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How to Manage Windows Services on Hundreds of VDI Machines

You made it!  This is the last and final post of our “How to” series.  Thanks for sticking with us.  This article is all about Windows services and how to make them uniform across multiple machines.

(If you’re new to the series, feel free to go back and read how to; change your user group policy restrictionstake user session screenshotsinteract with live user sessions and enforce Windows registry uniformity.  Click one – you know you want to!)

Changing a service’s startup type or logon credentials on a single machine is common and can be performed easily. However, managing Windows services becomes more complex, and even impossible, when they need to be implemented on multiple computers. As the administrator of an entire network, you need a feasible and efficient way to quickly modify Windows service properties on tens or even hundreds of machines, whether they’re workstations or servers.

Why Using Scripts and Windows Group Policy Isn’t Enough

A few existing solutions allow you to configure services on multiple machines, but they don’t cover all of the bases. You can use a script to disable services on a number of different machines, but as we all know, creating custom scripts has its drawbacks (e.g. error handling, result comparison and the need to test whether or not it succeeded).

Another option is Windows’ relatively new Group Policy Preferences (GPP) mechanism. After creating a Group Policy Object (GPO), you need to create a new service and set up whether you want to change the startup type or the actual account of the service you want to reconfigure. However, a few issues exist with this particular approach. For starters, Group Policy on all target computers need to be refreshed after the policy is set. Moreover, GPP doesn’t provide real-time feedback, so there’s no way of knowing that changes you’ve made were actually applied or how your policies correlate to real situations. Furthermore, a policy may not be applied for multiple reasons, and the only way to verify if it is successful is by individually checking if the service changed in every server or computer. Finally, if you have more than one domain, you have to apply your policy once per domain.

How to Update Services on Multiple Machines with ControlUp

ControlUp offers tools that enable multi-target management for end-user computing and provide you with a complete picture across multiple computers, including the state of registry, services, file system and more.

To reconfigure service properties on multiple machines, you select multiple computers from ControlUp’s console, view the common services that they share and make the updates you want to be applied seamlessly to all selected computers. You’ll receive immediate feedback, including different outcomes from various targets.

To see this quick and easy process in action, check out the video:

We welcome you to learn more about ControlUp and how its many features can help you provide a superior end-user experience with the metrics you need to make stellar decisions. You can catch them on video too.

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