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Configure BgInfo to run via a GPO for a consistent experience

Keeping track of which system is which is complicated for most server administrators. IT Jedi Rick Vanover shows how to keep all your systems consistent.

I frequently log into multiple systems, and it's important for me to know which system is which. I often use BgInfo to provide a nice splash of information on the desktop about each system. I usually just put computer name, user name (so I know if I'm using a service account), and possibly boot time.

I have taken a new approach to utilizing BgInfo -- I just run it centrally and automatically for all users via a Group Policy Object (GPO). No more fiddling around with putting it on an image or setting a configuration that ends up not being consistent. This is pretty easy to do via Group Policy with the logon script option to apply to a user GPO. This is located in User Configuration | Policies | Windows Settings | Scripts | Logon (Figure A). Figure A

Click the image to enlarge.

The script to run in this example is a bat file that runs this command:

\\rwvdev.intra\netlogon\common\bginfo\Bginfo.exe \\rwvdev.intra\netlogon\common\bginfo\lab.bgi /SILENT /TIMER:00
The .bgi file is the specified BgInfo options (such as which fields to show), and the timer set to zero will not display the configuration file. Note: This in my personal lab; a production environment may not want to use the directory netlogon share for this type of thing.

I've also started ensuring that designated wallpaper is displayed when BgInfo is run; this is another way to keep RDP sessions consistent. My personal preference is to specify a wallpaper graphic because I do a lot of screen sharing.

The one drawback to this method is that if it is applied via a GPO, the first run for a user on a new system would require the license agreement to be accepted on the first run. In my opinion, that's a minor sacrifice for the consistent experience that BgInfo brings to our complicated web of servers that we use and support.

Do you use BgInfo? If so, have you considered running it through Group Policy? Share your strategies in the discussion.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

9 comments
hondurasez
hondurasez

Now this app supports the /accepteula startup key, so there's no problem with first time run EULA accepting anymore.

kfeina
kfeina

Hello, I Recommend to you bginfo4x from http://bginfo4x.sourceforge.net You can use powershell scripts or shell scripts, and create a centralized hardware inventory withh the exports functions. It also has an alarm and script module (launcher), an has lots of features because is pretty configurable. Even more is multiplatform: windows, linux and Mac and it is open source.

stezo71
stezo71

Hello great article! I have also used BgInfo in this way. You mention the problem with the license prompt. One thing Id like to add is that there is a command that supresses this prompt. its "/nolicprompt" Stefan Los Angeles Entertainment Attorneys http://www.metallawgroup.com

legebeke
legebeke

We are running SBS 2011 and i implemented this just by makin a .Bat script, copying a folder onto the C: drive and then running the BGinfo after every login. Works very nicely, no slowdown in logging on.

kdughi
kdughi

We use BGInfo on all of our servers. We put a shortcut in the startup folder for All Users. We use different color backgrounds for the different network zones. For instance, the staging zone has a green background, and the remote datacenter has a purple background. The colors are set in the BGInfo.bgi file.

bpate
bpate

We are currently in the process of using this for all users. We implemented storage quotas over the summer and I wanted a way for users to be able to check their quota usage easily. Therefore one of the variables I feed into bginfo is the persons storage quota usage and their IP address. We use the IP address to provide remote support via VNC. I love this program mostly because it's free and serves a great purpose for us...

tgreenfield
tgreenfield

Try using the /NOLICPROMPT on your command line - should suppress the licence prompt

rasilon
rasilon

I use BGInfo on all my servers, but only if the Administrator logs on. I have as many as 6 - 8 servers open at one time. This app is a "must have" for administrators. I don't want or need it on users' desktops.

b4real
b4real

It's not too bad one time; but that is good to know.

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