Can I start by saying, I really love the idea of this software. It's design accommodates for the vast majority of things I am looking for in a remote access system. We are an MSP and use this software to support in excess of 350 endpoints on a regular basis. This is why I am holding out hope that the potential is there for this to be a great tool.
Having said that, I am getting to the point where I am wondering if I am being naive, or maybe I am just doing it wrong.
I have constant issues across a range of areas, that are thinning my hair out day by day.
I run a self hosted server on a dedicated Windows Server 2012 R2 VM in our data center. All software is running on the latest available versions [Server, Viewer, and Host] My host machines are a mix of Windows 7,8.1,10,Server 2008,Server 2012 R2,Server 2016,Server 2019
File Transfer: -Sometimes, the viewer will connect, and will show a blank window for the remote end, sometimes with a message similar to "cannot get folder", If I close this window and re-open will often resolve, but not always. -Sometimes, it will connect and show all folders, and while navigating through the folder structure, this error will occur. Sometimes, going up a level will resolve, other times, I need to disconnect and reconnect. Example screenshot attached]
-When file transfers do not complete, no status is shown to indicate this. The failure to complete could be a connection drop, or interruption fr om the remote end, but still no error to show the transfer has failed. There are times I will transfer a large installation archive to a remote client - such as the installer for Adobe Photoshop, I would start this and move on to other work, but never know if it completed or if it was interrupted along the way. I know a successful completion will auto close the transfer window, but should a non-successful completion keep it open?
-At times, the file transfer window will get stuck open, and I cannot close it. Only a forced terminate of the viewer via task manager will close the window. This does not always stop file transfers being possible, often I can still open a new transfer to a different host in a new tab when this occurs.
Viewer Window: -I have all hosts set to Auto Logon, however, some hosts show as Orange - Online, some as Green - Logged On and others show offline. Often the ones showing offline, are actually online, and will allow me to connect, however, it takes 1-3 connection attempts before the connection comes up. - This issue floats around, it is not a case of some hosts, have the problem. Most of the hosts will experience this at some point in time.
-I have some hosts that get stuck in a grey state with an hourglass icon, and never move. Only a restart of the viewer will clear this. Even a Sign Out / Sign In will not fix this. [example screenshot attached]
-I also have many cases wh ere a host shows as Orange - Online, then when I double click it, I get the hourglass, and it will turn grey and fail to connect 5 times. Once it fails for the last time, it will go back to Orange. Sometimes, another double click will work, other times, nothing will work, not even a restart of the viewer. However, I will come back to it an hour later and connect without issues.
-When machines are logging on or off, even though the machine is shown as Online or Logged on, a view of the remote screen is not possible. Particularly when switching users at the remote end. There is no display between the pressing of the Log Off / Sign Out button at the remote end, and the screen where you can choose / enter a different user. It seems that the video hook driver is not integrated deep enough. I have used other Remote Access software that is able to show these screens without issue.
-When a full control connection drops off, the viewer window does not close, it goes grey and shows a reconnecting message in the top left. This eventually stops trying to reconnect, but remains open in a frozen-like state. If you double click the host fr om the main viewer window again, the frozen window is brought back into focus, but does not try to connect. I need to manually close this window, which itself takes 5-10 seconds, then double click the host again to try and connect.
Remote Control: -I find the clipboard get and set options very temperamental. Particularly the Set Clipboard does not always take the first time, it routinely takes 2-3 times before it commits, and there is almost always a delay of 3-5 seconds after clicking set before it will apply the change. I am only ever set a line of text, never pictures or any large data. This problem comes and goes randomly on random hosts.
General Use: -The software is slow, just generally speaking. Right clicking a host and clicking properties is a full second before it appears. I know this is possibly a machine based issue, however, it is consistent across all my machines, which range from a 7yr laptop to a 1yr old Core i7 workstation.
-Connecting to a remote host is slow, the fastest I ever get is about 6-7 seconds for Logged On hosts, but 15-30 seconds is typical for Online hosts. My experience with direct connections rather than via the server is only marginally faster, not enough to warrant the extra work required to setup and maintain them. If I ask the viewer to Log On a host that is orange, it is commonly about 10-15 seconds before it turns green.
Hosts: -Some hosts do not come back online if they have been off for an extended period. I recently had an issue with the firewall to my Server, which denied connections from certain IP ranges. Once this was fixed, some hosts stayed grey and showed as offline until the machines were rebooted. Even restarting the Remote Host service did not bring them online. I have had a small number of issues wh ere hosts show as offline until the machine was rebooted prior to the firewalling issue, but have been unable to do further troubleshooting due to the nature of being cut off from the machines.
