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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.

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