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School ICT Policies Thread, Laptop loophole in School Administration; From my research, I found that you are OK to run 2 copies of XP on one physical box for ...
  1. #16

    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: Laptop loophole

    From my research, I found that you are OK to run 2 copies of XP on one physical box for this kind of environment which is more for testing than a production environment. I also use a fully paid up copy of VMWare Workstation to make the VMs.

    If you go for some of the upper-end VMWare products, you can do all kind of funky things to the VMs - check out the presentation on the website.

    This fullfils our requirement and the VMs will probably hardly get touched - especially since there is no software provided. I doubt some people will even run the thing to see what it is!

    I want all the laptops networked so that I can manage updates and I refuse to allow staff to be able to destroy what I've done to the machine. This seems like a good stop-gap and our recent influx of interactive whiteboards and bluetooth tablets means that it is a perfect time to force it on people.

  2. #17
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    Re: Laptop loophole

    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_
    I want all the laptops networked so that I can manage updates and I refuse to allow staff to be able to destroy what I've done to the machine. This seems like a good stop-gap and our recent influx of interactive whiteboards and bluetooth tablets means that it is a perfect time to force it on people.
    Can't fault you there!

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    Re: Laptop loophole

    I had a severe run-in with my Systems Manager about this yesterday! Thanks for posting this one.

    Anyway, what I prefer to do for staff laptops is give them a local account with at least Power Users membership. That way (other than things that change system files) they can generally do *enough*. For some that hasn't been enough, and so with trepidation I gave out local admin accounts to several (they *all* have stuff they need to do on the machines at home) with encumbent warning that if they mess it up they cannot come crying to me. Well, Systems Manager does not like this at all. He doesn't want them being local admins on laptops, period. And I caught the rough end of this yesterday.

    I think I'll stick to Power User and pass on the others to "the boss". Even so, having a domain account and a local account seems sensible to me if the laptops are (obviously?) going off site and in some cases simply being used at home as a com-puter.

    Still got a bit of ass left....

    :-(

  4. #19

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    Re: Laptop loophole

    This thread on TES forums may be of interest as to the feeling in schools about admin access on laptops

    http://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffro...&messagePage=1

    The general feeling is that a goodly number of teachers think that they know how to operate a computer at administrator level and a goodly number of NMs / Techies think that the few that can are not worth the hassle created by the majority that will only bugger things up.

    And then there is the usual "we are better than you" slanging match from both sides ... and then a range of emails between people which results in finding that there is actually a general concensus of "use a bit of common sense and trust those that have proven that they can be trusted!"

  5. #20
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    Re: Laptop loophole

    Thought I'd revive this topic as we've just got a load [12] of new Fujitsu laptops and I'm wondering how to get the GP for laptops to be nigh-on perfect hehe

    Is there any way to turn off Offline Files completely - except for the Home directory?

    The other snag with this - although I dont believe it will be that big of a problem - is that when I logged on, it started syncronising my home folder. I've used a rediculous amount of space [tho I'm guessing in *most* cases it will be ok] so it started copying all the files across onto the laptop.

    Am I right that this syncronisation is only a differential syncronisation i.e. that once it has done it once, only the changed/new files will be copied during logon/logoff?

    Another thought is, do you use Offline files? If yes, how have you got it setup? If no, then why not and how have you prevented it?

    I'm using a unattended CD which works fine for me - as it automatically joins them onto the domain and stops to ask the computer name and carries on [I thought it easier this way that messing around with the random name afterwards hehe].

    Any thoughts asap [as always] as I need to get the most of them installed and running by the end of today

    Cheers
    Nath

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    Re: Laptop loophole

    The best way to turn off offline files is to just disable it on the share. This is something I wanted to desperately find out as file synchronisation was the bane of my life until I turned it off entirely. It was a real PITA and I was glad to see the back of it.

    To disable it on the share, right click on the folder, press sharing. Press Caching and uncheck "Allow caching of files in this shared folder".

