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Forcing a Reboot

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip
By Andrew White, Kevin Spittle

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Posted: 26 Jun 2002
 

Update: A reader asked for more info from Andrew about what magic he does to keep students from deleting or stopping tasks. His answer is supplied below.

Here's another alternative to this Q&A you recently published:

Question: Is there a way to reboot workstations remotely without having to "remote control" them?
My situation is we have "Deep Freeze" which will null any changes to the PC's. The problem is students keep the PC's running all of the time so if they download kaaza, chat, etc. it will still be running until next reboot. So if on a nightly basis I can do a mass reboot I'm all set.
Answer: Why don't you try the free tool ncshtdwn and schedule that to run at night? Should work great for you.

Create an application object that forces a reboot without user intervention and schedule it to run overnight at the required time. This will of course only run once! However create a second object that runs on login to remove the nal guid entry showing that the "force reboot" app has run from the registry. This will cause the app to run every night.

Other Suggestions

Andrew White

Following on from the article by Kevin Spittle, I also use the ncshtdwn tool but found that by associating it as a forced run, it only worked if the PCs were left logged in. I also wanted to shutdown PC's that were left on the login screen that haven't run NAL yet, so I did the following.

  1. I ran Windows Scheduler on my workstation and created a new job that runs c:\winnt\ncshtdwn /3 at 11 PM.
  2. I then use ZEN to 'copy always' the exe to c:\winnt and the .job file I created to c:\winnt\tasks
  3. I also ZEN out a couple of reg keys to stop students being able to delete or stop tasks on the PC.

    Here are the reg keys (All DWORDS) we push to:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Task Scheduler5.0

    For the students:

    DragAndDrop = 1 (restricts user from cut, copy or paste a new job, also removes ability to drag exe to create a new job)
    Execution = 1 (restricts user from starting or stopping a scheduled job)
    Property Pages = 1 (restricts user from accessing properties of a job)
    Task Creation = 1 (restricts user from creating a new job)
    Task Deletion = 1 (restricts user from deleting a new job)

    For the IT staff:

    DragAndDrop = 0
    Execution = 0
    Property Pages = 0
    Task Creation = 0
    Task Deletion = 0

    These work for Windows 2000, XP and ME but not for 9x.

And that's it! All 1500 student PCs shutdown every night at 11 PM and if a student does manage to delete the job file, the next login puts it back.

This example was for W2k but it works just as well with W9x.

Hope this will be of help to someone.

If you have any questions you may contact Andrew at Andrew.White@salisbury.ac.uk


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