PolicyPak: Deploying PolicyPak directives without Group Policy (PolicyPak Exporter Utility)

You might want to avoid using Group Policy to deliver PolicyPak directives if you are using Intune, SCCM, LanDesk, KACE or similar software for software deployment, and your team doesn’t want to use Group Policy but wants to use PolicyPak. See this video to see how it’s done.

PolicyPak: Deploying PolicyPak directives without Group Policy(PolicyPak Exporter Utility)

Hi, there. This is Whitney from PolicyPak tech support. In this video, I’m going to show you how to create real Group Policy and PolicyPak directives and export them for use with out not Group Policy method, like your on-prem SCCM or if you’re using your own MDM service.

By now, you’ve probably seen a lot of great videos showing you a bunch of awesome things that PolicyPak can do: delivering settings using Group Policy, giving single applications elevated rights for standard users, you can block naughty websites – all kinds of great things.

But what if you aren’t using Group Policy? What if you’re using SCCM or KACE or LANDESK or you have some other reason for wanting to get PolicyPak directives and settings on your workstations but you don’t want to use Group Policy to do it? Lucky for us, PolicyPak works with whatever you’re running, and I’m going to show you how. You can also find this information in the Advanced Concepts manual, specifically in the section called Deploying PolicyPak On-Prem Suite Directives Without Group Policy.

We will be working with the GPMC to create GPOs with the settings that you want, but then we’re going to export those settings, wrap them up in an MSI file, and then you can deploy them using whatever method you prefer. No Group Policy necessary.

Each component of PolicyPak Suite – the Application Settings Manager, the Admin Templates Manager, Browser Router and so on – has a slightly different way to export their settings. So let’s walk through that quickly. For the sake of this video, I’ve created a GPO with a few settings in each component, so let’s go look at how to export the settings on each component.

For the “Application Settings Manager,” which allows you to manage your users’ applications, I’ve created a directive here for “WinZip” 14 just as a very simple example. I am going to dictate that the “Minimum password length” is “11” “characters.” All of these complexity boxes are checked. We’ve right clicked here. We want to “Hide corresponding control in target application” from our users so they won’t even be able to see it. From the “Cameras” tab, right click. We’ve selected “Disable whole tab in target application.” So we’ve created that directive and we’re done.

Now we need to export that as XML, so we can right click here and can “Export settings to XMLData File.” I’ve created a folder here for my “XML Files.” We’ll call that “WinZip Settings.” Now it’s done.Let’s quickly run through the rest of the components and how to export their settings.

For the “Administrative Templates Manager,” which allows you to consolidate existing Group Policy settings and deploy user side Group Policy settings to computers, I’ve created a collection of directives. Here I can either right click on a single directive and “Export as XML” or I can right click here and I can “Export Collection as XML” or I can right click here and choose “Export Collections as XML.” There are options.Let’s right click here, let’s “Export Collection as XML” and call it “Screensavers” and we’re done.

For the “Preferences Manager,” this node is actually specifically designed to allow you to deploy Group Policy Preferences using not Group Policy, whether that’s SCCM or KACE or what have you. You’ll need to create your settings in your Group Policy “Preferences” here like I have done. I’ve created a “Shortcut” that’s going to show up on my desktop.

Now I go down to the “Preferences Manager” and I have two options. I can either right click here and “Export this GPO’s User-Side GPPrefs settings for PolicyPak Exporter and PolicyPak Cloud” or I can “SHOW WIZARD.” Either one takes you to the same thing.

We’ll click “Next.” This is the directive, so we’ll go ahead and click “Next” here. Here we can change the name if we like. I’m happy with this one. You also have the option to do item-level targeting here as well to allow you to choose where it applies or does not apply. We’ll click “Next” and choose where we want to have it. Click “Next” and that’s it. We’re done.

Now for the “Security Settings Manager,” this allows you to do essentially the same thing as with the Preferences Manager only with security settings instead. You’ll need to go down to “Policies/Windows Settings/Security Settings,” and I’ve created “Software Restriction Policies” with “Trusted Publishers” here.

Now that I’ve done that, we will go to “Security Settings Manager” and again right click and “Export this GPO’s User-Side Security Settings for PolicyPak Exporter and PolicyPak Cloud” or “SHOW WIZARD.” Now please note right here that the following policy types are not supported. Now let’s click “Next.” We see that my settings are in fact “Exportable,” so let’s click “Next” again.

Here we have the option to do item-level targeting again. I’m not going to do that today, so we’ll go ahead and click “Next” once again. As before, we’ll choose where we want to put this: “Security Settings,” “Save.” “Do you want to create it?” “Yes.” “Next” and we’re done.

