Windows 7 Remote Assist Wrapper Script

One of the functionality changes in Windows 7 was to Remote Assistance. In XP, you got a nice GUI to input the machine name or IP address of the target machine. In Windows 7, this was changed in a way where it was difficult to do this. You could do it via the command line. As an academic exercise I wanted to create a graphical wrapper for this that duplicated the XP Remote Assistance experience for service desk.



#region Post-Constructor Custom Code


#region Form Creation
#Warning: It is recommended that changes inside this region be handled using the ScriptForm Designer.
#When working with the ScriptForm designer this region and any changes within may be overwritten.
#~~< form1 >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
$form1 = New-Object System.Windows.Forms.Form
$form1.Text = "ASG Remote Assistance"
#~~< btnStartRA >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
$btnStartRA = New-Object System.Windows.Forms.Button
$btnStartRA.Location = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(13, 219)
$btnStartRA.Size = New-Object System.Drawing.Size(230, 23)
$btnStartRA.TabIndex = 4
$btnStartRA.Text = "Start Remote Assistance"
$btnStartRA.UseVisualStyleBackColor = $true
$btnStartRA.Enabled = $false
$btnStartRA.Add_Click({ StartRA })
#~~< lstCompInfo >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
$lstCompInfo = New-Object System.Windows.Forms.ListBox
$lstCompInfo.FormattingEnabled = $true
$lstCompInfo.Location = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(13, 86)
$lstCompInfo.SelectedIndex = -1
$lstCompInfo.Size = New-Object System.Drawing.Size(259, 108)
$lstCompInfo.TabIndex = 3
#$lstCompInfo.Text = ""
#~~< btnConnect >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
$btnConnect = New-Object System.Windows.Forms.Button
$btnConnect.Location = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(197, 37)
$btnConnect.Size = New-Object System.Drawing.Size(75, 23)
$btnConnect.TabIndex = 2
$btnConnect.Text = "Connect"
$btnConnect.UseVisualStyleBackColor = $true
#$btnConnect.Add_Click({ $lstCompInfo.Items.Add("This is a test") })
$btnConnect.Add_Click({ GetDetails })
#~~< txtCompName >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
$txtCompName = New-Object System.Windows.Forms.TextBox
$txtCompName.Location = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(13, 39)
$txtCompName.Size = New-Object System.Drawing.Size(168, 20)
$txtCompName.TabIndex = 1
$txtCompName.Text = ""
#~~< Label1 >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
$Label1 = New-Object System.Windows.Forms.Label
$Label1.Location = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(13, 13)
$Label1.Size = New-Object System.Drawing.Size(215, 23)
$Label1.TabIndex = 0
$Label1.Text = "Enter Computer Name or IP Address:"


#region Custom Code


#region Event Loop

function Main{

function GetDetails
$strComputer = $txtCompName.Text
$strConnStatus = test-connection -computername $strComputer -quiet

if ($strConnStatus -eq $true)
# connection worked, continue script
$lstCompInfo.Items.Add("Connection successful...")
$objUsername = gwmi -computer $strComputer Win32_ComputerSystem | select username, model
$strUserName = $objUsername.Username
$strModelName = $objUsername.Model
$lstCompInfo.Items.Add("Current User is $strUserName")
$lstCompInfo.Items.Add("The target computer is a $strModelName")
$btnStartRA.Enabled = $true
$btnStartRA.Text = "Start Remote Assistance for $strComputer"

# connection failed
#Write-Host "Connection failed with status "
$lstCompInfo.Items.Add("Connection failed.")
$btnStartRA.Enabled = $false
#$strConnStatus | select *

function StartRA
$RAconName = $txtCompName.Text
$lstCompInfo.Items.Add("Attempting to connect to $RAconName" )
cmd /c msra /offerRA $RAconName



#region Event Handlers

Main #This call must remain below all other event functions


Some of the lines are note are:

  • Line 24 – The Add_Click will call the function that performs the Remote Assistance connection
  • Line 76 – The script performs a test to see if the system name is responding
  • Line 87 – As part of the IF…THEN statement, if the connection status is true, the connect button is enabled by this line.
  • Line 106 – This line performs the command line version of the Remote Assistance connection, using the supplied computer name in the command

Windows 7 SOE – Reset Computer Groups Script

The application deployment setup in SCCM 2007 means you have to tend towards application deployment based on a user’s computer rather than the user’s account. One method of doing this is to have the computer in security groups that relate to collections to deploy the applications. For example, you may have a security group called “SCCM_Viso2010” to deploy Visio 2010. Where this becomes an issue is when you reimage the machine, you need a method of resetting the machine back to a default state so it doesn’t recieve those extra apps again. The script below was designed to achieve this.