    Alternatively turn it off in a GPO. Its a computer setting, its under CC\admin templates\network. The option is "Offline Files", disable it to turn it off.

  7. #22

    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: Laptop loophole

    @tarquel: The default is to automatically cache any redirected folders (handy since these will include the home drive, start menu and desktop). Alternatively, you can use a GPO to turn this feature off and use 'Administratively Assigned Offline Files' - it's in the GPO - and bang the stuff in there.

    Your assumption that it only copies the changes is correct.

  8. #23
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    Re: Laptop loophole

    All our Teaching staff and a good number of other support staff have laptops.

    I started out with restricted access but found that staff would go on training programs when they needed to install software and could not and this caused some bother.

    We came up with a 'contract' that staff had to sign re software, home access etc.. and then opened up the gates to local admin rights.

    They know that we will ask for a laptop and check it for liceneced software, dodgy files and stuff.

    Touch wood but in the three years of staff freedome we have not had any major break of the trust. Just one learning mentor who always needed to format his hard drive prior to us collecting them for upgrades and a teacher who had a large amount of pop up porn.

    When they login to the admin domain we enforce microsoft updates and anti virus so are covered from that angle. Not had many virus attacks.

    The major problem i have with teachers is getting them to backup their data. Our head of Technology has just had his laptop stolen from home and quess what? he hasn't backed up any of his data to the network, CD or pen drive in months.

  9. #24

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    Re: Laptop loophole

    @e_g_r: That is exactly why I have started using VMWare on the laptops... bang a basic install of XP in VMWare Player and the staff can trial the software as much as they like. You still have the benefit of backing up their files using offline files too.

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    Re: Laptop loophole

    I suppose a VM will make the rebuild easier but the core problem is having non technical users with admin rights on a network client.

  11. #26
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    Re: Laptop loophole

    @norphy:

    Sounds about right. I see that sometimes when logging on, it starts to cache other things - one of them being the shared [hidden] drive where *all* the staff's home folders are.... wonder how long that would take lol

    Do you [or anyone] set the disallowed file extentions when using offline files at all? stop the process from copying back and forth *.zip or *.tmp files for example.

    I think i will turn off the offline files option on the shares of the server to prevent it mirroring everything on the server lmao

    @Ric:
    The default is to automatically cache any redirected folders (handy since these will include the home drive, start menu and desktop).
    Yep - but alas when I disconnect the lan cable or try and log on without the cable in, I get the error messages that it cannot load the desktop, app data, [roaming profile]... etc. Have I forgotten to change another setting here or something?

    Cheers
    Nath

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    Re: Laptop loophole

    We use a package called Ezback on your student laptops. all the students activates is written to a buffer, then when the machine is rebooted, the buffer is lost and everything is returned as you left it. C: drive is protected and D: drive is unprotected so that they can save their work to it if they loos wireless connection to the server. Reboot and reconnect copy work onto server.

  13. #28
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    Re: Laptop loophole

    We're a primary school with a wireless network. I currently install all software via group policy. I try to have everything running locally, so reduce the burdon on the wireless network.
    Staff laptops are not conneted to the wireless network, but I would like to, and have all the software available for them to use at home. However, imagine the scene:
    Teacher brings in their laptop after 6 months at home. Group policy spends 25 minutes on startup installing tons of software that has built up! Is there any way of allowing a 'Skip Instillation' button? Or an easy way for staff to install software on their own?

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    Re: Laptop loophole

    You could aways put the affected machines in a different organisation unit in Active Directory.

    Another possibility is to publish rather than assign the software to the macine. That way the administrator can choose to install rather have the install forced on them at boot time.

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    Re: Laptop loophole

    We just add the allstaff domain group to the local administrators group on laptops to give staff full priviledges on their own machines. All student laptops are rangered.

    We also create a local admin account for them to use at home so they dont have to keep changing our proxy settings to use their own broadband connections.

    We have very few problems like this.

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