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Server 2003 Domain - users need the ability to perform updates (Vista) and install software (Vista and XP)

Posted on 2008-06-25
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Last Modified: 2010-04-20
I have a client with a Windows 2003 domain.  The Vista users cannot perform updates (adobe, java..) on their own PCs.  There are situations where users need to install theior own software (Visio and new versions of Quickbooks).  

Where shoudl I start looking?

Thanks

Mountaineer*
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Question by:MountaineerWV
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by:andrewc2189
andrewc2189 earned 35 total points
ID: 21870548
They should be made local administrators on their computers. To start, I would test to see if that works for you on one machine. In order to add someone to the local admin group, right-click computer>manage> expand "local users and groups">groups>administrators. From here you can add any user in the windows 2003 domain as a local admin. This will allow them to add programs and updates on the local machine.

If you are looking for a more restricted group, try adding them to powers users, but I'm not sure if that will do everything you want. If you have a small company just go from computer to computer and do this for them, but if it is larger I can try to find and automated way through group policy to do this.
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by:pzozulka
ID: 21870550
Users must be Local Admins.
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by:MrNiss99
ID: 21870551
I f the users are in a 2k3 domain structure then I would start with Window Update Services (WSUS) it is a free tool provided by microsoft that allows more granular controll of the the Windows update process. As far as software that the users need to install, I would just publish those applications via group policy and then when a user needs to install of update a software package then that application is available in the start menu for the user to install, if you wish to push the software then just assign that application. Hope this helps :)
 
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by:Iekos
ID: 21870568
I remember having a similar problem and if I remember correctly, I created a user called 'Application' on the local PC that had install rights via the local PC group policy.  When they wanted to install apps, they would simply shift-rightclick on the exe and execute as the application user.

This is quite risky though and the real solution is for the administrator to do the updates.  The suggested solution can lead to problems.

I wonder if there are any third party apps that can manage this?
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by:pzozulka
ID: 21870581
If you have a big company there is actually a much better way of doing this. You will still have to go to every machine, but you will have much higher Management Power.

Create a Security Group in Active Directory called "LocalAdmin". Walk over to each machine and add that Security Group to be a Local Admin just like andrewc2189 explained.

Except instead of adding a user, add the "LocalAdmin" Group to the Local Administrators Group.

After doing that to all the machines, you can now add users to the LocalAdmin Group in Active Directory to whom you want to grant Local Admin rights.
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by:Iekos
Iekos earned 35 total points
ID: 21870593
'If you have a big company there is actually a much better way of doing this. You will still have to go to every machine, but you will have much higher Management Power.

Create a Security Group in Active Directory called "LocalAdmin". Walk over to each machine and add that Security Group to be a Local Admin just like andrewc2189 explained.

Except instead of adding a user, add the "LocalAdmin" Group to the Local Administrators Group.

After doing that to all the machines, you can now add users to the LocalAdmin Group in Active Directory to whom you want to grant Local Admin rights'

What a top idea :)
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by:MountaineerWV
ID: 21870940
This is a very small company - 10 users.  I am the "Outside consultant".

So if user "Mike" is a "Domain User" - I can go to Mike's PC and add him as an administrator of the PC...  that is what it sound like would be the best solution.

I'll give it a shot!
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by:minvis
ID: 21874316
Use restricted groups (GPO > computer configuration > windows settings > security settings > restricted groups).
With restricted groups you can define groups and it's members on computers. Make sure to link the GPO to an OU where the computer objects are.
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by:pzozulka
ID: 21875702
Lekos: Sorry I meant smaller company, instead of big.
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by:pzozulka
pzozulka earned 55 total points
ID: 21875776
Lekos: It is actually a much better idea to add a Group instead of a User to a local machine. So that in the future when you need to take away admin rights from users, you don't have to walk to each individual machine ever again. You can simply add/delete users through Active Directory.
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by:Iekos
ID: 21877648
That is a very good idea and im planning to implement this at a company I'm supporting..
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by:andrewc2189
ID: 21877792
I'm glad to see there are a lot of responses for solving the issue in many different situations.

I would like to point out that if you do the easier solution of adding a group instead of each user, you are then giving every user in that group admin rights on every machine in the entire company. There are many situations where you may want a user to have admin rights on only their computer, but if you throw all users into a group and give the group admin rights on every machine, they could go to anyone else's machine and have the same privileges.

If that's a situation you do not want, I only know of going to each computer and adding the individual to the admins group.
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MountaineerWV earned 0 total points
ID: 21880364
hey guys and dolls!   Some great ideas here on some everyday practical items.  This actually involved 3 PCs that are domain Power Users and I added them as Administrators to their own respective machine.  They can now even change the time on their clocks!  (This was frustrating to one programming geek- hehe)...

I am headed on a 10 daqy vacation and will divvy up the points when I return.

Thanks for the great ideas - BTW pzozulka will get a few bonus points for his insight into the group thing.

Again - thank you all!
Mountaineer!  in Wild Wonderful!
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