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Workstation Maintenance and Power Management

Posted on 2010-09-02
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My company is entertaining the thought of requiring everyone to shutdown their computers at night to save money and electricity.  I currently have most of my maintenance tasks running in the evening so users will not be disrupted while they are working during the day.  All workstations auto-update from my WSUS server and I have a group policy in place to configure each workstation to work with WSUS.  I also run a weekly virus scan in the evening.  What can I do to allow the users to shut their computers down and still run maintenance in the evening?  I know Wake-On-LAN is an option but I am not sure of the best way to configure it to work with WSUS and I have never really worked with wake-on-lan in general to know the best way to set it up.  
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Question by:DarrinZuroff
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DMcCulla earned 100 total points
ID: 33591516
What about proposing a single day that users leave their PCs on overnight and run all service plans then? Thats what we have. Balance between the coin counters and the ferocious IT department that is I.
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by:Kenneniah
Kenneniah earned 100 total points
ID: 33591613
Wake on lan works for most from a sleep state, but if you are looking at actual shutdown then check the BIOS for a remote power up lan option. Not all computers can WOL from a full shutdown.

Also, WSUS doesn't push to clients so it wouldn't trigger WOL anyway. Group policy just sets the server and when, and the clients themselves check the server for updates at the specified time.

So if your computers support power up WOL, or if you choose to have them sleep instead, you will need to run something else to wake the clients. Something like.....
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Security/Operating_Systems_Security/Windows/Q_21922309.html

Also you could look at implementing System Center Configuration Manager
http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/en/us/configuration-manager.aspx
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb680929.aspx
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by:Donald Stewart
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ID: 33593082
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by:ChiefIT
ChiefIT earned 100 total points
ID: 33594032
Configure WSUS to download the updates. Then configure a GPO to only allow, "install updates and shut down" as the option upon the clients shutting down the machines. You do not need these machines to run all night long in order to get the latest updates. The clients will check in periodically, when logged on, and will download the updates from the WSUS server.
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by:Danny Child
Danny Child earned 100 total points
ID: 33617213
You can do some calcs on savings using the Kill-a-Watt and Watts Up Pro devices
http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/travelpower/7657/
http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/electronic/7acf/
 - it can be pretty surprising what different devices round the office use!  Also, rather than the "micro" approach, you can go "macro" and check what the building power meter uses out of hours.  We can get online meter readings every 30 minutes from our provider.  Run a check one evening with all PCs left on, and again the next night, with them off.

and there is other software to manage your shutdowns too.  
Nightwatchman from 1E
http://www.1e.com/softwareproducts/nightwatchman/index.aspx

Most of our PCs don't pull much power in regular use - about 45W for a base unit, and 25W for each screen.  They drop to even less when they go into their automatic sleep modes.  We found that a lot of the other building kit was more thirsty than the IT.
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by:DarrinZuroff
ID: 33898865
ChiefIT: Sorry for my lapse in responding, but I have a question.  If I configure a GPO for "install updates and shut down" does that actually mean all downloaded updates will be installed when the user shuts down the PC, or does that mean the updates will install at a random time and then shut down the machine?

Can I also configure in the GPO to remove the "shutdown without installing updates" option and automatically install updates if the user does not shut down their machine after a certain amount of time?  I need to make sure I remove all loopholes that would allow a user to bypass installing new updates.
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Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 33901719
It means that the updates are installed at random and will auto shut down the computer. So, that forces the PC to shut down.

You can remove the shutdown, and only allow the Install updates and shutdown for the users. So, when they shutdown, the install of updates is performed..

You can configure this a number of ways to act as you wish it to. The one I avoid is install and shutdown automatically. This is because an employee could be working on something and then all of a sudden the puter shuts down on them. They seem to get a little tweaked when that happens.
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Author Closing Comment

by:DarrinZuroff
ID: 34069660
I have not had the opportunity to put any of these things into practice so I will split the points.  Thank you for the great suggestions!
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