Paul and I have been talking about his idea in more detail offline and we think it would be a good idea to share this discussion with everyone here on the Forum:
The Idea: https://forum.solidworks.com/ideas/2603
How are you syncing your *.xml files? I too have several sites to manage (6) this year. I don't sync the *.xml files. I simply make one image, set up the global settings, copy that to all the locations and add the users to their proper groups, for each location to the image. Some location have several users and some only have a few.
Well... to be honest I wrote a script (DeployCustomFiles.vbs) that when run, takes the xml files of the image, a variables.txt file that has server names/paths/file lists/other variables and does a copy to all the other servers (5 for me).
So, the txt file is actually my backbone for building the server lists, appropriate paths for any installs/copy of files that I do at any time with the Image. This gets read in by the Deploy script to copy itself and all the files listed in the text file to all the servers/paths listed in the text file.
I do it this way because I am the one that generates the image, and all the admin stuff with it but my IT department sometimes adds computers to the image and doing it locally (I am at a different location than them) and then syncing the files is much better in my opinion. This way everyone has local exact copies of the image and just syncing the key files in the background is done.
So really, I have a perfectly good solution, as long as IT remembers to run the script when they change the image and I don't overwrite their changes next time I sync the files! I've added the idea here because it would prevent those cases where someone doesn't sync.
I think my next question varies on how your company names their computers, but I assume that you are using the PC names to enter into the option editor. Our company names the PC with the location, whether its a Laptop or Desktop, and a random 3 digit number. Unfortunately users change PC's all the time here so I never know if the user I had in the list is still using that PC anymore. Though it sucks manually typing them all in every time its a sure fire way to know I have the latest PC names for the users. Of course if they get their hands on the hta file and have a different PC the Global settings hack I have running kills them in their tracks.
But if there was a way to copy the AdminDirector.xml file between releases or even images that would save the hassle of resetting it for each server, that would awesome.
I like your idea
We just use asset numbers for computer names, they are all "A####" so I have no way of knowing who is what computer. We don't switch all that often, but I do go through a cleanup effort (especially with the CAD Admin Dashboard now available) to get rid of pc names that aren't needed anymore. I only have a group for CAD and a group for all other users.
Not sure I follow you by this: "if they get their hands on the hta file and have a different PC the Global settings hack I have running kills them in their tracks" Go ahead and start a post on the regular forum if you would like to talk about anything that may be of use to others (which I think all of this is) and it appears I don't have a way to attach items in a private message... so I could share my text and script there.
Paul to answer your question about my comment above "if they get their hands on the hta file and have a different PC the Global settings hack I have running kills them in their tracks"
Lets say user replaced their PC. The PC name changed versus what was in the Solidworks Admin Image Option Editor, or if the user is not in our approved list to have SW installed on their PC and they receive the HTA from his neighbor that was emailed to him.
What I do is, I set the Global settings up like I would it were one of my groups (I know this is not recommended by Greg J.). But advantage to me is I can use the Global settings as a hierarchy for my folders to follow. I just have to change a few items per each group. Versus changing all my groups every time. The problem with this technique however, allows users that are not in the list to install SW. We cannot have users installing SW that don't need it. So to fix this issue I go to the Global settings and give it a false path. This false path will not allow users to install SW that are in one of my listed groups.
Notice the "\" is missing between the file and the folder
The path is correct and is now highlighted in yellow because it is different than the Global Settings
The only thing you have to remember here is that when you upgrade, you have to remove or make the path good and it will update.
I presented most of this at SW World 2013... you should be able to download that from the 2013 world website.