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9

Hey all,

 

Here is a copy of my tools for LDMS 9 built on Windows Server 2008 R2 64 bit.  There were surprising little issues I had to deal with it seams.  But feel free to use and test it.

 

If you find something not working, please let me know.  I didn't do a lot of testing as I am busy with other projects like my job. (Since I am not paid to do the LANDesk support tools, it is totally in my spair time).

 

Version: 9.0.0.7  ( 9.0.0.x Matches our current release of LDMS, though this is not really version dependent.)   Release Notes ===============

  1. Compiled using LDMS 9.
  2. Changed the OSType xml object to search for the value as an exact match and as a contains. (This resolve an issue where in 9.0 Windows Workstations just say Workstation and Windows Servers just say Server, but 8.8 agents might scan in and say XP Workstation, 2008 Server, so by just putting "Workstation, Server" all windows machines should be obtained.)
  3. Added a trick to handle the different the patch to the LDClient directory, which is now much more necessary since %ProgramFiles% doesn't point to "c:\program files (X86)" on 64 bit machines. (I use this: %LDMS_LOCAL_DIR%\..\) 

WARNING: This version is not tested on 8.8 and it is recommend you continue with version beta 6 for 8.8.

 

Latest Version:

LANDesk Support Tools beta 7.exe

Previous Version for LDMS 8.8

LANDesk Support Tools beta 6.exe

 

I did my testing on Windows 7 64 bit and everything appears to work except:

  1. Send message didn't work on Windows 7 64 bit.
  2. Windows 7 64 bit wouldn't enable RPC with the Enable RPC command.  It made the entries, but I still couldn't use RPC.

 

2003 Server was not tested, (though I don't expect issues based on OS) if anyone uses this on 2003 with LDMS 9, feedback is appreciated.

 

Remote Consoles were not tested.

10

Hey all,

 

It has been a while and there are good reasons for this.

 

First, I have been working too hard both at work and at home.  I stripped, sanded, and stained my deck with a lot of help from my brother in law.  Never-the-less I have continued this project.

 

A lot of the DLL file I was using was coded a long time ago by someone else and it was mostly procedural code (even though it was C#), and I rewrote it with a bit more oject oriented-ness. Hopefully, this will make it easy to maintain in the future, not to mention the fact that I am now no longer using functions that I don't know what they do, cause now I wrote them.

 

Anyway, here are some of the new enhancements.  They aren't amazing, because it is the same thing rewritten.  If you find something not working, please let me know.

 

Release Notes
===============

 

Version 8.80.3.6
===================
1. Mostly rewrote the SupportTools.dll
    a. Now the SupportTools.xml can be updated and the changes are seen in the console immediately without restarting.
    b. It is now using OS Type instead of OS Name for a filter.
    c. Filtered OS Types no longer show the option disabled, the option is now removed and I didn't leave in the grayed out option.
    d. Only remote executes check for Remote Control rights, instead of everything checking for those rights.
    e. I slightly altered the XML format.
    f. Moved the SupportTools.xml file to the SupportTools directory.

    g. The Support Tools now are listed in the order placed in the XML, and not automatically sorted, so if you want to change the order you can.
2. Slightly enhanced who.vbs to not crash, but instead give a friendly error for disconnected devices.

3. Added a few options that weren't there before.

4. Fixed typos in the XML.

5. Added RemoteRegistry.exe (an autoit script recommended to me by user Rich Sterling from community.landesk.com.  Thanks Rich.)

 

I know most won't see much difference because they are already using most of the tools in this build.  But there were great strides made that will allow me to now start developing more tools that talk to the agents using LANDesk not RPC, so yeah!

 

As always you can get the latest link here:

 

Console Add-on: LANDesk Support Tools

 

I will keep both versions available for download for now.

 

I expect my new DLL to be more stable, more rebust, and overwall better.  However, being newly rewritten there is always the chance of an unforseen bug on someone elses system so I am leaving beta 5 downloadable as well.

 

Latest Version:

LANDesk Support Tools beta 6.exe

 

Previous Version

LANDesk Support Tools beta 5.exe

4

Hey all,

 

I am currently upgrading a customer who uses the Management Gateway.  I am not talking about applying a Service Pack (it is my pet peave when applying a service pack is called and upgrade, because I call it patching and upgrade to me means changing major versions).  This customer is upgrading from 8.7 SP5 to 8.8 SP3.

