In my last article I covered ManageEngine Desktop Central's capabilities with regard to configuration management, software deployment, and patch management. I outlined that all three tasks are basically Configurations. Desktop Central has a few functions that are not organized as Configurations.

desktop-central-inventory The integrated Inventory solution is one of these. It has its own tab where all inventory settings are configured and where you can access all inventory data. You can either scan all your computers manually or schedule regular scans. Desktop Central supports hardware and software inventory. You can retrieve information, such as the number of installations of a certain program or a certain device. With a few mouse clicks you can find out on which machines a certain program has been installed. Programs can be arranged in categories. My favorite feature is the Prohibited Software function. Whenever Desktop Central finds a program in this list, it will just be uninstalled.

desktop-central-licensing Desktop Central comes with a good software licensing tool. To configure software licensing, you have to tell Desktop Central first which programs in your inventory database are commercial programs. These applications can then be added to a software group for which you can specify the number of purchased licenses and when they will expire. Desktop Central then generates an overview that lists all software groups with installed and available licenses.

In addition to hardware and software inventory, Desktop Central can also gather a variety of other information from your network. This data can be found in the Reporting tab. Desktop Central can generate reports about Active Directory objects (users, computers, user groups, organizational units, domains, and Group Policy objects), user logons, power management, Configurations, patch management, and inventory. I can't describe all of Desktop Central's reporting functions because they are quite comprehensive. I will just give you a few examples, though, so you get an idea what kind of information you can retrieve.

desktop-central-user-logon-reports For instance, reports about Active Directory user objects give you an overview of the recently added users, inactive accounts, unused accounts, and 15 other reports on user objects. Reports about user logons allow you to find out things such as who is currently logged on and on what machine. It is also possible to retrieve a logon history. The inventory reports allow you to generate a list of computers of a certain age or manufacturer. You can generate software license compliance and recently installed software to name just a few. Desktop Central also supports custom reports. Reports can be exported as PDF or CSV file.

desktop-central-tools The last functions I want to discuss are the remote management tools that come with Desktop Central: Remote Control, System Tools, Wake on LAN, and Remote Shutdown. The Remote Control tool enables you to log on remotely on a machine. It is not as fast as Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection (RDC), but it works fine in the Intranet if you want to demonstrate something to a user or fix a problem remotely. Unlike with RDC you can have any number of simultaneous connections opened for the same computer. With the System Tools you can schedule check disk, disk clean up, and a disk defragmenter remotely on targeted machines. Wake on LAN belongs to any modern client management tool. What I like about Desktop Central's implementation is the wake-up-speed option. So just in case your computers are a bit grouchy in the morning, you can give them a little more time to get their act together. With the Remote Shutdown utility you can shutdown, reboot, or lock computers, and you can also put them into hibernate or standby mode.

Desktop Central is a client management tool that encompasses all important desktop configuration tasks. Most small and mid-sized organizations won't need any other tool to manage their desktop computers. Desktop Central doesn't support OS deployment, but ZOHO Corp. offers a separate tool, ManageEngine OS Deployer, for this purpose. Together both products provide complete systems life cycle management starting from provisioning to retirement.

If you want the chance to win a license for Desktop Central, please send an email to:

contests-at-4sysops.com

with the subject ManageEngine Desktop Central. The deadline is July 12, 2009.

The winner will get licenses for 100 computers (worth $995) and the runner 50 (worth $545).

Update: Check out the new features of ManageEngine Desktop Central 7

2 Comments
  1. Erik 14 years ago

    Nice review! This seems like an interesting product. Is anyone else using it at their company? What do you think about the product/company?

  2. Thanks, Erik. Wish you all the luck with the contest!

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