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05: PolicyPak with Group Policy Method: Getting Started

This video gives you a basic rundown of what our components do, where to find them, and how to get more in-depth information on our website. This is great if you’re just getting started and want to get some brief information on all of our PolicyPak components.

PPGP Quick Rundown: Getting Started Video Transcript

Hi, this is Whitney with PolicyPak Software. In the last video, we looked at how and where to download and install the bits that you need in order to make PolicyPak software work. We installed the Admin Console MSI on the management station. We got the client-side extension on the endpoint. And we made sure our license files were all in order.

Now what we’re going to look at is a few of the components to PolicyPak software and how they work. I’ll discuss some of the others. And then we’ll talk about where you can go to get deeper information about each of the components that I’m going over today and all of the ones that I don’t.

What we’ll be looking at today is the Admin Templates Manager, which allows you to reduce the raw amount of GPOs that you have in your system by using item-level targeting and collections and things like that. It also has a super-secret loopback without loopback process as we like to call it. We’re not going to get into all of that today, but that’s some of the superpowers that it has.

We’re also going to look at Least Privilege Manager, which allows you to let standard users run certain applications, scripts, and Control Panel applets as an admin even though they’re still a standard user. It also has the ability to put the smackdown on ransomware, unknownware, malware, as well as some other things as well. Again, not getting into all of that today, but that’s what it does.

We’ll also look at Browser Router, which allows you to choose a default browser and route the right website to the right browser. So if works best in Firefox but everybody is using Chrome, we can make sure that opens in Firefox regardless of where your user typed in that address. It also allows you to put the smackdown on naughty websites as well. Once again, we won’t get into it all, but I’ll start by showing you what it looks like when we don’t have any of this in place.

With the Admin Templates Manager, I’m going to use it to set a particular screensaver. If I come down here to my “Lock screen,” let’s look at my “Screen saver settings.” I’ve got no particular “Screen saver” “(None)” and I’m waiting “999” “minutes” for no screen saver. So we’ll change eh “Screen saver” and we’ll actually set a particular amount of minutes as well. We’ll do that with the Admin Templates Manager.

Now let’s look at the Device Manager because we’re going to be using Least Privilege Manager to elevate that. If I come to “Device Manager” here, I’m going to get a popup. It says, “You are logged on as a standard user.” It’s basically telling me you can look but you can’t touch. So it has opened up but if I try to do anything, all I’m getting is “Properties” and that’s never going to do.

Finally, with Browser Router I want to make it so that any URL with the word “Google” in it will open in Chrome regardless of where we started. So let’s go look at Browser Router here. I’m going to open up “Mozilla Firefox” and see what happens when I go to “” Well, of course, we stayed in Firefox. Of course. We haven’t put any routes in place yet.

So now that we’ve looked at what it looks like when this is not governed by anything, let’s hop over here to the management station and let’s “Create a GPO in this domain, and link it here.” I’m going to go with “ATM SS Settings.” I’ll come over here and I’m going to “Edit.” In this case, I’m coming over to the user side because that’s where those settings are. We have the option to drive user side settings into the computer side, but that’s 400-level stuff and we’re not going to get into that today.

I am going to select “ADD NEW POLICY.” You may notice once this pops up that the policies here look like the same stuff you see when you’re in Group Policy land. These look like the same policies that you see under this folder here. Why is that? It’s because they are all the same policies. You’re seeing that we’re using the same central store as Group Policy land. So this is all real Group Policy stuff. It’s just in PolicyPak land.

I am going to come over to “Control Panel,” “Personalization.” Let’s “Force specific screen saver.” I want to select “Enabled.” Let’s do “Mystify.scr” and tell it “OK.” It went ahead and added that: “Force specific screen saver.” It’s giving me the option to do something else, so “Screen saver timeout.” It’s a Windows 10 machine. Why don’t I have it time out in “10” minutes just to help us remember? All right, now we’re going to close that out.

