AutoProf Policy Maker
Judges unanimously bestowed the Gold Award on AutoProf's Policy Maker in the Active Directory category of TechTarget's Windows Products of the Year. Policy Maker is a Microsoft-sanctioned method for desktop patching, configuration and customization for Group Policy.
This two-part product, consisting of Policy Maker Software Update and Policy Maker Professional, earned top scores for innovation and ease of use, and it exceeded or matched the scores of all other contenders in integration, performance and service and support. The only areas in which Policy Maker fell short were in functionality and value, where Silver Award winner Winternals prevailed by a slim margin.
AutoProf's Policy Maker integrates with Group Policy for Active Directory. The product is not an alternative to Microsoft's model, but it installs natively, adding an assortment of new client side extensions (CSE) for targeting of specific users and computer settings and preferences.
Policy Maker puts enhanced desktop configuration/customization and software deployment under the familiar face of the GPO editor and supports the Group Policy Management Console.
Policy Maker Software Update (PMSU) extends Microsoft's Group Policy model by way of snap-in and client-side extensions. There are no servers to install or manage, and no proprietary services or agents. All Windows and Office languages are supported and manifest data can be acquired from sources such as Software Update Services, Windows Update, Office Update and Back Office.
Policy Maker Professional (PMP) adds 11 new Group Policy extensions that help administrators configure shortcuts, registry and .ini settings and set environment variables. There's also support for configuring Office and Outlook user profiles, as well as mapping network drives and assigning printers. More than 25 hardware, software and identity filters are supported, as well as support for third-party applications.
Pricing: Policy Maker Professional is priced at $14.25 per seat at 1,000-seat volume. Policy Maker Software Update is priced at $7.50 per seat at 1,000-seat volume.
Brent Sheets, senior editor