Clean up Windows 10 Quick Access with ConfigMgr

Quick Access is one of the new features within Windows 10 this replaces favourites that you may be familiar with from earlier versions of Windows. This feature makes your life easier by automatically adding most used folders to your quick access bar.  However, by default you might find that Quick Access adds to much clutter to the Windows Explorer.  You will also find that the quick access menu appears when you go to save files within Windows 10 which can be very useful but also could be perceived as clutter or confusing when you are trying to save your documents.

I was in with a customer last week; they found that users were getting confused that Windows 10 was adding folders for them under Quick Access. They asked if there was a way to stop this happening for their users.  As this was part of a ConfigMgr project, I used it as a case to show the power of one of the most underused feature within Configuration Manager Compliance Settings. Throughout this guide, we are going to look at how we can tackle getting Quick Access under control for your users.

First of all I am going to show you how to do this manually before jumping into Configuration Manager

Written by

Harry Lowton

Harry Lowton

Enterprise Mobility Consultant

on

07 Jan 2016

To do this manually you would follow these steps:

1. Open Control Panel, make sure it is on Icon View

2. Click File Explorer Settings

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3. In General under Privacy, uncheck the Show frequently used folders in Quick access box and then click OK.

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Steps we are going to cover in this post to clean via ConfigMgr:

PART 1: CREATING A CONFIGURATION ITEM TO REMEDIATE THE REGISTRY SETTING FOR SHOW FREQUENT

Now the fun part let see how we can solve this within Configuration Manager.

1. Load the Configuration Manager Console

2. Navigate to Assets and Compliance > Compliance Settings > Configuration Items

3. Right-click Configuration Items, then click Create New Configuration Item

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4. Once the Create Configuration Item window has loaded, within the General tab give Configuration Item (CI) a name. Then make sure Specify the type of Configuration Item that you want to create is set to Windows. Click on Next

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5. In the Support Platforms tab, uncheck everything apart from Windows 10, and then click on Next.

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6. In the Settings tab, Click New

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7. Once the Create Setting Window has loaded you will want to fill in the following:

A. Setting Name, for example, Show Frequent

B. Setting Type set to Script

C. Data Type set to String

D. Discovery Script, click Add Script
Note: The Discovery scripts purpose is to work out whether or not the Registry Key ShowFrequent  already exists and if it does the value can’t be anything but “0”.  The script will output whether or not the machines registry is “compliant” or “NonCompliant”

Copy and paste the following code into the input box and click

$Path = "HKCU:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer"
If (!(Test-Path -Path $Path)) { $Compliance = "NonCompliant" }
Else {
If ((Get-ItemProperty -Path $Path).ShowFrequent -ne 0) {
Write-Output = "NonCompliant"
}
Else { write-output = "Compliant" }
}

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E. Remediation Script, click Add Script
Note: The Remediation Script will run if the Discovery Script returns a NonCompliant state.  Then later our Compliance rules will make sure the script is running and remediated if the discovery is found to be Noncompliant

Copy and paste the following code into the input box and click OK

$Path = "HKCU:SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer"
New-ItemProperty $Path -Name ShowFrequent -Value 0 –Force

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F. Run scripts by using the logged on user credentials, tick the box

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G. Once you have configured all the settings, at the top, click the Compliance Rules tab

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8. Within the Compliance Rules Tab, Click New

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9. Once the Create Setting Window loads, you will want to fill in the following:

A. Name, for example, HideShowFrequentRule

B. Rule Type set to Value

C. The settings must comply with the following rule set to Equals

D. The following Values set to Compliant

E. Remediate noncompliant rules when Supported, make sure this is ticked

F. Click, OK

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10. You will now be back to the Compliance Rules tab, click OK

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11. On the Settings tab, click Next

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12. Compliance Rule tab then click Next

Note: you will see that the Compliance Rule is now created because we did that while creating the compliance settings.