 

Here is the main problem that I have just solved.  Well, not just, I have had this idea for a while, and this is really the first time I am implementing it.

 

All the clients have already created Management Gateway certificates and sent them to the 8.7 Core Server.  We are upgrading using the following process.

 

1. New hardware for Core..

 

2. Backup database, restore as a different instance.

 

So this is a New Core - Upgraded Database type install

 

3.  Install the Core, point to the new DB instance.

 

4. Get that Core Server ready.

 

5. Upgrade the agents.

 

Here is where the problem comes in.  Upgrading the Agent will delete the clients certificate.  While there are ways to force the client to create a new certificate, there is no reason to do so because the client already has a certificate.

 

For a client to connect to a Core Server, the following must be true:

#1. The Core must have its cert posted to the Gateway and all that configured.

#2. The Client must create and send the certificate to theCore Server using the credentials of user in the ManagementSuite group.

#3. The Core must have the client's cert info in the BrokerCert table in the database and this cert must no be repudiated.

 

#1 Is not really a problem.  It is easy to configure, we just configure the new Core Server to use the Gateway and post the New Core's certificate to the gateway.

 

#2 is the big problem.

 

#3 Doesn't require any work.  It is fine because we updated the database.

 

     Note: If you didn't upgrade your database and want to do this, see this article:

    Not authorized to view the specified document 2812

 

It doesn't matter if if #1 and #3 work, if #2 doesn't.  If the agent install deletes the certificates on the client, then you have to create a new certificate, which will repudiate the old certificate.  It is really a waste of work for nodes that already have certificates.

 

So here is what I am doing, and I finally just got it working in my lab.

 

I am pushing the new Core's agent using the old Core Server and here is my process:

 

  1. Create a batch file that does the following:
    1. Copies the %ProgramFiles%\LANDesk\Shared Files\broker folder and contents to c:\windows\temp\broker
    2. Install the new agent. I am using the advance agent because I am pushing with the old agent.  The Advance agent will install, the task will complete, and the local agent processes will be done being in use by the time the advance agent downloads and runs the self-contained agent. YES, the advance agent works through the gateway on a client that is already configured to use the gateway.

      Here is my batch file

      REM Backs up the Gateway certs, then
      REM runs the advanced agent msi
      
      xcopy "%programfiles%\landesk\shared files\cbaroot\broker" "%windir%\temp\broker"  /Y /I /S
      
      MSIEXEC /I "Default Windows Configuration.msi"
      IF "%ERRORLEVEL%"=="3010" Exit /B 0
      

      Now the batch files is not going to be around to restore the files from the temp directory, so I am doing the restore in the agent configuration
  2. On the new Core Server, edit the agent (either edit the agent or edit all agents by editing the NTSTACFG.IN# or by using the Mergeini.exe process).
    1. Find the [Policy Management Post Copy] section.
    2. Add the following line to the INI:

      EXEC1002=cmd /c xcopy "%windir%\temp\broker" "%programfiles%\landesk\shared files\cbaroot\broker"  /Y /I /S
      

      It was the "cmd /c" part that finally got it working, because the variables didn't work without that.

      Note: If you want to use MergeIni, create the following ini file.:

      [Policy Management Post Copy]
      EXEC1002=cmd /c xcopy "%windir%\temp\broker" "%programfiles%\landesk\shared files\cbaroot\broker"  /Y /I /S

      Read this document if you want to configure Mergeini:
      Not authorized to view the specified document 1566

  3. Now, once you have made the advanced changes to the agent on the new Core Server, save the agent, make sure it is updated. 
  4. Still on the new Core Server, create an AdvanceAgent of the Agent you just modified.
  5. Now, back on the Old Core Server, copy the New Core Server's Advance Agent msi and the batch file into an HTTP share on the Old Core Server.
  6. Still on the Old Core Server, create a Batch File Distribution Package with the Batch File as the primary file and the advance agent MSI as an additional file.
  7. Push the batch file out as a policy.

 

What happens.  The client runs the task, the batch file copies the certs out. The Agent MSI installs.  It pulls down the self contained agent and runs it. Now the certs in the reguler broker directory are deleted in this process, but that is ok, they are backed up. Near the end of the agent installation, the certs are restored.  The agent install finishes and the client is now working.

