The use of NComputing devices in schools has been a bitter-sweet experience in the last 8 years. The deployment of ncomputing’s technology in schools in Uganda was received with much joy given the advantages that came with it. This joy however is steadily waning due to the challenges institutions are facing in maintaining the equipment.
Related: NComputing M300 Setup
With all the advantages of deploying thin clients, NComputing comes with a rather disturbing fact – End of Life details of which can be accessed here. The ‘End of life’ of a selected device means that after that date, NComputing as a company refers to the device as obsolete and cannot give you any kind of support for it.
It should also be remembered that re-installing and re-registering the gadget is not a good option since NComputing determines how many times you can register it. When it comes to a school environment where the PCs are maintained almost on termly basis, you may run out of times you have to register rendering your gadget useless.
My experience in deploying and offering support with thin clients has helped me explore ways of getting around this. I have ensured that E-zone School of Computing and Trinity College, Nabbingo among others use these devices longer and almost forever with almost no fuss.
- Set up your PC with all the required software and drivers. This could include Office, PDF Readers, Browsers, Printers and Scanners. For an Internet Café, timing software and OCR software should be included on the list.
- Install Deep Freeze and lock drive C.
- Take your machine thru a test to check any compatibility and performance issues.
- Get another Hard Disk and clone your system. You should keep the cloned HDD safely in a remote location where you will not be tempted to use it for other purposes. This clone is an exact replica of your system meaning that even when you switch hard disks, users will not tell the difference. Most importantly, the registration details of your NComputing device are also cloned thereby removing the need for re-registering. To learn more about cloning, read this article.
Good news is, because your system is protected by deep freeze, you are very, very unlikely to suffer from system failures. Your system will work like new every day for as long as you want. To get more details about deep freeze, visit this link.
Just in case your system crushes, you have a copy on the cloned rive and all you need is to put the cloned drive in your system and your machine will work perfectly again. There will be no need for reinstalling the entire system. This is how I keep my PCs at E-zone Internet Café running all year round without major incidents.
Stephen Dumba is the co-ordinator Central Region ICT Teachers Association of Uganda and Director E-zone School of Computing. Besides teaching, he is a veteran Computer Repair Technician, a Web Designer and a regular speaker at tech events and teachers’ workshops.
+256 772 111 223 / +256 752 111 223 / firstname.lastname@example.org