Help Desk Features in Intel® Endpoint Management Assistant (Intel® EMA)



IT teams today need better ways to troubleshoot, repair, and maintain business PCs that might be in the office, in employee homes, or anywhere else. Intel Endpoint Management Assistant (Intel EMA) is modern, cloud-enabled software you can incorporate into your existing IT help-desk support processes for improved visibility and out-of-band access to remote devices, even over Wi-Fi connections.

Intel EMA gives your help-desk team a remote interface to the powerful capabilities of Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) built into the hardware of the Intel vPro® platform. Intel AMT is the only solution with remote remediation to return your PCs to a known good state, over both wired and wireless connections, even when the operating system (OS) is down or unresponsive.

This article highlights some of the key capabilities that Intel EMA software can deliver to your IT help-desk operations, and it provides a brief overview of the Intel EMA interface.

Top Features for Your IT Help Desk

Perhaps the most important feature Intel EMA offers your help desk is out-of-band access to your remote PCs, meaning the ability to interact with the hardware on a PC whose OS is not running. This enables a number of otherwise impossible scenarios, such as:

  • Wake or start a sleeping or powered down PC in order to perform important updates during off hours. This can improve security by keeping machines updated, and it can improve productivity by doing so without interrupting employee work time.
  • Diagnose and repair a system that is unable to boot, including the ability to mount an image and redirect to it for booting.
  • Troubleshoot a system using operations that require a reboot, and keep keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) control of the machine through the reboot, including the ability to interrupt and adjust the BIOS settings, for example.

Another important feature of Intel EMA for your help desk in the work-from-home (WFH) era is the fact that it works over any recognized wired or wireless network. When the Intel EMA server is installed in the cloud, it can be used to manage business desktops in employee homes (or anywhere else) over private Wi-Fi networks.

Finally, Intel EMA provides quick and easy visibility into remote systems. Your help desk can quickly gather information on system hardware, and it can see the processes running on a machine. This can be invaluable for diagnosing slow systems, for example, or crashing applications.

Remote Management at Your Fingertips

Here’s a quick tour of the Intel EMA software interface and where some valuable help-desk features can be found when you’re logged in as a user on an Intel EMA server tenant.

On the left panel of the Intel EMA screen, click Endpoints to access a range of functions that can be valuable to your help-desk operations. Notice the tabs across the top. These are where the help-desk features are located.

The General tab gives you all kinds of information about the chosen endpoint machine, and it lets you control that machine’s power state, search its files, provision Intel AMT, mount an image, and more (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Explore the Endpoints section to discover how Intel EMA can enhance your help desk operations; the General tab provides a range of information about a remote PC and lets you perform common management tasks such as file searching.

The Hardware Manageability tab allows you to perform many out-of-band Intel AMT operations using the actions on the left pane, including Remote Desktop (see Figure 2). Note that for this tab to work, Intel AMT must be configured on the device by the current Intel EMA instance, and not by a different Intel EMA instance.

Figure 2. The Hardware Manageability tab provides access to out-of-band Intel AMT functions such as Power Actions.

The other tabs across the top of the Intel EMA screen (Desktop, Terminal, Files, Processes, and WMI) are for in-band functions when the remote OS is up and running.

Notice that Intel EMA offers two different remote desktop interfaces. When the OS is running and you don’t need the out-of-band remote desktop that uses Intel AMT shown in Figure 2, you can use the Desktop tab. There, you can take advantage of convenient features such as choosing which of multiple remote displays to mirror, and adjusting the scale, quality, and rotation of the display.

Learn More

To learn more about the Intel vPro platform, Intel AMT, and how to use Intel EMA for remote device management, read the paper, "For IT: A How-to Guide to the Intel vPro® Platform."

Next in the How To vPro video series: Enabling Remote Updates in Intel® Endpoint Management Assistant.