Are my issues like the above simply what we all see when using the software, or have I somehow created a unique set of problems that no one else is suffering from?
We tested the beta 2 version on a small number of machines, but did not roll it out via group policy so I cannot shed add any insights here. We had issues with excessive dropouts when using the beta2 viewer and 6.10 hosts. However, we have updated our self hosted server to beta2 and that has helped enormously. So currently, our overall configuration is Self Hosted Server 2.9B2, Viewer 6.10.10, Hosts 6.10.10.
With regard to the group policy, although I cannot rule out some sort of specific GP config creating the issue, if this is cause, then it is something we are replicating as we have faced this issue across about 10 different client sites, all with completely independent GP and AD implementations.
Ondrej, can you confirm that after the initial installation, the remote access works, but fails later after the workstation is rebooted [not necessarily after the first reboot, but rather just at a future time after a reboot]. This is our issue.
Edited:Matthew Cooper - Nov 14, 2020 9:12:05 pm EST
For us, I can confirm that we have never seen this issue when installing the software manually, it is only a very small number of cases when installed via group policy software installation. We have never used the remote install tool so I cannot comment on that. This makes sense though as a manual install never re-runs the installer. GP is re-running the installer each time the machine reboots, and this issue only shows up after a reboot.
My feeling is that it is something to do with the installer MSI itself, however, I am not an expert on the specifics of MSI files. We use GP software installation on dozens of sites for many peices of software and have been doing so for about 15 years now, the only one I can ever recall having issues is this one.
We have learnt to live with this problem for the moment, as long as it does not get any worse.
I can confirm that when I install the software from the MSI on machines that are not domain joined, I have not experienced this issue.
I can also confirm that if I install the software using the MSI via group policy on a domain joined machine that does NOT run any antivirus, I have still experienced this issue.
I have found that when the issue occurs and I perform a complete reinstall of the software, it does work. I am unsure if the problem has occurred a second time on the same machine currently. After raising this ticket, I have created an allow rule in the webroot console that marks the remote utilities software as excluded, however, this has not solved the issue, and it has happened on another 2 systems since then. Additionally, webroot has not logged any mention of the remote utilities software that I can find, which would seem to indicate that it is not the cause of the issue.
There is antivirus on the machines yes - Webroot Secure Anyware. I see nothing in the log for it to show that it has flagged any files or services. Also, this same antivirus is on systems that are not domain joined and have never displayed this problem.
I have sent through the information requested from a system this has happened on, except the Host log files as the system in question does not have that folder. The software is set to log into the event log.
I have been wrestling with this and it has become more frequent as I continue to roll out the client software. I am now at the point where I need a second method of remote access on all machines to ensure I can access them.
The issue only occurs when the client is being installed fr om MSI via group policy software installation. The installation is fine, and the system works, then randomly the service "Remote Utilities - Host" disappears from the services list. This seems to happen only on reboots as far as I can tell, and I have not been able to find anything in the event log about it at all.
Even though the service is missing, the software itself does not get uninstalled, it still exists in programs and features, and all files remain present in the Program Files directory.
Could it be some sort of issue in the MSI installer wh ere it is re-run by group policy, and fails to correctly complete, which then removes the service?
Edited:Matthew Cooper - Dec 04, 2019 6:41:32 pm EST
I am seeing an issue that so far appears to be random, but I am trying to resolve.
I deploy the host component to PCs in most cases via group policy. However, there are some occasions where the host will be installed on a system prior to the machine being joined to the domain. I always deploy the host component via the same installer [msi] file.
I have just completed a setup of 15 machines, in around 10 of these installs, the RU host was installed manually prior to the joining of the machine to the domain.
What happens is that after the machine is domain joined and rebooted, group policy installs the software as normal, and the 'Remote Utilities - Host' service is removed from the service list. The software is not uninstalled, all files and shortcuts remain in place. Just the service is removed.
During this install it happened on 3 of the 15 machines, and I have seen the same behaviour many times before.
Is there a way to: a. Find out what might create this problem b. Re-install the service without having the completely remove the program first?
We use direct connections for most of our endpoints and often relay through a main server at the site to get access. When setting up the connections the first time, in the connection properties of each remote client, under Connection > Network > Connect through the host: we drop down the menu to select the main site server. We store each client in their own folder under the main address book whcih is a central address book on a self hosted server.
This list follows no order that I can understand, so it is often difficult to find the server we are looking for.
Can we request 2 changes:
1. Can this list be in alphabetical order arranged by the folder the clients are listed in 2. Can the separator [shown as --- ClientFolder] be shown in BOLD to make it easier to read.