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Support Request: SiteKiosk 6.6 Refreshing, Crashing & Restarting

Description

Hi,

We have been using your SiteKiosk program since March 2006 (v6.2 - v6.6) and have overall been very happy with the performance and features; however, lately we have been experiencing a number of faults.

The kiosks have been running Windows XP Professional (SP2) with SiteKiosk 6.5 and started off with Norton AntiVirus 2006 then Norton AntiVirus 2007 and now Windows Live OneCare, with one kiosk now running Windows Vista Home Basic and SiteKiosk 6.6.

Earlier this year, March 2007, we started noticing the following faults with SiteKiosk 6.5 on the Windows XP Professional (SP2) kiosks:

1) File Manager - access to and visibility of allowed drives from allowed programs (word, excel, adobe reader, picassa, etc) started to fail intermittently and then completely, plus copying to flash drives, external hard drives and cameras from within File Manager itself also failed. On a smaller note; pictures do not show as thumbnails and can only be viewed one at a time from within File Manager.

2) Printing - to allow printing to one colour and one black printer from within allowed programs (word, excel, adobe reader, picassa, etc) we had to allow the program print dialog box. This then allows the user to choose and print multiple copies, but only be charged for the one copy. Also, on occasions continuing to increase in frequency, printing will cause SiteKiosk to restart itself and sometimes even restart the PC that results in the users remaining credit most of the time being lost.

3) Stability - initially we noticed the occasional restarting of SiteKiosk and the PC, plus looping of SiteKiosk upon logon or configuration change and end of user session logoff to now when, the before mentioned, is VERY frequent. Every time the PC starts and SiteKiosk log's on it will loop approx 10 to 20 times before showing the start page and be ready for use, plus if we change the configuration whilst SiteKiosk is running in the Limited User account it will also loop approx 10 to 20 times before showing the start page and be ready for use and the same happens when the user finishes their session an either log's off or lets their time/credit expire. Sometimes, this looping will cause the PC to be restarted.

We have tried removing all AntiVirus and Security products, disabling screensavers, increasing the Watchdog times, disabling Clearing of Temp Internet Files and Downloads folder, increasing Page Refresh time, but nothing seemed to stop or even affect the above faults as they still continue.

To further troubleshoot and possibly alleviate these faults we upgraded one of our kiosks to Windows Vista Home Basic and SiteKiosk 6.6, but the following faults were still present along with a new fault:

1) File Manager - access to and visibility of allowed drives from within File Manager is not possible as when File Manger is loaded all you get is a dialog box with the "File Manager" title and three vertical BLANK rectangle areas and no menu buttons/options.

2) Printing - to allow printing to one colour and one black printer from within allowed programs (word, excel, adobe reader, picassa, etc) we had to allow the program print dialog box. This then allows the user to choose and print multiple copies, but only be charged for the one copy.

3) Stability - Every time the PC starts and SiteKiosk log's on it will loop approx 10 times before showing the start page and be ready for use, plus if we change the configuration whilst SiteKiosk is running in the Limited User account it will also loop approx 10 times before showing the start page and be ready for use and the same happens when the user finishes their session an either log's off or lets their time/credit expire. Sometimes, this looping will cause the PC to be restarted. Also, this looping is now happening when the PC is sitting idle between uses, even with the screensaver options disabled, increasing the Watchdog times, disabling Clearing of Temp Internet Files and Downloads folder, and increasing Page Refresh time.

We have performed extensive hardware testing for CPU, Mainboard, RAM, HDD, VGA, etc with all tests PASSING and no hardware faults detected (we used MicroScope and other testing systems/equipment). The PC's are Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz, Seagate 120GB IDE HDD, Intel 845G Mainboard, Kingston 512MB DDR RAM, On-Board VGA, On-Board 10/100 NIC and On-Board Audio.

As you can imagine, this has become extremely frustrating and annoying for both us and our kiosk users and therefore we really need to find a solution quickly.

We look forward to your reply and appreciate your time and assistance.

Best Regards,
Matthew Daniels (MCP) - CEO
AIRLIE BEACH COMPUTERS
matthew(at)airliecomputers.com

Answer: (7)

Re: SiteKiosk 6.6 Refreshing, Crashing & Restarting 6/1/2007 5:04 PM
Hello,

as SiteKiosk did run properly on your machines for one year what changes did you make in March 2007?

- Filemanager

With SiteKiosk 6.5 this issue isn’t reproducible.
Have you maybe only used the “Run Once” mode?
For security reasons the Explorer dialog (which is e.g. used for copying a file) is blocked if you are not using the restricted SiteKiosk user.

