Selected Scenarios for Managing Desktops with Windows Vista

Windows Vista includes new and updated features that make it easier for you to manage client computers in your organization.

What’s New in Managing Desktops

This section describes selected new and updated features that you can use to manage client computers.

  • Event Viewer: Updated features includes cross-log queries, integration with Task Scheduler, increased multi-page support for larger result sets, and a summary view to simplify administration.
  • Task Scheduler: New features include Event Viewer integration, process isolation by user credentials, and summary views to quickly identify current tasks and status.
  • Print Management Console: The Print Management Console that was introduced in Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003 R2 operating systems is also included in Windows Server® 2008. You can use this tool to easily view and manage all printers on the network.
  • Group Policy Management Console: The Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) that was introduced with Windows Server 2003 is also included in Windows Server 2008. This console is installed by default, so you do not need to install it separately (as you would with Microsoft Windows XP or Windows Server 2003) to use it.

Benefits of New or Changed Features for Managing Desktops

Event Viewer

Information technology (IT) professionals and administrators use Event Viewer to view computer system health and status. In Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista®, this tool has been rewritten from the ground up. It has a new interface and is integrated with a new centralized event logging system. Event Viewer works with native Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista event log files (.elf). It also provides backward compatibility with Event Viewer files from Microsoft Windows NT®, Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 operating systems.

Cross-Log Queries

Event Viewer can run queries that search across multiple logs. Cross-log queries can also be used with stored custom views, which you can define to display events that match specific criteria from selected log files.

Scheduled task integration

The integration of Event Viewer with Task Scheduler enables it to trigger predetermined actions when a specified event occurs. This can be a simple action, such as starting another service when an event occurs, or a more complicated one, in which a set of actions is triggered when a service fails.

Paging support in filtered views

Event Viewer can display either very large results sets from single log files or complicated cross-log views. By adding multi-page support to the views, Event Viewer makes these large results sets manageable and scalable.

Task Scheduler

You can use Task Scheduler to automate administrative and system tasks. You can also integrate Task Scheduler with Event Viewer to automatically perform an action, such as starting a service or sending e-mail, when a specified event occurs.

Task activation based on event

Task Scheduler is able to integrate with Event Viewer to provide more flexibility in responding to system or application events. For example, you could create a task that sends an e-mail whenever disk space runs low on a server, alerting the administrator that maintenance is required.

Separate user sessions

You can create tasks so they run under different user credentials, depending on the resource requirement. To improve the security of scheduled tasks, each task runs in a separate user session that is based on the user credentials being used.

Improved control and monitoring of daily tasks

Task Scheduler includes a new summary view that you can use to quickly determine which tasks are running, which are scheduled, and what the current status is for each task. You can sort this summary view to easily identify tasks that have completed successfully, as well as those that have failed or are yet to run.

The Print Management Console (PMC) is a Microsoft Management Console snap-in that was introduced in Windows Server 2003 R2 and is also included in Windows Server 2008. You can use PMC to perform a variety of print management tasks.

Remote printer management

The console tree in PMC offers a tree view of the servers being managed, as well as nodes for All Printers, Printers With Jobs, Printers Not Ready, and Printers Not Ready AND With Jobs. These nodes give you quick access to printers that need attention without requiring you to sort through long lists of installed printers.

Publish and remove printers in Active Directory

Those using Windows XP Professional in network environments often expect to add printers by querying Active Directory for the closest printer or the one with specific features that meet their needs. With PMC, you can publish printers in Active Directory, or you can remove them from Active Directory if they are no longer being used.

Push printers with Group Policy

With PMC, you can create a Group Policy object (GPO) containing information about specific printers and then assign that GPO to users or computers. This enables you to provide printer assignments to users and computers instead of requiring the users to add printers.


Client computers running Windows XP require a software update to receive the assigned GPO information. For more information, see the Print Management Step-by-Step Guide.

Group Policy Management Console

Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) centralizes administrative tasks associated with Group Policy into a single snap-in for the Microsoft Management Console (MMC).

Multiple forest support

GPMC can access Group Policy information for multiple Active Directory forests, based on your access permissions and the network structure. The initial view presented by the GPMC displays nodes for the forest that your user object resides in. It also displays the domains and sites within that forest. To manage Group Policy for additional forests, you can just add the forest by name, and GPMC will display both the original forest and the added forest.

Group Policy Modeling

Group Policy Modeling provides a simulation of the GPOs as they will be applied to a user or computer. This enables you to model the resultant policies as they will affect the target without actually applying the GPOs to the user or computer. The Group Policy Modeling tool uses the Resultant Set of Policy-Planning Mode capabilities of Windows Server 2008 to predict the outcome of all GPOs that are being applied to an object.

