MSDN Subscription.. and the winner is…

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Congratulation to Brandon Scott @brandonscott3 who has one a MSDN subscription worth over £7,000.

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Here’s Brandon’s story

“During the summer of 2010, we heavily relied upon Microsoft Deployment Toolkit to re-image our ten IT rooms, netbooks and other computers around the school (in total 800). It was lovely to simply boot into the network and then reinstall the computer. However, this was not the case in the summer of 2009, where we had to use a bootable version of Norton Ghost from a USB stick to first upgrade to Windows 7. I estimate that we cut at least half of the time taken to re-image the school using MDT rather than Ghost yet this time was quickly filled to carry out other jobs around the site.

The only trouble with MDT was that you need to be able to take the perfect image of the system you wish to image other computers with, therefore meaning the image had to contain all the software – activated. With Mindjet’s MindManager, this quickly became a problem. The application must be activated on every single computer via the internet, to eliminate piracy of their application. Therefore this meant we could build the application into the image, yet we would need to activate it manually.

Another factor to add in is proxy servers, and as the computers weren’t yet joined to the domain, Group Policy didn’t take effect. To boot up, logon, change proxy settings and activate MindManager it took roughly five minutes. Five minutes multiplied by 800 computing devices would take apparently 67 hours. Thus, we had to think of another idea that could speed up this process.

Therefore, I spent 30 minutes one evening, programming a VB.NET application that would automate this process for me. Another thing we couldn’t set in MDT due to different monitors throughout the school was screen resolution so I also added this. Fittingly, I decided to name my application Post-MDT. I came into school the next day and was surprised to say that it worked first time. Throughout the day I tweaked certain bits and added other features to make it work the best it could and then we used it throughout the site.

When reimaging netbooks and laptops today it is still being used and it made a difficult and irritating task become much easier yet perhaps not less annoying. Since its first creation it has had a new design and other features have been added (domain changer and application installer for teachers) making it a product that reduced our time taken to reimage, meaning less stress and more time for other jobs.

As you can see in the image shown below, it has a really easy to use interface and an automated version that is one click alongside it that automatically restarts when specified options have been completed.

I have made three other applications which also make technician’s lives easier, namely, EduTechs Proxy Changer, EduTechs Start Menu Replicator and lastly, EduTechs Student Finder.”

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