Archive for the ‘Computers and Networking’ Category

For you geeks with Windows Vista and above for an OS… I made an IE9 countdown Desktop Gadget.  Save the .zip file as a .gadget file and open it to install the gadget. Hurry there is only an hour left…



First things first… any good recipe starts with the ingredients. There are different ways to accomplish the same goal. This is what I used:

  1. Group policy Preferences – It was introduced with windows Vista/server 2008 (Works in 2003 Domain, We have 2003 Domain controllers). Read this . Big picture edit group policies with Windows 7 using RSAT, Install Group policy preferences client on all windows XP and 2003 boxes (This is a windows update available through WSUS/Windows Update).  I use the group policy preferences to push out per user registry settings that the screen saver uses.
  2. SSMYPICS.scr Screen saver – This is part of Windows XP and the executable will run on windows 7.  You can load a directory up with pictures and point this screen saver at it and it will display pictures in the folder.


In the before time we had to add pictures to a program that compiled a screen saver executable.  This executable was then placed on a network share.  We edited a group policy to point to this executable.  If one of the pictures changed we had to recompile the screen saver and give it a new name because the old executable was in use.  Then we had to edit the group policy again to point to the new executable.  Even more sinister than that this had to be done for multiple Hospitals….  The new way utilizes a screensaver that ships with Windows XP (ssmypics.scr) which can display pictures that are in a folder you specify.

How to make it work

The screen saver executable lives on a windows XP box at the following location


Here is how I have it configured


These settings are stored in the Users Registry… So I imported the registry settings into a Group Policy Preference

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Screen Saver.Slideshow]

So then I set the screensaver executable to point to ssmypics.scr which I put in the same directory as my picture directory. You might, if you have a solely windows XP environment, want to point the executable to the local machine copy of the ssmypics.scr this way the executable is run locally and not across the network. Even more sinister than that you can use group policy preferences to copy the screensaver executable to the local computer so the version of windows you have won’t matter. 

So this now does not ever need to be changed.

You can swap out Pictures on the fly without pictures being locked.

I applied the above group policy to our workstation OU and enabled the group policy loopback policy (Merge) to apply the user policy.  This way the screen save does not apply when you log on to servers.  You can also create a deny apply this group policy group and add users to this group that complain that they don’t want the screensaver (Doctors).

I miss the puzzle game Tinker. Tinker was one of the few Windows Vista Ultimate Extras that you could download. Microsoft discontinued the ultimate extras when Windows 7 came out. So being a good PC boy I had upgraded all my Vista (Yuck) Boxes to Windows 7 (Awesome) and now I am without Tinker.

All hope is not lost though, I found Tinker and if you have an Xbox live account it’s free! You can find Tinker here on the Games for Windows site which in my humble opinion is a rip off of Valve’s Steam Gaming site. Well anyway you can get this great game for free and like Steam you can install the game on multiple PCs but you must logon to Games for Windows to play.