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I have a user in our domain on a Dell laptop using windows 7 professional. Occasionally, she needs to switch from wired to wireless, but currently the system denies her this privledge without an administrator password. Is there a way to enable her to manage wireless settings? I have no group policies that should be limiting her ability in this area.


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I am assuming you are on a Windows Server 2008 domain.

Create a new policy under user configuration> Administrative Templates> Network> Network connections

Look for this policy

Ability to enable/disable a LAN Connection

Determines whether users can enable/disable LAN connections. If you enable this setting, the Enable and Disable options for LAN connections are available to users (including nonadministrators). Users can enable/disable a LAN connection by double-clicking the icon representing the connection, by right-clicking it, or by using the File menu.

If you disable this setting (and enable the "Enable Network Connections settings for Administrators" setting), double-clicking the icon has no effect, and the Enable and Disable menu items are disabled for all users (including administrators). Important: If the "Enable Network Connections settings for Administrators" is disabled or not configured, this setting will not apply to administrators on post-Windows 2000 computers.

If you do not configure this setting, only Administrators and Network Configuration Operators can enable/disable LAN connections. Note: Administrators can still enable/disable LAN connections from Device Manager when this setting is disabled.

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I believe what you need to do is make sure she is part of the Network Configuration Operators Group. This group enables you to delegate the privileges that can manage the configuration of networking features

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One of the following:

1) Notebooks typically have a utility to turn the wireless transceiver on/off (to save energy). And wired interface is effectively switched off by unplugging the cable. With both interfaces on auto-configuration, this should work if the utility doesn't require administrative privileges.

2) Make her a local administrator (add the domain user to the local Administrators group) or create a local administrator user with a known password. Changing a server's network connectivity is really an administrator's prerogative. This solution is typical in IT companies where users can, want and need to install software, change system settings etc; GPO-imposed limitations will still apply.

3) Write a script to enable/disable the interfaces (in Vista+, WMI can do this, see Hey, Scripting Guy! How Can I Enable or Disable My Network Adapter?; in XP, you'll have to resort to a more frightening Win32 API, see c# - Win32 API function to programatically enable/disable device) and use something like Sudo for windows to run it with elevated privileges without entering admin password.

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