 

No new certificate was created on the agents, existing agents continued to work and continued to use the same cert they had before.

 

The ConfigureBroker.exe and .lng file was not necessary for the "reinstall".

 

Wow, now that this is working, it is time to move to something else.

9

Hey all,

 

I created this tool quite a while ago and it has recently helped some customers so I thought I would make it available to everyone.

 

It is a new PEShell.exe.

 

You can get it here:

The specified document was not found.

 

I am sure you are familiar with the Go button in the bottom left corner of WinPE and how it really doesn't do much but allow you to reboot and to open a command prompt.  Well, I have enhanced it. I am making every attempt to get these enhancements into our next version so hopefully they make it.

 

Anyway, here are soime screenshots.

 

The LANDesk menu.

LANDesk.JPG

 

The Tools menu.

Screenshot1.JPG

 

Hope you all like it.

 

Thanks,

 

Jared

9

Hey all,

 

I am release LANDesk Support Tools Beta 5

 

It only works on 8.8 and will not even work using the 8.7 workaround.

 

As always, the download link will be here:

Console Add-on: LANDesk Support Tools

 

Release Notes
===============
Version 8.80.2.5
===================
1. Completely re-wrote the installer using the Eclipse NSIS plugin.
    a. Took steps to add language support.
    b. Added entry in Add/Remove Programs.
    c. Old version is uninstalled as part of the new version's install process.
    d. Registry key in HKLM\Software\LANDesk Support Tools now exists and shows components installed.
    e. In the Console, Help | About | More info will show if the LANDesk Support Tools is installed.
2. Added winscp418.exe.
    See this web site to enable the SSH port on the Linux firewall.
    http://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/linux/RHL-9-Manual/install-guide/s1-firewallconfig.html
3. Updated to use ldmg.landesk.com.exe for requesting LANDesk Support Remote Control.

Version 8.80.2.4
===================
1. Changed RemCom.exe command line to show the computername as part of the prompt.
2. Stopped using cxExtender.dll in favor of SupportTools.dll.
    a. The install of this version will delete cxExtender.dll and delete Tools\MenuExtender.xml.
    b. SupportTools.dll is added and Tools\SupportTools.xml is added.
3. Started launching Core Side executables from the ManagementSuite directory so the %ldmain% variable is no longer necessary.
4. Added an option to send a message.
5. Added an option to defrag the C drive.
6. Added an option the remote executes a command through the agent that opens RPC through a Vista firewall.  Not XP yet.
7. Fixed bug where command line environment variables were being replaced with the BNF process and evaluating to {0}, even if they were not database BNFs, but were intended to be environment variables such as %windir%.  Now I check if there is a period character "." as all BNFs have period characters.  By default no environment variable name contains a period character ".". 
8. Improved the installer
9. Fixed some options to be able to be launched by IP address and host name.

 

Please be careful testing this as I rewrote the installer.  I tested thoroughly on one LDMS 8.8 SP2a server.  I have not tested any other version.  I redeveloped the DLL and so it will only work with 8.8 because 8.8 is coded with .NET 2.0 and 8.7 isn't so the 8.7 console won't be able to read my DLL.

 

Part of the reason I started re-writing the installer is to begin the process of supporting the languages that LANDesk supports.

 

I will need some translation for the installer and I will need people to help me create XML files for each language.

10

Hey all,

 

I got some good things coming in my next version.  Sorry, it isn't ready yet, but it is getting better...

 

In Beta 3, which I posted to the Community article already without a blog post, I really only added VNC Viewer so Linux nodes can be remote controlled.  If you forgot where to download it...here is the link.

Console Add-on: LANDesk Support Tools

 

In beta 4, I have stopped using cxExtender.dll and am now using my own SupportTools.dll.  I needed more abilities than the basic sample could give me. So I am adding a bunch of different features to it.

 

Here is a screenshot of the new version.

