September, 2008

  • Audit User Logon and Logoff

    A quick and easy way to audit your users login times (and some other details) is by using this simple login script method.
    Firstly, you need to build two .BAT file scripts and save them to some sort of Audit share on a server. (I suggest hiding the share with the $ so users can’t easily access the share).
    You need to give all users write permissions to the directory as they will be running a script and updating a file.

    logoffAuditScript.BAT

    echo —- Logoff —- %username%, %computername%, %date%, %time% >>\\SERVERNAME\audit$\logoffAudit.txt

    logonAuditScript.BAT

    echo —- Logon —- %username%, %computername%, %date%, %time% >>\\SERVERNAME\audit$\logonAudit.txt

    You need to add the logonAuditScript.BAT to the login scripts settings in Group Policy and obviously the logoffAuditScript.BAT to the logout scripts setting.

    Basically all these batch files do is write a single line with the username, computer name, date and time to the .txt files specified in the script.
    You can then open the text files with Excel and find out when your staff are logging in and out.

    There are a lot more extensive audit login scripts available out there – however I found this a quick and easy option that satisfies my simple audit needs. The major draw back of this audit method is that it only runs when users login and logout… if users stay logged in for long periods of time nothing is logged. You can use Logon Hours within AD to force users to logout if necessary.

     

    Matt Shadbolt

  • Deploying Office 2007 Compatibility pack via Group Policy

    Since Microsoft released 2007 and the new .*x file format there have been some compatibility problems – sure you can save your documents in the “old” 2003 format – but you loose some of the extra functionality available for 2007 users.

    Microsoft released an installer to resolve these problems allowing 2003 users to open 2007 formatted Office documents. I’m going to explain how to deploy this patch for you AD domain.

    Firstly, download the FileFormatConvers.exe file from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=941b3470-3ae9-4aee-8f43-c6bb74cd1466&displaylang=en

    Create a directory C:\DEPLOY and place the .exe in there. Open a command shell and type the following:

    C:\DEPLOY\FileFormatConverters.exe /extract:C:\DEPLOY\

    This will extract the files to the directory and you will end up with two main files – 012Conv.CAB & O12Conv.MSI

    You now need to place these two files onto a file server share where all your users have read permissions.

    Now open up your Group Policy console and create a new policy – I reuse a policy called Software Deploy. Expand out the Computers Configuration and select the Software Settings > Software Installation.
    Right-click in the right hand pane and select New > Package.

    Browse to the package on the file share you are going to use and select the O12Conv.MSI file and choose OPEN. When prompted choose Assigned (you can also choose Publish but this option will not automatically install the software for your users – it will just make the package available for them to install). Once you have pressed OK you will find the package in your GPO.

    Link this GPO to your OU where you keep you computers and do some testing. Read my previous posts on troubleshooting Group Policy if you have any dramas.

    Easy as that. Deploying this package via Group Policy is the easiest way to ensure you won’t receive any more support calls complaining that your users can’t open 2007 formatted Office files!

     

    Matt Shadbolt