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04: PolicyPak and Microsoft Intune

Windows Intune is awesome, but it doesn’t have real group policy, or extra Windows 10 desktop management features. Watch this video and learn how to use PolicyPak to deliver REAL Group Policy settings and PolicyPak’s extra settings to all your Windows Intune joined Windows 10 machines.

Hi, this is Jeremy Moskowitz, founder and CTO of PolicyPak software and Enterprise Mobility MVP. In this video I’m going to show you how you can take your existing on-prem group policy settings and get them over there to your endpoints that can be even not domain joined alongside with Microsoft Endpoint Manager and PolicyPak. How do we do it? Well, let’s go ahead and take a look at this example.

The idea here is that we’ve got a GPO chalk full of stuff. For instance, here’s some computer side security settings. Some of these items may be available in InTune land. Some of them aren’t. For instance, I’m manipulating the Rename Guest Account. You can see I’ve renamed that to ppGuest.

If I were to go dive down under, say, user side Preferences and head on over here, there’s a bunch of things you might want to do. You might want to set an arbitrary registry setting. In this case I’m setting DoubleClickSpeed for the mouse to 604, where it’s normal value is 500. This can be anything. This can be for a third-party app or any app you want.

Not only that, PolicyPak can also take advantage of the existing group policy preferences item level targeting. If you specify that this particular item should only take effect on portable machines or when the computer name is Lab Machines or a particular Mac address range or a file exists, PolicyPak will support all of this quickly and easily. No brain power involved.

The same thing with a group policy preference or shortcut or really any other group policy preferences; PolicyPak supports all of these. For instance, in this example, I’ve got a shortcut called www.policypak.com, and it’s going to head on over to the desktop. We’re going to do that only when the machine has got the computer name with the NetBIOS name as “ndj” for not domain joined in its machine name.

Another setting that I might want to set is a group policy preferences item for devices where I want to kill my evil CD-ROMs, do a little bit of device control and do not enable my CD-ROMs. If it is enabled, I’m going to disable it. We might also want to set an admin template setting, something that just doesn’t exist. Microsoft Endpoint Manager has a lot of new settings from time to time if you go under Devices and you go to Windows and then you go to Configuration Profiles.

You’ll see that Microsoft Endpoint Manager does get new features from time to time, but it’s just not the same kind of parody level that you find inside the box for admin templates for group policy. For instance, if I wanted to look for control panel stuff and I go to Next here, I’m just using this as an example. Look, you can see computer control panel, but under there there’s only two settings here for personalization. That’s weird.

If I go to user side Configuration Control Panel, there’s only Printers. There’s only a couple things here for Control Panel, not very much. However, if you look inside the Microsoft side Policies Admin Templates under Control Panel, just doing an AB comparison, you’ll see this is where all the good stuff is, all sorts of interesting settings here by way of example. For instance, one of the settings that I might want to do is this guy, Show Only Specified Control Panel Items. Maybe I want to trim the Control Panel to just show Sound and Date and Time. This is just something that’s not available inside of InTune land at present.

Those are all group policy settings. You might want to also do PolicyPak settings. Let’s go ahead and do that too. Let’s use our very famous File Associations Manager for Windows 10. Let’s go ahead and create a New Policy here real quick.

We’ll just do PDFs to Acrobat Reader, very simple. We’ll then go ahead and create a File Type of PDF. Then we’ll specify the program we want itself is going to be Acrobat Reader. That has to exist on the endpoint, and that’s it. We’ve made our file association just like that.

Now that we’ve got everything locked and loaded inside of a GPO, what does it take to get it lifted and shifted over to Microsoft Endpoint Manager and over to our endpoint? Well, it’s pretty easy. All you need to do is do a quick export of each of the things.

I’ve got a folder here called Out1 that I’m going to go ahead and use here. I’ll go ahead and close this out. I’ve got this folder here called Out1. This is where I’m going to stuff all the XML files I need.

What I can do is I can take this and just rip it and drag it there. There’s my first one. I’ll go ahead and do the same thing for my group policy Preferences items that I mentioned earlier, my arbitrary Registry setting. I’ll go ahead and drag that guy over.

I’ll take my Shortcut item that I made earlier. I’ll drag that guy over. I’ll take my Devices item that’s a group policy Preferences item and drag that over. Again, we could do this for any group policy Preferences item as well.

To deal with the security Setting, that’s a little bit different. There’s no way to drag and drop that. What we do is we give you a little exporter routine that’s called the Security Settings Manager Wizard. We’re just going to read what’s inside the GPO.

We find it. We then let you export it, and we’ll go ahead and chuck it right into that same exact folder here. We’ll call it PPSEC-OUT1. That will show up there in that folder too. We’re just building the collection of settings that we want.

The last thing we want to do is that admin template, that Control Panel admin template item. In order to get to that, we have a little external exporter utility that we have on our download. That is called the Group Policy Merge Utility. This has a couple of different functions. It will help you merge GPOs on-prem to have less total GPOs, very advantageous for very large and medium-size organizations. What we can do as well is export those admin template settings.

I’m going to manually select that one GPO that I created earlier, my demo GPO. If you had lots of GPOs you wanted to export with the admin template settings to Microsoft Endpoint Manager, you could do that really easily too. I’m going to export that Show Only Specified Control Panel Items type, and I’m going to export those selected policies, and drop it right into that little out box that I created earlier, PPATM-EXPORT1.

