Rules

Secret ingredients to quality software

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Rules to Better PCs

6 Rules

  1. Do you benchmark your PC?

    It is important to benchmark your PC so that when making a major change to your PC you can be assured that it has been an improvement.

    There are a lot of great tools that can test the speed of your hardware, but these won't tell you if, for example, upgrading to the latest version of Windows has sped up or slowed down your computer.

    PassMarkhowever will give you a holistic view of how fast your computer can run specific software

    Figure: Good Example - Done video after updating Windows to latest version

  2. Do you know the quickest way to get your Windows 10 SOE up and running?

    Your developers should be using Windows 10 for a number of reasons, the primary one being it is faster than Windows 8. The next step is to get the Standard Operating Environment (SOE) installed. You have a few choices:

    • Manually - it can take over a day to install your favorite 20 or so apps
    • Windows Image - there is an overhead of maintaining the .WIM file as software changes - RECOMMENDED FOR LARGE COMPANIES 100+ NON TECHNICAL STAFF
    • Use a package manager (eg. chocolatey/Winget) - RECOMMENDED FOR SMALLER COMPANIES <100

    Use a package manager (Chocolatey)

    Assuming that Windows 10 is already installed, then get your SOE installed fast by following these steps:

    1. Logon and configure Windows 10
    2. Install Windows Updates
    3. Join laptop to the Domain (or run a Logon-Script.bat to get printers, Word templates, etc. Contact SysAdmin to join laptop to the domain)
    4. Install and run a Chocolatey script to get most of the software
    5. Install all rest of the standard Software that does not support Chocolatey [SSW Only]
    6. In case you lose your laptop, it is a good idea to stick a business card to the bottom
    7. For branding reasons, stick your company sticker to the laptop

    LoginScript
    Figure: SSWLoginScript.bat

    ChocolateyScript
    Figure: SSWPackages.ps1 which runs Chocolatey command to install SOE software

    NonChocolateyApp
    Figure: SOE Software that is not supported by Chocolatey

    SSWLaptopBranding
    Figure: Company branding on laptop

    1. If you are preparing the machine for someone else or migrating an old PC, you could send an email based on the template below. Don't forget to change the names where necessary:

    Hey Ana,

    Your new computer is ready. ⭐️

    * Machine name is COBRA
    * Model: ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen8
    * Operating System: Windows 10 Enterprise installed and activated.

    Done - I have followed an SSW Rule: https://rules.ssw.com.au/do-you-know-the-quickest-way-to-get-your-windows-10-soe-up-and-running and this included:

    * Data - I have copied the data files from your old PC (MountainGoat) to your new C: drive
    * Branding - A SSW sticker has been added
    * Power adapter - I labeled it for easy recognition
    * Underneath - I stuck your business card in case it gets stolen

    Done - then I followed a SugarLearning Item: https://my.sugarlearning.com/SSW/items/8159/pc-install-and-configure-your-laptop and this included:

    * Software - Installed all your software via Chocolatey
    * Printer - Added the main office printers

    Done - then I followed a SysAdmin SugarLearning Item: https://my.sugarlearning.com/SSW/items/13220/snipe-it-asset-management and this included:

    * Asset - Added the asset to our asset management tool, Snipe-IT: https://snipe.ssw.com.au/hardware/593
    * Underneath - I added a QR Asset Tag (look here if you ever need to know your computer name)

    Now I need you to do (we can do this together if you are stuck, just give me a call 🕺)

    1. Now login and check Microsoft - Teams App, Outlook
    2. Now login and check Google - Chrome will bring back your bookmarks
    3. Plugin external monitors - Configure your screens
  3. Do you know what to do when you have a PC problem?

    When your laptop/desktop PC malfunctions beyond repair, you should follow the following steps:

    1. Tweet about your problem to related support Twitter accounts (e.g. Microsoft if Windows breaks down)
    2. Send an email to SysAdmin with error numbers and any other useful data

    If your PC needs to be reinstalled, follow Do you know the quickest way to get your Windows 10 SOE up and running?

  4. Do you use a package manager?

    A package manager is a collection of software tools that automate the process of installing, upgrading, configuring, and uninstalling computer programs in a consistent manner. Chocolatey is a great package manager, easy to use way to manage software on Windows.

    chocolatey

    To get started with Chocolatey open up Command Prompt in Administrative mode, type in:

    @powershell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Command "iex ((new-object net.webclient).DownloadString('https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))" && SET PATH=%PATH%;%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\chocolatey\bin

    Alternatively, install Chocolatey via their website.

    Alternatives: Homebrew on a Mac

  5. Do you call SysAdmins before formatting company-owned laptops?

    It is important to make sure all standards are followed before formatting a laptop that is managed by your company.

    SysAdmins follow all kinds of procedures and standards to make sure all company-owned laptops and devices are configured correctly, with the right permissions, users and applications. Refer to Do you know the quickest way to get your Windows 10 SOE up and running? to get the best way of setting up your computer with the right applications.

    If you, for any reason, has a company-owned laptop and needs to format it for various reasons (e.g. slowness, forgotten computer, new computer) it is important to give your SysAdmins a call first to ensure any pre-steps are followed, for example:

    1. Backing up the current data in the laptop
    2. Ensuring no client data is present
    3. Ensuring the new admin username set follows the password standards

    Failing to contact your SysAdmins might lead to computers that need to be reformatted down the line, meaning unnecessary rework!

  6. Do you use a standard local admin account?

    Having a local admin account that is not the built-in admin account Windows creates at first is an important way to get access back to your system if any troubles arise.

    When first setting up, Windows creates a local administrator account that can change everything in the system – this account cannot be deleted, just disabled. It is good practice to disable this account and create a new one, following your own company password and naming standard, that is also a local administrator on the PC.

    It is also good practice to use a script (or Group Policy) to set that admin account, fewer errors than doing it manually.Have a look at our script for that: https://github.com/SSWConsulting/SSWSysAdmins.LocalAdminAccount

    Having a local admin has many benefits, including:

    1. “Backdoor” or offline access if no domain controller is available to serve login requests e.g. no internet, remote locations
    2. Consistent admin user across all devices e.g. no need to guess which password or user was created for that machine

    But it also has cons:

    1. If an attacker gets the username and password for that admin account, it can control any machine – Important to have a different admin account for different types of services e.g. servers, BYO devices, laptops, desktops
    2. If a password is compromised, changing the password of all devices might be cumbersome
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