Give us a call at 262.299.4606 to discuss how FastTrack can help your organization or email us here

Fasttrack admin

Logon scripts in 30 minutes


How would you like a graphical logon script with your company logo, like the movie below?

It's pure point and click and takes less than 30 minutes to set up. Click here to watch a video.

If you have Desktop Authority, this is your chance to replace it.

Download FastTrack Automation Studio

Logon scripts

The ideal upgrade of KiXtart and VBScript logon scripts

Department of Commerce Booking Kpmg Aspen Dental Toyota Disney Kawasaki Goodyear Maersk NOAA


Do you want us to do the work for you?

Send us your existing logon script to info@srekait.com. We will do the initial configuration conversion for you and return a fully functional trial logon script to you to test.


Setting up a logon script for desktop preparation

The first step is to walk through the simple Logon Script Wizard to set up the logon script. Click the "Logon Script" icon on the App Factory shell and select "Set Up Logon Script".
App Factory Logon Script Generator
Once you start the wizard, you need to build a starter logon script. You do not need to do the whole configuration at once. You can always re-open the logon script and, for example, add more shares and printers later. You simply finish the wizard and then later click the Logon Script button again in the App Factory and select "Edit Logon Script".

Video of the process

The next section shows you the pages in the logon script wizard. If you prefer to watch a video instead, click the image below. The video will walk you through the essential pages of the logon script wizard and show you a logon to a computer and desktop printer and signature icons.

Walking through the wizard

Once you start the wizard, it looks like the screenshot below. On the first page, you define common settings, such as splash screen text and your company name and logo:

App Factory Logon Script General Settings

You should generally include your company logo, as this is shown on all user interfaces that the end user sees. On the general page, you can also test-drive your logon script using the "Execute" and "Debug" buttons without actually logging on to a computer. If you need to troubleshoot on clients, you can temporarily enable step debugging and making errors show on clients.

On the general page, you can also include Cloud Inventory of your machines that comes with your license. You can also set a user interface scaling. If you users generally have high resolution screens, you may want to make the user interfaces bigger. User interfaces means splash screen, printer menus and so forth.

Sites

Note in the left menu that you have a menu called "Sub Sites". Let's say you have 4 sites in your company and you know these by IP scopes. Then you can go two ways, either you simply merge everything into one script and use the IP scope condition - or you can use "Sub Sites" to create a logon script for each site based on IP scopes, meaning that on a specific site, the main script is executed plus this sites' "sub logon script". A sub site allows you to open the very same Logon Script Builder as you see here, but all settings will then only apply to the site you open. You can also mix; for example shares could go on the main logon script and then printers could go on each sub site. As a rule of thumb, if you have complex printer mappings that you want to handle with FastTrack, sub sites is probably the way to go, especially if you use printer menus (see further down).

Drive Mappings

On the drive mappings page, you create a list of shares to connect. You simply create a full list of all possible shares for all users and then you set up a filter on each share, if required. You can filter on Active Directory groups and Organizations Unit of the executing computer or logged on user. You can also filter on IP scope. If your drive mappings are complex, you use the sub sites features to segment your list. For simplicity, here's a simple list:

App Factory Logon Script Shares

SharePoint and OneDrive

In the above share mappings, there are two buttons named "Add SharePoint" and "Add OneDrive". The first button lets you add a SharePoint folder as a drive mapping. The way it works is that the user will be asked to log on to Office 365 as part of the logon process to establish credentials. If you use the OneDrive button, the user's OneDrive folder will be mapped to a drive letter. Note that this is OneDrive for Business and not OneDrive personal. If you have a fat OneDrive client installed on all computers, you should prefer this for performance reasons. The advantage of mapping to a drive letter is that you have central control over it and also, if you have clients that do not have the OneDrive fat client, this solves the problem. Note that under the Microsoft Office menu in the left, you can configure, if Office favors cloud storage (the fat client) or not. When mapping OneDrive to a drive letter, Office does not see it as cloud storage.

Printers

Printers you can connect in two ways. Either you can create a menu that the user will select a list of printers from, or you can use the same logic as with shares, where you filter printers on groups, OU or IP scope. The printer menu version is the most flexible way, because laptop users may roam around without logging on and off. And also, in many cases, a network is not broken down to such IP scope level that it's practically possible to identify suitable printers for everyone. With the menu version, you ask at first logon and you can create a desktop icon to show the choice of printers again. The selection will automatically be remembered and if you change printers on a location, changes will automatically be reflected, next time users log on.

App Factory Logon Script Printers

App Factory Logon Script Printers

IP Printers

In the screenshot above, you can see that there are two buttons. One for print servers (UNC) and one for IP printers. Both printer menus and AD rules support IP printers as well as print server printers. It is just as easy to add an IP printer as it is with print server printers. Once you click the button to add an IP printer, you will see this screen:

Connecting IP printers

Basically you just tell the host name or IP address of the printer and then you need to say, which print driver to use, just as you would have to on the server-side for print servers. If the printer driver is not a standard Windows driver, you need to put the driver files on a network share and point to it. To avoid typing the driver name wrong or point to a wrong path, it is highly recommended to use the "Browse" button shown above, because this will pop-up a pick list of driver names in the driver inf file and fill in all information automatically, as shown below. IP printers has a separate documentation page - please refer to this page for more information, if you need to use IP Printers.

