Winflector has some great scalability features, though in order for them to be useful, you need many sessions. Many sessions typically mean multiple clients, and multiple clients mean a massive deployment. While installing the Winflector Client is extremely simple, limited to getting a client installer and following through a typical setup, doing this hundreds of times is not something any self respecting admin would like doing.
Obviously, if you only need to install it on a dozen or so machines in one location, don’t bother with it and just use the graphical setup. If that is not the case, all the configuration for a typical setup can be done remotely, through file uploading and command line tools. This is THE remote access software with easy deployment. You will need:
- Your favorite remote execution tool. PsExec, PowerShell or other means of accessing WMI, it’s all good as long as you can launch a remote command. Even telnet could do.
- A means to get the files onto the machines you want to install Winflector Client on.
- Some time.
There are example command lines shown in the video and available in its description.
Command-line installation of Winflector Client on Windows
In order to do a command line installation of the Winflector Client, you’ll need the lite setup. It is called wflclient_language.exe, for instance wflclient_en.exe. It is available on the Winflector download page or in the server\httproot\bin directory of your Winflector Server installation.
Once you obtain it there are two ways you can deploy Winflector onto the client machine.
- Upload the Winflector Client Lite Setup to the target machine.
- Launch it with the appropriate switch and administrative access: wflclient_en.exe /VERYSILENT [/DIR=C:\myfavdir]
- It will have installed to %AppData%\Winflector or the specified directory.
The Winflector Client Lite Setup installs into a directory, which in fact constitutes a standalone Winflector Client install. If you just copy it onto another computer, it will work. Note that this method is unofficial.
- Copy the whole directory onto a target computer.
Whichever the way you do it, you’ve installed the Winflector Client. Now it’s time to give it some configuration.
Configuration of deployment options on the Winflector Server
Winflector Server makes it easy for you to set up the client machine work environment so that everything is up and running even for the less technically inclined staff. In particular, it provides a great automated shortcut creation option. This means that whenever a client connects to the server, shortcuts can be created on the client’s end. These shortcuts will allow the user to automatically connect to the Winflector Server and launch a desired application.
In order to use this functionality:
- Go to the Winflector Server.
- Go to Preferences.
- Go to Applications.
- Check the Create application shortcuts on the client desktop during the first login box (if you want desktop shortcuts).
- Check the Create application shortcuts in the client’s menu Start during the first login box (if you want Start Menu shortcuts).
- If you checked the Menu Start Shortcuts option, you can enter the Menu Start option Group name in that field.
- If you want the user not to be asked for password (and for it to be stored on the client), check the Add encrypted user password into shortcuts.
- Exit the Applications dialog by pressing the Save and close button.
If you want to exclude a particular application from shortcut creation, select it on the application list, click Edit selected application and check the Disable shortcuts creation box. Make sure to press Update.
Note: While the box descriptions says during the first login, the client will do this on every login. What’s more, if you change the shortcut creation options, remove an application, disable shortcut creation for an application, etc., these changes will carry over to the client on the next login.
Connecting to the Winflector Server by command-line
In order for the automated shortcut mechanism to function, you’ll need to connect to the server at least once. It can be done by command-line too!
In the Winflector Client, almost everything you can configure in the GUI you can also pass by command line. Check out this article for a complete breakdown of Winflector Client command line options. For the purposes of this article, we’ll use the simplest case. If you need to use Windows/Active Directory authentication, configure Printers, COM ports, Filesystem mapping etc., then go check out that article now and modify the command arguments below in accordance with that guide.
The template for Winflector Client (wfc.exe) command line is:
wfc [option] WorkingDirectory Application
Say you’ve followed the basic installation guide, have user chris with password chris. In this case, your command line will look like this:
wfc -USER=chris -PASSWD=chris -ADDR=SERVERIP -SHOWAPPS
Where SERVERIP is the IP of your Winflector Server.
Once you’ve ran this command, the Winflector Client will launch on the target machine, and if you’ve configured the server correctly, application shortcuts will appear on the target computer’s desktop. These shortcuts are simple .lnk files which can be moved around at will. The password is never saved on disk in a plain-text form if you chose to encrypt it on the server. All the standard techniques an admin can use such as autoruns, scheduled tasks, registry Run keys, shortcuts can be used with the Winflector Client to provide a smooth operation for you.
Note: The client will put the shortcuts on the desktop of user it’s running under. To move it to another user’s desktop, copy the .lnk files. They’re named AppName@IP.lnk, so the *@IP.lnk pattern matches them all.
As the last step you might want to kill the client as a general cleanup. Run the taskkill /IM vtm.exe /F command.
That’s it, the workstation is ready for Winflector use. If you want to optimize your users’ workflow, feel free to add the shortcut to autostart by copying the .lnk file from the Desktop directory to the Autostart directory for a given user.
Updating the Winflector Client
Sometimes, you’ll want to update the Winflector Client. Thankfully, this is extremely simply. You just update the server. On the next connect attempt to the server, the clients will update. Backward compatibility as it concerns this feature is guaranteed by OTC.
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