March 24, 1997 10:00 AM ET
Tooling up for Win 95
Intel and Symantec ready wares to ease OS distribution
By Lisa DiCarlo and Norvin Leach

  Intel Corp. is readying tools designed to enable mass distribution of Windows 95 in a corporate setting.

Intel's LANDesk Configuration Manager enables unattended remote installation of operating systems and other software in networked PCs from a central location.

Configuration Manager also stores individual users' configurations, drivers and department-specific applications.

The software was due last October but is now slated for a second-quarter release, sources said.

Intel officials in Santa Clara, Calif., said the delay was due to Intel's decision to add more robust features to the package.

For some corporate sites, automated, centralized software distribution can't come fast enough. Many sites have not moved en masse to Windows 95 because of the costs and effort involved.

"I want to move to Windows 95, but I don't want to break the corporate budget doing it," said Henry Danziger, IS director at Johnson Controls Inc., in Plymouth, Mich. Danziger is responsible for a 3,200-seat division in a 24,000-seat organization, and the users are eager to move to Windows 95.

"We need to serve the OS and applications from a file server, and we need a solution to move to Windows 95 for a distributed enterprise," he said.

Although Danziger said the organization has not done a formal cost analysis of a manual 24,000-seat Windows 95 rollout, he estimated an optimistic minimum of a 1-hour setup time for each PC.

"Multiply that by 24,000, and I'd rather stay with [Windows 3.1] than take the alternate route," he said.

Mastering migration

Problem: Lack of mass distribution capability and unsophisticated tools have kept many large companies from migrating en masse to Windows 95.

Solution: Intel's forthcoming LANDesk Configuration Manager software enables unattended remote installation of operating systems and other software in networked PCs from a central location.

Hewlett-Packard Co. is looking to ease operating system distribution across the enterprise with a simplified version of Symantec Corp.'s NAN (Norton Administrator for Networks), due later this year. The product is in alpha testing.

HP bought NAN from Symantec earlier this year. The products will be folded into HP's OpenView product line and sold under the HP brand early in the second quarter, according to Kevin Haley, director of product marketing at Symantec, in Cupertino, Calif.

Symantec also is working on a version of NAN for Windows NT.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp. continues to slowly roll out minor utilities and upgrade packages in an effort to move users off earlier operating systems.

Last week, the Redmond, Wash., company announced the release of a $539 Windows 95 upgrade five-pack for small businesses.

In addition, Microsoft posted on its Web site a 100-page guide called "Automating NT Setup." The guide, written by Microsoft engineers, customers and consultants, contains best practices and tips about moving a corporation to NT 4.0. It supplements the deployment guide in the NT Resource Kit.

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