Posts Tagged Windows 7

Screen locking through group policy

Somebody here mentioned to me that her screen doesn’t lock like it is supposed to after 15 minutes. I couldn’t figure out why because I thought I had everything in group policy set right. I lock my computer myself every time I get up from it so I never noticed. But come to find out that if a screen saver isn’t selected on the client machine it will not lock unless you set the policy “screen saver executable name.” I guess it is my fault for not completely reading the descriptions for the other three settings that say you have to specify the executable name. I just typed in scrnsave.scr for the black one, that way it looks like the monitor went to sleep. It should ask for a password when it wakes back up.

To find these go to user configuration -> policies -> administrative templates -> control panel -> display.Image



D-Link Shareport Utility and Windows 7 Pro

I have been using the shareport utility for awhile now but I always had to disable my firewall for it to work properly. It works fine on the Windows 7 home computer, but not on my Windows 7 Pro desktop. I looked around online and it looks like a common problem but I did not see anybody post the solution that worked for me. Simply creating a rule in the firewall allowing the utility itself to do whatever it wants did not work. I turned on logging for the Windows firewall and watched what was happening whenever I tried to print something. It was blocking traffic coming from the other computers on the network. So I created a rule to allow UDP traffic from the range of IPs on my network, which is only a handful of machines. That’s the only shareport related rule I have in the firewall and it works perfectly fine now. The utility will not print if other computers are connected to the printer with shareport, which is why I think the traffic is coming from the other machines on the network – they are just answering back saying they are not using the printer.

Go to your start menu and type firewall in the search box, then click on Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.

  1. Click inbound rules on the left and then new rule on the right
  2. Custom rule, next
  3. All programs, next
  4. You can either leave protocol type to any or change it to UDP, next
  5. Under “which local IP addressses does this rule apply to?” choose “these IP addresses:” and click add. I just put the range of IPs of the computers on my network. Hit OK.
  6. Then allow the connection, next
  7. Only selecting private should work fine for a home network.
  8. Finally, name the rule so you know what it is. I just called it Shareport Utility. Hit finish.

If you want to turn on firewall logging open your command prompt and use either/both of these commands depending on what you want to see:

netsh firewall set logging droppedpackets = enable
netsh firewall set logging connections = enable

By default your log file is %systemroot%\System32\LogFiles\Firewall\pfirewall.log

I was having another issue printing where it would print all jumbled up with text overlapping itself and the colors being completely wrong. I saw a post that suggested going into the printer properties to disable spooling. For my printer it’s under the advanced tab in the printer properties. I told it to print directly to the printer instead – so far so good.

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Skype crashes during video call

I was having problems trying to Skype with my aunt yesterday afternoon. I logged into Skype, tried to call her, but as soon as she would answer Skype threw the error saying that it stopped working and would look for a solution. I never did try calling without video so I don’t know if that’s the issue or not. Whatever the problem is the only way I could fix it was to install the beta version of Skype from their website. I saw on the forums that lots of other people were having the same issue. I looked in the event viewer and saw an error that included:

Faulting application name: Skype.exe, version:, time stamp: 0x4cb31516
Faulting module name: KERNELBASE.dll, version: 6.1.7600.16385, time stamp: 0x4a5bdaae

What does that mean? I have no idea. The only thing I can think of is if maybe recent windows updates broke something for Skype. I haven’t changed anything else on my computer recently.  I’m also not sure if this is a Windows 7 thing or not. My aunt has Windows XP still and she was not having any issues, another family member who has Windows 7 also couldn’t Skype with her. So maybe windows update strikes again.

Anyway, go here and download the beta version. It’s about half way down the  page under their windows section if you go directly to Skype’s website.


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Deploy printers using group policy

I should say that this is for a mixed environment. It was such a pain for me to figure this out because we have machines running Windows XP and some machines running Windows 7. Some parts of the policies are ignored by the Windows 7 machines if I do manage group policy on our Server 2003 DC so I had to figure out how to do get this going on Server 2008 and find the settings that would work for both operating systems.

I’ve recently deployed new computers and cascaded the computers that were replaced down to other locations to get rid of the really old ones. I really hated having to install all the printers under every single user account so I decided to look into how to configure group policy to deploy them. My office is small enough that I can deploy all the printers to every user and not have to worry about separating them by OU. They can set the default printers themselves. As long as I don’t have to deal with installing them every time we replace a computer or every time we get an Intern, I’ll be happy.

We have one Server 2008 box with the rest being Server 2003. Since half of our workstations are Windows 7 I’ll be using Server 2008 to configure and deploy group policy. One thing you’re going to want to make sure of is that all the workstations have the group policy preference client side extensions. You’ll need them for any machines that are running Windows XP or Vista. You can also select the client side extensions when you look at the optional updates on the Windows Update site. I really hope you don’t have any machines running Vista. I thought I installed them on Windows 7 too, but I just looked and apparently it wasn’t necessary.

These steps will allow you to manage printers from your server 2008 box without actually making it a print server.

  • Go to server management, either through administrative tools menu or just type it into the search bar.
  • Click on features and then add features on the right.
  • Find remote server administration tools and expand that list, expand role administration tools. Then find print services tools and check the box. Go through the installation, it does not require a reboot, but it does take its sweet time finishing.

  • Now you can go to print management and select the server(s) you want as the print server(s). I removed the local server since I just want to use this server as the manager.
  • After you’ve added the servers you’ll see them in the left panel.  Click on the appropriate server, click on printers and from here you’ll select which printers to deploy using group policy by right-clicking on the printer and selecting deploy using group policy.
  • In the window that pops up, go to browse and find the policy you want to assign the printer to. Check the box for either a per user setup or per computer. I don’t really know the pros and cons, but the way our policies are set up it’s easier for me to select per user.

  • Make sure you click the add button below that to make it show up in the bottom area. I kept hitting OK and then wondering why there wasn’t some sort of confirmation, duh. I made the mistake of starting to configure this before I had my coffee this morning. After you hit OK or apply, it will hopefully say it was successfully assigned.

Since my users do not have admin privileges on their machines I need to find a way to allow the drivers for the printers to install without prompting for admin credentials. There are a couple places on the group policy you need to go to for this setting so that it takes effect for both Windows 7 and Windows XP machines.

  • Computer configuration -> policies -> windows settings -> security settings -> local policies -> security options -> Devices: Prevent users from installing printer drivers: Disabled

Some people may not want to uncheck that box, but after having to go down the hall to type my credentials in so many times, I’m fine with it.

  • The other location is user configuration -> policies -> administrative templates -> control panel -> printers -> point and print restrictions: enabled

  • Make sure the top 2 boxes are unchecked and select “do not show warning or elevation prompt” and “show warning only” for the drop down lists.

After all this the printers should install for all users or computers, depending on how you assigned them. I’m hoping it’ll stop me from getting phone calls about having to enter my credentials in for the Windows 7 machines.

I just had someone test it for me by logging into a Windows 7 machine they hadn’t logged into before and it worked. I watched the printers pop up under devices and printers without prompting for admin credentials. This will save me so much time.


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