How to deploy (and/or remove) software packages via GPO

One of the greatest advantages of having an Active Directory Domain is the possibility to deploy software packages via GPO (Group Policy Object). Software deployment is crucial in business environments to save time and money.

Microsoft not only gives us a simple way to deploy software, but also provides a quick solution to uninstall it when we don’t need it anymore.

How to configure a Distributed File System (DFS) Namespace

Locating shared folders to access specific documents is a common problem in business environments. System administrators have to decide how to share folders and how the users will be able to find them.

Distributed File System (DFS) is the Microsoft solution to the problem: a simplified way for users to access geographically dispersed files.

DFS allows system administrator to create trees of virtual directories aggregating shared folders across the entire network.

There are two types of DFS:

  • DFS Namespace: a virtual tree aggregating shared folders from the entire network. Administrators can set up multiple DFS Namespaces.
  • DFS Replication: creates replicated shared folder with scheduling and bandwidth throttling configured by the administrator.

We are going to see how to configure a Distributed File System Namespace on Windows Server 2012 R2.

How to: Software Restriction policies with AppLocker

We’ve already seen how to restrict software on Windows Server 2012 // R2 using GPOs. There’s another way available since Windows Server 2012, thanks to a feature called AppLocker.

We still use GPOsAppLocker is a subset of GPOs – to enforce software restriction but it’s easier and more powerful.

AppLocker can manage execution permissions of:

  • Executables: files with .exe extension
  • Windows installers: Windows installer packages with .msi and .msp extensions
  • Scripts: files with .ps1, .bat, .cmd, .cbs and .js extensions
  • Packaged Apps: Windows Store apps


Configuring Volume Shadow Copies (VSS) on Windows Server 2012 R2

Volume Shadows Copies (also known as Volume Snapshot Service or VSS) is a technology developed by Microsoft to take restorable snapshots of a volume.

On Windows Server 2012 // 2012 R2 it’s quite easy to set up and restore operations are pretty straightforward.

Note: Volume Shadow Copies allow to restore previous states of the entire volume, you can’t restore previous states of single files and/or folders. (more…)

How to configure static routes to route traffic through a specific gateway

Sometimes you may need to route traffic through a specific gateway only for destinations matching a group of IPs or a subnet.

Static routes are usually configured at the router level but you can also configure them locally, from the Windows command prompt.

The operation is quite easy, you won’t miss the GUI. In our example we are using Windows Server 2012 R2, but you can do the same with any version of Windows. (more…)