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Using SetForce to Manage Profiles

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Peter Spiby

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Posted: 18 Oct 1999
 

Peter Spiby has created a program that can help you prevent registry errors, and clear out profile clutter from hard drives that are used by lots of different people.

Hi there! Working at a college I have a high number of users per PC - any user could use any PC. One of the main problems with this is that when a user first uses a PC the dreaded 'You have not logged on at this workstation before...' message from Win95 appears. If a user says 'No' when asked to save settings locally, my carefully set-up user.dat file placed in their area doesn't get used - they get a generic user.dat from the machine. Horrible things start to happen such as their work saving to c:%5CMy Documents instead of to their own area, etc.

I have now written a small Win32 program which deletes the contents of c:%5Cwindows%5Cprofiles then creates a new folder for the user, and finally enters the user into the profile list in the machine's registry. This runs as part of the user's context login script. Win95 automatically copies the user's settings from their area into this new folder.

This not only prevents registry errors but it keeps hard drives free of unnecessary profile clutter (we're talking 300Mb's plus here!).

README.TXT for SetForce

WELCOME TO SETFORCE

Thank you for trying SetForce. Please take a moment to read these instructions before using the software.

SetForce is copyrighted (c) 1999 by Peter Spiby and cannot be redistributed without the prior written consent of Peter Spiby.

DISCLAIMER

The software is provided "as is" with no warranty, either express or implied. The author accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage caused by the use, or misuse, of this software.

CONTENTS

  1. Introduction
  2. Installation Instructions
  3. Support

INTRODUCTION

SetForce gets round that Windows 95 annoyance of always asking new users to a workstation whether or not they wish to save their settings locally. It also removes the unnecessary clutter of profiles stored locally on a workstation. It is intended to be run as part of a login script and has been tested using NetWare 4.11.

When run it deletes the contents of:
c:\Windows\Profiles
and then creates a new profile in this directory based on the user name given on the command line. With NetWare this can be supplied within the login script as %LOGIN_NAME.

Windows 95 then updates this profile with the settings held in the user's home area.

Tip: If you set the user's rights to their user.dat file and 'Start Menu' folder as Read and File Scan, you can effectively lock their settings permanently. This can be done as part of the User Template setup script within NetWare.

INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS (NetWare)

  1. UnZIP SetForce.zip to a common directory to which all potential users have at least Read and File Scan rights (e.g. SYS:\PUBLIC).
  2. Add the following line to the relevant login script(s):
    #f:\setforce %LOGIN_NAME
    where 'f:\' is the common directory.

The next time the user logs in they should see a window displaying profile deletion progress.

SUPPORT

If you encounter any problems running this software, e-mail me at ps.staff@ssctc.org.uk.

How to get a copy of SetForce

If anybody is interested in this (and from trying to find a solution on the web I know a lot of people are) just e-mail me at ps.staff@ssctc.org.uk and I'll forward the program.

About the Author

I'm a network manager for Sidney Stringer Community Technology College, Coventry, UK. I started out in networking at a commercial organisation, installing NetWare 3.x in 1994, and been in love ever since. I moved to Sidney Stringer in 1996 and quickly got up to speed with NetWare 4.10 and subsequently 4.11 - it's soooo easy to manage large groups of users - and I couldn't imagine life without ZENWorks. I can't remember the last time I had to visit individual workstations to install software!


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