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Hands off desktop management

On Technology's On Command 4.0 lets IS managers install and customize applications on PCs without requiring user intervention or a technician.

On Technology next week will launch the latest version of its enterprise desktop management system.

On Command Version 4.0 lets IS managers install and customize applications and desktop configurations on PCs across local area networks without requiring user intervention or a technician to visit the PC, according to the company.

The package works through a piece of software called a preoperating system and through network booting technology that allows operating systems and applications to be deployed to multiple client PCs at the same time. On Command deploys software from centralized Windows NT or Unix servers.

Analysts said the pre-OS booting feature is a quality unique to this system.

"Other products out on the market wait until later in the process to start [their management functions]," said Stephen Elliot, an analyst with In-Stat. "This allows for better OS migration."

Other features include: a client migration mode which lets companies migrate existing desktops into the On Command environment for specific projects, like upgrading all desktops from one version of an office applications suite to another; "remote wake up," which allows administrators to schedule desktop management tasks for off-hours; and the desktop management interface browser that has been integrated with On Command administrative console, which gives help desk operations a real time view of installed hardware and software on managed PCs, the company said.

On Command 4.0 debuts on Monday and is priced between $100 and $195 depending on the number of desktops managed by the product. Additional Unix or NT server licenses are available at no extra charge, the company said.