One of the great use cases for vPro is the ability to troubleshoot and fix issues remotely on systems that will no longer boot into Windows. Using features such as KVM Remote Control, IDE Redirection, and Remote Power Control, the help desk agent can remotely view, control, reboot a failing system. However, before they can do those things, the agent must first locate the system on the network. That is, figure out the system’s name or IP address.

For many large businesses, this is not a problem. For example, an agent may ask the caller for their user ID or employee number. Then the agent can look up the caller’s system in an inventory database. But what about businesses that don’t have such an inventory database? Do users know their machine names or IP addresses?

Fortunately, with Intel AMT 7, they don’t need to. Instead, all they need to do is press a series of key strokes during boot. When Intel AMT senses these keys, it will pause and display the PC’s current IP address and FQDN. The caller can then read it over the phone to the agent. I don’t know about you, but this is one of my favorite features of vPro. It’s so simple, yet it solves such a challenging issue. I included a screen shot below so you can see how it looks.

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Enabling this ability is also super easy. In fact, once Intel AMT is setup and configured, this feature is on by default. To use it, just reboot and press the keystrokes for a Fast Call for Help; the same key strokes will trigger this message. On many machines this is ctrl-alt-f1, but it can vary based on the machine’s BIOS, so check with the machine vendor or BIOS messages to be sure.

So, let me know what you think. Is this feature useful in general? Do you have a specific use for it? What else would you like to see?