add-pssnapin quest.activeroles.admanagement

write-host "Getting SID, GUID and DN for $env:computername"
$strComputer = get-qadcomputer $env:computername | select sid,guid,dn

write-host "Getting groups for $env:computername"
$strComputerGroups = get-qadmemberof $strComputer.SID

foreach ($obj in $strComputerGroups) {
if ($obj.Name -eq "Domain Computers")
write-host "This is the default group, do nothing"
write-host "The group $obj is a non-standard group"
remove-qadgroupmember -identity $obj -member $strComputer.SID

# Removing Quest AD snapin
remove-pssnapin quest.activeroles.admanagement

The behaviour of the script is to remove any group that isn’t the default group of “Domain Computers”. Like the OU move script, it utilises the Quest AD cmdlets.

Windows 7 SOE – Set Computer OU Script

One of the nice things about a Windows 7 SOE is it opens up the use of Powershell during the second phase of the OS installation.  Part of the SOE design for I worked on required some manipuation of items in Active Directory.  Doing this in VBScript is something I’ve found difficult, while it can be very easy in Powershell, especially if using the Quest AD cmdlets.

In this situation, the requirement was to move the computer account from the default location for the machine account creation (the Computers container) to an custom OU so the computer would fall under the influence of numerous group policies.  The script is detailed below:

add-pssnapin quest.activeroles.admanagement
$strComputer = $env:computername
$currDate = get-date -format g
add-content -path c:windowstempASGMoveComputertoCorrectOU.log -value "$currDate --- Starting OU Check"

$strGetComputer = get-qadcomputer $strComputer | select sid,GUID
$strGetComputerSID = $strGetComputer.sid

$strParentDN = get-qadobject -identity $strComputer -type computer | select parentcontainerdn
$currDate = get-date -format g
add-content -path c:windowstempASGMoveComputertoCorrectOU.log -value "$currDate --- Current OU is $strParentDN"
if ($strParentDN.ParentContainerDN -eq "OU=Windows7SOETesting,OU=SCCM Managed PCs,DC=asggroup,DC=com,DC=au" )
$currDate = get-date -format g
add-content -path c:windowstempASGMoveComputertoCorrectOU.log -value "$currDate --- This computer is in the correct OU"
$currDate = get-date -format g
add-content -path c:windowstempASGMoveComputertoCorrectOU.log -value "$currDate --- This computer is not in the correct OU"
add-content -path c:windowstempASGMoveComputertoCorrectOU.log -value "$currDate --- Attempting to move this computer with SID $strGetComputerSID to the correct OU...."
move-qadobject -identity $strGetComputersid -NewParentContainer 'OU=Windows7SOETesting,OU=SCCM_Devices,DC=contoso,DC=com'
add-content -path c:windowstempASGMoveComputertoCorrectOU.log -value "$currDate --- Move operation completed."
remove-pssnapin quest.activeroles.admanagement

A lot of the code is taken up with various setup code, but the key line is 22, which moves the machine account to the Windows 7 SOE OU.

Windows 7 SOE – Computer Naming and Space Characters

One of the frustrating road blocks I’ve run into with this Windows 7 SOE was related to the machine name.  Under the Windows XP SOE task sequence, there was a simple script that extracted the asset tag field from the BIOS and used that as the basis for the computer name.  One would think this would work without issue for Windows 7.  As it turns out, I was wrong.

After much hair pulling, I decided to check for non-visible characters by checking the length of the string.  Normally there is 9 characters.  When performing this check under the Windows 7 SOE, it returned 10 characters.  It seems the Windows 7 installer doesn’t like having a space in the machine name.  Once I added some code to remove these sort of characters, the problem went away.

[cc lang=”powershell” line_numbers=”true”]
strAssetTagNew = trim(strAssetTagNew)

Windows 7 SOE Design Outline

I’ve been working on a Windows 7 SOE for ASG for a couple of months now.  One of the things driving how the SOE is structured is to address issues with the old Windows XP SOE.  The XP SOE used what I call a “monolithic” process, by using a captured reference image that included all the SOE applications.  This is similar to how Ghost works and I don’t really like it as it doesn’t offer flexibility.  The Windows 7 SOE will use a modular approach where the task seequence will have several discreet tasks:

  • OS Deployment
  • SOE Application Deployment
  • Driver Installation

The rationale behind this is, should the need arise, these individual modules can be updated independently without having  an effect on other modules.