Consistent Desktop for All Users

Posted on 2009-12-17
Last Modified: 2013-11-25
I have a Windows 2003 Small Business Server domain.
I have 2 conference rooms in different states that run Microsoft Live Meeting for regular staff meetings.  I would like to have the desktops in these rooms use a common desktop for all users.
We have several users at each site that infrequently use the conferencing system.  With everyone having their own desktop it becomes a real challenge to keep everyones setting in sync especially when we make changes like cameras, video configurations, etc.  Every time I make a system change I have to have each person logon and tweak their personal settings.  Oh&one desktop is running XP Pro and the other is Windows 7.
Question by:marknabors
    LVL 13

    Accepted Solution

    the users that log in to that conference room computers have roaming profile set up? I have 3 conference rooms in my office, and 3 different computers, to avoid that "changing settings per user" issue, i have set up a  common user name for all users to log in to the computers in the conference room.

    Author Comment

    I can't use a common logon.  I need the users logon to drive access to their mail and sharepoint resources.  I need the desktop locked to a single desktop and the users all use that desktop.  

    Thanks for the suggestion...
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    I am not sure how to do it.
    But what about using group policy?
    Set the particular machines to a "conferencing OU"  and set the policies the way you want on the OU...
    That is about as much as I can help with GP's...
    LVL 11

    Assisted Solution

    Use a common logon as suggested by jaynir. In that common profile make easy to users to connect to their PCs (and their sessions) using remote desktop.

    Author Comment

    Sounds like the AD OU appoach is best so far.  I'm not sure how to do it but I'll explore that approach.  Common or shared logons are too problematic.  
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    Group policy as suggested by jgraham is not a bad idea, but common login would be less troublesome.

    Author Comment

    In order for the end-user to launch a scheduled Live Meeting session they have to access their Outlook Calendar locally.  If they open an RDP session and launch the Live Meeting session on the remote computer the session will start on the remote computer, not the local machine with all the cameras, projectors and speaker systems attached.  In a conferencing environment the local machine must run the applications to control the resources.  Thanks for the suggestion.  
    LVL 20

    Assisted Solution

    by:Iain MacMillan
    what i do for our two conference and boardroom systems, is to do a perfect build profile, with all the tweaks, files and PowerPoint files required, then clone the account (from local admin) as the Default User - i then wipe all user accounts that exist on that system (i have them well trained not to leave data on these profiles), so the next time they login to the system, they all get a the latest profile copied, and have all the tweaks and settings required.

    this allows anyone to run the standard company presentations, and still access there own files/email.  this is normally revised every few months, and tales no time to do, all done via RDP or VNC.

    Author Closing Comment

    I’m going to have to spread the points on this one because several of you gave me the same advice and all were correct with slight variations.  
    Final Solution:  
    1)      I created a generic logon account for each conference room (2 rooms).  I added these accounts to the local administrator group and configured the desktops to automatically logon at startup.  This effectively created a loose kiosk environment for these desktops.  
    2)      I changed the Outlook Mail Setup to “Prompt for a profile to be used” and I configured a profile for each user.  This allows different users to log into Exchange and access their personal mailbox and launch Live Meeting from their personal calendars or mail message.
    3)      I then customized our SharePoint Home page to present all common or non-sensitive data using the generic accounts (step 1).  This gives anyone on the desktop in the conference room immediate access to non-sensitive data.  I also created a few shortcuts off the SharePoint Home page to “On-going” Live Meetings that are used for daily meetings and therefore never end.  This is very helpful and avoids the need to access Outlook to launch Live Meeting for “on-going” type meetings.
    4)      I placed a shortcut on the desktop for RDP so the users can launch a session with their personalized desktop to share out using Live Meeting.
    5)      I also created a customized background for these kiosk machines that clearly indicates to the user that they are using a standardized kiosk desktop.  This helps avoid confusion when the user is navigating between the desktop and RDP sessions.  
    6)      Lastly I spend a few minutes training each user of these systems.  
    Thanks for all your suggestions.      

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