(Man it took me a while to get back to this thread, oops!)
Thanks for the ideas and input... We actually do have an imaging system which is similar to Ghost, but is called Rembo (http://www.rembo.com/)
. I picked this years ago as it gives you much more control and scripting ability, acting as a full blown PXE/network based pre-boot OS.
Unfortunately we can't easily re-image each machine on a nightly/weekly basis (this system has a "repair" mode that restores a partition to the image spec without doing a full re-image) for a few reasons:
- The master images have been "sysprepped" to ensure domain functionality and unique naming/SID's, so each day they would have to run through this to reconfigure & re-join the network. This would cause a student riot...
- Although each lab has supposed identical PC's, a handful in each room typically have problems locating the network cards or video drivers (even though they are already installed) and need a bit of coaxing.
I've built my proposal and have a multi-level solution, we'll see what the management and council has to say...
1) Relocate IT staff to an office space right beside the labs... Either one of both of us. If we are more visible the hopefully some will be less reluctant to talk to us.
2) Build trouble report kiosks. Replace the clipboard with a monitor & keyboard/mouse (reporting PC to be locked in a rack cabinet) that presents a simple map of the room. Student clicks on broken PC and types in the problem, which is immediately emailed to myself and my IT support guy.
Once this is in place I plan on adding a "history" to it, that will track reports & the fixes we do so that we easily know if there is a machine that is frequently causing issues. Any "out of order" machines will get that marked on their screens automatically by our Rembo imaging system, so when a student fires up a PC they will see this and will not be given an opportunity to boot the computer.
3) Increase semi-manual system checks. I plan on creating a small image server script that will check for core windows files & hard drive space on a computer when it is loaded. During a "free lab" hour we can close the room to run this script, which would also allow us to locate any boot up problems, disconnected network cables or missing/non-functional mice.