Supporting Windows 7 Group Policy Settings with Windows Server 2003 Domain Controllers

Recently, I was asked the following question: We plan to implement Windows 7 in our network very soon. We want to use Windows 2003 Domain Controllers for the next couple of years. Can we make the hundreds of new Group Policy setting available to Windows 7 Windows Server 2003 DCs? Our Technology Consulting Services do this type of thing every day

This is not an unusual situation. Some organizations find they need to replace their desktop computers immediately because of age or obsolescence and others wish to upgrade to Windows 7 because of its superior security and performance. But there may be no budget or desire to upgrade to  Windows 2008 or 2008 R2. Luckily, it is not difficult to adapt Server 2003 to work with Windows 7.
Group Policy settings are edited through the use of ADM and ADMX template files. These files are accessed though the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) or the Group Policy Object Editor (GPOE). As settings are configured in the editing tools a Registry.pol is created. The Registry.pol file is made available to client computers in the Group Policy Object Container on the Domain Controller. Client computers process the Registry.pol file to receive their Group Policy settings. The ADM/ADMX files are needed only by computers running the editing tools. Editing Group Policies using ADMX templates requires that the editing tools be run only on Microsoft Vista, Server 2008 or Windows 7. ADM templates can be edited on Windows XP or Server 2003. ADMX files use XMLbased markup language that includes no language specific comments or descriptions. The ADMX file references sADML files in a sub-folder such as EN-US (for English) or FR (for French) that give the ADMX file appropriate language support. Multi-national organizations will only have to deploy one set of ADMX files and can add ADML files for each language spoken by its administrators.
One of the chief benefits ADMX and ADML files is that they can be made available through the use of a Central Store on the Domain Controllers. Windows Server 2003 can host a Central Store as easily as Server 2008. To create a Central Store simply create a PolicyDefinitions folder in the SYSVOL with a path of %WINDIR%\SYSVOL\domain\Policies\PolicyDefinitions. Copy the ADMX templates from a Windows 7 computer into the SYSVOL location. Window 7 keeps a copy of the ADMX and ADML files in its own PolicyDefinitions folder located in the Windows folder. Once it is placed in the Central Store, the File Replication Service on Server 2003 will replicate the Global Knowledge

PolicyDefinitions folder to all Domain Controllers in the Domain so that the templates are available for use by the editing tools. An ADMX/ADML Central Store requires much less space on the SYSVOL than ADM files and will reduce replication costs.

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Installing GP Dynamics Client

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The code is on the E: drive of the new server.  It is called GP2010 DVD or something to that effect.  The service pack is also on the E: drive and is an msp file that has 11 in it (as opposed to the one for version 9)

Before installing the client, share the GPSHARE folder on the E: drive of the server.  Make sure that user login (and all other GP users) will have read/write access to this folder and the share

To install the client…

1)      Launch the setup.exe from that folder and run through the wizard.

a.       When asked to select features, be sure to select Collections Management – this is the only additional feature you need to worry about installing right now

b.       When prompted for the server, just enter the new server name and the installer will create a datasource for it

2)      After installing from the main DVD folder, run the service pack installer – this should detect the installation path and apply the update without any further intervention

NOTE: You will probably need to reboot at some point during these installations.  After rebooting, the GP installer should resume automatically

3)      After installing the service pack, launch GP utilities from the Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 program group

4)      Say Yes to include new code if prompted

5)      Log in with the Dynamics GP 2010 ODBC datasource (server) with the sa account and let GP synchronize this client to the server

6)      After utilities run, you should see a button to Launch GP – go ahead and log in with the sa account

NOTE: Russell’s GP 7.5 account will not work at this time.  We will need to reset each user’s password and define security before they will be able to use the GP2010 version

7)      Exit GP

8)      Go to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Dynamics\GP2010 folder and find the Dynamics.set file

a.       Right-click on this file and choose EDIT.  If that’s not available, choose to open and open it with NOTEPAD

b.      Scroll down to the path that ends with Reports.DIC (should be the 3rd line of paths in the file)

c.       Change the path to the Reports.dic to  this:  \\ serverxxxx\GpShare\Reports.dic

9)      Launch GP again to make sure you don’t get any permission errors related to the share.  This will ensure that Russell has the appropriate modified reports for testing purposes.  If any of them are broken, we will need to re-modify them.  I didn’t get a single validation error on the reports, so I am 90% confident that they will all work fine, but it’s best to print a check or two, print a sales invoice, etc, and make sure we don’t have any surprises when they actually cut over.

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Converting a thick to thin disk in a VMWare ESX / ESXi

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1. Poweroff the virtual machine.

2. Login to the command line (Putty) console of the esxi server.

3. Locate the directory in which the .vmdk (hard disk) file is located.

4. Execute the following command in the command line console.

vmkfstools –i hard-diskfile-thick.vmdk –d thin hard-diskfile-thin.vmdk

where hard-diskfile-thick.vmdk is the thick provisioned hard drive and the hard-diskfile-thin.vmdk is the newly created thin provisioned disk file.

5. Login to the vsphere client.Delete the old hard drive and add new thin provisioned hard drive to the virtual machine.

6. Start the virtual machine with the modified configuration.


Sometimes you may need to use thick provisioned hard drives in order to support clustering feature.In that kind of circumstances you can use the same command with a little modification to convert thin provisioned hard drive to a thick provisioned one.

vmkfstools –i hard-diskfile-thin.vmdk –d thick hard-diskfile-thick.vmdk

You need to follow all the steps mentioned above to execute this command.
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