Monday, April 26, 2010

Windows 7, MSG.EXE and Group Policy Preferences

So, as of Windows Vista, NET SEND is gone.  But you want to send a console message via popup to a remote user or computer?  Windows Vista shipped with the MSG.EXE utility, which is still around in Windows 7.  But there’s a small problem, which led me to another small problem, but thankfully there’s an easy solution.

Problem 1 – You may need to modify a Registry Value on all your networked Windows 7 computers.

  • HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\TerminalServer
  • Value: AllowRemoteRPC
  • Required value: 1 (REG_DWORD)

Problem 2 – Trying to set that on a remote Windows 7 box

The Remote Registry service is disabled by default.  You can start turning on services manually, but…

Solution – Use Group Policy Preferences to do it all at once

  1. Create a new GPO named something that makes sense
  2. Edit the new GPO
  3. Expand Computer Configuration / Preferences / Windows Settings
  4. Click on Registry
  5. Right-click and select New –> Registry Item
  6. Select Action: Update, Hive: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
  7. Key Path: browse to the key shown above
  8. Select the Value name: AllowRemoteRPC
  9. Set the Value data: 1, specify type REG_DWORD
  10. Click OK

If you also want to enable remote Registry editing…

  1. Expand “Control Panel Settings”
  2. Select “Services”
  3. Right-click and select New –> Service
  4. Startup: Automatic, Service Name “Remote Registry”, Service Action: Start Service
  5. Click the Recovery tab
  6. Specify First and Second failure action as “Restart the Service”
  7. Specify Restart fail count after to 1 day, Restart service after 1 minute
  8. Click OK
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