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we are currently evaluating Win8 for our company and we are trying to get our heads around the centralized administration of it. We are currently working with Win7 and Server2k8 in a company domain with centralized administration. Now here's the problem:

On boot or prior to shutdown of a machine we currently launch an application for employees timetracking (it's a commercial app that we don't have control over). This is a simple executable that is locally installed on every employees machine. So when the computer starts up and the user logs on, the app is started and if he is logging off, the app is started right before windows is shutting down. This is the way to remind everyone to log in and off to time tracking. We found this to be easy to make this a rule in Win7 but there are troubles with Win8.

In Win8 we also have the GPO for starting this app but in case of a shutdown it is behaving oddly. The app is started correctly but gets hidden by a windows screen and can not be brought to the users sight again. The computer is not able to shut down since the application is blocking it. No dialog or anything is indicating this, the computer is just running forever with shutdown blocked by an user-invisible application.

With less impact, this applies to log on too. The user is logged on and the app is started correctly, but the user has to switch to the desktop to see it. There is no indication in the metro view that the app has been started.

Can anyone help us out on this? Basically we just want to bring the app to the users attention, that is it has to be visible on log in and log off without the user searching for it.

Update

We already found out that Microsoft is intentionally blocking the user from booting straight to the desktop. (Article on ZDNet.com)

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Did you write the app? Or is it a commercial app that you do not have control over? –  Erik Funkenbusch Nov 9 '12 at 8:28
    
it's a commercial one –  HaMster Nov 9 '12 at 9:03

2 Answers 2

Place your app shortcut at this place to kick start for all users of the pc. {Windows Drive Letter}:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp

Place your app shortcut at this place to kick start for the specific user of the pc. {Windows Drive Letter}:\Users\{User Name}\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Sorry but no idea regarding GPO if you are looking for.

Also no idea to start app prior to shutdown.

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We were testing the StartUp way for all users and it behaves like the call from the GPO: the app is started but stays behind the metro view on the desktop. So this is not really helping, but thank you for the hint, this may solve other things in our adaption process. –  HaMster Nov 9 '12 at 9:30
1  
This will help you bringing desktop up on the start-up 7tutorials.com/how-boot-desktop-windows-8-skip-start-screen –  DOM Nov 9 '12 at 9:32
    
Now that is pretty much solving the start up thing. Thank you for the link –  HaMster Nov 9 '12 at 9:44

You can provide a tile on start menu, a button on task bar to users for shutting down the computer.

You can try if this procedure works with your commercial program.

Navigate to:

Path

Make a copy of any existing shortcut, for editing it to a shutdown tile.

Copy

Edit the properties to make computer shutdown after 60 seconds.

C:\Windows\System\shutdown.exe /s /t 60

shutdown

Now you have icon:

tile

And you can pin to task bar too:

pin

enter image description here


Why this procedure might work is, basically you aren't triggering the shutdown immediately. You are giving a 60 second countdown. If you commercial app is starting, and doing its work in 60 seconds, then you shouldn't have any problem. But, if the program is starting at end of 60 seconds, I have no idea what to do!

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What the current GPO does is logging the user off and just before Win is shutting down it starts the specified app. With your approach I would just add a delay to the shut down giving the user time to launch the application manually. If scripting was available on the tile shortcut I guess we could work imitate the current settings with that but we were hoping for a built-in "Microsoft GPO way" –  HaMster Nov 9 '12 at 9:58

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