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I apologise in advance if I use the wrong terminology or have stupid ideas about the way things work. I am a newbie but I am really interested in learning and I hope that you may be able to help me.

I work at a school where we have approximately 100 windows computers. As it stands, they are all individual computers that connect to a number of wireless switches which are all connected to some scary looking hardware in the basement. My job is to see to the upkeep of all these computers, but often I need to do the same thing to all the computers at once. A typical task is that the boss might want a new piece of software installed on all the computers. It would also be good to be able to see which user was using a computer at any given time.

I know that there has got to be a a better way of doing this, presumably involving a server of some kind, but I don't have any idea what to look for on the internet when trying to find out how to implement a system where I can have more control from a single central computer.

I wondered whether anyone could give me a brief rundown of what is and isn't possible and also maybe point me in the direction of any comprehensive guides there may be somewhere on the internet to get a network like this up and running.

  • Do you have a budget for this project ? – user9517 Nov 27 '14 at 10:31
  • I don't have a budget, but I think it would need to be as cheap as is possible. The functionality can be basic but enough to warrant the switchover. – Thorleifs Nov 27 '14 at 10:34
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You are looking for configuration management.

A good step in the right direction would be to create a domain controller and add these computers to a domain. Then, you could use GPOs for the majority of configuration management tasks, often including installing software. That is a broad area and there is a learning curve associated with it.

For other tasks, there is plenty of enterprise configuration management software out there. Recommending ones in particular would be off-topic here though.

  • Thanks for the response. I am sure that there is a lot to learn and I I think it's amazing what you guys do but I do want to know where I could start learning about it all. Are there any recommended introductions to, for example, network administration for small businesses? Also, would it be OK to just list a couple common enterprise configuration management softwares? No need to recommend any particular one and risk starting a debate – Thorleifs Nov 27 '14 at 10:44
  • You might want to check out serverfault.com/help/on-topic. – Falcon Momot Nov 27 '14 at 10:50

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