 

New LST.JPG

 

So as you see, I have to break the tools out into multiple groups:

  • LANDesk Tools
  • Remote Control Tools
  • Windows Tools

 

Send Message

I am also working on a "Send Message" option.  It connects to the remote computer using the LANDesk agent and remote executes a command that calls Microsoft's msg.exe switch to show a message.  I am adding it because I was never satisfied with the other solution I created.  However, I am not satisfied with Microsoft's msg.exe either.  I was hoping not to have to create a file that has to deployed to all the clients, so I am settling for msg.exe.  If any of you know a better way to remote execute a popup message without putting a file on the client, I wouldn't hesitate to use it.

 

Windows Vista/2008 - Enable RPC

The name really is misleading.  It is not enabling RPC, but adding an exception through the Vista firewall, I will come up with a better name.  I am looking for a command that does enable RPC if disabled as well. I haven't figure out a way to either enable RPC or add a firewall exception for RPC to XP yet.

 

Here is a good site for allowing RPC to XP using a GPO.

http://support.moonpoint.com/os/windows/xp/firewall/rpc-server-unavailable/

14

Hey all,

 

I made an update.  The added changes are easy to get. To upgrade, just close the Console and run the new installer.

 

Here is where you can read more about it:

 

Console Add-on: LANDesk Support Tools

 

 

Version: 8.80.2.2
===================

  1. Updated version of LDValidate.exe (Jan 27, 2009) and updated the XML.  Sorry, the xml is still for 8.8 flat and there is not an 8.8 SP2a version of the XML yet.
  2. On upgrade, if the Console is open an error replacing cxExtender.dll occurs even if cxExtender is not a newer version and doesn't need to be replaced.  Fixed installer to ignore this error unless this file needs updated.
  3. Added who.vbs to see who is logged in to a remote system.
  4. Added RemCom.exe to be able to open a remote command prompt.
  5. Added the ability in cxExtender.dll to use %ldmain% in the command line of cxExtender.xml.  %ldmain% will evaluate to the path to the ManagementSuite directory, which can be different depending on where you install LANDesk.
  6. Updated right-click ability in UDD to have the same features as right-click in all devices.  It does have one more feature in UDD for Remote Desktop Protocol.  Since it is an Unmanaged Node, you may not have the LANDesk agent yet so LANDesk Remote Control may not be available yet.

 

Hope you like the new features.

12

Hello all,

 

To aid our support engineers here at LANDesk, started writing a Console add-on called LANDesk Support Tools.  It is a very simple installer that adds some features to the Console.

 

To see if it is released, go here:

 

Console Add-on: LANDesk Support Tools

 

Tool Bar Add-on

 

Pic1.JPG


Right-click Device Add-on

 

The following abilities are added when you right click a device.  Most of the windows tools such as Computer Management use Microsoft built-in remote services and not LANDesk services to function.  The LANDesk functions do, of course, use our LANDesk Services.

 

Pic2.JPG

 

Anyway, I have been working on this for some time.  It is nearing completion, with a few more tools to add.  Basically, I want to make it easier for support engineers to work with our customers.

 

However, it appears that many LANDesk users would really love these features too for their own help desk, so by installing this LANDesk Support Tools add-on, they can have them.

 

Stay tuned for a release date...

 

Note: If you have a tool that you think everyone would like to have included, please let me know.

3

Hello everyone,

 

I have been asked numerous times when I am planning on updating the "Understanding Batch File Distribution Packages" whitepaper.

 

Really, there are no plans to update.  There is more information that can be added to it, such as the information I found for these articles:

 

 

 

While there is plenty of information that could be added, most of the whitepaper is still valid and most the new information I have found is on the LANDesk community.  In fact, you can find all the batch file information on the community in one place using the community tags: http://community.landesk.com/support/tags/batch_files

 

Hopefully you can bookmark the link to the batch_files tag so you can remember where to find the extra data that is not in that document.

0
Everything is easy once you know how to do it.

 

However, tasks you don't know how to do may be considered difficult until you know how to do it.

 

Often I find myself saying, "You just do this: [insert any LANDesk task here]," to a customer.  Of course, I must remind myself that there is no such thing as "You just do this..." because many LANDesk administrators are at different knowledge levels and may or may not know how to do the LANDesk task mentioned.  In my fifth year of using LANDesk, it is sometimes difficult to remember what it was like to first see this large Management Suite product for the first time and feel overwhelmed trying to learn it all.  Not to mention the fact that the features have increased significantly in the past five years so it is even a bigger suite of tools than it was almost five years ago.

