Pointdev's developers have made changes and enhancements to this product since we last reviewed it, but retained its extensive administrative capabilities.
The software now includes remote Windows Registry management, support for migrating users, shared folders and printers, improved file and directory browsing features, plus support for Windows Terminal Services.
Installation is simple, and the system requirements are modest. Ideal Administration can run on any system with Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4 or above, Windows 2000 or Windows XP, but not Windows 95/98. The software is still easy to use and carrying out normal administrative tasks presents no difficulties.
We were particularly impressed by the fact that we could administer a server without needing a remote control session.
Administrative tools are comprehensive, presenting all kinds of useful server data, including hot-fix status, software inventories and user account information, as well as detailed information such as the number and type of disk drives, with utilisation figures.
The administrator can monitor processes on individual servers, and can start and stop them as required. User accounts, groups and trust relationships can be managed, as can device and file shares.
All these operations are carried out using the existing Windows facilities. There is no need to install any software on the managed servers.
Ideal Administration has a remote control facility available for those times when nothing else will do. It uses a version of the TightVNC remote control software, modified to provide increased security.
TightVNC will also allow use with Windows 98 systems. This can be installed across the network from the Ideal Administration workstation.
When we used the facility, we found that it worked without problems, opening a separate window for the remote display and giving us full access to the target system.