Saturday, April 5, 2014

Managing Scheduled Tasks from Group Policy

There were two different questions on the front page of Server Fault today, both needing a way to deploy scheduled tasks to a large number of servers. The preferred method for this type of thing is to use System Center Orchestrator, but if you don't have System Center licensing, you can deploy scheduled tasks using GPO.

First, open the Group Policy Management Console. You can find the policy preferences that we care about in Computer Configuration > Control Panel Settings > Scheduled Tasks.

Right click on Scheduled Tasks and select "Scheduled Task (At Least Windows 7)" if you're targeting this at Window 7 or 2008 R2 or later.

You're now presented with the familiar Task Scheduler dialog. Here you can configure the task like you would on any individual computer.

You should now have a Scheduled Task item. The default action is "Update" but "Create" or "Replace" will have similar results. For a quick rundown of what the actions do, read this TechNet article.

If we hop over to one of the servers that this policy applies to and run a gpupdate /force, we can then go into Task Scheduler on the local computer and see the job that we defined in GPO.

Hopefully, this makes the deployment and management of scheduled tasks a bit easier if you don't have a proper workflow management system like System Center Orchestrator. Happy scheduling!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

LOPSA East 2014

As some of you may know, I will be speaking at LOPSA East in May.

I'll be doing a three hour session on Active Directory Domain Services during the Saturday morning block. You should all register and come hang out!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

On Asking for Help

I've noticed a disturbing trend on Server Fault lately. People are asking for help with things that they have not tried to find the answer to themselves. Some of the regulars on the site have speculated that it's concentrated within certain cultures. Others have said that it's from a younger inexperienced generation that want quick answers. I'm not sure if either of those are accurate, but it's got to stop for the long-term success of our profession.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Review: Microsoft System Center 2012 Orchestrator Cookbook

A few months ago, I was contacted by the publisher of Microsoft System Center 2012 Orchestrator Cookbook and was asked if I'd live to review a copy on my blog. Since I spend most of my professional life deploying Service Manager and Orchestrator, I thought it was a great opportunity. It's currently on sale for $5 in eBook format for the holiday season and can be purchased at the Packt Publishing site.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Full Control v Modify - Why you should be using modify in most cases

Full control is a set of permissions that I see granted quite a bit, perhaps more frequently than it needs to be. For example, I see quite a large number of customers with the full control NTFS permission for each user set on their network home folders, or a group with full control to their departmental network shares. I'm a firm believer of using modify permission instead of full control in these situations and this is why: