ThinKiosk 3.0 General Release

It gives me great pleasure and relief to announce the general availability of ThinKiosk 3.0!

ThinKiosk 3.0 is another ground up redevelopment of the tool, 2 months ago I broke the program beyond recognition to add support for shared libraries and reduce the number of active components in the program. It’s fast, lightweight, it’s been a long time coming and I am absolutely thrilled with the result! 

WIth that out of the way and without further ado, there are hundred’s of changes to ThinKiosk, below are just the highlights:

Additional support:


  • Added support for Citrix StoreFront services 1.2 (Cloud Gateway).
  • Added support for VDI in a Box 5.1 (no open prompt!)
  • Added support for internet Explorer 10 as the local browser.
  • Added support for Windows 8 as an end point.
  • Added support for Windows Embedded Standard 8 as an end point.


New Features:



EULA:


This isn’t exactly a new feature, but I want to be as forthcoming about this as possible. I’ve added an EULA to ThinKiosk. There is nothing untoward, there’s no lock in, it just says its free to use, you can’t resell it, and you can’t sue me if you do something stupid.

Ultimately, it just protects me (a free tool developer) from lawsuits.


Languages:


The Norwegian language has now been added, thanks Thomas!

All current languages have been updated (spanish, french, dutch, italian, German)

 

Startup marquee:

 


On particularly old or slow pc’s the startup time for ThinKiosk can be quite lengthy while ThinKiosk loads the embedded browser.

To address this delay, a splash screen with progress marquee has been added to provide feedback and keep the user entertained.

 

Screenshot and email functionality:

 

 

You can now allow ThinKiosk register the [PrintScreen] key, which in turn will allow the user to use this key to send an error or issue directly to the helpdesk, including support information via SMTP.

 

 

By default, email and screenshot functionality is disabled, until you add SMTP options via policy or offline config too.

Thanks Shane for the idea!

Progress bar:

 

 

When loading slow to load URL’s, it can be difficult to tell whether the website has hung, or it has just taken some time to load. By default ThinKiosk 3.0 will ship with an “on demand” progress bar to tell you when ThinKiosk is busy.


Wireless Networks:


 

Beta support for Wireless Networks has been added via the control panel

This functionality will only currently work with:

  • Windows 7
  • Windows Embedded Standard 7.
  • Windows Thin PC

Note: this setting is disabled by default, but can be enabled via the group policy or offline config too.


Language Selection:


Probably the most requested feature so far, I’ve finally added a drop down for Language selection as below:


 

This drop down will allow the users to change the language on the fly. This option can be disabled via group policy or the offline config tool.

New items in the admin menu




The admin menu now contains some very useful commands for administrators when troubleshooting end points:

  • Task Manager.
  • Internet Explorer Control panel.
  • Restart /Exit ThinKiosk.
  • Remote Desktop connection.
  • Offline Configuration Tool.



Desktop launching dialog:

 

When using Web interface log off on session launch, ThinKiosk performed the task so quickly that the user was often left a little confused as to what has happened and why they have been kicked out before the session finally launched. ThinKiosk will now provide feedback when a new session launches or when workspace control is busy reconnecting and has a 2 seconds hold down timer before it kicks the user off the web interface.

 

End of session options:

 

 

Previously when a remote session ended, you had an option to log the local user off. This was particularly useful if you were using Citrix Pass through authentication. A recurring request was to add the ability to restart, or shutdown the pc. This is now included in the offline config tool and group policy.

 

Classic Colours:

 

 

A number of fussy individual’s didn’t appreciate my lightsteelblue colour scheme change, for you guys (you know who you are) you can now disable the colour change on startup via group policy or offline config tool if grey is your thing.

 

Process Launcher:

 

A new feature in ThinKiosk 3.0 is the process launcher. Instead of loading ThinKiosk as a browser session, the process launcher simply launches the process you specify, and only displays the ThinKiosk menu bar at the top for user convenience.

 

This process launcher, will launch the process you configure, watch the process and relaunch it if the user accidentally closes the window!

Process launcher also has all the user empowering options available, along with power management. This functionality is all free as aposed to paid for solutions delivering half this functionality!
As below, you can use the Process launcher for Microsoft Remote desktop connections:

 

 

Or VMware view!:





Or basically any process you would like to use. This functionality is quite new, so if find issues with it, I want to know about it!

 

Offline Config Tool improvements:



Restructure:


The offline config tool has been reordered to provide a better structure to settings.





Policy awareness:


 

The offline config tool will now detect values specified in group policy or in user key’s it cannot control and warn you that these values exist.

The apply button has been removed from the offline config tool, it wasn’t needed or working exactly as I wanted it to.

 

Bug fixes / enhancements:

 

ThinKiosk Layout changes:


Resizing ThinKiosk has been moved to a more native location as below:





The clock and language selection are now enabled by default:





Advanced functionality:

ThinKiosk can no longer be run as a standalone executable, the shared.dll must be available too, Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Changing zones in internet explorer while ThinKiosk is running used to result in a crash (e.g moving a domain from the internet zone to trusted sites). This crash is now handled and you will receive a warning icon to restart ThinKiosk at your next convenience. Please note, circumventing this crash will disable Auto log off and log off redirection until ThinKiosk is restarted.

