Category Archives: how-to

Remote Hosts File Editor

The latest release of Bozteck VENM Remote Desktop Manager (Formerly known as VNCScan) now has an easy way to edit the HOSTS files on your remote servers and 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.

 

hosts_editor

 

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.

 

permissions

 

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:

Menu

This feature will develop more over the next version or to so that older PC’s are supported.

Enable Microsoft RDP Remotely

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Overview

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.

This article will show you how to enable Microsoft RDP remotely with the Bozteck VENM console.

Solution

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.

Steps

  1. Select the server that you wish to enable remote desktop for
  2. In the Common Tasks pane, within the Deployment Tasks section, click on “Remotely Enable RDP”
  3. A window will open showing the progress.
  4. If there were no errors, RDP is now available for you on the remote computer

Conclusion

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.

Run PowerShell Scripts Remotely

Overview

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.

Prerequisites

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

Connecting to remote server failed with the following

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:

winrm quickconfig

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.

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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.

 

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3. Back at the main console window, select your script from the dropdown in the task panel shown below.

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4. Select one or more computers from the list and press the “Execute” button.

 

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Conclusion

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.

Remote Desktop Screen Capture and Recording

Catpures1

Introduction

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.

Overview

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.

Requirements

  • 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)

Please watch this video for a demo of this cool feature and give it a try yourself!

UltraVNC Command Line Arguments

We get many requests for command line options that can be used with the UltraVNC viewer that is shipped as the default in VNCScan.  You can find all of them right here.

You can use these command line options to take advantage of features that are not settable via the GUI in VNCScan.  Here’s how:

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  1. Open the main program preferences from the toolbar
  2. Select the “Support Files” section
  3. Add your command lines in the textbox designated for the switches

 

You can get your own copy of VNCScan at http://www.bozteck.com/vncscan

Great resource for remote CMD scripts!

One of our users has created a website to share his scripts.  There are some really useful ones up there so it may be worth your time to browse them.

You can use these scripts in VNCscan to remotely manage your computers.  Here’s how:

  1. From the main menu, click Tools
  2. Click “Scripting and Commands”
  3. Click “Remote Script Manager”
  4. Click on the “New Script” button
  5. Give the script a name
  6. Paste the script into the big textbox under the word “Variables”
  7. Edit the script to meet your needs
  8. Include any files that your script will call for
  9. Save and close the script

You can execute that script on a remote computer by:

  1. Select a computer or computers in a managed group
  2. From the Managed Groups toolbar,  choose “Remote Scripts”
  3. Select your script from the dropdown

How To Push Adobe Flash Updates Over the Network

Adobe Flash Player has been the target of many security attacks lately due to its inherent security flaws.  Adobe updates the Flash player frequently. 

It’s very difficult to get all of the systems on your network updated because it requires Administrator permissions to apply the updates.  There aren’t any inexpensive tools for pushing these updates out so I will show you how to do this using Bozteck VNCScan.

Here are the steps in a nutshell:

  1. Download the flash player distribution from here
  2. Create the script in the Script Manager
  3. Add the flash install file to the script window
  4. Ensure that you have access permissions to the remote computer(s)
  5. Select the computers that you’d like to deploy the script to
  6. Select the script from the dropdown
  7. Watch it work

Downloading Flash Player

You can download the scriptable Flash player from http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/fp_distribution3.html.  For this tutorial, we’re going to download the Internet Explorer executable.

Create the script

Open the script manager using the Tools => "Scripts and Commands” menu as shown below:

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From the window below, choose “New Script”

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In the new script window,enter the script title and optionally a folder to group it in as well as any notes on the deployment and then choose to include a file.

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Browse to the install_flash_player_10_active_x.exe file that you downloaded to choose it.  You will see the path to the file below:

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When the script is executed on the remote computer, the path to the included file will be %systemdrive%\temp\vncscan\install_flash_player_10_active_x.exe.  Any files that you attach to script this way are always stored there.  You’ll need to reference that location by using that in the path of the file that you’re calling.  See the screen shot below:

%systemdrive%\temp\vncscan\\install_flash_player_10_active_x.exe /silent

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Choose “Save and Close” to return back to the main window.

Deploy the script

We need to start by ensuring that the administrative access to the remote computer has been set.  One way to do this on a per-computer basis is to right-click the computer and choose properties; and then flip to the “Windows Login” tab.  Enter the Administrator username and password that is valid on the remote computer.  If you’re not on a domain, just leave the domain field at %HOST%.

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Now, select the computer in the Managed List.  Now, click on the “Remote Scripts” and choose your new script.

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The window below will pop up and the software will be deployed:

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Keeping Up to Date

You can keep this script up to date easily because Adobe always names the file the same every time.  Simply return to the website and download the latest version, remove the one in the script, and then add this new download.  Simply re-deploy and you’re up to date!