ManageEngine Desktop Central 7's is a powerful systems management software. In this article (the first of two) I will give an overview of the tool's functionality.
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Zoho Corp., the publisher of ManageEngine Desktop Central raffles off two license of its desktop management software. The winner will receive a 100 computers annual subscription license of the Professional Edition (worth $995 USD) and the runner a 50 computer license ($545 USD). The deadline of this contest is January 7, 2012. If you want to have a chance to win one of the licenses, please send an email with the subject "Desktop Central" to .

Notice that Zoho Corp. also offers Desktop Central MSP 7 for managed service providers. This review is about Desktop Central 7.

Why do you need ManageEngine Desktop Central?

In a nutshell, ManageEngine Desktop Central is agent-based server and desktop administration software. Because Desktop Central 7 is managed by using a Web browser, you can perform systems management from any system in your organization, either on-campus or off-campus.

ManageEngine Desktop Central 7

ManageEngine Desktop Central 7

The software supports Windows operating systems only, and can handle any desktop Windows version from Windows 2000 forward. Specifically, this means you can use Desktop Central to manage the following Windows versions:

  • Windows 2000 Professional
  • Windows XP
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 2000 Server
  • Windows Server 2003 (including R2)
  • Windows Server 2008 (including R2)

Moreover, Active Directory is not required in order to use Desktop Central; the software can be used to administer both AD domains as well as peer-to-peer workgroup environments.

Specifically what types of server/desktop PC management can you perform with Desktop Central? I’m happy you asked. You should check out the Product Features Web page for detailed information, but here is the nutshell summary:

  • Software Installation (MSI and EXE are supported)
  • Patch Management (you can feasibly replace WSUS)
  • Remote Desktop Sharing (considered to be easier to use than Remote Desktop Services)
  • Asset Management (software licensing, metering, and control)
  • System Tools (scheduled defragmentation, disk cleanup, etc.)
  • Active Directory Reports (detailed reports on AD users, OUs, computers, etc.)

Truly, we can look at Desktop Central as a "one-stop shop" for our user and system administration needs. With this one package we can avoid having to use almost all of the sometimes cumbersome and confusing built-in Windows administration tools.

How much does it cost?

ManageEngine Desktop Central comes in four editions:

  • Standard Edition: Licensing starts at $295
  • Professional Edition: Licensing starts at $545
  • Enterprise Edition: Licensing starts at $695
  • Free Edition: Can manage up to 25 desktop systems

You should see the Desktop Central Edition Comparison page to check out the specific feature modules that are available in each product edition.

You can download an evaluation version of Desktop Central. The evaluation version is full-featured for 30 days, after which the license type is automatically converted to the free edition, which enables you to manage up to 25 computers.

In part 2 of this mini-series I will cover some of the major product features in Desktop Central 7.


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