[#labtech]:

LabTech (ConnectWise Automate)

Connectwise Automate (formerly LabTech)

ConnectWise Automate basically consists of three components:

Getting the Control Center

Previously called the LabTech Control Center, this is now named the Automate Control Center.

Note: The “Control Center” software runs on a local computer that the technician has access to, and is different from the “Web Control Center” which is essentially a website that technicians visit and log into.

If you are a new staff member, you will need to get login information.

Getting the Control Center installer

You can typically visit the server as a URL. Ignore the options about installing agents. Instead, log in. (If you can't log into the website, you may have troubles logging into the software, so installing the software would be pointless.)

At the time of this writing, the website seems to only offer the ConnectWise Automate Control Center for Microsoft Windows. So, under the “Microsoft Windows” section, choose “Install Control Center”. (That will download /Labtech/Updates/ControlCenterInstaller.exe from the web server, at the time of this writing.)

ConnectWise Automate/LabTech documentation often refers to a shared directory called LTShare, which is on the computer that runs the ConnectWise Automate/LabTech Server software. ConnectWise Automate/LabTech 11 documentation: Installing the Control Center notes, “The Control Center installer file can also be found in the LTShare\WksInstall directory of the LabTech server.” To pursue this approach (if logging into the website is not working), you may simply need to know a working name of the server (computer) that is running the ConnectWise Automate/LabTech Server software. (Presumably you can get that information from somebody who can sign in. Presumably somebody can sign in and who created an account and shared those details so the technician can log in once the Control Center is installed.)

There may yet be an entirely different approach. ConnectWise Automate/LabTech 11 Documentation: “Running the Control Center from a USB Device” discusses using “LabTech USB Control Center (LTUSB)”.

After running the executable, you can choose the Options button if you want to install to somewhere other than “C:\Program Files (x86)\LabTech Client” (presuming 64-bit Microsoft Windows).

Then, on the Microsoft Windows Start button's menu, you can find a “ConnectWise Automate” folder, and open up the icon named “Automate Control Center”.

Using “ConnectWise Automate”/“LabTech”
Logging in

Most of the time, you will be fine as long as you have the following pieces of information:

  • User name
  • Password
  • Server

The ideal text for the “Server” field will generally start with “https://” (followed by a server name, e.g. “https://sample.example.com”)

The login screen's “Advanced” section

If you need to change additional settings, you can do so in the section that is shown after clicking on the hyperlink called “Advanced”. If end users are required to do this, the reason has to do with details on how the server is set up. Therefore, changes to the server's set up may alleviate a user's need to be using the “Advanced” hyperlink. Until that happens (if it ever does), the alternate settings may be needed consistently.

If this isn't necessary for the ConnectWise Automate server that you are using, then, congratulations. You're on an easier-to-use server, and you can (consistently) skip this section.

On some occasion, the program may not fully open up after you try to log in, even after the gears show up. If that happens, try making sure the program is being run as a UAC-elevated program.

Loading Permissions
Loading Config

Using the Control Center

After logging in, a window with “Control Center” should appear in the title. (Actually, the title will include the program's name before the word “Control Center”. This program name can be customized, as part of an internal “branding” effort. So the precise name of the program may vary a bit.)

Do use the Navigation Tree

If you are trying to get remote access to a computer system, the first thing you'll be wanting to do is to visit the “Navigation Tree”. In most cases, most users will probably be seeing the “Navigation Tree” most of the time. This may also show up by default, so you may not need to do anything to see the “Navigation Tree”.

However, this is good to know about because if the program is not showing the “Navigation Tree”, a lot of the most frequently used parts of the interface (and, therefore, probably the most familiar parts of the interface) may not be seen. Instead, you may see the “Navigation Menus”. Not only do the “Navigation Menus” not show the familiar “Navigation Tree”, but the “Navigation Menus ” show lots of different available options which will not quickly lead to the user getting back to the familiar “Navigation Tree”. So, it is good to be able to verify that you are seeing the “Navigation Tree”, and know how to get back to it.

Underneath the program's title bar, and underneath the program's menu, and underneath the “Plugins” section that shows various icons, the title of the view should show “Navigation Tree”.

If you don't see that, look towards the lower-left corner of the Control Center (the main program window) for a bar that says “Navigation Tree”, and click on it.

