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Creating a New User Desktop Configuration

Updated: March 28, 2003

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

IntelliMirror, Group Policy, Windows Installer, and Remote Installation Services significantly streamline adding new users and their computers to your network. You can use these technologies to add a new managed user.

Example   A new user logs on to a new computer and finds shortcuts to documents on the desktop. These shortcuts link to common files, data, and URLs such as the employee handbook, the company intranet, and appropriate departmental guidelines and procedures. Settings such as desktop options, application configurations, and Internet settings are configured to your organization’s standard. As users customize their personal desktop environment (within boundaries you define), their changes are added to the initial environment. For instance, the user might change the screen resolution for better visibility or add shortcuts to the desktop.

In the preceding example, a default domain profile and Group Policy are used to configure the new user’s environment, based on job requirements. The advantage of using a default domain profile is that all new users start from a common, administrator-defined configuration in an existing domain structure. You create a customized domain profile that applies to all new domain users the first time they log on, and they receive the customized settings from this profile. Then, as a user personalizes desktop settings and items, the new settings are saved in the user’s profile that is stored locally, or in the case of a roaming user profile, in a predetermined location on the network. By implementing a default domain profile in conjunction with roaming user profiles, you provide users with the necessary business information as a starting point and also allow them to access their settings whenever and wherever needed. Finally, you can use Folder Redirection to redirect a user’s My Documents folder to a network location, so that the user’s documents are securely stored on a network server, which can be backed up regularly.

The administrator uses the Software Installation extension of Group Policy to assign Microsoft® Word to a user or a specific group of users. The new users log on for the first time and see that the software required to do their jobs is listed on the Start menu. When the user selects Microsoft Word from the Start menu, or double-clicks a Word document, Windows Installer verifies that Word is installed on the local computer. If it is not, Windows Installer downloads and installs the necessary files for Word to run and sets up the necessary local user and computer settings for on-demand installation.

For more information about Software Installation, see "Deploying a Managed Software Environment" in this book. For more information about Windows Installer, see Active Directory Collection of the Windows Server 2003 Technical Reference (or see the Active Directory Collection on the Web at http://www.microsoft.com/reskit).

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