Group Policy Results

The Group Policy Results node within GPMC accesses the Resultant Set of Policy-Logging Mode capabilities to give you information about the results of the actual application of GPOs to a target user or computer. Group Policy Modeling predicts the results of a set of GPOs on a target, but the Group Policy Results node displays the actual outcome of multiple GPOs on a computer or user.

What's the Impact of New or Changed Features on Managing Desktops

The new desktop management features centralize more of the information that you use to monitor and administer client computers. Custom views can gather events of specific types across multiple logs and computers. You can use the multi-page capability to monitor larger sets of information in your custom views.

Task Scheduler can respond to events on the client computers you manage by triggering responsive actions when specified events occur. The triggered response can be simple, such as sending an e-mail to your administrator when a service stops. A triggered response might also be as complex as restarting the service, sending e-mails, and then recording log information to a separate log file.

Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) in Windows Server 2008 is provided by default, and does not require an additional download and installation. GPMC gathers common administrative tasks for Group Policy into a single snap-in. It also provides import/export and backup/restore capabilities for GPOs.

Key Scenarios for Evaluating These Manageability Features in Your Organization

This section discusses the following key scenarios that pertain to managing desktops:

  • Scenario 1: Creating custom views in Event Viewer
  • Scenario 2: Scheduling tasks based on events

Scenario 1: Creating Custom Views in Event Viewer

A custom view in Event Viewer can give you all the necessary details you need to manage your client computers without the distraction of other events. Custom views can include specific types of events for one or more computers.

Prerequisites for creating custom views in Event Viewer

To complete this task, you must have the following:

  • A client computer running Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008.
  • Administrator access to the computer you are monitoring.

Administrative credentials

Unless specified otherwise, to complete this task, you must be a member of the Local Administrators or Power Users groups. If the computer is in a domain, you can be a member of the Domain Administrators group.

Known issues for creating custom views in Event Viewer

When you use custom views in Event Viewer, you might not be able to select multiple computers as sources for custom views.

Creating custom views in Event Viewer

To create custom views in Event Viewer

  1. Open Windows Event Viewer. To do this, click Start, click All Programs, click Administrative Tools, and then click Windows Event Viewer.

  2. In Actions, click Create View.

  3. In the Event Log drop-down list, click the logs to use for the view you want. You can select multiple log files as the source for the view.

  4. In Event Types, select the checkboxes for the events you want to include.

  5. In Name, enter the name of the computer you want to monitor in this view.

  6. To save this view, click OK.

  7. When prompted, provide a descriptive name for the custom view.

Scenario 2: Scheduling Tasks Based on Events

Prerequisites for scheduling tasks based on events

To complete this task, you must have the following:

  • A client computer running Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008.
  • Administrator access to the computer you are monitoring.

Administrative credentials

Unless specified otherwise, to complete this task, you must be a member of the local Administrators group.

Known issues for scheduling tasks based on events

There are currently no known issues associated with completing this scenario.

Scheduling tasks based on events

To schedule tasks based on events

  1. Open Scheduled Tasks. To do this, click Start, click Administrative Tools, and then click Scheduled Tasks.

  2. In Action, click Create New Task.

  3. In Name, enter a name for the task. In Description, type a short description of the task. This helps you identify tasks later when you are reviewing status.

  4. In User options, click Run whether user is logged on or not. This enables the task to run under a specified user's credentials even if that user is not currently logged on.


To use this option, you must specify the correct user account and password. If you select the Run only when user is logged on option, you can specify a user name without being required to enter the password for that user.

  1. Click the Triggers tab, and then click New.

  2. In the Begin the task list, click On Event.

  3. In Log, enter Security.

  4. In Event Source, enter Security.

  5. For the Event ID, enter 538. This is the event identification number that is generated when you log on to a locked computer. Optionally, you can enter a delay for the task in Advanced.

  6. To save the trigger, click OK.

  7. Click the Actions tab, and then click New.

  8. For the Action, select Run a Program, and then in Program, enter Notepad.exe.

  9. To set the action, click OK.

  10. To save the scheduled task, click OK.

  11. Lock the computer. To do this, press CTRL+ALT+DELETE, and in Windows Security, click Lock This Computer.

  12. To log back on, press CTRL+ALT+DELETE, and, and when prompted, enter your password.

  13. Verify that Notepad starts after your successful logon. If you entered a delay in Step 9, be sure to wait that amount of time for Notepad to start.