Microsoft KB Archive/173793

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SMS: How to Use System Policies with Program Group Control

Article ID: 173793

Article Last Modified on 6/14/2005


  • Microsoft Systems Management Server 1.2 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q173793


When using system policies with client computers running Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0, defining a "Custom Programs Folder" may keep Program Group Control (PGC) from successfully configuring a user's desktop with the program group(s) and shared application(s) that they would normally receive.

The information in this article may also be useful to anyone that is implementing features associated with the Zero Administration for Windows (ZAW) Initiative.


When the System Policy Editor is used to define a common Programs folder for multiple users, those users will often not have the necessary permissions to modify this directory structure.

Because PGC runs under the context of the user, it may fail to configure the program groups. Given the proper permissions, PGC will successfully configure the Programs folder even if it is located on a server.


To deliver a custom desktop through system policies and also use PGC, use the Custom Start Menu option instead of the Custom Programs Folder.

NOTE: When using the Custom Start Menu, the Hide Start Menu Subfolders option must be disabled. Otherwise, the custom group under the Start button will not appear.

To use the Custom Start Menu option, perform the following steps:

  1. Create a custom Start menu at a server location and create an Applications folder directly beneath the Start menu. It is best to use a structure similar to the following:

    \\<server_name>\<share>\Start Menu\Applications

    You can then add other folders and shortcuts underneath the Applications folder.
  2. From the System Policy Editor, click to select the Custom Start Menu option and define the common location for the custom Start menu. To continue the previous example, this would be:

    \\<server_name>\<share>\Start Menu

When the user's desktop is configured as a result of the system policy, he or she will have an Applications group above the Programs group in the Start menu.

This configuration allows an administrator to use system policies to deliver custom desktop applications to their users while maintaining a local Programs folder that PGC can modify successfully.

Additional query words: prodsms appctl32 appctl95 win95 winnt zak

Keywords: kbpgc kbprb kbusage KB173793