Unattended instant support

Simple, Free, Open Source UltraVNC Wrapper Supporting Windows and Mac OSX.

Unattended instant support

Postby ScottN » 2012-04-09 20:40

Hi. I'm testing ChunkVNC right now for support on Windows 7.

I used SingleClick for the past 4 years on XP with no problems and like the fact that it would automatically connect and on the support controlled computer it would ask if you want to accept the connection.

Before I get blasted on the ethical ways of doing remote support, I want to explain that these are highly customized embedded systems, and are NOT end user computers. They will be installed in server racks, with no mouse/keyboard attached and only have a single output. I'd rather not get into a discussion on the purpose of the configuration of the systems as I'm not here for that. Thank you.

On ChunkVNC, the InstantSupport.exe opens and presents a support ID on the screen. I like this a lot, but it doesn't help me in my situation because I have systems in the field that would need remote support started unattended. Meaning either knowing the support ID beforehand or not requiring a support ID. Having an easy access for remote support into the system is essential for our product support.

I have a customized CMS client software installed and running 24/7 on these systems, so it allows me to manage them easily and execute commands if need be.

Is there a way to start InstantSupport.exe with a command line of the support ID to use so it will not auto-generate? This way I can run it knowing before hand the ID it will reserve on the repeater and I can then type that in and connect.

Is there a way to have InstantSupport.exe use the same support ID each time that is unique to each system? This way I will also know before hand the ID it will reserve on the repeater.

As a last resort, the CMS software running on the system can get a screenshot and the support tech can possibly get the ID from that by the system uploading the screenshot to the CMS server, but it's a step I would like to avoid. Expanding on this, I could even put some smarts in and try to get the ID into text form from the screenshot since it's black text on white and could be put through optical character recognition software.

Any other ideas on setting this up for unattended remote support?

Thanks.
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Re: Unattended instant support

Postby bradgillap » 2012-04-11 15:20

hah I'm in a very similar situation and came here looking for this same answer. There are many hours I can save on repairing benched computers by just logging in and clicking on the next action at night when I'm not at the store doing repairs. I like the isntantsupport.exe because it doesn't leave a big mess of installation files and it is fairly quick but I can't reboot any machines remotely because I'll lose the connection ID.


So I was thinking it would be easy enough to use autoit to execute the app on next boot but getting that code number could be a more complicated issue. I think my repeater on the linux box actually knows all the codes that computers connect with. Maybe there is a creative way for us to get that key out of the repeater when offsite.
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Re: Unattended instant support

Postby bradgillap » 2012-04-11 17:41

Okay so here is part of my solution that I worked on today.

I edited my repeater file to output the log so I could pickup the numbers from the web by changing this line and setting it to a web directory.

Code: Select all
# Set up logging:
#
# Set up logging:
#
$ENV{ULTRAVNC_REPEATER_LOGFILE} = "/var/www/ultravnc.log";
if (exists $ENV{ULTRAVNC_REPEATER_LOGFILE}) {


Now calling up that web directory online makes this whole thing really unsecure as you don't want people from the outside seeing this log too. So in that case I used apache to setup .htaccess passwords on the web directory.

Then I can simply call up the repeater boxes ultravnc log with a web browser. That solves the issue of not being able to get the numbers passed from the client to the repreater.

Of course this wouldn't work at all if you use the windows repeater. I would suggest you use RDP for that on a non-default port perhaps.


Now my next stop is getting the instantsupport.exe to run at login automatically for reboots. Or maybe a small script that adds it to the startup. I'll update you with how I accomplish this today. My boss kinda hinted at me to get back to work.. you know, the kind that actually makes us money so I'll return to this project later on tonight hopefully.
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Re: Unattended instant support

Postby supercoe » 2012-04-11 17:49

Alright, lots of questions here. Let me break it down. :)


I used SingleClick for the past 4 years on XP with no problems and like the fact that it would automatically connect and on the support controlled computer it would ask if you want to accept the connection.

This is because SingleClick would make a reverse connection to a running UltraVNC Viewer which usually required network setup such as port forwarding to the specific computer running the Viewer.
If you have the SingleClick Viewer running on a laptop that you bring on the road it can be difficult if not impossible for the reverse connection to happen.


Before I get blasted on the ethical ways of doing remote support, I want to explain that these are highly customized embedded systems, and are NOT end user computers. They will be installed in server racks, with no mouse/keyboard attached and only have a single output. I'd rather not get into a discussion on the purpose of the configuration of the systems as I'm not here for that. Thank you.[/b]

No problem, usually everyone around here is pretty nice compared to the rest of the internet. :thumbs:


On ChunkVNC, the InstantSupport.exe opens and presents a support ID on the screen. I like this a lot, but it doesn't help me in my situation because I have systems in the field that would need remote support started unattended. Meaning either knowing the support ID beforehand or not requiring a support ID. Having an easy access for remote support into the system is essential for our product support.

Is there a way to start InstantSupport.exe with a command line of the support ID to use so it will not auto-generate? This way I can run it knowing before hand the ID it will reserve on the repeater and I can then type that in and connect.

