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Make Your Users Sign on the Dotted Line

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Keith Medlock

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Posted: 5 Nov 2002
 

Note: Keith has recently updated this very popular tool. For info on what's new, see the Updates section.

Here is a small program I wrote that I use when we have policy changes or something that the user community needs to acknowledge that they have seen and agree to. It makes them electronically "sign" the document and creates a log file of their responses. Fully customizable, including the document it displays and what the buttons say.

It can also be used to display messages on user login, including information about an event.

MessageAlert is very flexible. It can be called from the login script, or from a NAL object. You can have it fire for everyone or just a single user. You can log the results of the users' responses to a log file for later review.

You can drop a toggle file on the users' home directory to use to fire the program from. You can execute an external program when the user exits the program. If you are requiring the user to electronically sign that they agree with, or have seen a document, and they select that they do not agree with the terms of the document, you can cause the user to be logged out of the computer.

Make sure that if you use a user toggle file you specify the name of the toggle file (example: user.tog) to place on the user's home directory.

Also make sure you place the program where the users have read rights and place the log file where the users have write rights.

New Info

Note: Keith informs us that the initial password is PASSWORD (all upper case). Slight detail... ;) We've updated his file with that info, and he's also included some supporting files, to help you in case you get Error 339. If you receive Error 339 then your tab files are out of date. You should use the tab files that Keith included in this new version of the messagealert.zip file to update your PC. Place them in the winnt\system32 directory.

This tip has been VERY popular. In the first few days alone Keith received over 200 e-mails about it. Looks like it was a cool solution that a lot of people could use! He says he enjoys all the e-mail, so don't be shy if you want to chat with him about this solution.

Updates

These updates are the result of users asking for more features:

  • Disable task manager while program is running
  • Hide desktop while running
  • Run program on exit from disagree button
  • Disable system keys
  • Command line option to turn off menus on the main form for the users

Instruction document included.

When you have a document that the user community needs to acknowledge that they have seen and agree to, use MessageAlert to have them electronically "sign" the document. It creates a log file of their responses, and you can even cause the user to be logged out of the computer if they do not agree with the terms of the document.

Fully customizable, including the document it displays and what is printed on the buttons.

Just go thru the settings and select what options you want to activate.

Version 4.5 Updates

MessageAlert 4.5 has been updated with the following features:

  • Auto-resizes for 640X480, 800x600 and 1024X768.
  • Pulls Novell Login ID and NT ID if not using DLU.
  • Reports Computer name and document the user agrees to.
  • Built-in timer function.
  • Ability to drop user toggle file to a non-root-mapped network drive.

This version requires a separate support file for which I have included an MSI to install required files on computers lacking the correct support files, which can be run with the /q option to do a silent install. This should greatly reduce compatibility issues.

Updated User instruction document is included in the zip file.

If you have any comments or suggestions you may contact Keith at Keith.Medlock@rrd.com


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