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Creating a shortcut for new user accounts from Default User directory

Posted on 2011-10-19
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hello everyone,

I'm new to Experts Exchange and I was having a problem with creating new users on a Windows Server 2003 OS.

I think that when you create a new user and first log in, it creates the user profile based off of the Default User directory.  I installed a specific program to the Default User Program Files (X86) directory and when I first log into the new user account, it creates the corresponding program for the user in his Program Files (X86) directory with all of the necessary security privileges.  

When I place the shortcut to this program in the Default Users desktop however, the new user has this shortcut but it links to the Default User Program Files (X86) path, not his own.

I was wondering if there was any way to change this feature so that new users will have the shortcut to their own program?

Thanks a lot for any help you can give.

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Question by:vpsguy
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12 Comments
 
LVL 124
ID: 36997032
You are correct, when a new users logs into Windows 2003, a new user profile is created based on the Template Default User Profile.

When you install applications depending upon the installer, the Shortcut Icons maybe installed in the All Users or the Current Users Profile, some applications ask, do you want to install icons for All Users that login to this computer, or just the user logged in, installing the applicatioin.

The Application is usually installed in the C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files(x86) folders, if using a 64 bit OS. There are not seperate Program Files folders per User.

So, you can do two things to setup this application

1. Copy the Shortcuts to ALL Users, Start Menu and Desktop Profile located in C:\Documents and Settings/All Users

2. Copy the Shortcuts to Default Users, Start Menu and Desktop Profile located in C:\Documents and Settings/All Users, when each user logs in they will get icons.

All shortcuts will point to the same location where the application has been installed.
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Author Comment

by:vpsguy
ID: 36997080
Hello hanccocka,

Thank you very much for your response.  I had a few clarifying questions.  

I have a setup where there are two users per machine.  If I placed the Shortcut into the All Users directory, would this mean that both users are using the same instance of the program or would it point to their corresponding program?  My apologies, but I forgot to mention that the program that I would like to distribute to each user isn't a program like Firefox or Chrome that can be shared.  They would need to have their own personal instance of the program that cannot be accessed by other users.

When I installed the program into the Default User directory and the user logs in, he receives his own instance of the program that is separate from all others.  This would be optimal since I couldn't have users accessing a shared program.  In this case, the program placed in the Default Users program files is doing what I need it to, but the shortcut is pointing to that same location of the Default Users Program files for every user.

Thanks again
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LVL 124
ID: 36997183
If the shortcut was placed in the All Users, the shortcut would dictate the location of the program to execute.

Okay, if they need to have their "own" instance, you would need to install the application twice, into two folders

e.g.

c:\users1
c:\users2

and create shortcuts to both locations, and distribute both shortcuts to each users profile.

It's very unusual though!
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Author Comment

by:vpsguy
ID: 36997303
Hello hanccocka,

What you've just suggested is what I've been doing previously.  I would create each user account and then log in to create the user profile.  I would then log back out and from the Admin account, install the program into each of their directories, placing their respective shortcuts onto their desktop.  In this way, each user has their own instance separate from everyone else.

What I was trying to do is eventually create a system where the new user accounts could be created automatically already with the program installed.  If I could set up the Default User directory in such a way that already has the program installed when they log on, then that would shorten the time needed each time I delete and create a new account.  All I would need to do is set up the Default User directory with the program I need, create the new user account, and then distribute the new user credentials.

Sorry if this was a little confusing and I would gladly provide more information if it still isn't clear.  I do appreciate your help.

Best
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LVL 124
ID: 36997325
It might be worth you investigating streaming applications, e.g. applications that are deployed to users, at runtime login, and present them icons to run the application, the application as not actually installed on the PC, but run.

VMware ThinApp
http://www.vmware.com/products/thinapp/overview.html

But ThinApp is not free.

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Author Comment

by:vpsguy
ID: 37003865
Hello hanccocka,

ThinApp does look very useful, but I was hoping to look into a solution that doesn't require a separate application.  I feel like I might be getting close with what I'm currently trying to do but just need a couple more missing steps.

I was considering on using some sort of logon script that will check the desktop of each user whenever they log on and create a shortcut from the user's specific program from the Program Files directory.  Since the Default User directory has already been successful in providing the user with his own instance of the program, the only thing I need is to somehow place a shortcut of this program on his desktop.

Would you perhaps know how to create a logon script to do this?

Best  
0
 
LVL 124
ID: 37003926
Just create a batch file, to copy the shortcut from a location to the users desktop.
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Author Comment

by:vpsguy
ID: 37033456
Thanks, I've been working on creating a vbscript that will create the shortcut when the user logs in and I think I've just about put one together from the examples online.  

In order for the logon script to go into effect I do need to go into group policy and add it to the Scripts under the User Configuration Windows Settings.  Would there be a way to quickly enable the logon script across many machines, possible through command line so that I don't need to manually and set the logon script for each?
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LVL 124
ID: 37033517
add the script to the login script against the users account.
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Author Comment

by:vpsguy
ID: 37034929
Right, that's how I would manually add it to a user account on a specific machine.  If I wanted to do it across 3000 machines though, would there be a simple and quick way to do that?
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LVL 124

Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 1000 total points
ID: 37034963
Group Policy, or Global Login script.

and remember you can update user properties, by selecting multiple users.
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Author Closing Comment

by:vpsguy
ID: 37109430
Thanks a lot for your help!
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