Entrigue Script Start 2.1 review
When Windows systems connect to networked resources they go through a logon process, and this process usually has some kind of logon script in the mix. It may simply map a network share to a drive letter or it may involve launching applications and allocating resources depending on who the user is and which system they’re using. Although experienced programmers could probably write log on scripts in their sleep, network administrators have other skills and often regard script writing as a black art. Entrigue’s Script Start provides a friendlier way for them to produce the scripts they need without getting involved in complex script writing and debugging. Even those who can write scripts in languages such as VBScript or KiXtart will appreciate the simpler approach.
Scripts are generated using a simple graphical interface that allows you to combine functions and filters to generate login scripts. It provides a rich array of functions ranging from setting global parameters for all users all the way down to launching applications and even tweaking individual registry settings. Several filters can be defined and applied, allowing you to produce complex scripts very quickly. A script can be tailored to a single individual and system if needed, while other scripts can be created for entire groups of users and systems. With a little ingenuity you can create scripts to cover almost any eventuality.
Those hard-won KiXtart skills and scripts needn’t be wasted, since Script Start can run existing KiXtart scripts as well, both before and after a generated script is run. This allows any site-specific scripting to be retained. Not surprisingly, Script Start uses KiXtart internally.
The software offers a range of features that go beyond what might be expected from a script generator. It can produce inventory reports that are perusable from the Management Console, and can tailor aspects of Office applications to make life easier for users. Some aspects of Windows’ appearance such as wallpaper and start menus can also be customised.
Script Start can operate with Active Directory, Windows NT and SAMBA domains, and supports clients running all versions of Windows from 95 to Vista. It also provides scripts to extend replication support to SAMBA domains, allowing SAMBA servers to be integrated more tightly into the server network.
Entrigue’s licensing system is straightforward. Each domain controller needs a licence, and each controller can have unlimited clients, so there’s no need to buy extra licences as you add users. Once you’ve licensed a controller, you only need to renew its annual subscription ($150) to ensure you receive continuing support and updates.
Entrique isn’t the only company offering this kind of solution, so how does Script Start measure up to the competition? ScriptLogic’s Desktop Authority 7.7 covers much of the same ground, but also deals with device security and patch management, which Script Start does not. On the other hand Script Start can make use of existing KiXtart scripts and can also cope with SAMBA servers.
Both provide a graphical interface that allows scripts to be created without the need to write scripts by hand. If you don’t need security and patch-management options then Script Start’s licensing options may make it a better choice, especially if you have lots of clients and few domain controllers, although its cost-effectiveness is at the mercy of the current exchange rate.