DC AD and Group Policy

In the last post, I covered setting up a new domain controller and some things to help keep your domain healthy, well organized and your IT provider happy.

In this followup, I will keep going. Now that we have a Domain Controller, a Domain and DNS, we should look at Group Policy.

Group Policy Walk-Thru

One of the reasons that we chose to create OUs instead of Containers in the last post/video is that group policy can be applied to OUs, but not Containers.

In going over Group Policy, I’d like to start with User folders. In a corporate environment, losing a file can be a very bad thing. For the most part, servers are backed up, but workstations are not. So, how to protect the files of users? Server Shared folders are one option, but I’ll cover a couple others in this post – Folder Redirection and Home Folders. These let your users have more control over their files, as other users can not normally access either one.

It is a good idea to make a dedicated drive for Data files, separate from the OS drive.

For Home folders, create a folder on the Data drive named something like “HomeFolders.”

Open properties of the folder, security, advanced and disable inheritance.

Remove the Users permissions – give Authenticated users “This Folder Only” permissions to:
List folder / read data
Read attributes
Read extended attributes
Create folders / append data
and
Read permissions

The user “Creator Owner” should have “Subfolders and Files onlyfull control.


On the Sharing tab, use advanced and share the folder as “Home$” to make it a hidden share. Give Everyone read and Authenticated Users full control of the share.

In Active Directory Users and Computers, on the Profile tab, in the Home Folder section, choose a drive letter and put a path with a folder name that matches the user’s logon name.

Clicking Apply creates the folder. If you have a lot of users and don’t want to edit every user to add the home folder, you can use powershell – but you will need to use powershell to give them permissions to the folder as well.
Below is a powershell script to create the folders for existing users, give the users permissions and set the home folder for all users in active directory.

Import-Module ActiveDirectory

#Script for updating folder permissions to give the user full access to their home folder
# as long as its named the same as their username - so, jdoe will have full access to the jdoe folder.
# - with This "Folder, Subfolders and Files" level.
#
# --- change the domain name
 $domain = "kearan"
 $hdpath = "E:\KearanCo\HomeFolders"

# --- Make Home Directories
 $users=get-aduser -filter *
  Foreach($user in $users){
  $usern=$user.samaccountname
  $nhd = $hdpath + "\" + $($usern)
  New-Item -ItemType Directory -Path $nhd
  }

# ---- change the Folder Path
 $folders = Get-ChildItem -Path $hdpath | Where-Object -FilterScript {
     $_.PSIsContainer -eq $true
 }

# --- Set the folder permissions
 foreach ($folder in $folders) 
 {
     $path = $folder.fullname
     $ACL = Get-Acl -Path $path
     $user = $folder.name
     $AccessRule = New-Object System.Security.AccessControl.FileSystemAccessRule("$domain\$user","FullControl",”ContainerInherit, ObjectInherit”,"None",”Allow”)
     $AccessRule1 = New-Object System.Security.AccessControl.FileSystemAccessRule("$domain\Domain Admins","FullControl",”ContainerInherit, ObjectInherit”,"None",”Allow”)
     $Account = New-Object -TypeName System.Security.Principal.NTAccount -ArgumentList "$domain\$user"
     $acl.SetOwner($Account)
     $acl.SetAccessRule($AccessRule)
     $acl.SetAccessRule($AccessRule1)
     $acl | Set-Acl $path
 }

# --- Set users Home Directory in AD ---
# --- change "FileServer" to the actual file server name 
# --- and Home$ to the actual share name. And H to your share letter.
 $users=get-aduser -filter * 
  Foreach($user in $users){
  $usern=$user.samaccountname 
  $HomeDir="\\FileServer\Home$\$($usern)" -f $usern
  Set-ADUser $user -HomeDirectory $HomeDir -HomeDrive H:
  }

You can use each section of the above script as a stand-alone script in order to do one at a time. Use the below code to change an existing home drive to a new server.

# Change Home Directory
$users=get-aduser -filter {homedirectory -like '*Old_Server*'} 
 Foreach($user in $users){
 $usern=$user.samaccountname 
 $HomeDir="\\NewServer\Home\$($usern)" -f $usern
 Set-ADUser $user -HomeDirectory $HomeDir -HomeDrive H:
 }

For Folder Redirection, create an AD group for all those you want to have redirected folders. Unless you are comfortable having all the users in an OU having the folder redirection, of course. To have more control over what accounts get the folder redirection, use the AD group method.

Create a folder, like the Home Folder above, with the same permissions. Now, go into Group Policy Management and create a new Group Policy.

Edit the group policy and go to User Configuration –> Policies –> Windows Settings –> Folder Redirection

Choose the items to redirect (See the video) and set the scope of the policy to Domain Computers (or whichever computer group you want, such as RDS Servers) and the Group you want to apply it to, ie “Folder Redirection Group.” Apply the policy to the domain, or the target OU.

See the video for more on Group Policy and Troubleshooting.

The GPupdate code from the Video:

gpupdate

gpresult /H e:\kearanit\%username%_GPResult.htm

BONUS:
– Video only available through the blog – how to enable the AD Recycle Bin – restore accidentally deleted user accounts!

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