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The Network Utilities Suite

This suite was part of Frontier 1.0, released in January 1992. There's some useful functionality here which might have been overlooked.

Imagine you're the network manager for a classroom full of Macintoshes. Every day, dozens of students come into the lab to do their assignments and projects. In the course of a day, new files get created, essential files are accidentally deleted. So once a day, you shut the system down and visit all the computers and replace missing files and delete extraneous ones, by manually pointing, clicking and dragging.

NightCleanup -- the first UserLand network utility, does this for you automatically and very carefully. It produces a detailed report of all the updating and cleaning up it did. And because NightCleanup is implemented using Frontier scripts, you can customize NightCleanup to exactly suit your needs.

NightCleanup can also serve the needs of network managers in corporations, and even be used to update the files on your hard disk when you return from a road trip with your PowerBook.

Here's how you install NightCleanup. From the NetUtils menu, select each command in the "Configure NightCleanup" sub-menu. First you'll set your "original" folder, the one that contains the master clean copy of all the files and folders you want replicated on all the clone machines. Set the original folder by using the "Set Original Folder..." command.

There's a table full of paths to folders on the clone machines called clone folders. These folders must be accessible on your Finder's desktop when NightCleanup runs. You can add paths to your list of clone folders using the "Add Clone Folder" command.

If you want to delete clones from your table, select the "Open Clone Table" command, and use the normal Macintosh Cut command to delete any paths you want to remove from the table.

Important: there is a single original folder, but there can be many clone folders. You can use NightCleanup to manage entire hard disks, just set each of the clone folders to the path of a hard disk.

Finally, you need to schedule the next running of NightCleanup. Select the "Schedule Next Watch" command and enter a time/date combination. It's best to pick a time when all your computers are not in use, including your own computer.

When the Network Utilities suite was installed, you were offered a choice to install an agent. If you decided not to install the agent, select the Install Agent... command now. Without the agent running, no automatic updating can happen.

Before going on, check your clones table to make sure that the folders specified there are the ones you want to be updated. It pays to be careful!

When NightCleanup runs:

OK. Now you've set everything up. So what happens when NightCleanup runs?

For each clone folder you've specified, NightCleanup compares it, file-by-file to the original folder. If any file is missing, it restores it from the original.

If any file or folder in the clone folder is not in the original, NightCleanup moves it into a folder it might create called "Personal Files." We figure it's not nice to delete the files, but moving them reinforces the understanding between you and your users that they do not own this folder.

Further, if any essential file has been modified, NightCleanup restores it from the original.

NightCleanup maintains a log of all the actions it takes. When you arrive in the morning you'll see a window with the report it produced on your screen. Use the "Open NightCleanup Log" command to open the log at any time.

© Copyright 1996-97 UserLand Software. This page was last built on 5/7/97; 1:41:11 PM. It was originally posted on 2/18/97; 6:20:12 AM. Internet service provided by Conxion.