Maintaining stable computers for Customer Service Area
Did you know that, most computers are very stable machines. It is just like any other ordinary electronic item you don't have to deal with it's problems all the time. More than 90% of the problems related to computers come from software. This includes things such as viruses, mis-configurations, software-bugs.
One of the major problem with computers is it's software and configurations are very easily changeable. Even if you take admin rights, many of the things still can be changed. The problem is average computer user may not be tech-savvy enough to even change the default printer, or maybe if a user changes the appearance of the desktop, the next user may find it impossible to do some of his/her tasks without requiring technical assistance.
Prevent users from personalizing desktop or appearance
It maybe hard to believe, but some users might think there is a problem with the system. Even if they cannot find a icon.
The best way is to make all the computers identical in terms of setup configurations, appearance, theme, software installed.
Documenting each and every software and it's configuration should be done and well-maintained. Make sure the documentation is easily accessible to all technical staffs.
Spiceworks is a very user-friendly and easy to use software to manage and keep track of all your IT assets. Take reports of computer specifications and it also offers a help desk system where users can send help desk requests. And this software is very popular among IT professionals, more than millions use Spiceworks to manage IT equipments.
Some of the key things you need consider while developing your documentation
- Software to be installed
- IP Address (manual or DHCP)
- Software configurations
- User accounts to be created
- If the system needs to be part of a domain, connecting to domain.
- File servers, shared folders which should be granted access.
Lock the computer's hard-drives
Faronics Deep-freeze is an application which can protect computers from most of the problems by locking the hard-disk. In deep-freeze terminology it's called freezing, you have the option to select or exclude partitions or hard-disks for freezing. Once deep-freeze is setup and installed all the settings and data would be irreversible. Every time you restart the computer deep-freeze will clear any changes you have made to the frozen hard-disks/partitions including new data and software changes. Even problems caused by viruses will be restored on reboot. This means your computer will remain as fresh as it was when deep-freeze was installed, all the settings and data would remain intact.
Keep any data which are needed in file servers instead of keeping data inside the computer. Windows Server and as well as Ubuntu servers enable to restrict file types. So it is possible to eliminate viral infections by restricting file types which carry malicious code such as exe,vbs,bat,msi.
Will software which promise increase in stability and performance worth installing?
These are just overly promoted products. A system with a fresh installation of Operating System and Applications doesn't necessarily need other additives for performance gains. A system with a good specification such as good memory, hard-disk, fast processors won't require additional fine-tuning to gain performance.
Use Cable management as much as possible
Tie the wires and cables with cable ties or use cable management to prevent people from tripping into cables as much as possible. This would also give it a more visually appealing appearance.
Avoid any unnecessary software
Try to avoid applications which are not needed for the work of employees. Cutting down software installations will also make the system more robust and stable. All software comes with bugs
Cut-down on any unnecessary hardware costs
Purchase computers which meet the requirements of the people using it. It would be an unnecessary cost to spend too much on high-end PCs where the users who will be using might be doing simple tasks such as checking e-mails and doing daily office activities.
Make Images of Hard Drives
Hard-disk images are like photocopies of the hard-disk. It can help in restoring a system with all the data and applications to the point when the image was made.
Making images after installing and configuring necessary software would save a lot of time. In case if you need to replace a system, you don't have to format and install everything from scratch. You can just restore from a copy of the Image you have made previously.
A very user-friendly and easy to use software for making image backups is Acronis True Image. Acronis allows you to take image backups to and from a portable hard disk. It even enables you to restore from images stored in network locations.
Use PCs of the same model
Troubleshooting would be a lot easier since all the PCs are the same model. Maintenance of the PCs can be done through one service center instead of having to rely on multiple service centers. And you have to also need to have only one image of the Operating System if you're considering to make hard-disk images of the computer.
Place the Network Switch in a easy to access place
Connectivity problems can occur at any time. Network switches can easily tell if a connection is dead or live.
Try expermenting with new stuffs too
Computers in Computer labs too should be managed in a similar fashion. There are several applications which can streamline your work as an IT guy. Always test any new thing before implementing. You never know until you have some hands-on experience with it.
Hope this information has helped you :-)