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Understanding logon scripts

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Understanding logon scripts

A logon script runs automatically whenever a user logs on to a computer running a member of the Windows Server 2003 family of operating systems. The script can contain operating system commands, such as those that make network connections or start programs. Logon scripts can also set environment variables to specify information such as the computer search path and the directory for temporary files. A logon script is usually a batch file (.bat or .cmd file name extension), but any executable program can be used.

Logon scripts are optional. You can use them to configure user working environments by creating network connections and starting programs. Logon scripts are useful when you want to affect the user work environment without managing all aspects of it.

Script files are text files that contain script commands. The Windows Server 2003 family of operating systems supports these types of scripts:

  • Batch file commands are stored in text files with the .bat or .cmd file name extension. Batch files automate simple series of tasks that would otherwise be run from a command line. Scripts written using batch file commands are run by the command shell. For more information about the command shell, see Command shell overview.

  • Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript) commands are stored in text files with the .vbs file name extension, and JScript commands are stored in text files with the .js file name extension. VBScript and JScript allow the administrator to construct sophisticated scripts. The Windows Script Host can run these scripts from the desktop of the computer, or from a command line. For more information about the Windows Script Host, see Windows Script Host.

After you create a logon script, you can assign it to one or more local users, sites, domains, or organizational units (OUs).

For more information about specific tasks related to assigning scripts, see Logon Scripts How To....

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