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Group Policy changes

I use Win Server 2003 on my desktop.  At about 10:45 this morning, my start menu reverts to classic view.  This is somewhat odd, as my taskbar is still the Windows XP Theme.  Anyway, I see that the Classic Start menu is the only option I have - the other is gone.  I poke around attempting to figure out what I did wrong, and can't find anything.

After talking to my buddy who works at the helpdesk during lunch, I find out another support guy modified the group policy for the entire company to force classic start menu, simply because it's easier for him when he needs to fix someone's computer.

This ticks me off because I really got used to the way I setup my start menu, and I wasted about an hour trying to figure out what I screwed up before I realized what the problem was.

What would you guys do in this situation?  Go to Network Director & raise a big stink about help desk people modifying the group policy willy-nilly?  go to the guy that changed it and ask him to change it back?  just get used to the change?

By the way - I'm going to talk to the help desk guy first, but he's out to lunch.  So I figured I'd ask you guys while I'm waiting.  :)

Friday, February 13, 2004

Well, you can either do things according to the group policy, or you can ask and get it done your way.

Now, if you do it your way, what do you get ?
a. you didn't waste that hour of your time
b. you may have the standard support reply thrown at you that says "hey, your machine is non standard, so it can't be our problem".
c. you may end up wasting more than an hour trying to track down your network director, asking for an exception and having it applied..

Is it worth it ? :) To me, something like classic view vs XP view would not be.. but each person draws their own lines at where they think something is important. Just consider, you've spent an hour customizing. Now, if you have to ask to get it modified, that's just time added onto what you already spent getting the XP type start menu. Would it be less time consuming to start with the classic view ?

deja vu
Friday, February 13, 2004

"hey, your machine is non standard, so it can't be our problem".

I would concider the 'classic view' in XP as not standard

Friday, February 13, 2004

If you have to account for your time for billing purposes, I would put a line item for the 4 or 5 hours total it took to deal with this (cost in lost consulting revenue: $400-$800 per person) and delcribe it as "time spent dealing with unexpected arbitrary and unneccessary changes made by incompetant system administrator"

Dennis Atkins
Friday, February 13, 2004

I'm with Dennis. Any change as drastic as this (in the sense that it significantly changes the user experience of every damn person at the company) should have been discussed in a public manner, agreed upon by the appropriate High Muckety-Mucks, and the users should have been warned, repeatedly, in advance of the change.

(Well, actually, the sequence should have been: suggest, discuss, dismiss as ridiculous. But that may just be me.)

Friday, February 13, 2004

Can't the view be set per user?  Can't the support guy set his own profile so that whenever _he_ logs onto a user's computer, it shows the Classic view?

Of course, if he's troubleshooting by phone, I can understand his feelings.  Some people have a very hard time describing things on the screen even when you ask them to.  (Take my wife, for instance...)

Friday, February 13, 2004

>I find out another support guy modified the group policy for the entire company to force classic start menu, simply because it's easier for him when he needs to fix someone's computer.

Ouch, isn't this a blatantly obvious no no? I do tech support for the firm I work with and I am forever conscious about how the staff percieve the computer system. My goal is that they don't think about it at all, it just works nicely the way they want. I try to minimise the amount of conscious thought that they devote to the computers. That guy needs a wake up call.

Aussie Chick
Friday, February 13, 2004

I talked to the support guy, and made him realize that I was going to be much more annoying to him than two clicks of the mouse would ever be if he didn't change it back.

I'm still amazed at the cavalier attitude that he took in changing domain-wide policies.  I would never think of doing that on a whim.

He was using VNC to remote control the users desktops, so he was unable to use his own profile.  He just didn't want to click the buttons twice.

Friday, February 13, 2004

"Add a line item..."

Most companies get round this by not allowing one to arbitrarily add line items.

I tried this at my former employer, and the timesheeting people complained. I asked them how I should file time that was being wasted due to equipment failures[1], and they said that they didn't care what I did as long as the timesheet added up to 37.5 hours a week and I didn't mess up their processing systems. They suggested I pick a random project with a bottomless budget and book time to that.

I mentioned to my director that I was unhappy about lying on my timesheets, and stopped filling them in.

Every so often, timesheeting would come back and say "we have no timesheet from you" and we'd have the argument (briefly) again. Eventually the timesheeting staff were laid off as being a complete waste of space, which was pretty much my point since day 1....

[1] On the basis that when I said things like "fix this network link", people would say "why? It's not costing anything being broken..."

Katie Lucas
Friday, February 13, 2004

"I mentioned to my director that I was unhappy about lying on my timesheets, and stopped filling them in."

wow, anyone who stopped filling in their timesheets here, Id fire without a seconds hesition.

They are how I know what to bill each client, if you aint filling those in Im better off without you, regardless of how good your coding is.

couldn't you have just _not_ lied? they said they didn't care what you entered, so why didn't you use your first suggestion and enter the truth?

Saturday, February 14, 2004

code it to GOF - general office filing

Aussie Chick
Saturday, February 14, 2004

Today, I received a call from an employee who mentioned that her start menu did not look fancy – that it was back to the classic view.  She wants it back to the XP style.

I indicated that there was nothing I could do except open a Work Order for ‘higher’ level support – something must be changed in group policy.  This is something I don’t have access to.

I went to our LAN/WAN Engineer and asked if we could restore her XP style menu, just like he did for our other employee who posted the SAME problem in this SAME forum.

The Engineer implied that it would be too time consuming to filter out the group policy so certain users wouldn’t be affected.  He mentioned a list – I don’t know what this means, but I’m assuming he’d create some kind of container for people who DO want the XP style menu – you’d put them in that container and they’d get the XP style menu; everyone else would get classic.  >>> He should just remove the policy all together <<<

He continued – “I thought you were going to tell everybody [who calls the Helpdesk] that you didn’t know what they were talking about. . . That their start menu looked fine. . .”  (Basically, make users’ think they are crazy)

Yes, I agreed on that fateful Friday morning, but I thought it was stupid!  This is unprofessional.  Employees should be able to customize their desktops to increase productivity.  I agree that many thing should be restricted, one’s own Start Menu is trivial

1.) The group policy change was never approved by the Network Director

2.) The Engineer made the change on a whim because it easier for him to navigate on a users’ machine when troubleshooting it (via VNC).

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The Xp start menu is a vast improvement, particularly with the most recently used programs list.

I use Windows classic folders and Windows classic view but the start menu is the one thing I do change.

Stephen Jones
Friday, February 20, 2004

While the tech who changed group policy for such a trivial reason is doubtless a fool, what you have to realize is that allowing users to change desktop settings in most cases does not lead to gains in productivity but rather to losses.  The time you spend playing with your desktop to get it "just so" tends to be greater than any "savings" in time (in reality, it's usually not even a time savings).  By providing a homogenous desktop which is locked down, you eliminate a huge potential time sink in the form of user interface customization, and you avoid confusion in telephone tech support.  It also acts as a form of professionalism (much like having a dress code).

Of course, I wouldn't apply policy like this to highly technical users, and I'd ignore the request to change it back from non technical users.  My domain is set up in such a way that users are already sorted out and thus applying it properly would be easy.

Nathan Rice
Thursday, June 24, 2004

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