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Finding a free PC on campus

Posted on 2016-10-24
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Last Modified: 2016-11-02
Hi,

Are you aware of any software or web based application that can monitor if computer logged in or not.  basically I want students check if a computer is available from the web before visiting the library.

I am using Zabbix in my environment, if it supports that feature.

thanks in advance
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Question by:Rawand Amin
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by:skullnobrains
ID: 41856640
i don't know of an existing good tool that will do all of this

but there are tons of way to determine who is logged on a remote computer as long as you're in a domain

WMIC /NODE: xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx COMPUTERSYSTEM GET USERNAME Will return the username currently logged into xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx

nbtstat might work as well

this excellent tool
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/psloggedon.aspx

pick one that works and build a web page that uses whatever works in your environment and loops through the machines in order to determine if a local user is logged on.

also don't forget about security issues.
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by:masnrock
ID: 41856741
You may need to get that type custom made. What you might actually want to report to someone who checks is whether computers are available and how many, but not exactly which machines. I mention this because of privacy concerns and making it extremely hard to stalk someone.

Since Zabbix can see who is logged in, there might be a way to either export for the the webpage to use, or to have custom reporting done that can be utilized by the application. Either way, security and privacy are going to be the biggest two concerns.
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by:bbao
ID: 41856746
> any software or web based application that can monitor if computer logged in or not.

be aware whatever how the software is designed, a piece of software called agent must be installed on the student computers, or at least must be executed by the log-on or log-off script if available, in order to buzz the website telling the computer status. make sure you are happy with this way including its mechanism and security risk.
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by:Rawand Amin
ID: 41856830
The issue is how to send a buzz to the monitoring system as system login or logoff, I didn't find that parameter on zabbix monitoring system.
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by:masnrock
ID: 41856929
That's a very different issue. But most monitoring systems are not designed to give alerts like that. It would potentially become too frequent depending on how many systems you are monitoring.

In Zabbix, you'd have to look at triggers... it wouldn't play a sound, but you could have other actions occur such as sending an email or text.
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skullnobrains earned 500 total points
ID: 41856990
it's quite easy to add an event upon logon/logout using builtin windows features such as logon/logout scripts. unfortunately, i don't think it is actually workable since the logout script may not fire if for example the computer is powered off brutally or there is a network issue at that time.

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if you are in a domain, it is quite easy to query the computer status in real time. psloggedon is probably your simplest choice. for medium but i assume reasonable security, i'd probably add a reverse proxy in front of the server that performs this task.

if you have snmp you can use this oid : HOST-RESOURCES-MIB::hrSystemNumUsers.0  in order to gather the number of loggedon users. it should produce less security concerns since snmp is read only in most cases and your web server does not even need to be in the domain or to be a windows box. note that remote and local users are probably not distinguished.

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unless you have a crazy number of computers and users, it should be reasonable to query each machine in real time. 10 computers is reasonable. 100 is probably not. 1000 is definitely not. i don't think you expect a huge number of concurrent users.

you may add a small cache if you're concerned with the number of users.

if you have hundreds of computers, you should run a job that periodically checks each computer and updates whatever backend is available ( flat file, sql table ... ) running this on a different machine than the web server should also solve whatever security concerns you have if you have any.

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no idea about zabbix but it features a remote API that can query pretty much anything. i don't think it is much simpler and it is not obviously more secure either. https://www.zabbix.com/documentation/2.2/manual/api
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