A-to-Z Index


Desktop Management


What is Desktop Management?

In general, Desktop Management is the ability to provide central management capabilities on computers. Some examples include:

  • Administer configuration settings on JMU computers

  • Establish and enforce desktop security standards

  • Administer local user rights on the desktop to what is required to perform work functions

  • Capture hardware and software inventories

  • Perform enhanced support via remote assistance tools

  • Provide enhanced patch management capabilities to the desktop

  • Provide enhanced security capabilities to the desktop

Managed computers are computers that receive policy and configuration settings from one or more centralized sources. In context of Desktop Management at JMU, once we apply GPOs (group policies) or install an SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager) or Casper client, the computer then becomes managed.

Managing a computer removes some of the responsibility for patches, upgrades, anti-virus and software installation/control from the computer users and places that responsibility in the hands of system administrators.


What are the benefits of Desktop Management?

One of the goals of joining computers to the JMUAD domain is to be able to provide better support to the end-user. Some of the ways this is accomplished are through remote-assistance capabilities, centralized configuration, software installation and updates, and better desktop security.

Remote Assistance

Remote assistance is the ability to view a user's desktop session, only with their explicit permission, from another computer. What this means for the end-user is that they no longer have to wait for a technician to visit their computer if the problem can be solved remotely. This also gives the user the ability to "show" the HelpDesk an issue instead of trying to explain it over the phone.

Centralized Configuration

There are many configuration settings that are recommended by the university to ensure a more secure desktop environment. There are other configurations required to make sure the computers function efficiently in the JMU computing environment. Instead of burdening the user to ensure that all settings are properly configured, computers can "check-in" with a server to see what settings have been set by the desktop administrators and apply them accordingly. The computers will also periodically check-in to see if there are any settings that have changed that it may need to apply. In this way, the user does not have to worry about whether their computer is set up according to the university's guidelines for safe, efficient computing.

Software Install

Software Installation and Updates

JMU IT makes certain software available for installation for University owned computers.


Software available for installation can usually be found in the Software Center on Windows computers. To access the Software Center, do the following:

Windows 7

Click Start, All Programs, Microsoft System Center 2012, Configuration Manager, Software Center.  The Software Center opens, revealing a window similar to the one below (please note the areas marked in red):

Windows 10

Click on the Windows Search magnifying glass (lower left).  Type 'Software Center' in the search field and then click to open it on the search result above.  Note that you may right-click Software Center and pin it to Start and the taskbar, allowing it to always display on the Start screen and on the taskbar when viewing the desktop.  When Software Center opens, it reveals a window similar to the one below (please note the areas marked in red):

Windows update window

Verify the ‘Show optional software’ box is checked, so all software available to install is visible. Choose the software you would like to install by clicking on the software title and then clicking INSTALL in the lower right corner of the window. NOTE: When ‘All’ is selected in the ‘SHOW’ menu, all updates AND available software applications are displayed. This may include software that you do not want to install, for example, an older version of Office.

Some software will be available in the Application Catalog, but not in the Software Center.  The Application Catalog is accessed via the Software Center by clicking on 'Installation Status' located in the left manue, then clicking on 'Open the Application Catalog web site' link near the top right.

When the Application Catalog opens, it may require you to login with your JMU e-ID and password.  The Application Catalog reveals a window similar to the one below (please note the areas marked in red):

Verify the ‘All’ category is selected, so all software available to install is visible. Choose the software you would like to install by clicking on the software title and then clicking INSTALL in the lower right corner of the window.

The ‘My Application Requests’ and ‘My Devices’ links in the Application Catalog window are not active at this time.


For Macintosh computers that are managed with Casper, open a new Finder window, click ‘Applications’, ‘JMU Self Service’ Note: there are different categories of applications available on the right side of the JMU Self Service window.

Mac update window

Additional Information

A list of software managed by IT and available for your JMU computer can be found here.

Occasionally, you will be offered software that you can install on your computer. These packages are generally optional. The message you will see when new software becomes available will look like this:

Pop-up update window

Microsoft Security

Microsoft Security Updates

Microsoft monthly updates will be deployed using an “optional-mandatory” method. This will allow you to install updates at your convenience before a deadline occurs. After the deadline passes, updates will automatically install and may enforce reboots of your computer as the updates require. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you install the updates as soon as possible to ensure your computer is protected against vulnerabilities and rebooting does not disrupt your work. When updates are available, a notification will appear in the system tray. The message will continue to appear daily until the updates are installed and will appear more frequently as the deadline approaches.

To begin the installation process yourself, click on the balloon when it appears, or click on the “up triangle” to reveal the “Software Update” icon.

Double-clicking on either the Notification Balloon or the Software Update icon will reveal a windows similar to the following:

Choose 'Apply all required changes now (recommended)' and click 'OK'. A notification will appear stating updates are downloading and installing.

You may continue using your computer normally while updates are installing.

If an update requires a system to be rebooted to complete installation, the computer will prompt you at regular intervals to reboot.

You may verify update installation by clicking ‘Start’, ‘Control Panel’, ‘Programs’ or ‘Programs and Features’ and ‘View installed updates’.

Important Note About Password Changes

Once a computer has been joined to the domain, JMUAD, you need to take extra care when changing your e-ID password. It is imperative you reboot or logoff/logon immediately following a password change to avoid getting locked out of your computer.