As an alternative, you could click on “Navigation Menus”. In fact, doing so is recommended, just to familiarize yourself with how that works, so that you can have practice with intentionally getting back to the “Navigation Tree” (at least once) and know how to accomplish this simple task.

Starting Remote Access

In the “Navigation Tree”, Expand “Clients”, and then the name of the “Client”, and then the name of the “Location”. You should then see identifiers of computers.

The identifer of a computer will generally start out by looking something like “ComputerName - UserName”.

More details about the identifier

(After the username, you may also see “(#)”, showing the ConnectWise Automate ID or that computer. If you do, that's great. If you don't see the ID, you can by press Alt-T to access the Tools menu, and ensure there is a checkbox near “Show ID's”. Or ensure that such a checkbox is cleared, essentially being unchecked, if you prefer. Most people won't need these ID numbers often, but they may be helpful when working with Scripts, and they may be helpful if you ever have two computer objects with the same name. That can happen if ConnectWise Automate is re-installed onto a computer without the server realizing that the old installation has been removed.)

However, even though the part before the space may look like the computer's name, it might not be the exact computer's name. For instance, if the computer is identified as being a Microsoft Windows Active Directory Domain Controller, then instead of having the computer identifier start with “ComputerName ”, the computer name may start with “ComputerName-DC ”. Typically most computers for a client may just be showing the computer name, but there is no gaurantee that every machine will start with just the computer name.

Then...

The fast way

Access the “context-sensitive menu”/“context menu”/“shortcut menu”/“alternate menu”/“secondary menu”/“right-click menu” of the computer's identifier. (This can be done by selecting it, and then pressing Shift-F10. People using a rodent could right-click on the name.)

On that menu, you should see something like “Launch ConnectWise Control” (on newer versions of ConnectWise Automate, or “Launch ScreenConnect” if using older versions of software). You may also have an option for some other method like “LabVNC”.

[#cwctlclx]: “ConnectWise Control”/ScreenConnect Client Executable

With “ConnectWise Control”/ScreenConnect, ideally the window will just appear after a brief time. Although, with some setups, the user may be prompted to open a file. With web interfaces, the web browser may download an executable file that is intended for connecting to that computer.

If you save that executable file, you can then run it at a later time, and it will create a “ConnectWise Control”/ScreenConnect session to the same computer. (You will not even need to be logged into ConnectWise Automate/LabTech to make that work.)

In either case, go ahead and execute that file. Also, when a lower priority opportunity arises, adjustments may be pursued to make the process more seamless.

Clearly, the small (86,016 byte) temporary file represents a security risk, so if the computer being used is not safe from untrusted intrustion, the file should be sufficiently deleted/wiped. Eventually trying to run it will show “Your session access token has expired or is invalid. Please relaunch this application to refresh the token.” At that point, the executable file seems useless (and a new one needs to be generated). At the time of this writing, the exact time is unknown; it does seem to be multiple hours (more than 12 hours) but less than 48 hours.

Some more

Choose “Network Redirectors”. This could have multiple Redirectorys available, including the following which has been seen on multiple ConnectWise Automate/LabTech installations:

  • TightVNC
  • Remote Desktop - Auto

ConnectWise Automate/LabTech 11 Documentation: Using Tunnels and Redirectors mentions multiple redirectors that may be available.

LabVNC

With LabVNC, the desired screen will typically pop up after some time. (You can see some status on the main Control Center window.)

LabTech 11 Documentation: VNC Connection Options notes, “NOTE:” “LabVNC has been removed as of the LabTech 10.5 release. The LabVNC Connection Options remain for legacy installations.”. Similarly, LabTech 11 Documentation: Control Center Options states, “NOTE:” “LabVNC has been removed as of the LabTech 10.5 release. These options remain for legacy installations.”.

LabTech 11 Documentation: Control Center Options states, “LabVNC is based on the latest version of UltraVNC.”

Based on Control Center, (Toolbar with Icons,) (System) Dashboard, Config, Configurations, Redirected Apps, it appears LabVNC ran “%startpath%\uvncviewer.exe %VNCOptions% %LocalIP1%::%LocalPort1%” with “RunBefore” set to “labvnc”).

