How to use group policies to set a default website and open IE when logging in to Windows

The below is a guide on how to use group policies in Windows Server 2008 R2 to set a default website in internet explorer and launch internet explorer every time a user logs in to the domain using his/her domain credentials.

To start off with, we will create a new Group policy object rather than editing the default domain policy.

open the  Group policy management console in administrative tools or simply type GPMC.MSC in run. Right click on the domain name and select create a GPO in this domain

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Give a name to the GPO and click ok

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Right click the newly created GPO and click edit

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The Group Policy Management Editor will open

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Navigate to the following location to set the default home page URL

User Configuration => Policies => Administrative Templates => Windows Components => Internet Explorer.

Click on the “Disable Changing the Home Page” policy

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Click Enabled, type in the URL and click OK. This will set the default Home Page in IE.

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To launch Internet Explorer when the user logs in to Windows, navigate to the following;

User Configuration => Policies => Administrative Templates => System => Logon.

Click on the “Run these programs at user logon”

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Click on enable and click on show

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Give the path to internet explorer in the show content window and click OK

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As the final step, open Command Prompt in Admin mode and run gpupdate /force

Types of Default Group Policies in Windows

Group policies in Windows are one of the most used and key tools in effectively managing a domain environment. It provides the administrator with many options, starting from to automating certain tasks to allow/deny certain options. Many administrator use group policies to standardize the operating environment within the domain.  

By default in an Active Directory environment one could see two different type of group policies.

  1. Default Domain Controllers Policy
  2. Default Domain Policy

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The default domain controllers policy is used to enforce and set policies to all the domain controllers within the domain environment. This is a way to enforce proper security as well as set the necessary options to all domain controllers within the environment. By default the, the default domain controllers policy is applied to the Domain controllers OU within the Active Directory.

The default domain policy is used to apply policies to al sort of objects under the domain. This is applicable to all objects and OU’s by default.

As a best practice, Microsoft recommends to leave both the default domain controllers policy and the default domain policy as it is and create new policies as required for the organization purpose. 

Adding Multiple OneDrive Accounts in Windows 10

Cloud storage has become a widely used storage location for many. Microsoft OneDrive which was previously known as SkyDrive is one such cloud storage option available. Microsoft OneDrive comes in 2 flavors, the free OneDrive which can be obtained by signing up a free Microsoft account and has a free storage of 5GB and the paid Microsoft OneDrive for Business which can be obtained through an Office 365 subscription which has a 1TB of storage limit.

Windows 10 enables a user to add both these OneDrive folders to be synchronized to the local PC which helps to store all the documents and data in the cloud. The OneDrive app is already built into Windows 10 and the user can simply enter the email address and the password to start the initial sync. Below are the steps to add multiple OneDrive accounts to your Windows 10 computer.

Open OneDrive Application and enter the email address of Account 1

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Enter the password of Account 1

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If the sync folder location to be changed click on change location and select the folder and click next

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Select the folders to be synchronized to the local computer and click nextSNAGHTML83fafb1a

Click open OneDrive and the folders and documents will be synched.

To add the second account, right click the OneDrive icon from the task bar

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Select settings

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Click on add account

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Follow the same process to add the account (mentioned above) and once done you will be able to access both folders from the file explorer

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The sync status can be viewed from the icons in the task bar

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Sound control for individual applications in Windows 10

Previous versions of Windows has a feature where one can control the volume (even mute) of individual applications/programs running on the computer.

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Most of the users by clicking on the sound icon on the system tray in Windows 10 couldn’t find this Window to individually manage the sound option. To do this in Windows 10;

Right Click on the Volume icon and select Open Volume Mixer

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The volume mixer will open the window to individually manage volume

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Upgrading to Windows 10 Creators Update

Windows 10 creators update was released earlier this week with many new features. In this post we will look at on how to upgrade our Windows 10 to creators update.

Visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 and click on Update now

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The update assistant will download and install on your computer. Open the tool and click on update now.

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it will scan the computer and check the possibility to upgrade.

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Note:

If you run Windows 10 Enterprise edition you will not be able to proceed using this method and will be prompted the below error.

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Click next and the update will be downloaded to your computer

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Once the download is completed, the installation will begin

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Along the process the computer will be restarted multiple times to complete the installation.

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Once the installation is completed and the computer has booted, you will be running Windows version 1703 Creators Update

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Turn off Windows updates in Windows 10

Although I do not recommend this and strongly against turning off Windows updates, I am writing this to the people out their who know what the impact is by disabling Windows updates.

Windows updates is the feature which helps your computers and devices to stay up to date with hot fixes, patches and more importantly with security updates. As an when a loophole, a backdoor or any issue is found, it is through Windows update the patches and solutions are sent by Microsoft. Furthermore, with Windows 10, new features and new builds of the operating systems which are tested by the Windows insiders are also sent through Windows Updates.

The previous versions of Windows, had an option for the users to select to disable Windows updates through the control panel. This option is not available with Windows 10. Windows 10 by default does not allow any option to disable windows update. But there are a few workarounds for this.

Option 1

Setting the network connection as a metered connection. Refer this article to see how to set a network connection as a metered connection.

Option 2

Disabling the Windows update service

Open run => Services.msc => double click Windows Update service

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Drop down the startup type and select disabled and click ok

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Option 3

Use group policy

Open run => type gpedit.msc => Computer Configuration => Administrative templates => Windows components =>. Windows update => double click Configure Automatic Updates

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You may select the necessary settings accordingly and enforce the group policy

Once again, although these options are available, my personal opinion is that Windows updates should be enabled and computers and devices should be updated.

Change the default search engine in Microsoft Edge

With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft introduced Microsoft Edge a new browser. Edge has many new functionalities embedded along with it.

Today, people have changed the way on how search is being done. Many of us rarely go in to a search engine and enter our search query. Instead, we type the search query in the browser address bar which in turn will provide the results in the default search engine set by the browser. By default the Microsoft edge browser is configured with Bing as the search engine. lets look at how do we change this to an alternate search engine like Google.

Open Microsoft edge and click on settings

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Scroll down and click view Advance Settings

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Scroll down and select change search engine

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Select the search engine you prefer and click set as default

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