Persystent Automates Desktop Repair

The new automated desktop management tool offers a policy-based approach and repairs damage before booting the system.

Four-year-old startup Persystent Technologies on Monday will introduce a new support tool for desktop management, designed to automatically repair day-to-day damage.

The company is encouraging desktop administrators to beat a path to its door for its a unique, policy-based approach to maintaining stable and healthy operating environments for end users.

The tool allows IT operators to set up policies on which operating systems and applications are authorized for use and provides enforcement of those policies at the desktop, to beef up compliance with corporate guidelines, government regulations and software licenses.

Persystent Enterprise, already in use at some customer sites, includes a client that runs on each managed Windows desktop and works behind the scenes to ensure that the operating system, configuration, registry settings and so on remain in a stable and healthy mode.

Before a machine boots up the operating system, the client looks at the entire configuration to make sure all policy-dictated elements are in place, and that settings, applications, personalization, cookies are as they should be and have not been altered by malware or by a new installed program that might have altered such settings the last time the system was in use.

"In that pre-boot mode we make sure all that is pristine, then we get out of the way and we launch [Windows] XP," said Ken Evans, vice president of marketing for Persystent.

In the server component, any policy updates that have been made are sent to the client, which ensures that on the next reboot, the update will be loaded. "The same is true if you download a forbidden applet during the day — we remove that," Evans added.

Persystent Enterprise can be used as a deployment and a migration tool, to download software, applications and patches from a central location, and to change configuration settings by user or by groups.

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It can also be used in conjunction with third-party imaging tools, such as Symantecs Ghost. The company, which has not gone public before with its offering, also recently added the ability to inherit software images from existing imaging tools such as PatchLink and other third parties. "We recognize PatchLink activities and update our policy," Evans said.

Users at Tennant who deployed the tool to hardened Panasonic tablet PCs sought out the tool to keep service technicians in the field up and running, according to Tom Hayes, IT application manager at the Minneapolis-based manufacturer.

"Over the years PCs have been notorious for the blue screen of death where the OS wont come up. That means we have to send them back to our offices. But that costs time and money. Persystent Enterprise solves that problem. If someone got a corrupted system file— if they reboot, itll replace it," he said.

"If someone puts software on the devices with spyware or viruses, it will take that away and start back with a clean environment. Weve had these systems running since September. Weve not had to bring back a machine because of software problems," he added.

Policies are created using templates or scripts that are shipped with the product. Users can also create more customized policies.

An updated version of the product is due on Feb. 6. It is priced at $99.95 per seat.

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