Comprehending the Roaming User on Windows NT (Software Packaging Considerations)
Alright, here's the scenario:
Your boss shows up at 4:45 Friday afternoon and has had a revelation, he explains it to you in the following manner: "I want to sit down at any desk that our company owns anywhere in the world, and have my exact desktop come up." With that, he trails off, staring into nowhere with a stupid, blank stare on his face, while you start to compile the list of problems in your head.
To him, that sounds like it isn't such a difficult task, but to you, it is another beast indeed. There is a (remote) possibility that you can get this up and running, but the most important thing is to get all of the ideas and necessities on paper prior to going forward. Here are a few of the considerations to keep in mind before attempting an implementation of roaming users.
1. Centralized support. One group (and only one) must be responsible for the desktop and the applications. They can delegate responsibility as they see fit.
2. Globalize your software packages. Make one package for each group globally. This might incorporate some higher level scripting, but will allow for central management of those applications. This way, there can only be managed differences in the programs.
3. Lock end users out of the equation. Even lock their keyboards and mouses while software is being installed. Also, no matter who they are, they do not get local administration rights to their machine. Giving local administration to your users will not lend to managed desktops.
4. Standardize on desktop and software. The global company must come up with all of it's standards (i.e. - one Anti-Virus, one browser, etc.) This must be adhered to throughout the firm. These standards have to be written once and then can not be amended.
* This concept will be easier to implement and centralize in the Windows 2000 world because of the Active directory and the packaging tool coming with the OS. These will both lend to centralized local administration.
Good luck in your attempts with this, let me know if you actually get it locked down.