XPe changes too difficult!

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  • #121
    Avatar7h1n
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    I’ve got some Wyse XPe devices on client networks that, as such, can not talk to Rapport. Occasionally we need to make changes to them remotely and it is a HUGE pain. We have to walk a user through logging in as Admin (not cool), then turn off write-filter which initiates a reboot, then get the user logged back in as admin (still not cool!), then make the change (i.e. time zone, printer, IE homepage, etc.), then turn the write-filter back on which initiates another reboot, and finally we need to test the change logged in as the default user. That is just lame for so many reasons!

    I’ve found a bit of a back door for this when the devices can talk to Rapport. It’s simple: make the change (as the default user if possible, else as admin), then right click the device in Rapport, click change device configuration and change one of the fields. You’ll see at the top in big red letters: “Note: All changes since the last reboot will become permanent!â€￾ So that’s how I do it with devices that can talk to Rapport. I’ve run sysinternal’s FileMon on a terminal while this is happening and can see that Hagent is running when this is done but that’s all I know.

    Anybody got any ideas on how to make Wyse XPe changes easier?

    Looks like NTA’s (http://www.devonit.com) XPe devices actually have a password protected “commit changesâ€￾ application in the Programs group. That’s way better!

    #8630
    AvatarDarron
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    Firstly, if you have to make changes on the terminal but cannot go there directly, why dont you use the VNC client on the terminal? That way you can take control directly and make the changes yourself rather than talking somone through it blind.

    Secondly, if all the terminal are identical and need to be set with the same config, you can set one up yourself first (i recommend imaging them to the latest version also – there were lots of improvements when i last did it) and them copying the image into Rapport. You can then send the image to all of the other devices with all configurations pre set!

    *EDIT
    One of the useful updates after installing the latest terminal image was the improved write filter. The version i now have allows it to commit changes at the next reboot allowing you make the changes without repeated reboots.
    *EDIT

    ***Note, dont try this over a WAN as the images are huge!

    I hope this helps.

    Darron

    #8631
    AvatarAnonymous
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    • Jacked into The Matrix
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    Hi,

    I really like the idea of the commit changes program, to do the same on an XPe Wyse terminal should not be hard. But first some history…

    Netier/Wyse was the first with the write filter technology and it has since been adopted by Microsoft and is now found in most XPe Thin Client vendors. The write filter (or Enhanced Write filter as it’s now called) supports a few command line switches. One of these is the commit the changes and reboot. You could easily make a nice script to put on the users desktop to run that will commit changes and reboot the terminal.

    If you password protect the running of the script it’s a bit pointless as once users know the password they can run the script any time. Also this method commits all changes to flash, maybe ones you did not want to save as well. After all the whole point of the write filter is to stop users changing settings.

    If possible try to get Rapport to complete the changes. Write a package for the printer and time zones etc and push it. Maybe make a login script on the terminal that maps printers on start up? It will not save but run each time the terminal boots. This site has a few Rapport scripts to get going. Also you can white a script to send the command to commit changes, all the hagent does is issue this command line information. (See the XPe admin guide for the write filter command line switches)

    Finally if you can’t manage the devices you can use the NetXclean program to exclude certain registry keys from the write filter. This is a better option than allowing users to commit changes as you can just allow the critical registry keys to save (time zones, home page etc)

    If you do not know how to access these features post back, who knows this could be a good topic for the next article on this site!

    #8632
    Avatar7h1n
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    Thanks Darron and Xterm for your replies and thanks to ThinkThin for maintaining this site!

    First off let me say I’ve found a solution to my problem and it was Xterm who pointed me in the right direction, but let me reply to both posts:

    Darron,

    In regards to VNC: we often place terminals on customer networks behind customer firewalls and have no “outside-inâ€￾ access. We can, however, establish GoToAssist sessions (Citrix’s version of WebEx) to gain remote control of our XPe devices. The issue there is that the session is “user specificâ€￾ and established by the end user logged in as the default Wyse “userâ€￾ account. To commit changes with Enhanced Write Filter (EWF) you have to be logged in as admin (at least without the workaround which I will describe below).

    In regards to imaging: we use Rapport Enterprise and have a standard image but things change—if not today then sometime in the future. Let’s not forget that one of the advantages of thin clients is an extended device lifecycle. If these things are going to be used for the next five years, I guarantee something will need to change. But again, many of our devices can’t communicate with Rapport once they go out our door.

    Xterm,

    It was your comment about EWF supporting command line switches that gave me my answer, though I didn’t find the reboot switch, just commit changes (which is fine really). So I wrote a script that requires a username and password to run and put a shortcut to it in All Users>Start Menu>Programs. Our intention is not for the users to be able to run the script but for our support staff to be able to remote control and run it. I’m so happy now! Here’s what I wrote (it’s pretty elementary) and the actual password is “*****.â€￾ My users will never figure that out…

    @echo off

    set /p un=Username?
    if %un% == admin goto :password
    echo Incorrect Username!
    set /p un=Username?
    if %un% == admin goto :password
    echo Second incorrect username! Now exiting.
    pause
    @exit

    :password
    set /p pw=Password?
    if %pw% == ***** goto :ewfmgr
    echo Incorrect password!
    set /p password=Password?
    if %pw% == ***** goto :ewfmgr
    echo Second incorrect password! Now exiting.
    pause
    @exit

    :ewfmgr
    ewfmgr.exe c: -commit
    echo Commit change successful. Please reboot!
    pause

    #8634
    AvatarAnonymous
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    • Jacked into The Matrix
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    Great solution!

    Thanks for posting the script too as I am sure others will find it usefull. All the terminals have shutdown.exe on them so you could just put that in the end of the script with a 10 sec delay and the interactive switch so the user knows whats happening.

    The cool thing about XPe is that all the makers of XPe clients put their own front end on but really you should be able to customise them all.

    Have a look at the netxclean.ini (in the system directory) file too for more exclusions but be careful with it as its designed to stop flash filling up.

    Cheers!

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