Help Desk Onboarding - Training - Commonly Used Help Desk Applications
An overview of commonly used help desk applications.
Are you a new student employees or someone wanting to know about the basics of commonly used help desk applications? Read this! The following is a list of applications, listed roughly in order of frequency used. Each section lists common usage of these programs as well as how to set up commonly used features. These are hardly exhaustive lists of features, but in my experience these walk you though what you will use most of the time. The headings describe the exact name of the program -- search for these in the start menu and you should be able to easily find it.
Frequently Used Applications
These are the applications you'll be using every day. Open them up when you get in!
Active Directory Users and Computers
The two most commonly used features of this program are the "Find..." feature and anything located in the ad.uwm.edu/SA/Security/* section of the file structure.
If you want to make any changes to active directory such as adding/removing/editing users and groups, you will need to open the program as an administrator.
This window can be found by right clicking on the "ad.uwm.edu" option on the sidebar and selecting "Find..."
This will most frequently be used for finding a user's object and their permissions. For example, entering "jhklika" in the "Name" text box and pressing "Find Now" would display the user object below the window. Double-clicking on this object and clicking on the "Member of" tab shows all the permissions associated with the user. 90% of the time you open this application, you will be doing this workflow.
Please note the "Find:" dropdown menu in the upper-left corner of this window. If you are trying to find Users and Security Groups, keep the selection on "Users, Contacts, and Groups". If you're trying to find printers put the selection on "Printers", if you're searching for computers select "Computers", and so on. It's a common error to be unable to find Computers when searching for them because the "Find:" dropdown menu is not selecting Computer objects.
Adding/Removing/Editing User Permissions
One of the most commonly used features of this application is editing permissions for users. The typical request will look something like this:
From: Justin M.S. Barnard (email@example.com)
To: SAITS HD
Subject: Adding Employee Access
Hello, I work for Sandburg housing and would like an employee (firstname.lastname@example.org) to have access to the Housing Service Desk shared drive.
Justin "J-Dog" Barnard
- First, make sure the person sending out the message is a supervisor for the department. If they are not, contact the department and find a supervisor who can authenticate this change.
- Upon seeing this, you would go to 'ad.uwm.edu/SA/Groups/Security/User Roles' in the Active Directory Users and Computers application. This has a large list of our most commonly used user roles. Find and double click on the "aux-personnel-housing-service-desk" object.
- Click on the "Members" tab and click on "Add..." In this menu, enter the person's ePanther ID in the text box and click "Check Names." If the name expands and is underlined, it is a valid object name and you can click "OK" to add them to the group.
It's important to attempt to add people to user roles (ad.uwm.edu/SA/Groups/Security/User Roles) first, then if there is no user role to add them to the file shares (ad.uwm.edu/SA/Groups/Security/File Shares)
Computer Management in Active Directory
As mentioned earlier, searching for computer object in the Find window requires choosing the 'Computer' field the "Find:" dropdown menu on the upper-left of the window and searching for the computer name in the "Name" text box. There are only a few significant tabs to take note of in these Computer objects:
- General: Includes a copy-pastable text box of the computer name as well as a short custom description which typically details who is the most frequent user of the computer.
- Member Of: This tab indicates which groups the computer is part of. This is most frequently used for Software Deployment groups, pushing out software such as HMS/PCS, Hyperion, Guestpass, EMS, ImageNow, etc. to the computer.
- Location: This indicates which room and building the computer is located in. This should be updated whenever moving computers as per KB#62648: Moving and Decomissioning Computer.
Tips for Adding Permissions
- Users will have informal names for these shared drives and user roles such as "Financial Aid Shared Drive", "Bookstore Scan Drive", or even refer to them as a mount point such as "V: Drive" rather than knowing the formal path. Knowing the relation between these informal names and their actual paths is a learned skill that get easier and easier as you interact with customers more often. If you don't know for sure which drive a customer is referencing, talk to somebody in the help desk that seems like they would know.
- If you do not know what group to add them to, check the groups of the person that is adding the ticket. Frequently they will have similar groups.
These are applications which you may not use daily or even weekly. You may only open these applications on client computers. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with them as you will most likely use them, but don't worry about making a desktop shortcut for them.
Print Management is a tool to access and modify nearly any printer connected to our school's print servers. To do anything useful, you will need to open it as an administrator. To view the most-used print servers and their printers, you'll need to manually add the print servers.