So we have “Force specific screen saver” and “Screen saver timeout.” Now if I wanted to target any of these to a particular OS, to a particular security group, or any of a number of different criteria, I could choose to “Edit Item Level Targeting” here. I can choose any of this criteria to target this policy based on.

If you’re familiar with Group Policy Preferences item-level targeting, it’s exactly the same thing so you’d be familiar with this here. I can choose to only target this to a Windows 10 “Operating System” machine. I could choose to target it to a “Security Group” or a “User” or an “IP Address Range,” any of a number of different criteria. I’m not going to get into that today, but that’s an option that you can use to target that. And you can do this in just about everything we have here in PolicyPak land.

Now that I’ve done that and we’ve created some screen saver settings, let’s go do that Least Privilege Manager business where we “LPM Allow DM to run elevated” and we tell it “OK.” This can be done on the computer side or the user side. I’m just going to go with user side just for fun. I’ll go over to “Least Privilege Manager.”

While there are a number of different things we can do here, we’re going to go with “ADD NEW CPL POLICY.” That’s what’s going to allow us to choose the Device Manager. I’ll click “Next.” I’m going to choose “Device Manager” right there. I’ll choose “Next.” I want to “Run with elevated privileges.” That’s the first thing that gets selected, so it’s already there. So I’ll just choose “Next.” We’ll “Allow DM elevated” and “Finish” up there. I could have added item-level targeting while I was doing this, or I can “Edit Item Level Targeting” after the fact. Again, item-level targeting is everywhere.

Finally, let’s go look at Browser Router. We’re going to have Chrome open anything that says “Google.” So we’ll say “Google to Chrome.” Let’s “Edit.” Once again, computer or user side, up to you. I’m going to do this on the user side once again.

With “Browser Router” you have to start with creating a new collection, so you click “ADD NEW COLLECTION.” I’m just going to leave that “Collection 1” name. That’s fine. I could add “Item Level Targeting” here so that every policy within this particular collection or folder would be targeted to a particular OS or user group or whatever like we saw before. When I go into my collection and I “ADD NEW POLICY,” you’ll notice “Item Level Targeting” right here too. So it’s all over the place. You have lots and lots and lots of options.

We’ll do “Google to Chrome.” I’m going to use a “Wildcard” which means that I’m going to type “*google*.” That basically means if the URL contains the word Google at all, it will open in whatever I choose here, “Google Chrome” in this case. So I’ll tell it “OK,” and there we go.

Now I did these all in three separate GPOs. You don’t have to. It’s up to you whatever you think is best practice. But I decided to go ahead and give them descriptive names and give them each a separate GPO.

So now that we’ve done all that, let’s go back over to our endpoint, run a GP Update (“gpupdate”) and see what we’ve done. Here we go. Let’s run that GP Update (“gpupdate”). Just moving forward the hands of time just a little bit. There we go.

All right, so we started off by looking at the screen saver settings, so let’s check out and see what we’ve done there. See if we’ve done the work. All right, let’s go look at “Screen saver settings.” Sure enough, we’ve created a “Mystify” “Screen saver.” We’ve forced that specific “Screen saver.” And we’re telling it to “Wait” “10 minutes.” Notice it’s grayed out, so I’m not able to click on this or make any changes because this is being governed by PolicyPak now.

So we’ve got that done. Let’s go see if we can get into “Device Manager” instead of having it give us that pop-up. Sure enough, here we are. If I come over to “Keyboards,” now I can “Update driver” or do any of a number of different things instead of only getting “Properties.”

Finally, if I open up something in “Mozilla Firefox” and go to “,” what do you think is going to happen? I bet we’re going to close down and open up in Chrome. So let’s check this out. There we go. We closed that tab, and we opened up in Chrome just like we wanted to do. That’s great. We’ve done all the work we though we were going to do.

Let me just hop back over here to talk about a couple of other different things before I show you how to get more information about these components, and then we can call it a day. Let me open back up my Admin Templates Manager GPO because I added a couple of different policies to that one. Let me go back to where that was. I just want to talk to you about precedence order for a second.