Is there a way to have InstantSupport.exe use the same support ID each time that is unique to each system? This way I will also know before hand the ID it will reserve on the repeater.

As a last resort, the CMS software running on the system can get a screenshot and the support tech can possibly get the ID from that by the system uploading the screenshot to the CMS server, but it's a step I would like to avoid. Expanding on this, I could even put some smarts in and try to get the ID into text form from the screenshot since it's black text on white and could be put through optical character recognition software.


Keep in mind that ChunkVNC is simply a wrapper for UltraVNC, all it is doing is setting up an UltraVNC Server and making a reverse connection to the repeater.
ChunkVNC compiles itself from source which is what get's installed on your computer, you are free to modify the program to work any way you wish.
My goal is to create a support tool for going in and out of customer computers quickly and I haven't currently been focused on permanent installs such as how logmein works.
http://www.chunkvnc.com - ChunkVNC - Free PC Remote control with the Open Source UltraVNC wrapper InstantSupport!
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Re: Unattended instant support

Postby supercoe » 2012-04-11 18:00

hah I'm in a very similar situation and came here looking for this same answer. There are many hours I can save on repairing benched computers by just logging in and clicking on the next action at night when I'm not at the store doing repairs. I like the isntantsupport.exe because it doesn't leave a big mess of installation files and it is fairly quick but I can't reboot any machines remotely because I'll lose the connection ID.

Glad you like it. :)


So I was thinking it would be easy enough to use autoit to execute the app on next boot but getting that code number could be a more complicated issue. I think my repeater on the linux box actually knows all the codes that computers connect with. Maybe there is a creative way for us to get that key out of the repeater when offsite.

When you run InstantSupport and get an ID number you can click on the tray icon and choose "Install as service" which will all you to reboot the computer.
This is explained in the installation guide: http://chunkvnc.com/installationguide.html
http://www.chunkvnc.com - ChunkVNC - Free PC Remote control with the Open Source UltraVNC wrapper InstantSupport!
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Re: Unattended instant support

Postby bradgillap » 2012-04-13 14:40

I saw that shortly after my previous post. I felt really silly of course. hah

Well it would seem that the tool has pretty much everything I need. Thank you once again.
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Re: Unattended instant support

Postby supercoe » 2012-04-13 16:45

No problem, feel free to share any modifications you make to help the community here. :)
http://www.chunkvnc.com - ChunkVNC - Free PC Remote control with the Open Source UltraVNC wrapper InstantSupport!
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Re: Unattended instant support

Postby ScottN » 2012-04-16 22:50

Thanks for the reply, supercoe.

supercoe wrote:When you run InstantSupport and get an ID number you can click on the tray icon and choose "Install as service" which will all you to reboot the computer.
This is explained in the installation guide: http://chunkvnc.com/installationguide.html


I tried this via the system tray icon and it worked really nice, using the un-install on the desktop it removed as well. But when I tried the command line "-installservice" on InstantSupport.exe, it gives and error it can't find a file. I'm not sure if you've tried it or not, but is there a way to fix that? I'm trying to do unattended setup as well, so that would require me being able to install it as a service, without any user interaction.
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Re: Unattended instant support

Postby supercoe » 2012-04-19 13:46

I tried this via the system tray icon and it worked really nice, using the un-install on the desktop it removed as well.

Perfect! :)


But when I tried the command line "-installservice" on InstantSupport.exe, it gives and error it can't find a file.

Because InstantSupport only sends the -installservice command to itself after it has already been extracted to the temp folder.
Since you are trying to start it without anything being extracted it can't copy the required files into the Program Files directory for the service installation.


I'm not sure if you've tried it or not, but is there a way to fix that? I'm trying to do unattended setup as well, so that would require me being able to install it as a service, without any user interaction.

Installing as a service without user interaction is not possible on Vista/7 with UAC enabled. The user will always have to click allow on the prompt.
http://www.chunkvnc.com - ChunkVNC - Free PC Remote control with the Open Source UltraVNC wrapper InstantSupport!
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Re: Unattended instant support

Postby ScottN » 2012-04-19 23:28

supercoe wrote:Installing as a service without user interaction is not possible on Vista/7 with UAC enabled. The user will always have to click allow on the prompt.


I don't have UAC enabled on the system. I'm doing from command prompt with admin privileges with UAC turned off.

PS- I see you're from Walker, MN. I grew up north of Brainerd but now living in California. :)
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Re: Unattended instant support

Postby supercoe » 2012-04-20 02:14

The best way to go about it then would be to change the logic in the SRC\InstantSupport.au3 file so that it:
1) extracts the files to temp
2) runs InstantSupport.exe -installservice from temp (it's already copied there)
3) exits

Then you'll just have to to automate the id number instead of prompting.


It's a great area up here, I find myself spending to much time outside so I don't play with this project enough. ;)
http://www.chunkvnc.com - ChunkVNC - Free PC Remote control with the Open Source UltraVNC wrapper InstantSupport!
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