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How do I manage a large number of client workstations?

I have a dozen client computers on my server. All of them access the server
for their working files, but programs like Office, Photoshop, Dropbox are loaded
on each client. If I wanted to do a complete format on one of the clients, what
is the best way to save all of the server side administration tools, anti-virus
software, map drives and other shortcuts that have been created in the profile
since the last format?

When you’re dealing with a large number of computers, automation can be
exceptionally helpful in keeping system management … well, manageable.

In this audio excerpt from a recent Ask Leo! webinar,
I’ll discuss a couple of the concepts, even though I don’t have a specific
answer.

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Transcript

I have a dozen client computers on my server. All of them access the server for their working files, but programs like Office, Photoshop, Dropbox are loaded on each client. If I wanted to do a complete format on one of the clients, what is the best way to save all of the server side administration tools, anti-virus software, map drives and other shortcuts that have been created in the profile since the last format?

Uh, that didn’t take long for me to say, “I don’t know.” The short answer is I don’t know.

There is server management software that is actually meant for corporations where they can actually remotely administer things like your profile and even the software that’s installed on your machine by default and what happens when you login and so forth.

The problem is that is a pretty hefty install. That’s not for the faint of heart. It’s something that we had when I was back at Microsoft. Obviously, it’s the kind of thing that we had going on. It requires that you have a domain controller set up for authentication.

I think it’s now Active Directory is what they’re calling it. But the bottom line is you actually change the way you login to your machine and the function of that login then gets this information from the domain controller and handles all of this stuff.

The short answer, I guess, is aside from that I don’t have a good answer other than simply keeping track of it all and then re-applying it after you’ve reformatted and reinstalled.

If somebody knows of a better answer than I have, I’d love to hear it, but at this point, I don’t have a good solution for you – sorry.

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