One of the most likely parts to fail on a typical workstation is the hard drive. The user powers on in the morning, and the BIOS screams “Unable to Boot!”.
Now, much work can often be done via the web, or at least, the user won’t freak as much if they can at least access the web. 🙂 Many times web based email, that is normally used externally, can also be used internally. Sales people can catch up on competitors by visiting websites, etc.
There is a cool CD available for free called SuperRescue that will allow a user to connect to the internet by booting off of the CD-ROM and loading Linux.
Everything is done in memory and off of the CD-ROM, so the disk drive can be completely dead. The system uses DHCP by default.
Even better still, the CD includes the modules needed to access fat and ntfs partitions (to view and audit NTFS permissions as well!), so you can copy the users data to the server over the network and allow the user to browse while you fix up another workstation for them with their data.
Cool stuff. Burn a copy and try it out.
You will be very surprised.
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