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Informative screens at network log in

Posted on 2014-04-14
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Last Modified: 2014-04-20
Our IT department has been tasked with coming up with a way to make a "splash screen" pop up when an employee logs in to their computer.  These screens notify of upcoming firm events, meeting dates and times, etc.  

We have managed to achieve that with the following steps:
1) Create an .html file named the date the screen will run (i.e. 4-14-14.html)
2) Create a .bat file to copy that .html file to a network location
3) Create a scheduled task to run the .bat file on the appropriate date
4) Add a line to every employee's login script to open the .html file in the network location if it exists

The process works, but it's obviously extremely time consuming, especially since a lot of the screens change dates and thus, we have to start over.  That's a three step process for each screen!

Anybody know of a better way to achieve a customized screen that pops up on a specified date at log in?  And since we're not programmers, a third party software solution would be great!
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Question by:sec1971
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9 Comments
 
LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:Adam Brown
ID: 40000416
Well, you could just create a scheduled task that runs when the users log on, deploy it via GPO the night before the scheduled deploy time, and set it to run the network based HTML file.
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Accepted Solution

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Korbus earned 500 total points
ID: 40000637
Need to think about how to implement this a bit more but... Naming the file by date is smart,  why do you rename it?  If your logon script can simply call the html file by name/date (dynamically creating the name, from the current system date, at run time), there would be no need to adjust GPO's or scripts or anything- just put the new file in place.  (This also give you/users an archive of past notices.)

edit/addition:
This is a sample of what you can do in the logon script (echo is for debugging):

set filename=\\server\share\folder\%date:~10%%date:~4,2%%date:~7,2%.html
echo %filename%
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Author Comment

by:sec1971
ID: 40008854
It is hard to believe no one else is doing something like this. It gets information in front of employees as soon as they login. We call it a splash screen. Is there something else it is more commonly called?
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Expert Comment

by:Korbus
ID: 40008979
I agree, I think it's a great place to distribute company wide info.  
Splash screen sounds like a good name for it, to me.


It's really no big deal, just curious why you only graded the solution I provided with a "B"?  Unlike school grades, usually this means I provided only a partial solution, but left something out.
http://support.experts-exchange.com/customer/portal/articles/481419
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Author Comment

by:sec1971
ID: 40008988
I guess it's not your fault and I should have given you an A. It is our process that deserves the B. I was hoping for a solution completely different from what we were using instead of a better version of what we are doing.
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Expert Comment

by:Korbus
ID: 40009021
All good: grade explanation is appreciated.

The solution of simply putting the file in place sounds pretty good/simple to me.  

Automating the other half of this solution:
Now that you have automated distribution, I'd think the next step would be automate the generation of the file.  If you create an interface (like a SQL/ACCESS DB)  where executives can add in bullet points, and specify dates that they should be displayed on the splash screen.  A daily process can export (or generate an HTML report), containing the appropriate bullet points, based on date, and create the splash screen with that (in the correct location with the correct filename.)
Obviously this is NOT a simple project, but once done, you & your IT guys wont have to deal with splash screens everyday, and you will have a workflow process in place for executives to add items to splash screens.
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Author Comment

by:sec1971
ID: 40009104
Korbus,

set filename=\\server\share\folder\%date:~10%%date:~4,2%%date:~7,2%.html
echo %filename%

Thanks for this solution.  Can you please give me an example of exactly what the name of the file should be for a specific date to work with this script line?  I can't tell by looking at your entry above what format the date (filename) should be (i.e. 04-18-14, 18-04-2014, etc.)?
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Expert Comment

by:Korbus
ID: 40009216
Sorry for the long answer, but "give a man a fish..."

That's what the ECHO command is for.  Simply copy those two commands into a batch file and run it.  This will show you the output date format.
Obviously, you can change around the formatting to match what you want.  Then, after making a change run the batch file again to confirm the output.  When satisfied, implement it in your solution.

the batch file works as follows:
%date%  in a batch file returns the date in the following format "WKD MM/DD/YYYY" (WKD stand for a three letter name of the weekday: Mon, Tue, etc...)
(You can type ECHO %date% at a command prompt to see it's output.)

The ":~10" means extract from the 10th (zero based index) character to the end (YYYY)
the ":~4,2" means extract 2 characters, starting from the 4th character
0123456789012345
WKD MM/DD/YYYY

Open in new window

So,
%date:~4,2%  mean extract only the MM from %date%


Just let me know if you need more clarification.
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