Connecting IP printers

Outlook Signatures

If you wish to set up an Outlook signature, you can point to a Microsoft Word signature file and set options on the "Outlook Signature" page. Signatures has its own page here. You have the same options as you have, when you use the Outlook Signature wizard. However, installing an Outlook Signature through a logon script has one huge advantage - you do not need to redeploy to update signatures. You can simply replace the signature template file on netlogon or point to a network location, where someone from marketing can update the signature. Signatures that include marketing campaigns or similar will need frequent updates. Regardless, signatures are never static. You will do yourself a favor to deploy through a logon script, because eventually there will be changes and you do not need to worry about redeploying an MSI file or similar.

As is the case with the Outlook Wizard, you can install signatures once, create a desktop icon for ad-hoc update and also choose to ask the user to correct Active Directory information, before installing the signature. This will not change your Active Directory, just the user's signature. You can install as many signatures as you like. A typical example would be that various groups in the company must have different signatures. In such case, simply add a group or OU check and use multiple signatures.

App Factory Logon Script Outlook Signature

If you do not have auto-discover on or you for other reasons need to control maiboxes, you can use all the same conditions to create Exchange profiles:

App Factory Logon Script Mailboxes

Office Settings

Under Microsoft Office in the menu, you can let the logon script set the Office user name to be the same as your Active Directory name and initials. This is typically a good idea to avoid users being creative, ending up with documents being stamp with names that are not recognizable. You can also overrule the default save paths for desktops and/or laptops. If you use Folder Redirection, this option is not necessary. You can also decide, if Microsoft Office applications default to saving to OneDrive or local disk.

App Factory Logon Script Microsoft Office

Logging

You can enable logging for user logons and errors at logon. This is a good idea to enable, as this gives you a great overview of what's going on, especially on errors. The reason logging is not enabled by default is that you need to provide a location on your network, where all users can write, as the logon script runs as the end user, who is typically not domain administrator. Once you have set up logging, you can use the two log sub-menus in the App Factory under "Logon Script". It is highly recommended to enable the error log, as this will allow you to proactively find potential problems.

App Factory Logon Script Logging

Connectivity

The connectivity menu allows you to run a background process to take some needed actions for the user to always have the correct drivers, printers and other settings, when connecting to VPN or resuming a Citrix / Remote Desktop sessions from a different computer. For Citrix/RDP sessions, the SmartConnect is used and for laptops, the SmartDock utility is used. Let us start with laptops. If you click the option to rerun the logon script on VPN connection, the SmartDock utility will be running in the background to detect the connection. This detection is not bound to any specific VPN software, it simply detects IP changes and executes the logon script, when it is possible. Similar, if you enable SmartConnect for Citrix/RDS session, if the user closes the session without logoff, the SmartConnect utility will run in the server-side user session and detect a reconnection. This way, when the user resumes a session, the logon script runs again and as the user may now be in another subnet physically, the user may need other printers. If the printer menu is used, the user will simply see the printer menu popup again to adjust the printers to the new client location. As a side-node, please observe the logging screenshot above. If you enable advanced logging, the SmartDock and SmartConnect utils will run regardless, if you enable them on this page or not, as these will be doing the actual logging other than the login.

App Factory Logon Script Connectivity

Password and low disk space alerts

Under "User Alerts", you can set up rules for expiry warnings and optionally show a codes of conduct screen. You can also set up a warning asking the user to clean up space or contact the IT department.

App Factory Logon Script user alerts

Testing for common software presence

Under "Version Alerts", you can defined logging and/or alerts to users, based on installation status of Citrix Receiver, SCCM Client, Microsoft Office and the operating system itself:

App Factory Logon Script versions checks

Laptop document and PST backup

Under the "Laptop Backup" page, you can set up a backup of documents and PST files for mobile users. Note that you can use any FastTrack function in the path, such as computer name and user's name. You can choose to take a backup at logon based on a frequency you decide, and/or you can place a desktop icon for the user to start the backup. You can read more about backups on this page. Essentially backups are based on the SyncDir command of the engine that is significantly faster than any other directory synchronizer, such as Microsoft's robocopy.

App Factory Logon Script Backup

Browsers

The browsers page defines the start page of browsers and the standard browser, along with proxy settings.

App Factory Logon Script Browser checks

Launch Conditions

Pages for "Favorites", "Desktop Shortcuts", "Favorites", "Registry Values" and "Folder Redirection" are simple and therefore not shown here, but allow you to create favorites, desktop shortcuts, registry values and define folder redirections. Finally, you can set up scenarios, where you do NOT want the logon script to execute. This could be relevant for virtual machines or remote sessions.

