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Instructions on how to use external applications

The following instructions are intended to help you set up external applications in SiteKiosk and warn you of some of the problems/limitations involved.

Further down on this page you will also find a Tutorial that teaches how to launch external applications from within a web page in SiteKiosk.

1. Some thoughts on the use of external applications
1.1 DirectX games
To some extent, the keyboard driver under Windows 7, 8, 10 ensures that DirectX games can be used safely under SiteKiosk as well. However, we would like to point out to that problems of various kinds may arise from using some applications or playing games under SiteKiosk. We cannot guarantee that all applications/games will work flawlessly under SiteKiosk! We suggest: Test every game/application separately before using it under SiteKiosk.

The following problems may occur:
  1. The application may consume a lot of memory. This can lead to an increased number of crashes when you use SiteKiosk simultaneously with the running program. Adjust the Memory management settings of SiteKiosk to alleviate this problem.
  2. Since the game/application allows the user to adjust the settings for brightness, contrast etc., the terminal may become affected by these settings as well.
1.2 Using the Payment Module to charge users for using applications
In general, the Payment module only charges users for the time they spend on HTML pages and rather than for the use of applications. Should you desire to put up an additional charge for running applications, you will have to adjust the configuration accordingly under Payment module / Service rates.
1.3 Application will not launch
Many applications are started with the help of a small launcher program which, in turn, launches the actual application. If this,to boot, happens by means of parameters, it may not be possible to launch the desired application directly from within SiteKiosk unless you specified parameters in addition to just the .exe file. Find the necessary parameters or the launcher program by, for example, consulting the manual of the corresponding application and enter them in the configuration file of SiteKiosk.
1.4 Opening and saving of files disabled by default
For security reasons, opening or saving files is prohibited as these actions make it necessary to access the hard drive. SiteKiosk only allows this for the Limited SiteKiosk user. If you use a different Windows user and lift these restrictions, you need to adjust the Windows & dialog boxes accordingly.
1.5 Define SiteKiosk as the default browser (to prevent other applications from opening links in IE)
SiteKiosk versions 6 and higher allow you to assign Web documents to the SiteKiosk browser by default. Advantage: If another application (e.g. Messenger) opens an HTML link, this link will be opened directly in SiteKiosk instead of, for instance, Internet Explorer (which would consequently be blocked by SiteKiosk).
These settings will be configured automatically for the SiteKiosk user during installation. You can define the necessary settings for other user accounts under Start->Control Panel->Add or Remove Programs->Set Program Access and Defaults. Simply set SiteKiosk as your default Web browser in this section. You can change this setting again at any time.
1.6 Problems with the limited SiteKiosk user account
The majority of the problems users experience when running applications under the limited SiteKiosk user account can be attributed to the fact that some applications self-configure automatically under the user when launched for the first time. They are, however, often prevented from doing so after the security settings have been set by the SiteKiosk Security Manager.

To eliminate this problem, reset the security restrictions for the SiteKiosk user by applying the option Unprotected on the first page of the Security Manager.
When you are finished, launch the desired application once under the SiteKiosk user (default user password is provisio). Finish by logging out the user and switching to a user with administrator rights before resetting the user rights for the limited SiteKiosk user account to Protected.

Note:
Some applications and games, particularly older ones, can only be executed by a user with administrator access. Microsoft's "Age of Empire" is such a game. If you want to run this application in SiteKiosk, you can do so under a Corresponding user account.



2. Useful and less useful applications
When using the Security Manager and the SiteKiosk user account, you will, for the most part, not have to worry about running an application in SiteKiosk.

Important:

Programs such as MSN Messenger are only visible as small icons in the notification area of the Windows taskbar. You will have to Launch SiteKiosk in shell replacement mode to allow for such icons to become visible in the SiteKiosk taskbar.


Note:
Some applications such as Windows Media Player (version 8 or greater), RealPlayer, Winamp, etc. ship with an integrated browser. Users may want to surf the Web using this internal browser and, thereby, circumvent SiteKiosk's security measures such as the content filter.
Since the SiteKiosk File manager can display/play back most of the common media file formats, there will be no need to set up standalone player software in most cases
.
2.1 Office applications (Microsoft Office/Wordpad/Open Office)
If you want to allow your users to use a word processing application we recommend that you choose Wordpad, which ships with every copy of Windows.

The use of Winword or the Microsoft Office suite on public terminals is not recommended because these applications offer too many loopholes for manipulation and settings options. Running these applications under the limited SiteKiosk user account, however, solves most of these problems.

