Remote Branch Computers Management

So, we got these branch office that is at least one hour drive away from the main office. It has multiple computers, and no one in there has a clue on what to do when something goes wrong. Lo and behold, the second day I’m back to Jakarta, I was summoned to fix “network issue” there. After surviving the one-hour massive traffic jam in Jakarta, I reached the branch office, troubleshoot a bit, and decided that the network cable to one of the PC is faulty. Thirty minutes later, a new cable was bought in, and problems solved.

While I’m there, with my itchy hand, I noticed that some of the PCs there were logged in using Admin account. Later I found out that the Admin account uses “1234” as the password, which is known to everyone in the office (which is not good). Some PCs have all browsers you can imagine, toolbars, anti-virus (which is expiring in 15 days), Conficker worm, I Love You virus, and you-name-it, they’re all there.

To clean it all up, I did the following:

  • Changed Administrator password, so only one guy and myself know it.
  • Uninstall everything that is not necessary, additional browsers, anti-virus, toolbars, etc.
  • Clean up startup registry to make sure unnecessary applications don’t automatically start-up.
  • Install Microsoft Security Essentials (which is good and free), and did a full scan.
  • Scheduled a daily 5PM quick scan.
  • Updated the computer names to something that make sense. Previously, the computer names were like cryptic PC-4d33fa57f.
  • Some PCs still on Windows XP SP2, so I quickly updated to SP3.
  • Installed LogMeIn with my account, so I can connect to those PCs without having to brace the one-hour traffic everytime there are issues.

So yeah, that’s pretty much about it, but I’m happy that it looks a lot better after I left than they were.

Now, the side-effect with all these were my thumb drive that had all my utilities, and virus scanner, and so on were obviously infected. I had to remember not to plug in the thumb drive to other clean Windows PCs afterwards.

I waited till I reached home, plug into my Macbook (which is virus-resistant to Conficker and I Love You), and format the drive away, and the world is a much better place now with less computers infected by viruses.

All in a day’s work.

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