Now that I’ve got my real group policies settings, my real group policy preferences settings, and my real PolicyPak settings all in one place, it’s time to get them over to my Microsoft Endpoint Manager. How am I going to do that? Well, you have to wrap it up into a little MSI, and we give you this utility called the PolicyPak Exporter utility. We’re going to create a new MSI installer here.

We’re going to Add Existing Files from the out folder that we just created earlier. Let’s just suck them all in. Then we can sort and take a look at what’s going on here. We can see there’s our registry item in Preferences Manager. There’s our kill the CD-ROMs preferences item.

There is my shortcut preferences item. There is my control panel item that needs to go to the computers and not the users. There is my PolicyPak file associations items. Said another way, you take any item you want in group policy land, Microsoft, security, group policy preferences, or admin templates, plus all of PolicyPak’s magical settings, you drop them to XML, you wrap them up as an MSI, which we’re about to do, and we’ll call this PPMDM-123. Now we’ve got it ready to go. We’ve got this MSI ready to go.

Now let’s go over to Microsoft Endpoint Manager and see what’s next. What we’ll do is we’ll go over to Apps here. We’ll go over to Windows, and let’s take a look at our Windows Apps. In order to make the magic happen, there’s three things that need to get deployed on the client.

Thing number one, the PolicyPak client side extension; the PolicyPak client side extension is the thing that makes it go. I’ve already got this pre-assigned to all of my computers that are Windows 10. The second thing to make it go is the MDM Licenses. There’s a license per MDM environment, and in this case I’m already licensed and wired up and ready to go.

If I were to click Add here, this is where I’m going to then take my Windows 10 Line of Business App. We’re going to select the MSI we created together earlier, select the App Package File. Go ahead and select this guy. This is going to be my PPMDM-123. I’ll go ahead and put that here, so PolicyPak GP and PP Settings.

I can give this a name, call it Your Company. That’s fine. Then you are off to the races. Go ahead and click Next. The assignments, I’m going to assign this for all devices just to make it easy on myself for the sake of this demonstration. Of course, you can assign it to groups. Then that’s it.

Now that we are done here, this takes a minute to sort of do its thing. Here we are on our endpoint. Let’s go ahead and take a look around before we download all these items from our InTune environment. The before picture would be let’s go ahead and start off in Control Panel land.

We can see lots and lots of icons. Remember, when this is over, we’re going to be trimming this to a very small subset with our admin templates item. Let’s go ahead and open a Command Prompt. Let’s take a look at the group policy security settings.

We said that the guest account, we’re going to have that renamed. We run gpedit.msc here. Let’s go ahead and take a look at what it is beforehand, Windows. We go ahead and take a look at Security Settings under Local Policies. We can see the guest account not renamed yet. We’ll go ahead and leave this window open over here.

Let’s also create another Command Prompt here. Whoops, just a regular Command Prompt. Let’s do a regedit. I said I wanted to have an arbitrary registry setting. Go for HKEY_CURRENT_USER, Control Panel, Mouse. I wanted to set this value of DoubleClickSpeed from 500 to 604.

We also said we didn’t want any evil CD-ROMs, so let’s make sure we don’t – oh, we can see our evil CD-ROMs. That’s fine right now. After the fact, that should go away. Lastly, we said that when we open up a PDF, maybe we don’t want it to open up in Edge, although I think Edge is a perfectly find PDF reader. If you don’t want to open it up in Edge, we told earlier that we want to open it up in Acrobat Reader.

I’m going to click on my MDM environment. I’m going to click Sync. Then I’m going to wait for everything to install. Remember, we’re installing three things, the PolicyPak client side extension, the PolicyPak licenses, and the PolicyPak bundle of settings that comes down to actually perform the work that has both group policy, group policy preferences, and group policy security settings in them. I’ll pause the video and come back as soon as this is done.

We’re back. Now that InTune has deployed the three moving pieces, we can see some things have changed. First, we can see the icon here on the desktop, this group policy preferences item on the desktop going to PolicyPak.com, of course, and opening up Edge as the browser. Next, we said to use PolicyPak to open up PDFs in Acrobat Reader. Sure enough, we’re able to do that. Go ahead and just see this white paper called Why Am Microsoft Endpoint Manager Admins Need PolicyPak, available at our website PolicyPak.com.

Then let’s go ahead and take a look at some other items. We said don’t show me Mr. Evil CD-ROM anymore. You can see no more D drive. No CD-ROM. That’s not a thing anymore.

Let’s go ahead from the admin side, go to gpedit.msc. We said to rename the guest account of very important security setting. Let’s go to local policy Security Options and bam. Using InTune and PolicyPak, we’re able to take pretty much any security setting and get that delivered.

We also said to any kind of arbitrary registry setting, regedit. You saw me earlier, I had 500 for my DoubleClickSpeed. Now it’s 604. All these values are being delivered. All the things, group policy preferences items, group policy items.

I didn’t show you the Control Panel. Here we go. The limited Control Panel. I know I just covered a lot of things. I covered a lot of different areas in group policy. I covered admin templates here. I covered group policy preferences here.

I covered group policy security settings when I renamed the guest account, and I covered PolicyPak settings. It’s all exactly the same. You’re going to take your existing on-prem group policy settings, group policy preferences settings, and group policy security settings, plus your PolicyPak settings, export them, get them into XML format, wrap them up as an MSI, and then use your InTune to do the magic.

PolicyPak can help you immediately close the gap between what you need to do on your endpoints and what’s capable with Microsoft Endpoint Manager. I hope this video helps you out. I’m looking forward to getting you started with PolicyPak real soon. Thank you very much.

           

 

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  • 19-May-2021
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