If we come back over here, you’re going to see that I have the “Force specific screen saver” and “Screen saver timeout.” If I were to “ADD NEW COLLECTION,” which I’ll just go ahead and do, that’s going to come underneath that. So what happens is, it processes this one first and then this one second.

Then whatever is inside “Collection 1,” it will start processing it the same way. It will process Number 1 first, Number 2 second, Number 3 third, and so on and so forth. So if you have something that conflicts, whichever one processes last is going to be the one that takes precedence because that’s how it processes that. So that’s how the precedence order works here.

The last thing I want to talk about before giving you some information about how to get more information is just roughly what all the rest of these things do. The “Application Settings Manager,” I’ll have another video on how to do that, how to set it up, how to work with it. But that is how you’re going to do just what it says, manage your application settings. So if you want to manage your WinZip or set a particular homepage on Firefox or manage any of about 500 different applications and all of their settings, you’ll do that using this.

The “Preferences Manager” and “Security Settings Manager” both work the same way. They are both specifically designed to be able to export existing preferences and security settings as XML so that you can then upload them to the cloud or wrap them up in an MSI and deploy them using an MDM service. This is designed specifically for non-domain joined machines or machines that are being governed specifically by cloud or MDM services rather than using the Group Policy method.

We talked briefly about “Browser Router” and about “Least Privilege Manager.” The “Start Screen Manager for Windows 10” and “Taskbar Manager for Windows 10” do just what they say again. They allow you to manage both the Start Screen and the Taskbar quickly, easily, and dynamically without having to get into the in-the-box golden image business.

“File Associations Manager for Windows 10” actually does the same thing as well. It allows you to associate file extensions and network protocols with particular applications so that your PDFs aren’t opening in Edge and your MAILTOs aren’t opening in Windows Mail. So you can change that up without, again, getting into the golden image business.

“Java Rules Manager” maps the right version of Java to the right website. So if you have an old and crusty timecard app that has to use an older version of Java, you can map that version of Java to that web app and then allow everything else to run the most secure version. So you can run for both compatibility and security at the same time.

The “Scripts Manager” allows you to deliver scripts to your machines whether through Group Policy, the cloud, or MDM service. It allows you to specify an on script and an on script. The on script is do this when the GPO is in scope, is true. And then you do something else when the GPO falls out of scope or if something is not true anymore. It allows you a lot more control than some other delivery mechanisms.

Now that I have given you the rough rundown of what all of our components do, I want to come over here and go to “” and I want to show you the “Video Learning Center.” If you come to the “SUPPORT” tab right here and go to “Video Learning Center,” then you’re going to choose if you’re working with the “Group Policy Edition/Cloud Edition/MDM Edition” or if you’re working with specifically the “GP Compliance Reporter.”

If you’re working with the components that we were looking at before, you choose this section (“Group Policy Edition/Cloud Edition/MDM Edition.” Then you have a lot of different options. You can go with “Getting Started” which is going to give you some of the basics, which is where this video is here.

And then you have all of the components available right here. So if you need to know more about how your “Preferences Manager” works or what else can you do with “Least Privilege Manager,” what can you do with “Scripts Manager,” and so on, you can go there.

If you go to “File Associations Manager,” you would choose “File Association Manager (All Videos)” and then you’re going to have several different videos here showing you all kinds of different tips and tricks and understanding how it all works.

If you wanted to just go get a really big overwhelming list, you can go look at “ALL AVAILABLE VIDEOS” and see them all here. We have somewhere in the neighborhood of 300-and-something. Yep, 326 now as of this filming. There will be more coming right up.

So that’s where you’re going to want to go to the “Video Learning Center” and check that out if you want to get more information about the components that I have talked about today or the ones that I wasn’t able to show you.

In the next video, I’ll be talking more about the Application Settings Manager, how to set that up and how to work with it. So thanks for watching, and I’ll see you there.

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  • 01-Mar-2021