Manually Adding Print Servers to Print Management
- Open Print Management in administrative mode by searching for "Print Management" in the start menu, right clicking on it, and clicking "Run as Administrator."
- Inspect the left sidebar, which should have items such as "Print Management," "Custom Filters," and "Print Servers." Right click on the "Print Servers" item and click "Add/Remove Servers."
- Enter the following strings into the "Add Servers:" text box, pressing enter after each one: "adprint03", "adprint05", and "uwmprint05". After confirming and closing this menu, you can browse the print servers in the left-hand sidebar.
With these print servers added, you may browse them and see any printers on them. Right click on the printer you are interested in to see the print queue, printer properties, or print a test page. This functions nearly similar to remoting into a computer and checking the printer properties, making this a very useful tool for inspecting print queues, printing test pages remotely, seeing printer status, or change some settings in the properties.
Configuration Manager Console (SCCM)
SCCM is generally used for remoting into computers. As with most of these programs, make sure you are opening them as an administrator.
Using SCCM to Remote
- Open Configuration Manager Console as an administrator.
- Click on "Devices" on the left-hand panel, and enter the computer name in the 'Search' bar.
- Right click on the computer that appears, hover over the "Start" option, and click 'Remote Control'. This will prompt whoever is logged in to allow you to remote in, or if nobody is logged in you will remote in automatically.
- Close the connection by exiting out of the window when you are done.
Instead of clicking on "Remote Control" when choosing to remote into a computer, you may choose a "Remote Desktop Client" session instead. This is more responsive and does not mirror the display like "Remote Control," but is useful for basic file management. There must be no logged in users to use this feature.
Command Prompt is a command line interface to the inner workings of Windows. Before computer graphics existed, this is how people interacted with computers! Command lines (cmd/powershell on Windows, Unix shell on OSX/Linux/BSD) are still used by power-users to this day, and even from the first day on the job you may find yourself entering some simple commands here. As with all these other programs, make sure you run it as an administrator.
'gpupdate' forces the computer to contact the active directory server and update any group policies. Whenever you update something in active directory or apply changes to a computer and do not want to wait until the AD automatically updates. Just enter 'gpupdate' into the black box and press enter. If there's no errors, it worked correctly.
Entering 'ipconfig' shows the IP address and other network statistics for a computer. Typing "ipconfig /all" shows more. If somebody ever needs the IP address of a computer, run this command.
This checks the system files and may automatically repair some damages. Use this if there seems to be some filesystem problems.
This verifies system files and checks the integrity of the disk, potentially repairing some problems. If a computer is running extremely slow, encountering critical system errors, or if the computer has the Blue Screen of Death.
Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell
PowerShell is essentially a powerful version of command prompt. The Active Directory Module is an advanced feature which allows easy management of active directory groups. The most you will likely use it for is to batch-print a list of a group's members, or a list of a person's groups for easy journaling or comparison. Feel free to copy-paste the following into the prompt to do this. Anything underlined is something you should change to suit your needs.
As usual, run this application as an administrator.
Get-ADPrincipalGroupMembership username | select name > C:\Users\yourusername\out.txt
This creates a text file named out.txt in your home directory which contains a list of groups the user is a member of. This is useful if you would like to compare groups between multiple users or list the groups somebody is part of in a Cherwell journal.
dsquery group domainroot -name adgroup | dsget group -members | dsget user -fn -ln > C:\Users\yourusername\names.txt
This command creates a text file named names.txt in your home directory which contains a list of users who are members of the adgroup. Make sure the AD group is spelled exactly as it appears in the "Active Directory Users and Computers" application. This is useful if someone is requesting a list of every user in a particular group.
Press the Windows key and the R key at the same time to open the Run menu (or search for "Run" in the start menu). Type in "\\aux-fs3\Tools\ccleaner portable" in this prompt which should open a network directory leading you to CCleaner.
This application is useful if the hard drive is getting full or the computer is running slowly.
Misc. Configuration & Tips
This section is for application tips and tricks about improving application workflow.
Running Applications as Administrator by Default
For any application you use frequently, you may set it up so it launches with administrative rights by default. Right-click on the icon and click properties, then navigate to the Shortcut tab and click "Advanced..." In this menu, check "Run as Administrator." You will need to enter your '-a' to confirm this change. From now on whenever you click on this icon or application, it will prompt you for your admin password and open the application as an administrator. No more accidentally opening SCCM while on a call with a customer, only to find you can't remote in since you forgot to run it as an admin!