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Home User connecting to a Server

Posted on 2011-03-01
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have a home user who will connect via VPN to the Office Network. The user's PC is part of the Domain. I have a log on script which runs on the Domain Controller which maps certain drives for the users.

How do I get these drives on the office network to be mapped automatically for the home user. The Home user will need to log in to their laptop (cached account), and only then launch the VPN access to get connected to the office network. So how do the drives get automatically mapped without user intervention?

How can this be done please?
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Question by:ben1211
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Expert Comment

by:jetpowercom
ID: 35005482
Back when I did just that with an NT server, I used CMAK to do this.  Review the following links for details:

CMAK and IEAK

Using CMAK wizard to build service profile

CMAK description

CMAK good explanation

All this may take some time to digest.  If your time is limited, I suggest reviewing the last one first.

Hope this helps!





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Expert Comment

by:TheAnvilGroup
ID: 35005905
Not the perfect  answer but once the conntection was established you could map the network drives. Ensure the auto reconnect is enabled. When the user connects to the vpn these will reconnect.

Not perfect but it will work
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Expert Comment

by:swap_101982
ID: 35014300
You can create a simple batch file. That re-map all network drives in one go once the vpn is established.
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Expert Comment

by:lionelmm
ID: 35016469
You can add all your network connections in a batch file--this batch file could run once you have made a successful connection via VPN. How will your home user make the VPN connection?

Example
net use g: \\ServerName\ShareName1
net use h: \\ServerName\ShareName2
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Author Comment

by:ben1211
ID: 35025242
The homeuser uses a Cisco VPN software. So how to I establish the batch script to run automatically once the VPN connection has been established?
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Expert Comment

by:jetpowercom
ID: 35026095
The CMAK wizard mentioned in my earlier post provides the opportunity to add drive-mapping scripts which automatically run upon connecting.  Below is Step #6:

6.  Add any desired custom actions. For example, I included an option to run a script that maps two network drives after a connection is established.

The link is here:  MS Connection Manager Administration Kit.

Hope this helps!
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Author Comment

by:ben1211
ID: 35069267
CMAK needs to be installed on the client's computer? And then it maps the drives? That would mean I have to install CMAK on all the computers. How can this be done on AD?

If the user is part of the AD, then how can this be done please? Note that the user first needs to log on to their computer's cache domain account, and then activate the VPN.
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Author Comment

by:ben1211
ID: 35069281
So how to I establish the batch script to run automatically once the VPN connection has been established?  Or rather how do I get the executable file to run after the VPN connection has been established? Considering I use CMAK? Please advise how is this done?
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Expert Comment

by:jetpowercom
ID: 35072096
Running the CMAK wizard on the server enables you to create an applet (also known as a "connectoid") for distribution to your user.  Your user can save the applet on his Windows desktop, to run whenever he or she needs to connect to the network.  Within the wizard is a spot where you can specify your desired drive-mapping script to run after the applet establishes the VPN connection.  

You start by installing CMAK on the server, configuring it there and saving the result for distribution to your user.  The following instructions are part of a larger discussion in this Microsoft CMAK Wizard article:

Installing the CMAK wizard
To install Connection Manager components, including the CMAK wizard, on a computer running a member of the Windows Server 2003 family:

Open the Windows Components wizard.
In Components, click Management and Monitoring Tools (but do not select or clear the check box), and then click Details.
Select the Connection Manager Administration Kit check box.
Click OK, clickNext, and then click Finish.
The result will be the applet which you provide to your user for running on his or her home machine.  

Note:  To run the CMAK wizard from an XP machine, you must first install the Windows Server 2003 Administration Tools Pack.  Instructions are mid-way down the page in the above-referenced Microsoft article.  

I located a great pictorial instruction set, which gives you a visual step-by-step views of the process:  Using CMAK to Streamline VPN Client Configuration.  You'll see that your drive-mapping script is a custom action (Step 6 in the article I referenced earlier) that you can specify to run after the user's logon is complete (post-connect).  

CMAK is quite configurable - it even includes the ability to "brand" your file with custom graphics, add a support number, etc.  Use only the features you need, test the file yourself, and your user will be grateful for the new ease of access!

Let us know how this works for you!
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Author Comment

by:ben1211
ID: 35079269
Other than using CMAK, is there any other way?
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Expert Comment

by:jetpowercom
ID: 35079592
Does the home user also have a machine at the office?
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Author Comment

by:ben1211
ID: 35079605
nope. The home user only has a laptop that which is used from home.
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Expert Comment

by:lionelmm
ID: 35082099
If the issue is really the mapped drives then a quick and easy batch file can be written and placed on the user's desktop, this batch file will check to see if the user is connected and if it is create the mapped drives--something like this

If Exist \\ServerName\ShareName1 net use g: \\ServerName\ShareName1

This would first check to make sure the user is connected and if not it would not create the mapped drive and if it did it would. You can add ErrorLevel codes to the batch file to provide feedback to the user about what is or is not happening. Let me know if you want a few examples of this or not!
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Author Comment

by:ben1211
ID: 35099820
Hi lionelmm....you mentioned, the batch file would check to see if the shared drives have been created. How does it do it automatically. We can't expect the users to execute these batch files. They won't do it. And so it needs to be automated, probably after the VPN connection has been established. And so I need to know how it can be done automatically without user intervention.

I was told above that once the VPN connectivity has been established, a batch script can be run. True, but tell me how is that done. That's where I am lost and I'm not sure where to place that batch file where it automatically executes once the VPN connection has been established.

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Expert Comment

by:lionelmm
ID: 35100876
This can easily be done--I can write a batch file that will wait 2 minutes, 5 minutes (you decide) after the user has logged on and then attempt to make the network connections (mapped drives). What version of Windows does this user have? You can automate the batch file by putting it in the startup folder of by adding it via GPO.
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Author Comment

by:ben1211
ID: 35126014
The user is using Windows XP and some are on Windows 7. How do you put the script in the start up folder? Where do I locate the start up folder on the client's PC?
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lionelmm earned 500 total points
ID: 35127464
Do you want this to be for all users on that PC?

XP -- Then go to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup and either put the batch file or the shortcut (preferred) to the batch file in that folder. if you want it just for one user go to C:\Documents and Settings\(UserName)\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Win7
All Users
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
Specific User
C:\Users\(UserName)\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
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