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Group Policy and Wireless Networks...

Posted on 2009-04-09
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Background:
We have a Server 2003 Active Directory Domain.
We have IBM-Lenovo Laptops and Sony Vaio Laptops in our environment.  
We have recently put in a meshed Cisco Wireless network.  
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We would like to push all the settings for our Wireless Networks with Group policy.  For the most part, we have figured out how it can be done assuming that we are using Windows Wireless Network Manager.
 
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb878079.aspx

We are running into trouble is when there is a 3rd Party Wireless Application involved.  (This is proliferated as these 3rd Party Applications are on our base images).  We have attempted to compensate for this using Group Policy to force enable the option ''Use Windows to configure wireless network setting for client.''  This is having mixed results.
 
We have no issues with our Sony's as the use Windows to manage their wireless connection.  However, some of our Lenovo Laptops are using the Lenovo Wireless Client while others are using the Intel Wireless Manager.  

The Lenovo Wireless Client appears to be a GUI that leverages the Windows Wireless Manager in the background.  During our preliminary testing, when the Group Policy was applied against the Lenovo Wireless Client, everything appears to operate as desired.  

The Lenovo Laptops with the Intel Wireless Manager is a different animal.  It appears to be a full blown application.  When we apply the Group Policy against a laptop running the Intel Wireless Manager; it seems to create a conflict.  The wireless appears to break when Windows tries to  take control by force over the wireless network when the Intel Manager is in place.  Both Windows and the Intel application seem to have some level of control over the wireless device and consequently the laptop will not connect, at all, to any of the Wireless networks through either Windows or the Intel Program.

Is there anything that we can do (short of uninstalling the 3rd Party application) to force the Windows Wireless Manager to override a 3rd Party application? Group Policy or Local Windows Registry tweaks would be acceptable.

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:JBHaire2004
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by:MrMintanet
ID: 24109571
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by:Pierellie
ID: 24109605
Disable the 3rd party wireless service perhaps?

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/165748

Run services.msc to find the service name
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Pierellie earned 250 total points
ID: 24109615
If that doesn't work just use the msconfig utility to disable the service and/or startup application/
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by:MrMintanet
ID: 24109638
I would uninstall the 3rd party application entirely.
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by:Pierellie
ID: 24109679
That would be the best solution, however the author requests a solution not including uninstallation. Even if, the restore images he said contain the 3rd party apps as well.
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Author Comment

by:JBHaire2004
ID: 24109753
Removing the application from startup, Msconfig, and/or preventing it from launch by tweaking its registery entry looks promising.
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by:MrMintanet
ID: 24109796
LOL... if you go that route, why don't you just uninstall it completely?  Regardless, your images will reload the msconfig, registry, etc.  Why not just do it the right way?  I don't mean to sound condescending, but I do not see why you need to keep it on the laptops.
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Author Comment

by:JBHaire2004
ID: 24109971
We plan to correct the issue on the base images so it wont be an issue going forward.  I was more thinking of the machines that we already deployed with the incompatible configuration.  I can't push the wireless setting through group policy until I determine how to deal with these problem laptops, as it would break their wireless connections.  If we figured out what needed to be modified (registry/msconfig) we could create a group policy to push out the change, hence avoiding breaking their wireless and preventing us from having to hunt down each computer to manually fix it.  
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by:MrMintanet
MrMintanet earned 250 total points
ID: 24109994
Do you use any kind of netboot script?  A simple NET STOP would solve this.
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by:Pierellie
ID: 24110180
Well it looks like we've got two solutions that would provide the same solution, and have the same issue if in event the laptops would need to be recovered....

  Just out of curiousity... What do you use to clone the hard drives? Reason I ask is because a few disk image formats support being mounted in a vitual envornment and possibly your intel wireless software can be uninstalled that way. Of course... you could always restore a laptop, remove the software and re-image it....
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by:MrMintanet
ID: 24110286
In my case, I use Acronis to image my workstations.  I simply clone them prior to joining the domain.  I also have my users profiles set to roaming and put to their "home" drive.  
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