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Using PC-Rdist* at Wellesley and Amherst Colleges Windows 98 Susan Hafer Richman Project Manager Information Services Wellesley College Windows 2000 Nicholas.

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Presentation on theme: "Using PC-Rdist* at Wellesley and Amherst Colleges Windows 98 Susan Hafer Richman Project Manager Information Services Wellesley College Windows 2000 Nicholas."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using PC-Rdist* at Wellesley and Amherst Colleges Windows 98 Susan Hafer Richman Project Manager Information Services Wellesley College Windows 2000 Nicholas Dahlman Microcomputer Specialist Desktop Computing Services Amherst College *PC Remote Distribute software by Pyzzo Software (

2 PC-Rdist at Wellesley College Where we were, where we are, where we’re going

3 Some history… 1985: MicroLab with IBM PCs and AT&T 6300s (no hard drives), room locked if no student consultant on duty Mid-90s: more labs, some open 24 hours, filled with Gateway2000 PCs; problem PCs stayed down for a long time…. 1997: Ghost images on CD used as needed to refresh public PC hard drives 1998: began using ImageCast and PC-Rdist 1999: upgraded PC-Rdist to version 2

4 Our Network Environment Class B network – flat? NT domain using TCP/IP Typically using GUEST account in Windows – will soon have domain accounts for all Public computers are Macs (refreshed with Assimilator) and Windows 98SE Gateway2000 PCs (refreshed with PC-Rdist) PC-Rdist running from Windows 2000 Server

5 What’s in our tool box? PC-Rdist: incremental refreshing over the network ImageCast: blast the hard drive with image on CDs Visual DialogScript: old version of a Windows scripting language

6 PC-Rdist in a nutshell Master images for lab computers are on a server on the campus network Run PC-Rdist, which figures out what files and registry items are different from what the server says should be on the computer Delete and add items, then restart the computer – takes less than 5 minutes Can run at startup, as part of log in/out scripts, or use outside scheduler

7 PC-Rdist setup: our old way Built a base “lab” image with OS and all standard software, using ImageCast; made lab IC image on CD for worst case Built alternate images as layers on top of “lab” for specialized hardware and software, using PC-Rdist Some locations our students manually refreshed, others used VirusScan 4.0.3 Scheduler

8 What we did this summer* Base image: only Windows and IE, one for each hardware platform Separate images for each program and for scanners, printers for each lab Windows Scheduled Tasks for some labs, set to run between midnight and 7am Visual DialogScript *based on information from Steve Tapp from Kent State at SIGUCCS 2000

9 What we have now PC-Rdist 2.0.5 and ImageCast 4.5.1 231 PCs in the database (80 in labs, 42 in dorms, 97 in classrooms, 12 in libraries), all running Windows 98 SE 1 person doing most of the tweaking on the server Student consultants follow up automated refreshes or do manual refreshes

10 AutoRefreshing: Our planning Create list for each weekday – keep refreshes 10-15 minutes apart From this list, create Windows Scheduled Task files for each computer’s image Do only a few PCs in each lab each night

11 AutoRefreshing: Prep work Windows Scheduled Tasks runs script Script displays Notepad 10-minute warning Prep: checks for \\tricky2k\auto\local.bat and copies to c:\windows Deletes RunServices key Creates RunOnce key for local.bat Creates RunOnce key for local.bat Reboots

12 AutoRefreshing: Finishing up Runs c:\windows\local.bat Sets name of sender for later e-mail Looks for \\tricky2k\x1\pcrdist.exe. No = creates c:\noserver.txt and exits. Yes = runs PCRDist PCRDist runs, and sends e-mail to conference

13 Follow-up Procedures PC-Rdist automatically e-mails conference 8:30 M-F Students check PCs scheduled for refresh in the wee hours Weekly manual update of spreadsheet to check for delinquent PCs Occasionally need to do manual refresh

14 What’s coming…. Windows 2000…?

15 PC-Rdist and Windows 2000: A Case Study Maintaining and Improving Computers at Amherst College Nicholas Dahlman, Microcomputer Specialist

16 The Situation – March 2001 57 PCs in 3 labs running Windows 95 Base image applied with Ghost via network PC-Rdist 1.52 stored locally on hard drive On first reboot, PC-Rdist names computer & readies for network Computers manually remade every morning by student workers from Mac server (!)

17 Our Network Environment – Summer 2001 Newly subnetted network Mixed-mode NT domain using TCP/IP; personal secure network storage & login scripts Public computers are Macs (refreshed with RevRdist) and Windows 2000 Dell PCs (refreshed with PC-Rdist) PC-Rdist running from Windows 2000 Server

18 Summer 2001 To-Do List Layering –One base image on different hardware –Different labs get different software Better User Experience –New, clean desktop for every user –Ability to install own software –Tie in with network resources Easy-to-keep –Manual or automated maintenance –Ability to remake, check on computers remotely

19 Ghost 7 and Sysprep Upgrade to Symantec Ghost 7 –Compatible with NTFS, Windows 2000 (mostly) –Can create, retrieve images over network –Cannot create new W2k SIDs Microsoft Sysprep 1.1 (free) –Allows you to duplicate a hard drive after configuring Windows & installing apps –Runs “Mini-setup” (for differing hardware) –Plain-text “Answer File” allows you to specify answers to Setup questions –Bear to set up; very easy when set up properly

20 PC-Rdist 2 demo PC-Rdist server structure The GUI Setting files to ignore, delete, etc. Creating an application layer

21 PC-Rdist and Windows 2000: The Permissions Problem Levels of permissions: Guest, User, Power User, Administrator, SYSTEM Administrators can’t access all files and entire registry – only SYSTEM can. PC-Rdist runs with permissions of user who started it. Therefore, just running PC-Rdist yourself won’t work!

22 PC-Rdist and Windows 2000: The AT Solution AT: command-line Scheduled Tasks Administrator-scheduled AT tasks run with SYSTEM permissions AT can schedule computers remotely! Batch files add versatility & ease

23 Command-line scheduling demo What the AT command looks like Looking at scheduled tasks Clearing schedule Scheduling a remake Scheduling a lab

24 Windows 2000 Interface Users log onto domain (as themselves or guest), get Default User profile, Power User permissions My Documents linked to secure network storage Screen saver automatically logs users off after specified time* * Logoff screen saver from Windows 2000 Resource Kit Batch scheduling command reschedules itself if user is logged on** ** “UserOn” batch command courtesy JSI Inc.’s Tip #1752

25 Results Very few crashes Labs with very different settings, apps Increased use of network resources; fewer floppy disks! Bored student lab supervisors Expanded to library, departmental labs, classrooms (8 labs, 110 computers so far)

26 PC-Rdist Q&A Susan Hafer Richman Wellesley College Nicholas Dahlman Amherst College

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