 

Some of our customers are using the product to the max already but a lot are barely scratching the surface of what they can do for their respective companies with it.  There are so many useful tasks that can be done using LANDesk that it is amazing.  I love this product and I love working for this company.

 

Why the lack of training?

 

Over the passed years, I have noted that a lot of LANDesk administrators have mentioned a lack of having received LANDesk training. I find it so strange that so many that I talk to have not been through a LANDesk training course.  While I consider LANDesk Software one of the easier products to use among the Desktop Management products, many features are still difficult to use without training.

 

I am also disappointed to here when a LANDesk administrator leaves a company and is replaced, then that company has no plans to provide LANDesk training for the replacement administrator.  There is so many features (not to mention the ROI from those features) that are missed out on without training an know how to make all the features work.

 

ROI of Training

 

Each feature of LANDesk is designed to help your company manage its infrastructure in a way that saves your company money.

 

  • We potentially save corporations money on support costs by providing Remote Control, easily deployed software packages, etc, which makes your support department more effective.
  • We potentially save corporations money by tracking software licensing for you.
  • We potentially save corporations money by allowing them to quickly provision new machines and re-provision machines that have gone      down.  Every minute a machine is down, money is lost.
  • Our Security Suite product potentially saves corporations money by giving customers not only patch detection and remediation but now we even have a free Patch Process in Process Manager.  So we are automating the Patch Management Process for you.  (Does anyone NOT TRAINED have this working in their environment yet?)
  • Now we save corporations money by providing Power Management. 

 

The list goes on of ways LANDesk saves its customers money by having an excellent ROI.  Often, we get reports back that LANDesk saves companies far more money that our software costs.

 

However, if the features of LANDesk are not used, it is pretty difficult to get any type of Return on Investment (ROI).  In order to use our features and to use them in a way that brings the highest ROI, training is recommended.

 

Yet why are so many LANDesk administrators mentioning that they have not been trained.  Our we at LANDesk not making a good sales pitch on how training the LANDesk engineers will help maximize the return on investment of buying our product?

 

If one goes to the LANDesk Training web site and searches, there are two different trainings for LDMS which appear to be about $2500 each.  For a single person, that seems like a lot of money.  But for a corporation that has a lot of workstations, that is a few dollars a node to make sure your administrator can better manage those nodes.

 

How much more of an ROI could you find if you could use a few of the features you are not using?

 

It is highly likely that the training could result in a greater ROI than a few dollars a node.  Our Power Management tool alone is supposed to save more than that.  One customer after deploying LANDesk in their evironment but didn't know how to use Software License Monitoring paid found $200,000 dollars of software licenses that they had paid for but didn't need, which they returned.

 

So what if you as a LANDesk administrator don't know how to use Power Management or Software License Monitoring?  Your time is probably maxed out and there is none of it left to learn new features.

 

Make an effort to prevent attrition among your good LANDesk administrators

 

Often training occurs and the LANDesk administrator becomes competent, then leaves for another job.  If they were a quality employee and a quality LANDesk administrator, the question then becomes why they left.  Why did this LANDesk administrator feel like going to work elsewhere.

 

Even after LANDesk training, it takes a long time to ramp up and become a quality LANDesk administrator.  So if you have one, what are you doing to prevent attrition?  Is your company prepared to be forced to either 1) pay the cost of training a new LANDesk administrator or 2) not train the new LANDesk administrator and suffer the loss of functionality that comes from the Administrator not know what he is doing, which can cost you $$$ for each node.

 

What I am saying is that maybe, you should take measures to keep the original quality LANDesk administrator.  Is it cheaper to increase this employee's salary and take steps to make them too happy to leave, or is it cheaper to hire a new employee and train the, or if you go the no training route, is it cheaper to pay for a large suite of software that no one in your company knows how to use?  Often you find that in the long run, it was cheaper to keep your original LANDesk administrator.

 

I am not saying that you should never have attrition at the LANDesk administrator position or that there are not reasons an employee will leave that are out of a company's control; what I am saying is that when it is in the company's control, have they thoroughly looked at the pros and cons of trying to keep your current employee vs. the pros and cons of replacing the employee.  It may cost your more than you think to have to replace a good LANDesk administrator.



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