User Preferences provide Additional Client Side Extensions.
They are supported on Sever 2008+ , Vista SP2+. for 2003, XP SP3, and Vista SP1 you need to download the Client Side Extensions.
Largely replace scripts for Drive Mappings, Printers
The following table shows the preference extensions under Windows Settings. (Straight from the Microsoft context sensitive help)
|Extension name||Location||Allows you to:|
|Applications||User Configuration||Configure settings for applications|
|Drive Maps||User Configuration||Create, modify, or delete mapped drives, and configure the visibility of all drives|
|Environment||Computer Configuration and User Configuration||Create, modify, or delete environment variables|
|Files||Computer Configuration and User Configuration||Copy or modify the attributes of files and replace or delete files|
|Folders||Computer Configuration and User Configuration||Create, modify, or delete folders|
|Ini Files||Computer Configuration and User Configuration||Add, replace, or delete sections or properties in configuration settings (.ini) or setup information (.inf) files|
|Network Shares||Computer Configuration||Create, modify, or delete shared resources|
|Registry||Computer Configuration and User Configuration||Copy registry settings and apply them to other computers. Create, replace, or delete registry settings|
|Shortcuts||Computer Configuration and User Configuration||Create, modify, or delete shortcuts|
To set a preference right click on it and select new followed by whatever that preference does.
In this example I will create a temp directory under the root of C:\
So right click on folder and choose new folder.
Under action there are the choices of Update, Create, Replace, and Delete.
I am choosing Create.
Under the common tab there are options on how you the preference to apply.
You have the option to only apply the policy once. this would create the temp directory but it the user deletes it. It is gone and not applied again. You can also do item level targeting. With this you can determine exactly where this policy is applied. It is kind of like a WMI query (actually it can be a WMI query). You could apply this only to XP machines with SP3 or only to workstations or only computers with in a certain subnet.
You can add multiple criteria
In this example C:\temp is created only if the IP is between 10.0.0.23 and 10.0.0.199 and the operating system is XP SP3.