Moving right along, for “Browser Router,” which allows us to route the right website to the right browser and block the naughty websites, I’ve already created a couple of collections here that route certain websites to certain browsers and blocks other websites. I can either right click on the collection itself as before and “Export Collection as XML,” I can “EXPORT COLLECTION” here, I can right click and “Export Collections as XML.” Since I have two, I’ll go ahead and do that. We’ll “Save” and we’re done.

With “Least Privilege Manager,” which allows you to kill local admin rights and elevate only the applications you need, you’ll create your directives like I’ve done here. Again, we can right click and “Export as XML,” we can “EXPORT COLLECTION,” or we can right click and “Export Collections as XML.” If we do this, this will export all of our directives here. We’ll call this “LPM” and we’re done one more time.

The “Java Rules Manager,” which allows you to configure websites to use the version of Java that you choose or block Java websites altogether, works just like the rest of them but it only works on a per computer basis so you need to do this on the computer side. I have my directive created here. Just as before, right click and “Export as XML,” we can also “EXPORT COLLECTION,” or we can right click and “Export Collections as XML.” Let’s do this, “JRM” and we’re done.

“File Associations Manager,” like the “Java Rules Manager,” only works on a per computer basis as well, so you’ll need to create your directives on the computer side here too. “File Associations Manager” allows you to configure which program runs which particular types of files or protocols. You’ll create your directives or collections, then export them the same way as you did with “Java Rules Manager.” Let’s go ahead and “Export as XML.” “FAM,” “Save” it and we’re done.

Now that we’ve exported these XML files, what are we’re going to do with them? Well, since we want to deploy our directives using the not Group Policy method, we need to use the PolicyPak Exporter Utility. This will wrap up your XML files into a neat little MSI package that can then be deployed using whatever software you’re the most comfortable with, again, whether that be KACE, SCCM, Intune, MobileIron or whatever you have.

We’re going to open up “PolicyPak Exporter Tool” found in the PolicyPak node within the Start menu. Then we’re going to choose to “Create a new MSI installer.” We’ll click “Next.” Here we have a couple of different options, but the one we’re going to choose is “Add Existing Files,” which will be those “XML Files” that we created a little earlier.

I’m going to choose “WinZip Settings” by way of example, but you can add multiple XML files here. You don’t have to do just one. Here you can also install for “Users & Groups.” Because I created my directive on the user side, it automatically wants to go to “Users & Groups,” but I’m going to switch it over to “Computer” here.

If you didn’t specify item-level targeting when you created the directive in the first place, you can double click on the file here, go to “Options/Enable item-level targeting” and then go to “Edit item-level targeting filters.” Here you’ll have to choose from a number of filters designating who the directive does and does not apply to. When you do that, you’ll see that the word under “ILT” here will change from “No” to “Yes” but since I didn’t do that, it stays at “No.”

We’ll click “Next” again. Here we can give it a “ProductName.” I’m going to call it “WinZip Settings,” and we’ll click “Next.” Next it will ask where we want to “Save” it. I’m going to save it on my “SHARE” folder here. I’ll call it “WinZip Settings” and “Save,” and we’re done. That was it.

We’ve wrapped this up into a really neat little MSI that you can deploy however you would like to, whatever method is most preferential for you. In this particular video, I’m going to install it by hand but like I said, anyway you want is the best way.

Next we’re going to go to my workstation here, and I’m going to show you what “WinZip” looks like before we deploy the MSI file and what it looks like afterwards.Let’s go to “Passwords,” “8” “characters,” none of these are checked, and we can get to the “Cameras” tab.

Let’s close this out. Let’s go to our “share” folder here. We’ll open this up, give it some credentials. That was it. It happened that fast. Let’s close this out, let’s open up “WinZip” and see what we’re looking at now. There we are. “Minimum password length” is now “11.” These are all checked, and this one you can’t even see. You’ll see this “Cameras” tab is grayed out. We can’t even access it anymore. It’s just that easy.

One last thing before we finish up here. I want to show you how the Exporter Tool can also edit an MSI that you’ve already created. Maybe you had an MSI with a gaggle of settings and now you’ve got a new program that you want to manage or your standards changed so you need to update that MSI.

We’ll just open up that “PolicyPak Exporter Tool” again. We’ll choose “Open an existing MSI installer previously generated by this tool for editing.” I’m going to choose the one I had already. Here you can do as you could before. You can edit your item-level targeting, you can import new XML files. You can also, if you choose of course with your new ones, to install for “Computer” or Users & Groups and so on. We’ll click “Next” again.

PolicyPak automatically versions this for you. Also, let’s note that the MSIs deployed as an upgrade will automatically uninstall old file versions,” which is pretty handy. We’ll click “Next” again, decide where we want to “Save” it, and we’re finished once again.

If you’re looking to get started with PolicyPak, the best first step is to sign up for webinar to learn all of the things PolicyPak can do. Then we’ll hand over the bits, and you’ll be off to the races for your very own trial of PolicyPak.

Thanks, and we’ll see you in the next video.