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Microsoft Windows troubleshooter goes remote

Admins can remotely reboot a desktop computer

Microsoft has expanded the capabilities of its Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) to allow administrators to troubleshoot ill-behaving desktop Windows computers from afar.

"This new version allows IT pros to use the DaRT features to both diagnose and repair [a] PC without having to physically be there," said Niamh Coleman, a Microsoft senior product manager, in a blog entry announcing the beta release of DaRT version 7.

DaRT is a collection of administrator tools for fixing faulty desktop Windows computers. It offers a set of commands for repairing computers that cannot be booted up. It has a crash analyser that can pinpoint where a problem occurs. It also offers the ability to restore the system to its last working state.

With this release, administrators can have the user boot directly into DaRT, instead of booting into their normal Windows session. Once the computer is booted into the DaRT environment, the user can hand control to the administrator over the network.

The new version also offers a number of other ways in which the DaRT image can be loaded onto a computer. It can be loaded onto a USB key or drive. It can be started over the network, by way of the PXE (network boot) network protocol or even be loaded onto the local drive, by way of the standard Windows recovery partition.

DaRT is a component of its Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), a collection of desktop management tools for enterprise administrators. MDOP is offered as an optional package for users of the Windows Intune, Microsoft's desktop management service.

Users can download a beta now or wait until its full release with the next version of MDOP, expected in the third quarter of this year. Existing MDOP users will have the update downloaded automatically when it is officially released.


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