SiteKiosk 6.6 RC1
This issue is a known bug if you e.g. have installed a multi card reader.
You can check this if you go to the SiteKiosk configuration -->Security-->Access and enable -->Lock workstation when removable disk is attached. If you get a warning message you are affected by this bug.
It will be fixed in the forthcoming version that we plan to release within the next days.


- Printing

In general:
If you allow the user to choose and print multiple copies through the print dialog box of an external application SiteKiosk has no influence to the behaviour of these applications.
(Because it’s an external application and not the SiteKiosk print dialog.)

This is why e.g. the print dialog of the WORD application is forbidden by default. (Windows & Dialogs)

With Excel, PowerPoint and the Adobe Acrobat Reader the printouts are charged correctly even if you choose multiple copies.
It wasn’t tested with MS Office 2007 and also not with every application available on the market.

If needed:
You should block the regarding print dialog of these applications too.

The easiest way is to setup the SiteKiosk printing dialog in the SiteKiosk configuration and to disable the printing dialog of the regarding programs. (I my view it is only WORD)
Then you can print through the SiteKiosk printing dialog by pressing the print button at the toolbar on top (Word).

The same procedure does apply to all applications where multiple copies are allowed though an own print dialog and only be charged as one printout.


- Stability

The only way to reproduce this issue was with SiteKiosk 6.5, Windows XP and the activated MicroCoin QL without installing it
(I have used your configuration and only changed the password).

Have you checked if the MicroCoin QL works properly?
It might be the SiteKiosk restarts itself by trying to initialize the coin checker if it’s not working.
Through the settings of the Software Watchdog the machine will restart completely if SiteKiosk has been restarted several times wihtout success.

As I have deactivated the MicroCoin QL SiteKiosk does start properly.

SiteKiosk 6.6 has worked properly at all (Windows XP and Windows Vista, Run Once and Autostart mode).


Regards,
Michael Olbrich
Re: SiteKiosk 6.6 Refreshing, Crashing & Restarting 9/20/2007 12:13 PM
Hi There,

We have just started using SiteKiosk 6.6 and have found the same problems with stability. It loops when it starts, when a user is halfway through entering their details, and also when it's left idle for a short length of time. The specification of the kiosk is a Intel Dual Core CPU 3GHz, 1Gb Ram, 80Gb HDD, touch screen and a gun metal qwerty keyboard, Windows XP Professional SP2 and SiteKiosk 6.6 Build 194. We have 2 kiosks with the same hardware/software specs, and both are showing the same symptoms.

Any suggestions?

Cheers,
David Maydew
Re: SiteKiosk 6.6 Refreshing, Crashing & Restarting 9/21/2007 9:56 AM
Hello,

Regarding your description it seems that the Software Watchdog is forced to interrupt the session.

SiteKiosk has to report back to the Software Watchdog at regular intervals.
The Software Watchdog is a program that will be launched every time with SiteKiosk and it runs in the background.
It checks if SiteKiosk is running properly and if it doesn't get a feedback within 30 seconds (default) SiteKiosk will be restarted.
That ensures that the SiteKiosk application is almost always available.

The Software Watchdog is not the cause of a potential problem but it is preventing your terminal to be unusable.
This can be caused by faulty websites, slow / crashed external applications, dialogs which could not be closed.....


Have you checked if the MicroCoin QL works properly now?
Is there a difference between “RunOnce” mode and “Autostart” mode?
Did you try to create a new clean configuration and only setup the password first?

Did you check the SiteKiosk Log files?
Did you check the Windows Event Logs?


Regards,
Michael Olbrich
SiteKiosk 6.6 Refreshing, Crashing & Restarting 6/13/2008 1:01 PM
Hello, with SiteKiosk 6.6 we have the same problem. New installation. With run-once or with automatic startup, it's the same: appairs the gray sitekiosk secure desktop, for a fraction of second appairs a sitekiosk windows with an error (something like 'an error occourred while importing favorites from the ie...') and then enters into infinite loop. How can I fix this??
Re: SiteKiosk 6.6 Refreshing, Crashing & Restarting 6/13/2008 2:25 PM
Hello,

As SiteKiosk will not import the IE favourites during the start-up it seems as if there will be another application started with SiteKiosk and this causes the behaviour.
Please check.

You might also try to create a clean SiteKiosk configuration and only configure the password then to check if this message is related to the problem.

Regards,
Michael Olbrich
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