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13. From the Summary tab, review your settings and click Next

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Once Complete, Click Close

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Part 1: Wrap-up:

You will now have created the Configuration Item to hide Show Frequent Folders within Quick Access. The next step will be to Create and deploy a Configuration Baseline including this CI.

Part 2: Creating and Deploying a Configuration Baseline:

1. Load the Configuration Manager Console

2. Navigate to Assets and Compliance > Compliance Settings > Configuration Baseline

3. Right-click Configuration Items, then click Create New Configuration Item

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4. Once the Create Configuration Baselines window has loaded, within the General

A. Name, for example, Hide Show Frequent QAccess

B. Click Add

C. Click Configuration Items

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5. From the Add Configuration Items window, search for and select your CI(Hide Frequent Folders) and click Add

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6. With the CI added to the baseline, click OK

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7. Now back on the Create Configuration Baseline window, click OK

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8. The Configuration Baseline creation is now complete as shown below:

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Part 2: Wrap-up

You will have now of created a Configuration Baseline to deploy the Configuration Item. As you can see from the image above creating the Configuration Baseline does not automatically deploy this to anything, this will be shown in the next section as we deploy this baseline to a collection.

Part 3: Deploying the Configuration Baseline

Now it is time to put all your hard work into action and deploy this Configuration Baseline to a collection.

1. Load the Configuration Manager Console

2. Navigate to Assets and Compliance > Compliance Settings > Configuration Baselines

3. Locate the CI created in the last step (Hide Show Frequent QAccess) Right click, then Deploy

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4. Once the Deploy Configuration Baselines windows displays, configure the following:

A. Tick both, Remediate noncompliant rules when supported and Allow remediation outside the maintenance window

B. Collection: click Browse and choose the collection you want to deploy this baseline to.(for example I used LT0001 which is just a direct rule membership for my laptop)

C. Click OK

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Part 3: Wrap-up

Your Configuration Baseline will now be deployed to your chosen collection and set to remediate if there is configuration drift. Within the next section, we will look at how to verify the successful deployment and verify the client moves into a compliant state.

Part 4: Verify compliance of the client

  • From your Windows 10 machine you can check File Explorer Settings, General under Privacy, the Show frequently used folders in Quick access box is ticked

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  • Open the Configuration Manager Client. Browse to the Actions tab and initiate a Machine Policy Retrieval & Evaluation Cycle

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  • After the evaluation has run, click the Configurations Tab and click on refresh, the Baseline you just deployed should appear.

Note: If the action has not currently been run it will show as unknown as its compliance level

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  • Once evaluation has run, it will now show your client as Compliant

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  • Now that your mean compliance baseline has ran, and your client is coming back saying compliant you can bask in your success.  There a couple of ways to do this, for example, you could now click View Report

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  • An HTML page will now launch where you can review your compliance, for instance:

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  • Another way to check this from the DcmWmiProvider.log as shown below.

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  • For this example though you can also jump on into the registry to make sure your setting has changed and into the file folder settings, as shown below

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  • Though what you want to do is look at your Windows Explorer and see that your Quick access is as clean as a whistle!!

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Full round

If you made it to this stage, you will hopefully of either followed along or at least got a good understanding of how you can get quick access, under control within Windows 10.

The topics we have covered are:

  • Creating Configuration Items
  • Creating Configuration Baselines
  • Deploying Configuration Baselines
  • Verifying from the client that the compliance works
There could be more sections to this post, but I will let you explore them yourself for example going to Monitoring in Configuration Manager and running reports to see the compliance of this baseline against your collections.

You should also be able to take the learning’s from this post and start creating your own useful Configuration Items.

Time to let your creative side out as you think of more cool use cases for Configuration Items.

I am interested to see what you come up with, especially what you do with Windows 10. Let me know either in the comments below or send me a tweet. 🙂

Harry lowton
@Harrylowt
Enterprise Mobility Consultant

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