Technology Toolbox

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Jeremy Jameson - Founder and Principal



Managing Group Membership via Group Policy - Part 2

This post originally appeared on my MSDN blog:

Since I no longer work for Microsoft, I have copied it here in case that blog ever goes away.

In Part 1 of this post, I explained the Group Policy object (named Development - Restricted Groups Policy) that I use for enforcing group membership on a specific set of servers. As a follow-up to that post, I also want to cover an alternate method of managing group membership.

In the previous scenario -- i.e. ensuring that Development team leads always have administrative access to servers in their Development Integration Environment (DEV) -- we actually wanted to restrict the members of the local Administrators group on all servers in DEV. However, what if we need to address a slightly different scenario in which we want a specific user or group to always be a member of the local Administrators group -- in addition to other group members (that vary by server)?

For example, consider the fact that I use Systems Center Operations Manager (SCOM) in order to monitor the various physical and virtual servers in the the "Jameson Datacenter" (a.k.a. my home lab). One of the things I learned while deploying SCOM is that it is, um, challenging to deploy it in a least privilege configuration -- or at least for someone who primarily considers himself an AppDev (Application Development) flavor of Microsoft consultant.

At a bare minimum, your SCOM service account needs to be a member of the Performance Monitor Users group on each monitored server. Rather than forcing myself to configure this on all of my existing servers as well on new servers and VMs that I will undoubtedly add in the future, I decided to apply this change using Group Policy instead.

However, in this scenario, I don't want to restrict the members of the Performance Monitor Users group on each monitored server. Rather I simply want to ensure that the SCOM service account is a member of this group in addition to any other members.

To address this scenario, I created a startup script called EnsureLocalGroupMembership.cmd in the following folder:


The contents of the script are actually quite trival:

net localgroup "Performance Monitor Users" TECHTOOLBOX\svc-mom-action /add
Prior to deploying SCOM 2007 in the "Jameson Datacenter" I used its predecessor -- Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) -- and thus had already created a service account named svc-mom-action.

To force this startup script to run on all monitored servers, I created a Group Policy object (named Default Operations Manager Policy) and linked it to the corresponding OU.

Here are the settings for the Group Policy:

  • Computer Configuration
    • Policies
      • Windows Settings
        • Scripts (Startup/Shutdown)
          • Startup
            • Name: OperationsManager\EnsureLocalGroupMembership.cmd

By linking this Group Policy to the appropriate OU (i.e. IT/Resources/Servers) the SCOM service account is ensured to be a member of the local Performance Monitor Users group on each monitored server. Voilà!


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