Open Office is a free suite of office applications and a popular alternative to the office products offered by Microsoft. When adding this suite to SiteKiosk as an external program, make sure to include the file soffice.bin in the Open Office directory as an indirectly opened application in addition to the .exe file of the Open Office component you want to use (last update: 10/04/2011). This ensures that SiteKiosk will be able to close the application again.
2.2 Windows file manager (Windows Explorer)
Since, by default, the functions of the Windows file manager "Explorer" are restricted by the Security Manager, using this file manager does not pose a significant security risk.
Nonetheless, we strongly recommend that you use the SiteKiosk file manager instead, as this file manager, apart from offering all important file manager capabilities, is secure thanks to its implementation in SiteKiosk.
2.3 Windows Messenger / MSN Messenger / Live Messenger
It will be best and easiest to offer the Microsoft and Yahoo Web Messenger products to your customers. To do so, turn on the corresponding checkboxes under Browser themes->Customize->Messenger. These services will then be displayed in the toolbar of the browser.

As an alternative, you can use the original Microsoft Messenger applications. This is, however, far trickier.
Microsoft offers two kinds of messenger applications: Windows Messenger and MSN Messenger/Live Messenger

If you do want to use any of these messenger applications, we recommend that you do the following:
  1. Use the SiteKiosk System Security Manager to set the limited SiteKiosk user to Unprotected.
  2. Log on to Windows using your SiteKiosk user account (default password: provisio) and launch Messenger.
  3. Select the Messenger options under Tools.
  4. Make sure to deactivate all options that automatically start and/or log on Messenger. These settings disallow the start of Messenger outside the control of SiteKiosk and, thereby, allow you, for instance, to charge users for using the application. The charge for using applications will be deducted if you entered Messenger under Applications in the configuration tool and made the use of applications subject to a charge.
  5. Log off from the SiteKiosk user and return to your administrator account.
  6. Start the SiteKiosk System Security Manager and select Protected. If you are using the Live Messenger version choose Customized before exiting the manager. Make sure to give the folder C:\Documents and Settings\SiteKiosk\Contacts read/write permissions.
  7. Add Messenger to the list of allowed Applications in the SiteKiosk configuration tool.
  8. Launch SiteKiosk and select Auto start as the start option as the small Messenger icon will otherwise not appear in the taskbar.

Note:
If you are unable to start MSN Messenger or Windows Messenger within SiteKiosk, please make sure that these applications are not checked it the SiteKiosk System Security Manager under Security Manager->Policies->Additional Applications or under Customized->Programs.
Also follow the information provided on the Default browser.
2.4 Calculator
You can allow the use of the good old Windows Calculator (calc.exe) without having to worry about security issues in any way.
2.5 Paint
The image editing application Paint "mspaint" (included with Windows) (mspaint.exe) belongs to the group of applications you can allow without any second thoughts.
2.6 mIRC
mIRC is a shareware program allowing users to join an endless number of chat rooms all around the world. Do not hesitate to allow the use of this program.
2.7 Games
With SiteKiosk you can also implement games as external applications. Current games/applications usually work without limitations because it is common practice that they can be used under a user with non-administrative rights.

Notes:
We recommend playing games at the same resolution to which you have set your desktop.
Please also note that the game's directory needs to be given read/execute permissions when the game is played under a limited SiteKiosk user account. Folders to which games scores etc. can be saved may require read/write access.
As the graphics engine takes over control of the display, you may experience that SiteKiosk dialog boxes such as the notification of expiring surfing time are no longer being displayed accurately. This, however, will not affect the functionality of these dialog boxes. Click on this link to learn how you can solve the problem of a flickering taskbar.

3. Launching applications from within a web page
Important note:
Make sure that the HTML page you programmed has scripting permission within SiteKiosk! For this purpose, include your page under Access/URLs with scripting permission.


If you like to use this script within frames, you will have to change the window.external.InitScriptInterface(); to window.external.InitScriptInterface(document);.

You can use the SiteKiosk Object Model and the method SiteKiosk.ExternalApps.Run to start as many applications as you wish from within any web page. For instance, you may want to include a button on your Start Page that allows users to start any application.

Implement this button by using the following SiteKiosk Object Model method:

SiteKiosk.ExternalApps.Run(sPath, bCheckRunning)

sPath
= path to the program file
bCheckRunning
(Boolean) = checks if the application is already running Example:
The following example will show you how you can open Notepad directly from within a web page. Please note that you will first have to approve the URL that you wish to use on pages containing SiteKiosk Object Model code on the corresponding page of the SiteKiosk configuration.

<html>
   <head>
      <script type="text/javascript">
         <!--
            function Init_ScriptInterface()
            {
            window.external.InitScriptInterface();
            }
 
            function ExecuteProg()
            {
            SiteKiosk.ExternalApps.Run("c:\\windows\\notepad.exe", true);
            }
         //-->
      </script>
      <title>Example</title>
   </head>
   <body onload="Init_ScriptInterface();">
         <a href="javascript:ExecuteProg()">run Notepad</a>
   </body>
</html>


Please remember to put the DOUBLE SLASHES!
when you specify the path! You can, of course, also have applications launched automatically whenever the page is called. In order to do so, simply change the body tag.

<body onload="Init_ScriptInterface(); ExecuteProg()">


Note:
Note that in order for SiteKiosk to be able to automatically close applications started through the SiteKiosk Object Model, they need to be included on the list of external applications.



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