Suggestions for Windows management in K-12 Education

New Contributor II

We've got a JSS managing a few dozen Macs which is great but we've still got about sixty Windows machines in need of management. I've got Recon.exe on them so I'm at least getting inventory but I'm coming to terms with the fact I likely won't be in a Mac-only environment any time soon. So, I'm looking for suggestions on management software for such a small environment. We don't have any servers in place (except for the OS X JSS box) so after cost, the next biggest thing would be cloud-based. Something that could return inventory data and deploy software is primarily what I'm looking for. Patching and remote control would just be icing on the cake. Any suggestions as to what I should be looking at?


Honored Contributor

PDQ Deploy might be an option to look into.


I would go for Windows Server and move to a domain, more work now, seriously worth it in the long run but you need to put in the effort to learn it. Doing this will give you Window updates (WSUS), Active Directory and Group Policy. Windows Package Publisher plugs into WSUS and works really well. Its a lot to learn but you don't need to learn it all at once. Inventory is already done by Recon so will avoid needing Intune (a lot more full featured, read complex). You don't need full blown server hardware, just something reliable. How are you doing user accounts now?

Failing a domain you can stay in a workgroup and run a local script on startup that downloads a script from a share on your current OS X box and then runs it. Because the script is centrally located it is easy to edit and can be used to make what ever changes you want on your clients (Set proxy, install software etc.). I have seen this work very well and (initially) more intuitive for experienced Apple admins without windows server experience. Windows PowerShell scripting language borrows a lot of syntax from shell scripting so can be useful quite quickly.


New Contributor II

Thanks for both of these suggestions. PDQ Depoy (and Inventory) both look very tempting--largely because they seem fairly easy to set up and use. I like the idea of using Windows Server in theory but Microsoft does not make it easy to find what I'd need or figure out how much it'd cost. I'd love to hear any other suggestions but for right now, I think the tools from Admin Arsenal are taking the cake.

Release Candidate Programs Tester

I also vote for PDQ. It's made our life much easier with the ability to push packages to machines and you can also schedule a time to retry any machines that fail when you deploy a package.