Remote Desktop is Blocked in Windows Firewall even though Group Policy Setting is set to allow

So I’m going through and trying to automate a lot of things in our environment (one thing you should always try and do as a SysAdmin is to automate repetitive tasks) and to help me achieve this I’m using Group Policy, step one is enable Remote Desktop to all of our Servers automatically. Created the Group Policy Object, allowed Remote Desktop Connections and also setup a list of IP Addresses to allow connections from.

After a while I added another IP Address to the exemptions and the next morning I found that I was no longer able to RDP directly to some of my servers, wondering what had happened I logged into our Hyper-V host (where RDP was still working) and I logged onto one of the affected servers. I firstly went and checked to ensure that RDP was still enabled, yup sure is, I then went and checked the Firewall and I spotted a Block and Deny All rule that I was sure I didn’t create. So I went back over the GPO that I had applied, went into the IP exceptions and turns out there was a SPACE separating one of the IP Addresses after the comma. Removed that space, performed a GPUpdate on the affected machines and Remote Desktop started working again.

 

Specify ClickView Server IP settings via the Registry using Group Policy with an ADMX Template

So I was recently going through our Group Policy and found that we were applying a reg file to specify the Server IP for our ClickView Players.  I don’t really like this approach anymore and tend to try and have everything nice and neat so I set about creating a ADM file to store the setting, I also wanted the ability to disable the School Bag feature for our Labs.

Whilst creating the file I relied on the Language Reference for Administrative Templates on MSDN.  I find it much quicker to build it in Notepad with old Syntax then to go around making an XML based ADMX file.

Once I was done, I then got my hands on Microsoft’s free ADMX Migrator (download here) and used it to convert my ADM file.  After a quick clean up, imported them into one of our Domain Controllers and I was then able to manage our ClickView Player a little easier and without having to rely on a reg file.

[ddownload id=”1148″ text=”Download the ADM/ADMX files here”] [ddownload_filesize id=”1148″].

Hope that makes life easier for someone.

Wireless Projection / Miracast option disappears from Microsoft Surface Pro 3 / Windows 8.1 after joining a Active Directory Domain

We recently deployed some Microsoft Surface Pro 3s (love these devices) for our Executive team along with some new equipment in meeting / board rooms with Wireless Display capabilities. During testing with my personal SP3 (not domain joined) the wireless display worked a treat, so I expected it to work fine on the ones we would be deploying.

After about a week, one of the managers shot me an e-mail saying he couldn’t see the option for wireless display, that night he had performed a reset of the device, came in and had the option, but once we joined it back to the domain, it disappeared. I started digging around Group Policy to see what was causing it to disappear and found that these devices were getting an old “XP” based Wireless Network Policy.  I upgraded the policy which then gave us some extra options, including allowing / disallowing Wi-Fi Direct.upgraded policy

Computer Configuration > Policies > Windows Settings >Security Settings > Wireless Network (IEEE 802.11) Policies

The setting Don’t allow Wi-Fi Direct groups which needs to be disabled can be found under the “Network Permissions” tab. From what I can see, any Wireless policy configured for XP doesn’t have this option and a machine will simply disallow it.

How is Miracast or WiDi related to Wi-Fi Direct?  Well basically Wi-Fi Direct allows devices to connect directly to each other, without the need for a Wi-Fi AP, which is exactly what your surface is doing when attempting to stream the display straight to a TV / Projector.

Once we had this option turned off, ran a gpupdate on the machine and viola, wireless display showed up and began working.

 

Deploying printers via Group Policy and getting them pushed out the right way as well as solving driver installation issues (0x80070bcb Specified printer driver was not found and needs to be downloaded)

So we recently upgraded our printing infrastructure with a whole new lot of printers and software (along with a shiny new version of PaperCut MF) and have implemented a global queue or better known as Follow Me Printing.  So how do we go about pushing out all the new global printers to our users.  Well along with the 50 other projects we have on the go, one of them is a clean up of our group policy, so after removing around 15 GPOs related to our old printers I got to work.

So for starters I’ve created a GPO which will contain all of our Follow Me Printing settings, including deploying the PaperCut Client and Global Queue Printers. In our environment we have a mix of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 which will all handle printers being deployed via Group Policy differently (Microsoft make things so easy, don’t they).  For XP, things are simple, simply add the printer to be deployed either by user or computer preference under control panel > printers. For Vista and 7 however this is where it gets tricky.  If you are using a driver which has been loaded on the machine before, the printer will deploy, otherwise you will receive an error in the event log such as the following:

The user 'Printer Name Here' preference item in the 'Group Policy Object
{GUID-GOES-HERE}' Group Policy object did not apply because it failed with
error code '0x80070bcb The specified printer driver was not found on the system
and needs to be downloaded.' This error was suppressed.

This basically means that the client couldn’t download the driver, but the real reason is because of UAC and the computer not requesting permission to install a driver. Thankfully there is a Policy that we can enable that will allow us to set the permission requirements during printer driver installation.

Using the Point and Print Restrictions Policy we can enable printer driver installation without it getting hassled by UAC. Under Windows Vista it is a User Policy and on Windows 7 it is a Computer Policy (I have both enabled for good measure). So enable toe Point and Print Restrictions Policy and change the following options:

  • When installing drivers for a new connection: Do not show warning or elevation prompt
  • When updating drivers for an existing connection: Show warning only

Once we have configured the Point and Print Restrictions Policy printers will download and install on any client computer that the Object is targeting.

Hope that helps a few people out when setting up and configuring their Group Policy Printer Distribution, any queries please comment.

Assigning resources via logon script based on computer names.

We’ve recently been having an issue where printers being deployed via group policy haven’t been deploying, or are deploying but not being set to default.  So after some investigation, the easiest thing to do would be to write a Visual basic script to ease the deployment of printers throughout our environment. Luckily for us we have naming conventions and machines are usually called 2011uname or 2014uname, based on a student’s final year.

You can use this script for all sorts of things, from allocating printers and mapping network drives. To increase or decrease the amount of characters that the script looks at simply modify the strLength (Define String Check Length) variable at the beginning of the script.

'Actions based on Computer name for logon scripts
'Define String Check Length
strLength = "4"

'Get the computer name
Set WSHNetwork = CreateObject("WScript.Network")
strComputer = WSHNetwork.ComputerName

'Select year level by ending year
Select Case Left(strComputer,strLength)
    Case "2011"
        msgbox "year 12"
    Case "2012"
        msgbox "year 11"
    Case "2013"
        msgbox "year 10"
End Select

The script will print out a message box, but within the case you can specify what ever action you want. Hope that helps someone out.