Group Policy Quick Tip: Exclude Files From Being Cached by Offline Files

In this edition of Group Policy Quick Tips, I’ll be covering a policy that has been around a while, but was renamed and might be hard to find if you haven’t configured it before.  In Windows 7/Server 2008 R2, this setting was called “Exclude files from being cached.”  With Windows 8.x/Server 2012, the name changed to “Enable file screens.”  Same thing; different name.

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Group Policy Quick Tip – Disable IE Add-On Performance Notifications

One of the features include in Internet Explorer 9+ is performance notifications for plug-ins.  With this feature, the user is notified when plugins are slowing down browser performance.  As the screenshot below shows, the user is presented with a dialog at the bottom of the browser window that says, “Speed up startup and browsing by disabling add-ons.”  The user has the option of disabling add-ons, being prompted later, or closing the dialog out by clicking the ‘x.’

speed_up_startup_and_browsing_by_disabling_add-ons

The downside is that users can accidentally turn off browser plugins with this feature or, in a fully managed environment, generate calls to the help desk when browser plugins are pushed to computers.  The good news is that the notifications can be disabled in Group Policy.

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Group Policy Quick Tip – Verbose vs. Normal Status Messages

Today’s Group Policy Quick Tip is about the Verbose vs. Normal Status Messages setting.  If I had to name a Top Ten list of my favorite Group Policy settings, this one would definitely be on the list.  This setting takes the normal messages like, “Please wait…” and, “Preparing your desktop…”  and replaces them with much more useful messages.  For the most part, these messages will whiz past so quickly that you probably won’t be able to read them.  However, should one stay on the screen too long, it gives you a good starting point for troubleshooting performance issues.

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Group Policy Quick Tip – Enable Remote Desktop Network Level Authentication

Following our last tip, today’s Group Policy Quick Tip is about adding additional security to Remote Desktop sessions on your computers.  Normally, an RDP session is established before authentication takes place.  Enabling Network Level Authentication (NLA) allows authentication to take place before the RDP session is established.