William here. Answers to a few reader questions before getting back to our regularly scheduled discussion on configuring special preferences using editing states. Steve Syfuhs asks, “Surely there is an event that gets logged stating that disk quota has been reached?”

The answer: Certainly. Quota logging can be enabled and configured to log when quota warning limits and maximum size limits have been reached. However, in this particular scenario quota logging was not enabled. Also, even with quota logging enabled, this wouldn’t have necessarily been easy to spot. In a typical enterprise environment, there almost always are users who have reached their quota warning limit as well as those who have exceeded their quota limit. If these events are logged, they are available. Often there are many of these logged and all the related events tend to become just more noise that you either sift through periodically or ignore entirely. With the limits set at 100 MB, just imagine how many of these events there could have been? Also when “tunnel vision” is in play and you’re focused on something else, it’s even easier to think all those quota events are noise.

Sean Kearney asks, "Where is the log entry that tracks a failed system boot due to 'Sparky' the family dog chomping down on the mouse cable shorting out the PC? For real. I've had it."

The answer: Hey Sean, funny stuff and I know sort of tongue-in-cheek. Man’s best friend may be the family dog, but the IT pro’s best friend is the log—and there is such a log to track failed boots if the OS doesn’t: it’s the firmware event log. The firmware event log can catch issues that occur in POST and initialization prior to passing control to the boot manager.

For those who caught them, I did manage to sneak in two Star Trek references so far. Next up, a few Battlestar Galactica and Fringe references… ;-)

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled broadcast: special preferences using editing states.

Although most Group Policy preferences support only the CRUD management actions, a few also support editing states and you’ll know them as soon as you see them because they have UIs similar to what you’ll find in the relevant operating system or application. For example, the Internet Settings preference is specific to the version of Internet Explorer installed while the Power Options preference is specific to the Windows version installed.

Wondering what other preferences support editing states? Well, here’s a complete list:

  • Start Menu settings
  • Regional and Language settings
  • Internet options
  • Folder options
  • Power options (to include Power Schemes)

The editing state of a particular option is depicted visually as follows:

  • Green means the setting will be delivered and processed by the client.
  • Red means the setting will not be delivered or processed by the client.

Or put another way:

  • Green (go; processed)
  • Red (no go; not processed)

When an option is green, you can enable, disable or configure the option to a specific value to control how the option is used. When an option is red, it is not applied so the current value is irrelevant.

Use the function keys to toggle the editing state. To enable all options on the currently selected tab, press F5. To disable all options on the currently selected tab, press F8. To enable current, press F6. To disable current, press F7. For quick reference:

  • F5 = Enable All
  • F6 = Enable Current
  • F7 = Disable Current
  • F8 = Disable All

Well, there you have it—a whole lot of discussion about Group Policy Preferences, which I hope more folks will start using to master the enterprise PC. Thanks for reading! Next up in “Windows 7: Inside Track, Part 1” I’ll talk about making the move to Windows 7 from earlier Windows releases. And as Bob Dylan croons, "You better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone."

William R. Stanek

williamstanek at aol dot com

Twitter at http://twitter.com/williamstanek