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7-Step PC Imaging Checklist

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July 14, 2020

Whether from a human virus or a computer virus, businesses are feeling increasingly vulnerable to production downtime. In the current environment, computers are crucial lifelines that keep businesses solvent. However, ensuring multiple offices, departments, teams, and users are set up correctly can cause organizational headaches. Beyond existing technology obstacles, many businesses must also optimize PCs for remote use. Today, teams are increasingly geographically separated and need efficient solutions that limit downtime and maximize productivity.

The Benefits of PC Imaging

PC Imaging is the best way for companies to optimize technology, improve security, and efficiently configure numerous devices. PC Imaging is the process of formatting computers before they are released to users. The goal is to capture all software and data on a correctly configured machine and easily replicate it on another computer. This process enables devices to operate on the same system with the same functionality and security privileges. 

This process is most common when setting up new devices, restoring machines to a clean state after the departure of a previous user, or restoring a machine that has been corrupted or is otherwise dysfunctional compared to a known working configuration. 

Unfortunately, many businesses lack any form of workstation image standardization. Instead, they rely on whatever default operating system is pre-configured on newly purchased devices. Organizations with a minimal number of devices can rely on internal IT departments to clean, install, and configure individual computers. However, the more devices a company deploys, the more risky, time-consuming, and complicated the task becomes. Thankfully, this checklist will simplify the process with the 7 best practices for PC imaging.

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Your PC Imaging Checklist 

1. Start Fresh

Although it may be tempting to salvage existing PC Images to avoid duplicating efforts, starting fresh is a much better practice to ensure you don't duplicate bad processes by mistake. By starting anew, companies have a clean slate and can document updates and changes more effectively.

2. Identify End Users

For companies with separate teams or departments, it's essential to identify the relevant types of programs, permissions, and privileges for each department. Accounting departments have very different needs than design centers. When appropriate, it is useful to create different master PC images for each department to optimize workflow.

3. Verify Compatibility

Not every PC Image will work for every workstation. Therefore, before creating a Master Image, it's prudent to verify all systems can handle the configuration requirements of a PC Image. Something as simple as a system update can render some programs obsolete; therefore, it's crucial to consider things like computer type, hard drive capacity, RAM, graphics processing power, operating system, and compatible software before computer imaging begins. 

4. Create a Master Image

With deployment criteria validated, IT technicians can initiate a Master Image. There are many programs available to facilitate the creation of a computer image, and IT professionals should determine which one is best suited for a company's needs. Before deploying a PC image, technicians should patch the Operating System (OS) to ensure images are as up to date as possible. Next, technicians should install and update applications relevant to the target user's system and configure appropriate permissions and privileges.

5. Maintain Drivers

Device drivers are programs that operate or control peripheral devices connected (wirelessly or directly) to a computer. Technicians should double-check that all drivers are up-to-date and functioning correctly before updating any computer image.

6. Audit Master Image Regularly

Companies should develop processes and procedures for keeping computers optimized. A best practice is to schedule a monthly audit of master images to ensure programs, permissions, and privileges are functional and current. This practice helps minimize the number of system updates and configuration changes needed each time imaging is applied.

7. Document Changes

Companies should remain diligent about documenting changes or updates to any Master Image. Proper documentation can save IT departments hours of headaches by simply noting the date of image, base configuration, and changes since the last version. 

While this PC Imaging checklist only features the high-level steps for internal IT departments to consider, it should give companies a general framework for simplifying the deployment of multiple devices. Organizations should reference this PC Imaging checklist throughout their planning and strategy phases in order to develop realistic timelines and budgets.

Deployment Made Simple.

Companies may determine that device deployment is more complicated than their internal team can handle. In this case, it's prudent to seek out an IT services partner like BLM Technologies with expertise in PC Imaging.

Learn more about IT Services

Through FlexForce, BLM Technologies can address the IT support, service delivery, and project management needs that are synonymous with professional PC Imaging. FlexForce provides highly specialized, on-demand maintenance and IT services with technicians who are experts at imaging computers as well as countless other IT tasks. FlexForce's nationwide pool of certified technicians enables maximum geographic flexibility, including reliable support across multiple locations to ensure workstations are deployed effectively with improved accuracy and security.

Begin with Expert Project Management Services

Armed with information, authority, and a gift for communication, BLM Technologies' expert Project Management services group delivers projects on-time and on-budget. This project delivery expertise has helped hundreds of companies navigate complex logistical challenges and ensure their teams were set up correctly from pre-planning to completion. With just one call, businesses can guarantee that their employee workstations are ripe for success both at the office and remotely. Call BLM Technologies for IT Support solutions that provide organization, flexibility, and manpower to reduce pressure on IT departments.

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