Unintended Consequences: Login Scripts

Recently I’ve been doing some work for a client writing a little (yet tedious) piece of code that converts an input file to an output file of a slightly different format.

Because the client doesn’t have development workstations for us we have been allowed to connect our laptops to the corporate network and develop inside some virtual machines, we connect the virtual machines to their Active Directory domain. This actually requires a system administrator to come around and type in their credentials to get the process started.

After the machine is successfully joined to the domain I need to reboot and login which is of course when all the fun starts. I am of course talking about login scripts.

In 500 years time when archeologists dig up the fossilized remains of Active Directory domain controllers they will remark how humans of the period developed a complex mechanism by which they could ensure that they had time to go grab a coffee after typing in their username but before starting doing any actual work.

After typing in my username I stepped around the corner to make myself a cup of tea and returned to find a dialog like the following staring back at me:

image

This is of course a VBScript error being thrown up by Windows Scripting Host which is being executed as part of the login script. No doubt this is because the machine that I connected to the domain doesn’t have exactly the standard desktop configuration that the script was expecting.

Another interesting thing about this dialog is that it is modal, that is to say that it stops execution of the login script until I click OK. Being time constrained I ponder this for a few moments and decide the best course of action is to drag the error message over to the bottom right of the screen as far as I can so that I can barely even see its border.

Effect? The login script is still running but it isn’t wasting valuable CPU cycles and I can get to work.

P.S. Later that day I did click OK and I was required to reboot the machine three times (sigh).

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