RealVNC
Setting up RealVNC
Other programs
Redirecting Applications
Another way

Open the computer up in the “Navigation Tree”. (Do this by selecting the computer's identifier and pressing Enter, or double-clicking on the computer.) Doing so will open up a new window that is specific to that computer. Confusingly, the Automate/LabTech developers have decided to call this the “Computer Management” screen for the computer. (It is unfortunate that the developers made this choice, clearly a name collision of the Microsoft Windows Management Console called “Computer Management”, which is quite popular among the same technicians who frequently use the ConnectWise Automate/LabTech Control Center.)

The next details may vary based on what version of LabTech is installed. The directions, as follows, apply to the most recent version at the time that this text was written.

After this computer's ConnectWise Automate “Computer Management” screen is opened up, look in the bottom corner. You should see the “Begin” menu's button in the lower-left corner.

(If you don't see “Begin” menu because the window is too large, you might need to adjust your operating system's Microsoft Windows desktop “Display” settings. Ensure that “Change the size of text, apps, and other items” is not set above 100%. Unfortnately, the ConnectWise Automate/LabTech “Computer Management” screen doesn't seem to support standard scroll bars, and so if the information is not visible, there may be no easy way to interact with it.)

The “ConnectWise Control” icon looks like a whiskerless panther's head. (Or, if older software is used, there may be the classic ScreenConnect logo.) It should be green. If so, just click on it.

Hopefully that will simply create the connection. If there is a prompt about an executable file, that may need to be opened in order to create the remote access session. (Then adjustments should be made to make the expeirence a bit more seamless.)

If the icon is red, and if you just opened up the ConnectWise Automate/LabTech “Computer Management” screen for this computer, then just wait a few seconds to see if the icon turns green. If it does not turn green, then prepare to get your hopes lowered. :( To hopefully speed things up, ensure that Fastalk is on (by clicking on the up-and-down arrows near hte lower-right corner, so that hopefully they are black instead of grey). Then you may actually want to try just clicking on the red icon anyway. Sometimes it works fine, even though the icon is Red. That seemingly should not be the case, because the Red indicates that the client's software is not checking in, but the reality is that sometimes that has been known to work.

If no successful connection is made when the icon remains red, you may want to try another remote access method. If you know the computer is online, such as if the computer is able to use another remote access method, you may want to try re-installing and then Re-deploying ConnectWise control. To do that, right-click on the ConnectWise Control icon on the ConnectWise Automate/LabTech “Computer Management” screen, to pull up the related “context-sensitive menu”/“context menu”/“shortcut menu”/“alternate menu”/“secondary menu”/“right-click menu”. Then choose the second option, “Reinstall”. Immediately afterwards, access that same menu and choose the third option, “Redeploy”. Then, it may not be a bad idea to try left-clicking on the icon to open the Control Center's half of the ConnectWise Control/ScreenConnect session. Doing so is likely to just show a screen that is mostly black except for a message about waiting on the client, but in some cases that screen will manage to connect and work as desired.

A custom script can be written to help with a rather full re-installation of the software just by running the script, which may be easier and/or more thorough then performing multiple steps to re-install and redeploy. That may or may not be worthwhile (or helpful, or harmful).

For more information about “ConnectWise Control”/“ScreenConnect”, you may see: Remote Access: “ConnectWise Control”/“ScreenConnect”.

More program details

As a general rule, Fastalk is good. Well, maybe not generally. Perhaps if too many machines are unnecessarily set to Fastalk, that may result in more load on the server, and unnecessary bandwidth being used up. However, when you are working with a computer to send multiple commands, Fastalk is good to have enabled. Whenever the Control Center prompts you asking about an option for Fastalk, do choose to enable it, unless you do not intend to interact with the computer any further (in the near future) (presumably because you have just completed work on the system).

Under the Navigation Tree/Panel:

  • If the computer name is gray, the PC has not checked in very recently, and so is presumed to be offline
Ongoing/Routine maintenance

Presumably there is an administrator of a ConnectWise Automate/LabTech server. The details in this section may help describe steps that can be done on a recurring basis, in the hopes of improving efficiency.

Creating Scripts

Some information was on a private version of this page. However, the tested code was inferior (sometimes just not working as expected), so the information has been moved away prior to publication. The information is expected to be improved and then come back. (At the time the information was moved away, it was decided that the information may be wrong and misleading until corrected. However, other details about LabTech and other topics on this site could be published if the information were just removed from this page until a future date when it is ready.)

One of the popular things that can be done with scripting is to install software.

