application
  7. Repeat step 2 above, then go to the Registry|Import registry file… and pull the temporary regfile in again (it can safely be deleted after this btw).  In the new reghack, change the startup page to www.superman.com and assign this one to group2. Notice that the name and any comments you added before was preserved in the regfile. Once you’ve configured the reghacks for both groups it should look like this: app-registry
  8. Let’s setup the User Preferences. Go to Properties|User Preferences, while still editing the app. Here we can specify one or more seperate items which should be saved before the logoff destroys the mandatory profle. Using the Add button, you can choose to add:
    1. A single registry value (like we are using here)
    2. A registry key (containing multiple values)
    3. A registry tree (a branch containing multiple registry keys)
    4. A single file in the profile (such as normal.dot for office)
    5. A folder in the profile (such as cookies or favorites)
  9. Fashion the user preference so it looks something like this (remember, you can download the buildingblock below if you want to make sure you build it right). Click on the image to zoom.userpref-ie

When the app has been saved and the user sessions refreshed, PowerFuse will write the correct IE startup page to the registry uppon first time user launch of IE. During the session, the user may perhaps change the homepage of IE to something completely different. Regardless of this, User Preferences will capture the current value of the IE startpage key at logoff and save it, just before the mandatory profile is tossed into Mount Doom. To try all this out for yourself, download the BuildingBlock:

Rightclick and save-target-as here: legobrick_red

1 Comment

  • By Yuri Haak, February 27, 2009 @ 06:39

    Awesome job running this site! If I were in charge of Nobelprizes ….

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