I was previously a Network Manager in a large high school, so although now im working for a small company i still find this place so useful!
My new workplace has approx 40 desktops/laptops with no servers or domain in place. Problem is only a handful have windows 7 pro installed, the rest are mostly home premium - which means to be able to put them on a domain they all need the Windows upgrade license. Upon calculating this cost as well as windows server licenses and cost of a server it quickly got out of hand to the point where its not affordable so at the moment i'm doing my best with the workgroup they are all connected to.
So my question is, does anyone have any advice how i can get the best of a workgroup. I'm in the process of setting each machine up to be able to be picked up by Spiceworks (never used it previously) and configured them all to be able to vnc and rdp onto them, so that it gives me some kind of management control over them.
I'm just looking for ideas and inspiration to try and make the best out of a limited situation for the time being so any ideas will be appreciated!
Well, what i have in place currently is shared printers (although im not sure how to restrict the colour printer to only allow select users print to it) At the moment i just havent installed it on some desktops which will probably suffice but i'd like to be able to prevent them from being able to print to it if possible.
I've taken images of the desktops, we have a variety of different laptops and desktops so its left me with a lot of images but ive just been taking them with acronis and thats not too bad.
Software updates are proving difficult. My solution at the moment has been to setup a share on the NAS we have then drop in installation files. I can then log on or remote onto the clients and browse to the share and run it. It works but it still requires me to click and run 35 individual instances of an installer which isnt exactly a quick process.
The NAS i have setup to store my I.T files and folders and for personal and shared drives we have a 3rd party vendor which gives them access to the drives over the internet, but it can be buggy and unrealistic to use if you want to store large files like ISO's on those drives.
Our email is offsite again and connects through the internet.
I guess i just miss the AD integration, and everything you get with a domain and just want to maximse the workgroup so its as much like a domain i.t network as possible so was just wondering if there were things i could do with it that i hadnt considered or over looked.
Haven't tried it in win7 but I know it used to use the built in guest accounts for workgroup printer access.
If you disabled that (where it's shared) it should require a login/pass to access it. Then you can setup a user account that you'll use when first connecting to the printer.
In terms of the software deploys (unless you want 3rd party stuff) you could always add a startup script that checks network share for installers etc. how crude you want it is your choice, either just install everything in the folder, or make shared folder per pc etc etc.
Not exactly cleanest way, but removes the need for local access etc. you'd just add a new installer/cmd etc into the shared folder
You can set permissions on the security tab if you are truly sharing it and not setting it up as a local IP printer, this should work in a work group too. If it is a newer network printer and you do install as a local ip printer, you should be able to restrict IPís in the web interface.
As Steve mentioned for policies you can deploy reg keys, I think the first policy I would configure this way is WSUS. I know exporting the keys from a pro machine and importing them into a home machine worked on XP and donít see any reason it shouldnít work in W7. This will give you the windows updates.
Software Deployment / Updates
For software updates I have two solutions, the crude and cheapest solution is psexec. You can use it to copy and silently install software just like a GPO or sccm would. I used to do this until I found PDQ Deploy.
Second method for deploying software is to use PDQ Deploy. I use it in a domain environment but I think it works with a workgroup too.
They have a free version and a pro mode, but the price is very reasonable and well worth the cost.