Windows 10 Technical Preview: The Start Menu

Microsoft Dynamics GPWindows 10 is to see the re-introduction of the Start menu. The Start menu was initially introduced in Windows 95 and continued unchanged until it was given a makeover in the 2007 released Windows Vista.

This makeover saw the ability to conduct a search by simply starting to type after pressing the Windows button.

Windows 8 saw the removal of the Start menu and introduction of the Start screen; the start menu had occupied a small cramped area in the bottom left of the screen next to the Windows button, whereas the Start screen occupies the whole screen. The Start button was also removed and replaced with a hot corner in the bottom left from which to launch the Start screen.

Both of these choices proved to be very controversial and led for calls to reintroduce the Start button, which Microsoft did in Windows 8.1 although the Start screen remained.

Well, Windows 10 has had the Start menu reintroduced:

Start menu

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Windows 10 Technical Preview: Installation

Microsoft Dynamics GPBefore taking a look at the new features in the Windows 10 Technical Preview, we need to first install it.

To do the install I created a new virtual machine in Hyper-V and added the downloaded iso image to the virtual optical drive.

When I started the VM, the installer automatically started and progressed to the language selection window.

As I downloaded the UK version, the language has defaulted to English (United Kingdom); if you need to change the language, do so now and then click Next:

Windows Setup

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Windows 10 Technical Preview: Series Index

Microsoft Dynamics GPWith the release of the Windows 10 Technical Preview, it is time for a divergence from posting about Microsoft Dynamics GP. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that I was posting about the Windows 8 Developer Preview, but looking back it was actually just over three years ago.

In this series, I’m going to start with the installation process and then take a look at some of the new features and differences between Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

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Add Persistent Mapped Drive For Shared Files

Microsoft Dynamics GPMicrosoft Dynamics GP and related products, such as Integration Manager, have a few files which need to be shared between client machines. This can, and in a lot of cases should, be done using a shared folder accessed via the UNC path (e.g. \\file\Dynamics Central to access the Dynamics Central folder on the server called file).

However, if any of these files need to be accessed by users then using the UNC path isn’t the friendliest of ways. Instead a mapped drive can be used which shows up in Windows Explorer and allows the user to easily access it and each user needs the drive mapped under the same folder.

While mapped drives can be created manually on each client machine this would take while. Instead we can create a batch file which can be run on each machine which will add the mapped drive for us:

net use M: /delete
net use M: "\\file\Dynamics Central" /persistent:YES

The first line deletes any existing M: and the second then creates a persistent (one which will be retained when the PC is rebooted) mapped drive on the drive letter M using the Dynamics Central folder on the server called file.

Implementing Fastpath’s Config AD: Conclusion

FastpathIn this series of posts I have taken a look at the Config AD product from Fastpath which adds single sign-on to the Dynamics GP desktop client; you can find my series index here.

Over the course of the series I have run through the installation and configuration of several parts of Config AD, but there is still a lot of functionality that I haven’t covered.

For example, I have shown how to associate a GP user with a Windows AD account, but not how to disassociate them. I also didn’t show how SSRS security could also be assigned to users in Config AD; largely because I didn’t have SSRS installed and configured on my test box.

The main reason I haven’t covered even more than I have is that I enjoy playing around with different software and want to move onto something else. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to have a go with Config AD which I found easy to install, easy to configure and that it provides a lot of functionality which brings together the security setup of Dynamics GP into one location.

Something I find very annoying in Dynamics GP is that to create a user, grant company access and assign roles you need to enter the System Password at least three times (unless you’re just copying security from another user wholesale), but Config AD allows you to configure all of this after logging into it once.

If you’re looking for an add-on which will both simplify the maintenance of Dynamics GP security (and I assume the effect would be the same for the other Dynamics products it integrates with) and allow for single sign on, then Config AD is definitely worth considering.

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Implementing Fastpath’s Config AD: Configuring Config AD Desktop

Microsoft Dynamics GPIn this series of posts I’m going to take a look at the Config AD product from Fastpath which adds single sign-on to the Dynamics GP desktop client; you can find my series index here.

With the Config AD Desktop installed, we need to configure it for use; many of the steps in this section are only required the first time you run Config AD Desktop on a machine.

Start Config AD Desktop from the Windows Start Screen (or Start menu for those on an older version of Windows) and click on File >> options:

Fastpath Config AD Desktop

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