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University Lab Strategy

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Geoffrey Carman

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Posted: 19 Apr 2002

This tip comes from Geoffrey Carman at York University, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the third largest University in Canada.

There are a lot of ways to administer a computer lab, whether for student use, or for teaching purposes.

We use a mix of ZENworks and other technologies. We find that a tool called PCRdist ( works well to refresh a workstation image on every login, from a copy on the server. All new files get deleted, all changed files get replaced.

We use ZENworks Policies to allow admins to have differential Policies from students. Thus a student can not touch any of the control panels or run Regedit, but an admin can do both.

We have tried hardware products such as Sheriff cards, that cache changes made to the hard drive to a separate partition and throw them away on every reboot, and we have tried software equivalents like DeepFreeze.

The down side is that pushing out simple changes, reg or files, are too hard to propagate. With PCRdist, we change the image on the server, and next reboot the workstation is updated.

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