CN - Computer Build or Rebuild Overview


  • What is a CN build or CN rebuild?
  • What steps does the Service Desk take when doing a computer rebuild?


  • Oregon State University
  • Employee, Student Employee, Associate
  • Community Network


A key part of the Community Network (CN) service includes configuring computers for use on the OSU network. The Service Desk ensures that all CN-supported computers are secured and updated according to OSU information security policies. We also ensure settings are in place that allow computers to work well with OSU services, and that commonly used software is installed and configured.

When setting up a new computer, we call it a "build". Reinstalling the operating system on a previously used computer is called a "rebuild". The process for a build or rebuild is similar, and is sometimes also called "imaging". 

If a computer has been built recently and is being setup for a new user, we will sometimes do a "refresh" instead of a "rebuild". A refresh generally involves removing un-needed software and user profiles.

Build Steps

Caution: The rebuild process can be disruptive and comes with the potential risk of data loss. Our process is designed to minimize risk as much as possible, but customer's should be aware of the potential risks before doing a rebuild. Possible risks include:

  • Data loss
  • Loss of customizations, bookmarks, stored cookies, license keys, etc.
  • Difficulty re-installing non-site-licensed software packages
  • Lengthy repair time, especially if warranty repair work is needed or if the computer has malware
  • Loss or damage of equipment in transit

The following is a high-level overview of the CN build or rebuild process:

  1. Determine whether a build or rebuild is needed
    1. We do a build for new computers, to change the operating system, or to address some computer issues.
    2. For brand new Macs, we do not re-image the operating system. We do need to configure Macs for OSU security policies, and to install site-licensed software.
    3. If a computer has malware, it may need a rebuild.
  2. Determine whether a loaner is needed
    • If this is the customer's only computer, we will arrange to setup a loaner. Loaners can be provided by the customer's department, or by CN. Availability of CN loaners is not guaranteed.
  3. Interview the customer
    1. To determine what software, mailboxes, calendars, network shares, and printers are needed, and whether a backup and/or data transfer will be needed.
    2. This is typically done by phone, takes about 15 minutes, and is best done with the person who will be using the computer. If the customer is not available, the interview is often done with the CN LRP or another representative from the customer's department.
  4. Pick-up or Receipt of the computer
    • For new computers purchased by CN, shipping is to our offices in Milne Computer Center. If the computer is already in a customer location, we can either schedule a pick-up in the customer's office or the customer can drop the computer off with us at the Service Desk in Milne. 
      • Note: during Covid-19, drop-offs at Milne need to be scheduled in advance
  5. Backup customer data (Rebuilds only)
    1. When doing a rebuild, we use an automated backup process to create an image of the computer's hard drive. We then re-image the computer, a process that removes all existing files from the hard drive. Once the re-image is complete, we restore user profiles extracted from the backup.
      • This process can potentially miss files stored in unusual locations, such as at the root of the C: drive or on additional drives.
    2. Please note that backup and restoration of all user files is not guaranteed. We make a best effort, but issues such as files stored in unusual locations, hard drive failure, operating system corruption, malware, technician error, or miscommunication about whether a backup is required can lead to data loss.
    3. We recommend that customer's confirm the location of their files and preferably store them on cloud storage (such as Box, Google Drive, or OneDrive) or on the CN network shares (CN-Home, CN-Share). Storing files on cloud storage also makes them easier to access if using a temporary loaner computer.
  6. Configure the computer
    1. We apply our base CN image/software:
      • Windows: we image with the standard CN image, which includes, 7-Zip, Acrobat Pro 2020, Box Drive, Box Edit, Chrome, Cisco AnyConnect VPN, Irfanview, Firefox ESR, LAPS, VLC, and Zoom. We add the computer to SCCM for central management and asset tracking, and apply Active Directory group policy.
      • Mac: we install the base operating system, Office, Acrobat DC, Chrome, Firefox, VLC, SCEP (anti-virus), Ricoh and HP printer drivers, and Cisco AnyConnect VPN. We also install the JAMF quick-add package for central management and asset tracking. For multi-user Mac computers, we join them to the Active Directory domain to allow ONID or CN logins.
    2. We install additional software, drivers and printers as needed based on the customer interview, including Office 2019 32-bit OR Office 365 64-bit.
    3. We apply bios and firmware updates, and all available operating system and software updates.
    4. We restore user profiles from backup if applicable.
  7. Placement or Pick-up:
    1. We setup the computer in the customer's office, hand it off at the Service Desk in Milne, or ship it to the customer's office.
    2. We also ensure the customer can login to the computer and access their email. Additional setup of Outlook profiles, printers, peripherals, and other software may be needed after customer login.
    3. We perform data transfers if needed.
    4. More complex setups and large data transfers can take a long time (up to 2 hours), but most placements take less than 30 minutes.
    5. Service Desk will remind the customer to login while on the OSU network before taking a computer off-site.


Article ID: 110812
Wed 6/24/20 3:02 PM
Wed 1/24/24 4:23 PM