The section on graphical web browsers has information about various installers. For instance, the section on Mozilla's Firefox has a “Latest releases for Microsoft Windows” section with hyperlinks.

https://windirstat.net/wds_current_setup.exe

Created: Scripts\Software\WinDirStat (folder) Scripts\Software\WinDirStat\

https://windirstat.net/wds_current_setup.exe

windirstat1_1_2_setup.exe /S ${sharedPath}windirstat1_1_2_setup.exe /S https://www.manageengine.com/products/desktop-central/software-installation/silent_install_WinDirStat-1.1.2.html $programfiles86\WinDirStat\Uninstall.exe /S

Go to LabTech Control Center, Navigation Tree, Scripts\Software\Google. There is a "Chrome Installer" script, which:
  1. downloads https://dl.google.com/chrome/install/GoogleChromeStandaloneEnterprise.msi to %windir%\LTSVC\Packages\google\chrome_installer.msi
  2. and then runs msiexec /i %windir%\LTSVC\Packages\google\chrome_installer.msi /qn REBOOT=ReallySuppress
Automatically logging in as a user: Neil Tomsheck's “Log a user in, then back out through scripts.” (requires knowing user's password).
Seeing what happened
Event Logs

Don't forget Event Logs can be viewed on the client.

You can also view logs by going to the Control Center's Navigation Tree, expanding the Client, expanding the Location, accessing the individual computer system's “context-sensitive menu”/“context menu”/“shortcut menu”/“alternate menu”/“secondary menu”/“right-click menu”, and choosing Dataviews, Event Logs.

Scripts/Commands

Open the computer up in the “Navigation Tree”. (Do this by selecting the computer's identifier and pressing Enter, or double-clicking on the computer.) Doing so will open up a new window that is specific to that computer. Confusingly, the Automate/LabTech developers have decided to call this the “Computer Management” screen for the computer. (It is unfortunate that the developers made this choice, clearly a name collision of the Microsoft Windows Management Console called “Computer Management”, which is quite popular among the same technicians who frequently use the ConnectWise Automate/LabTech Control Center.)

You can then choose “Tools” (the wrench icon near the bottom), and View History. From there, you can see Commands, EventLogs, and Scripting, and more.

Or, from ConnectWise Automate/LabTech's “Computer Management” window, you can choose “Automation” (the gear near the top), and then “Commands” or “Scripting”, or more. In the main center area, look near the bottom for a “Refresh” hyperlink. Also look near that “Refresh” hyperlink to see if there is any other option that indicates the view is filtered.

Or, from Control Center's “Navigation Tree”, you can expand a Client, expand a Location, access a individual computer system's “context-sensitive menu”/“context menu”/“shortcut menu”/“alternate menu”/“secondary menu”/“right-click menu”, and choosing Dataviews. Then choose “Commands” and another option, or “Scripts” and another option (like “All Scripts”).

e.g., after choosing Dataviews, Scripts, and “All Scripts”, there is a column called “Script Notes”. The notes may be too long to show in one cell, but you can right-click on the cell and choose either “Copy text” (and then Paste the text elsewhere), or “Export to Excel”.

When viewing Dataviews, Scripts, and “All Scripts”, you can also right-click on a column, choose “Field Chooser”, and check more fields.

Remote Access

LabTech 11 Documentation: Using Tunnels and Redirectors says, “All redirector sessions, not the tunnels but the individual sessions like LabVNC or RDP, are logged with the start times, the duration of the connection, users who initiated the session, the reason for the session and the target IP address.” This note then refers people to LabTech 11 Documentation: Auditing Changes for further details.

Tunnels
Troubleshooting Tunnels has “Enable Verbose Logging” to write to "C:\Windows\LTSvc\LTErrors" on the remote computer, and "C:\ProgramData\LabTech Client\Logs\LTcErrors" on the computer with the Control Center. (Naturally, it looks like those paths should be customized of software is in some other location.)
Less frequent tasks

This section is meant to cover some steps that may not need to be done as frequently. Maybe they are worthwhile setup steps that worth doing once, or just in certain situations like when deciding to upgrade LabTech.

Using SSL

ConnectWise Automate/LabTech 11 Documentation: ConnectWise Automate/LabTech Installation and Upgrade: ConnectWise Automate/LabTech Server Installation: Configuring SSL mentions incompatibility with Windows Server 2012.