While teaching a class it is often important to have the ability to capture what is happening on the desktops of your students in order to help them better and to ensure an orderly classroom environment.
Bozteck VENM can easily capture your classroom desktop screen shots in intervals that you define and place them into a grid of thumbnails on the instructors desktop.
Here is a quick video showing how to get it all set up.
I have spoken to numerous school teachers, training instructors, and college professors while creating this feature of Bozteck VENM and much of that feedback contained concerns of students circumventing the screen captures by disabling services or unplugging their network cable, then plugging it back in. The latter cases some existing solutions to fail until the entire classroom is restarted.
Bozteck VENM uses a light touch method of taking remote screen shots in order to prevent such tampering. On the monitored classroom PC’s, there are no processes to kill and no services that remain running for them to stop. If they disconnect themselves from the network, their screens will be captured again automatically once they reconnect.
To use remote screen capture, you will need to configure a service account in Bozteck VENM that has full administrative access to the PC’s being monitored. You will also need to ensure that there is not a firewall blocking communication between the console and the monitored classroom PC’s.
Editing HOSTS files is still very common when building new SharePoint, System Center, and other enterprise systems in a development environment before pushing it to a live state.
This feature saves you the trouble of navigating to c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc, opening the HOSTS file as Administrator in notepad, etc. on a remote system.
To access this feature, you will need Administrator level access to the remote PC. If you are not running Windows as a user with this access, you can add the appropriate account to VNCScan in the group properties shown below. A similar setting is available on the computer properties if you need to be more granular.
To launch this feature, you simply select a computer or a group of computers and tap or click the “Host File Editor” launcher in the right side bar shown below:
This feature will develop more over the next version or to so that older PC’s are supported.
VNC is a great way to gain remote access to a server or PC desktop but it may not be the best performing method for all occasions. In those situations, I like to use Microsoft RDP due to it’s faster refresh and compression.
The challenge is that Microsoft Remote Desktop (RDP) is not enabled by default on new server or PC deploys and there previously was no tool that could easily turn it on without already having access to the remote computer desktop.
Enabling remote desktops can easily be done in only a few clicks from within the VENM console. Below are the system requirements on the remote computer side for this function to work properly. Notice that it also works for desktop operating systems as well as servers.
Windows 2000 Server or higher, Windows XP or higher
No Firewall blocking SMB protocol
Administrator level access on the remote computer
Remote Registry service should be running
Al of the above requirements are the typical basic requirements to remotely manage Windows computers. If needed, starting the Remote Registry service can easily be done remotely, also.
Select the server that you wish to enable remote desktop for
In the Common Tasks pane, within the Deployment Tasks section, click on “Remotely Enable RDP”
A window will open showing the progress.
If there were no errors, RDP is now available for you on the remote computer
Now that RDP is enabled, you can simply right-click on the computer and choose “RDP” and your session will open in a new tab.
With Bozteck VENM, you have the ability to run your own PowerShell scripts remotely on PC’s connected to your network. This article will explain how to accomplish this easily.
The remote computers must have WinRM enabled in order to run PowerShell scripts from remotely. If you do not have WinRM enabled and attempt to run a script against that PC, you will encounter the error message in Figure 1.
Figure 1 – WinRM error
To correct this error, you will need to run the following command on the remote PC before it is able to accept remote PowerShell Scripts:
If you have a large number of computers to do this for, you can use VENM to run this as a CMD script. Simply follow the same steps that you see here for running PowerShell scripts except for the script type, choose CMD and use the command above.
How It Works
1. Begin by opening the script editor.
2. Name your script and put your PowerShell commands in the script window on the right. Optionally, you can set conditions for your script to only execute in certain environments.
You may also include files with your script which will be copied to c:\temp\vncscan on the remote computer( s ) prior to execution.
3. Back at the main console window, select your script from the dropdown in the task panel shown below.
4. Select one or more computers from the list and press the “Execute” button.
You can run many script types this way including Windows batch scripts, KiXScript. VB Script, and more.
The ability to run these scripts remotely is typically an enterprise feature in management suites costing many thousands of dollars. Bozteck VENM allows you to do this easily for almost nothing.
The other day, I was hanging out in the datacenter with a friend who has a long history of teaching Microsoft certification courses at New Horizons and the subject of monitoring classroom screens came up. He said that he wishes he had VNCScan in the past so that he could monitor the classroom desktops to tell how far students are in their labs or if they were grasping what he was teaching.
He stressed that he had been using VNCScan for a while and didn’t even know of this priceless feature so I absolutely must spotlight it in a blog post. I couldn’t agree more so here it is.
VNCScan can capture the screen of remote computers without the reliance on VNC or any other client software on the remote computers. We use a patented method of snapping and returning the screenshots in a way that is extremely lightweight The process does not disturb the desktop in any way and the tool does not stay resident on the PC once the capture session has completed.
Make sure that you have provided an Administrative login and password in the Security/Identity portion of the main program preferences
Ensure that no desktop firewalls are blocking Windows file sharing and remote registry access
Windows 8 and Server 2012 may need to have the .Net 2.0 Framework feature enabled on the remote computers. (how-to)