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we currently use an in house developed login script system. There is a pretty admin GUI tool that exports config files, and a dll called from a vbs login script that processes the config files.

The current system is now getting a bit clunky, it was written in vb 6, runs a bit slow and lacks some functionality the helpdesk would like, so we have been tasked with re-writing it.

I was wondering if anyone else ran any similar in house login applications, had any good ideas about the best way to run them, if there are any apps out there now that do the job etc

UPDATE We are trying to do the normal login script functions, map drives, merge reg keys, copy files etc. We are large organization and a single script would be to large to handle all the different roles we have (they are all different between sites/depts etc).

We need a single point to manage it all from, what we have now does work but needs updating


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up vote 3 down vote accepted

We're doing exactly that with .VBS scripts. The primary job of our login-script is to map drives based on group memberships, and even that requires a pretty hefty script. The fact that VBasic can only call the SamID (a.k.a. "Pre Win2000 name") of groups has caused some issues with longer names. We'd like to use PowerShell for this, but that requires PowerShell be ON every device which is not the case with WinXP.

We're avoiding compiled code due to the complexity of maintaining such systems. A script-file can be edited by anyone with the right access using nothing more than a text-editor, which makes quick changes a lot easier.

We're also making a conscious effort to use Group Policy to do config-work like modifying registry, file copies, installing software and the like. By doing it with GPO, it makes it vastly easier to work around the permissions problems. Microsoft's Desktop Optimization Pack includes a very nifty Advanced Group Policy Management module, which really helps keep GPO-hell under control. Users submit changes to approvers, and approvers publish the changes as needed, and there is full revision control as well!

Having been a Novell shop until relatively recently we were very used to using the Login Script for fully modifying the user environment. We did everything:

  • Drive mapping.
  • Importing key SSL root-certs.
  • Automatically converting clients to DHCP.
  • Upgrade Novell Client versions.
  • Upgrade anti-virus versions.
  • Check for certain critical Microsoft patches, and report on them via logging.
  • Force Windows Update settings.
  • Handle reminder-prompts for upcoming password-expiration.
  • A handful of custom registry tweaks.

And like you, most of the above was handled through custom-compiled VB6 code. Because of our NetWare servers, .NET code barked about trust-zones so we couldn't use newer code. So we've been where you are now.

When we made the switch to a fully Windows/AD environment we decided to keep the drive-mapping portions in our new login-script and leverage the Microsoft-native tool for pushing workstation config: the GPO. The new AD login-script does just the first bullet point, everything else is handled through GPO or ignored (in the case of Novell Client upgrades ;). Some of it, like the software installs, works much better since it doesn't require the logged-in user to be a local admin. Others, like the Win Update and SSL Certs, have native hooks in GPO which makes them easy as heck.

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+1 - Use native Group Policy tools where you can because they'll probably be more "future proof" than custom scripts (and easier for new admins to handle working with). – Evan Anderson Jan 19 '11 at 17:39
agreed the single point of management for this type of functionality should be group policy (and I'd even migrate the drive mappings into GP Preferences) – Jim B Jan 19 '11 at 18:12
how do you handle coping files to the clients? i asume the custom reg tweeks can be implemented by a custom adm file? – beakersoft Jan 19 '11 at 19:38
@beakersoft We stopped doing that a while ago, but GPO Preferences include a facility for both copying files and deploying reg-tweaks. No custom ADM files needed. They even do ini files and shortcuts. – sysadmin1138 Jan 19 '11 at 19:50
sounds sweet, its been a while since i looked in depth at policy's but if they will do all that then ill look into that route – beakersoft Jan 19 '11 at 21:31

all depends on what you are doing with the login scripts. VB might still be the way to do it. You could also look into AutoIT. Keep in mind you are limited by the languages that your clients support.

Where I am now, I plan to eventually use compiled Python scripts for my Windows environment.

To get more help, maybe add a comment to your post either linking to your existing scripts, or at least list the actions you are trying to achieve with the scripts.

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never seen AutoIT before, ill have a look at that – beakersoft Jan 19 '11 at 17:25

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