Wednesday, March 07, 2012

What's new in User Profile Wizard 3.6?

Maintaining SID History
One of the big advantages of using User Profile Wizard over other migration tools, including ADMT, is that User Profile Wizard does not need access to the old domain. There may be a number of reasons why the old domain is not available: your company may have taken over a division of another company, and you do not have access to their domain; the old domain may have crashed; there may not even be an old domain, and you need to migrate machines from Novell or from a workgroup. More subtly, even if the old domain is accessible you may not have domain administrator permissions. In fact, this goes for the target domain too: User Profile Wizard can migrate a workstation to a specific OU without you needing to have admin permissions to the whole domain.

The reason other migration tools need access to the old domain is because they work by setting the SID history attribute on the new domain user account. As a domain administrator you cannot just set the SID history for a user yourself. Instead, you have to introduce two domain controllers to one another, then they go off and do something secret in private, and a new sIDHistory attribute on a user account object in AD in born. For the union to be blessed in this way you need to supply domain administrator credentials for both domains.

Nevertheless, if you do happen to have administrator permissions to both the old (source) domain and the new (target) domain, maintaining the user's SID history across their user accounts is a powerful mechanism for ensuring that the user will not lose access to resources when they logon with their new domain account. User Profile Wizard 3.6 gives you that option. Let me just emphasize that again: this is an option. You do not have to migrate workstations in this way: User Profile Wizard can still migrate machines and user profiles if you have no access to the old domain, or if you only have access to a particular OU in the new domain. Have I made that clear enough? I only ask because someone, sometime is going to ask. Let's move on...

Changing Outlook Exchange Settings
This falls under the "top requests from customers" category. Not everyone uses Outlook and Exchange, not everyone changes Exchange servers when they migrate to a new domain. (In fact, in a large organization that is a pretty scary proposition.) However, if you do need to update a user's Outlook settings for a new Exchange server, 3.6 can do it.

User Profile Wizard is not meant to be a fully-fledged Outlook configuration utility. Rather, we have tried to include some basic functionality that you may find useful. User Profile Wizard gets the user's new Exchange server name and mailbox name directly from their user account object in AD. There is no option to override this behaviour. By default the existing Outlook profile is modified; this ensures that any personal Outlook data file (.pst) settings are preserved. So, for example, if you have created a mail archive, this will still be available after Outlook has been reconfigured. Cached Exchange Mode is also enabled by default. You can change these things by by changing the values under “Outlook Settings” in Profwiz.config. Please see the User Guide for more details.

Scripting
Version 3.6 gives you the option to call an additional script after each user profile is migrated - not just at the end of the migration when the machine has been joined to the new domain. What is cool about this is that User Profile Wizard will call your script passing two parameters: the new user account name and the new user account SID. You can then use these parameters to do additional configuration. In the User Guide we describe a script that adds the new domain user account to the local Administrators group.

User Profile Wizard 3.6 will be released shortly.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

1,000,000 Licenses Sold

This is a personal opinion, but I don’t believe in looking back. Of course, Santayana was completely right when he wrote "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it", but that is no justification for nostalgia.We should always be looking forward to the future, we should always be trying to grow our ideas, grow what we do; grow ourselves. Nevertheless, sometimes you just have to take notice of a milestone along the way. We have now sold one million User Profile Wizard licenses. To sell a million of anything is an achievement - it means you must be providing something your customers find valuable. I am proud of what we have done at ForensiT.

We passed the one million mark a day after Microsoft released Windows 8 Consumer Preview. (User Profile Wizard works fine with Windows 8, by the way: migrating your personal Metro “Home screen” settings along with the rest of your profile.) User Profile Wizard 3.6 will be released in a few weeks with two major new features and some solid enhancements to existing functionality… Here’s to the future.