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Replacing a Dead PC

You may be familiar with the boat anchor mode of PC operation—in other words, it's not usable for some reason. Let's assume that, for a change, this situation was not caused by anything that the user or an overeager tech support person did. Instead, some critical piece of PC hardware failed. The box has been pronounced deceased by the appropriate corporate staff member, and you are going to plunk down a brand new box for this unfortunate user. The only software loaded on the new machine is Windows 2000 Professional. How can IntelliMirror help?

Being a typical user, rather than wait for anyone's help, when the cardboard box with cow spots is delivered to his desk, he rips it open like it's Christmas morning and starts plugging wires into slots until all the little green lights are blinking happily. Then, encouraged by all the cheery little lights, he decides to plug the thing into the network jack and try logging on. Amazingly, he is greeted with a logon prompt. He enters his usual logon credentials and, when the desktop appears, everything looks as it did on the boat anchor that just departed in a trash can. The color scheme, shortcuts, screensaver, applications, URLs—all his settings are there. Best of all, when he looks in My Documents, all his files are there safe and sound.

How did we get to this happy state? The IntelliMirror infrastructure, of course. In a disaster recovery scenario, the entire recovery configuration is set up through Group Policy. Group Policy settings follow the user and are applied wherever the user logs onto the network. This gives the appearance that the data is following the user because the data location is configured through the Group Policy objects. This means that wherever the user logs on, retrieval of the contents appears to be available from the local computer.

This solution isn't limited to the user who gets a new computer. The user could have also moved to another workstation. In that case as well, all the data, settings, and environment would be mirrored on the network.

I described a case in which the new PC came preloaded with the Windows 2000 OS. Remember that even if it had a totally blank hard drive, you could have achieved the same happy ending by using the Remote OS Installation facility of Windows 2000.

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