App Factory Logon Script Launch Conditions

The rest of the pages in the wizard are there to help you copy logon script files to your netlogon share and set up group policies. Once you finished the wizard, log into any workstation in the domain as the user, for whom you modified the login script property to test. Once the logon script is tested, you can assign the logon script to all users; refer to the last section of this page for details.

Editing the logon script

Once you complete the wizard, you can re-open the logon script again in the App Factory by clicking "Logon Script" and select "Edit Logon Script". This will popup a screen that is the same as the wizard's first page. Below more shares have been added. There is however, one difference. You will notice a "Custom Script" page. This is because the logon script builder simply builds a FastTrack script and can parse the script back into the GUI. You freely edit the script any way you want and add more script lines to the logon script. You can also open an existing logon script that was not built using the Logon Script Builder. Anything that the builder cannot "fit" into the GUI, it will place under the "Custom Script" page and include last in execution.

App Factory Logon Script Shares

Advanced editing

Let's dig one step deeper into the Logon Script Builder. What the Logon Script Builder really does is "just" to build a FastTrack script under the hood. The builder is able to read a FastTrack script, edit it and write it back with changes. This means that if you need to expand what your logon script is doing, you can simply take it over and edit it. If you click the "Open in Scripting Mode" button in the screenshot above, you take over the logon script entirely. Below the script we built above is opened in Scripting Mode. You now have all the 1300+ commands to use. If you decide to go into Scripting Mode, be sure to check out the Logon Script Examples page for practical copy/pasteable snippets.

App Factory Logon Script Shares

Recommended Group policy settings

From Vista and on, a "Welcome" screen is used that hides your logon script, which means that the first part of your logon script is not visible by default. To make your logon script run visible, set the registry value DelayedDesktopSwitchTimeout under SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System to a REG_DWORD value of 0, either per computer or per user, as shown below. This explained in greater detail on this page, which also explains how to boot directly into the desktop on Windows 8.1.

Group policy for showing a logon script

Also, if you have not enabled the group policy "Run logon script synchronously", the first part of the logon script may not execute before the explorer starts, the first time a user logs on. To enable synchronously logon script execution, set the group policy "Run logon script synchronously" to "Enabled", as shown below.

Group policy for running logon script synchronously

And thirdly, if you use the ConnectPrinter command to connect printers, you should remove the security warnings for installing printer drivers. Locate "Point and Print Restrictions" under "Computer Configuration -> Policies -> Administrative Templates -> Printers" and set to "Disabled". Under Windows 2003, this key exists under "User Configuration -> Policies -> Administrative Templates -> Control Panel -> Printers" instead.

Group policy for disabling printer warnings

Assigning a logon script through group policies

The logon script can be assigned with Group Polices as follows:
  • Run the command gpmc.msc on your domain controller.
  • Find and open your user's OU (Organizational Unit) and create a new policy (or use an existing one).
  • Open User Configuration->Policies->Windows Settings->Scripts (Logon/Logoff). Double click "Logon".
  • Click the add button and select the file \\%USERDOMAIN%\NETLOGON\FTLogon.exe as logon script name. You can optionally change
    %USERDOMAIN% to the actual dns name of your domain. If FTLogon.exe was not put in the root of the netlogon share, the subpath must be added.
Outlook Signature Generation

Outlook Signatures

Build mass-deployable Outlook signatures using a Word-like designer. More
Graphical Logon Scripts

Codeless Logon Scripts

Build graphical logon scripts with your own logo by pure point and click. More
IP Printing

Kill your print servers

Print to IP printers directly. More
SkyBox

Inventory in the Cloud

Save on licenses using a cloud-based inventory. More
Zero Touch Thin PC

Tired of Desktop Authority?

Same features - less complexity. More
FastTrack Automation Studio Video
Laptop Backups

Software Deployment

Push software to computers in your network by a few mouse-clicks. More


Rating: 5 out of 5

"Use this as a replacement for VBScript and PowerShell"

"It's easy to include attractive GUI elements in FastTrack scripts, beyond the basic dialog boxes and text input that VBScript offers ... Another powerful feature is the ability to distribute scripts as Windows Installer (.msi) or standard .exe files. Although interesting in its own right, this ability results in a much more intriguing capability: to repackage -- or wrap -- software installers as .msi files without using snapshots. If you've ever created an .msi installer file from before-and-after system snapshots, for use with a software distribution system such as Group Policy or System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), then you know how hit-and-miss the results can be."

Read full review


Rating: 8 out of 10

"Faster than the rest"

"We found the FastTrack syntax to be more transparent and easier to learn than Microsoft's PowerShell – the editor in particular provided good support in this regard. Scripting mode offers a large number of options from the command set through to simple output of graphical elements, which cannot be achieved at all with PowerShell or other solutions or only with a significantly greater level of effort."

"Anyone wanting to tackle the many hurdles in everyday admin and especially anyone for whom logon scripts and client automation is a priority will benefit from the variety of functions offered by FastTrack."

Review in English      Review in German

Need to deploy Outlook signatures the simplest possible way? Check www.outlooksignatures.com