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PC Management strategy

By pchadzynski ·
I manage a growing number of client Win based PC's which usually comes back to the same thing - a clean re-install fixes all problems. This however is time consuming and involves collecting CD's or hunting around the Internet for the right drivers. And then there are the tasks of defrag and backup.

So given the enormous and inexpensive disks available today I started thinking about combining all these chores with the following maintence strategy and would look for any learned comments before I actually commit.

1) I would divide my clients disks into three partitions. A, B and C. Say A=40%, B=40% and C=20% of the drive.

2) I would start by installing everything on partition A and then image that install to partition C. Partition B would at first be left empty.

3) The user would then boot and work from partition A, untill things get defragmented, virused up, spywared, slow for any other reason or there would simply be time for the next preventive maintenance.

4) At that point I would devirus and cleanup partition A, update all software and copy A's entire content to a newly formated B which would cause defragmentation & with additional attention it would also produce a new copy of the swap file. I would then have the user boot from B, while leaving A as his backup. So now I would accomplish three things: Cleanup, Defrag and Backup - in 1/3 of the time.

5) Next time around we do the same but in reverse. IE B gets cleanedup and then defraged by copying to the newly formated A, while leaving B as the backup.

6) Notice that all along we have a priscine C so if things get totally out of control we simply image C onto A (or B) and start with a nice fresh install - in 30 minutes instead of the usual X hours.

Any comments or tips for ex: on hidden dangers of this aproach or which tools to use and how to automate this process would be greatly apreciated.

Regards
Peter

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by Jacky Howe In reply to PC Management strategy

You didn't mention what imaging software you will be using. I prefer to use ghost 7. Anyhow this is what i do. Create 3 partitions. Primary Partition 18 Gb. This leaves plenty of room for bloatware, swapfiles etc. Second Partition the remainder of the drive less 10Gb. So far.
C: = 18Gb formatted NTFS
= ? formatted NTFS
E: = 10Gb formatted fat 32 and hidden. Image is placed here.
My Documents are redirected to
I ask my Clients to save everything to
Install Operating System and Client Sofware.
Image the Active Partition and save it to E:
There are numerous ways to Hide the Partition.
When you need to reimage use fdisk to remove the Non Dos Partition, recreate it and format as fat 32 and then drop the image. There is a utility with ghost 7 called gdisk. I use it to create the original drive as you can create and format the partition on the fly.

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by 3xp3rt In reply to PC Management strategy

It?s close to our policies what I use to my workplace. So we use a partition of 10GB named SYSTEM, a hidden partition of 5 GB named Ghost and the rest named DATA.
After the clean install of System, I make an image with Norton Ghost 2003 to partition Ghost. The user?s settings and documents are in partition named DATA. All the new installations are made to DATA (if possible) the users have limited rights on partition SYSTEM.

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by pchadzynski In reply to PC Management strategy

With some variations, but you generally validated my approach - and gave me new ideas.
Thanks so much! Piotr

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solution

by vcomp In reply to PC Management strategy

check out www.virtualcomputer.com, great PC management solution

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