When navigating to a url with an untrusted SSL certificate, by default an embedded browser will not allow you to continue without prompting for scripting errors. These scripting errors in turn stopped Citrix Web Interface from working in multi farm environments. Support has been added to allow scripting errors only when an untrusted ssl cert is requested.

ThinKiosk will now amend the feature controls neccessary for embedded browsers on a per user basis. This will allow for better native support for ActiveX and Mime types. This will cause a quick restart as soon as ThinKiosk launches if a change is neccessary. This will also handle the upgrade to Internet Explorer 10 seamlessly. This process can be disabled via the offline config tool / group policy.

All shared code between ThinKiosk and the Offline config tool has been moved to a shared library! it wasn’t fun, it wasn’t easy but it will make things alot easier for me in future when making changes.

And it’s still free!


ThinKiosk development has taken quite some time and it takes time to support you via email. If you use ThinKiosk in your environment or appreciate the savings its made for you, please consider making a donation to help me keep this project alive… I would really appreciate it as it will allow me to invest in better development tools to make the product look and feel even better!


Download:

The download links for ThinKiosk are available above, or here:

  1. September 24, 2012 at 10:19 am

    It looks amazing Andy! Great work

  2. September 26, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Great tool. Thanks for sharing. One question beside. We use WSUS to deploy updates. If you shutdown a machine via “standard” shutdown pending software updates are not getting installed. In the past we used a special shutdown command first seen in the famous “updatehf.vbs” script. Here is the snippet which ensures pending updates are installed during shutdown.

    Const EWX_LOGOFF = 0
    Const EWX_SHUTDOWN = 1
    Const EWX_REBOOT = 2
    Const EWX_FORCE = 4
    Const EWX_POWEROFF = 8

    ‘set PC to reboot
    If strRestart = 1 Then

    For each OpSys in OpSysSet
    opSys.win32shutdown EWX_REBOOT + EWX_FORCE
    Next

    ‘set PC to shutdown
    ElseIf strRestart = 2 Then

    For each OpSys in OpSysSet
    opSys.win32shutdown EWX_POWEROFF + EWX_FORCE
    Next

    ‘Do nothing…
    ElseIf strRestart = “0” Then

    End If

    Thank you ver much for this fabulous tool.
    Joachim

    • September 27, 2012 at 10:11 am

      Hi Joachim,

      Im currently using the windows api ExitWindowsEX to handle the shutdown’s / restarts and log off.

      I’ll investigate how to integrate this option with the next release as I think it would add great value.

      Thank you kindly for the feedback.

      Update, could you email me the script (email on about tab)?

      A

  3. Ben
    September 27, 2012 at 3:00 am

    Thanks for version 3 it looks great, i am trying it out right now.

    Can you suggest how I would deal w/ slow wireless clients where Thinkiosk starts, as the shell, before the wireless is finished connecting and results is a “cannot find server” error?

    I was thinking of a VBS wrapper to impose a delay on the thinkiosk startup but thought i would ask you if you already have a solution, maybe a delay startup registry setting.

    Thanks, Ben.

    • September 27, 2012 at 10:10 am

      Hi Ben,

      The wireless features are in Beta at present and I’m sorry to see there’s an issue here.

      Lets take this offline, my email address is above and let’s see what we can do to resolve them.

      A

  4. September 28, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Andrew,

    I will test version 3, we are running version 2 and are very font of it. Now for Mobile devices (laptops) the question comes that if no power cord is plugged in, the latops dies at certain moment because they cannot see the battery remaining time…

    Is it posible to include that also? I’m very pleased that wireless has entered the new thin kiosk, will give that a nice test. For the rest it is an perfect solution for thin computing 🙂

    • September 28, 2012 at 8:32 am

      Hi Herwin,

      Thanks for dropping by.

      I’ll certainly add a battery status, I have the code already for my caffeine application.

      Do you use the Citrix web interface or process auto launch?

      A

    • September 28, 2012 at 8:39 am

      Hi Andrew,

      We are using webinterface 5,4

      H

  5. Steve
    September 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Andrew –
    Thanks for the updates and progress. Do you have plans for wireless options beyond spawning the Control Panel window? Opening that up gives our users the opportunity to easily browse the local machine which we’d prefer not happen.

    Also –
    If the other control panel items are disabled but Wifi is enabled, the “Settings” menu doesn’t show up.

    Thanks again

    • September 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      Hi Steve,

      I’m honesty surprised by the demand for wifi options and I’ll happily write a better interface for the next version without control panel necessity.

      Thanks for the feedback on the bug, I’ll send you a private release ASAP with the fix.

      A

  6. Chris
    November 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Wonderful work, Andrew.

    Just a curiosity though, is there a snippet of code or a menu hidden away somewhere to adjust the clock from 24 hour format to AM/PM formats?

    • November 14, 2012 at 6:02 pm

      Hi Chris,

      Will be available in v3.1, hoping to release by Friday,

    • November 16, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      It’s in version 3.1, which is available now.

  1. September 21, 2012 at 4:54 pm

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