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Network and Classroom Management Thread, LAN Ranger alternative in Technical; We have been using Ranger for a couple of years but really don't use many features so are considering not ...
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    cookie_monster's Avatar
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    LAN Ranger alternative

    We have been using Ranger for a couple of years but really don't use many features so are considering not renewing our licence. The only feature i think we will really miss is LAN Ranger as it allows us to see which stations are turned on or logged on in real time and you can also shutdown all stations with one click (i know psshutdown will do this but it's not a slick).

    Has anyone here moved away from Ranger and found a good alternative to LAN Ranger?

    Cheers.

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    Re: LAN Ranger alternative

    for an admin i'd recommend bozteck vnc http://www.vncscan.com/

    its basically a vnc manager but it does all that lan ranger does and a bit more.

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    Re: LAN Ranger alternative

    @cookie_monster: If you currently use Ranger Remote Control you will like NetSupport Manager/School. This will show you what you need and do much more besides. Ranger OEM NSS for their product.

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    cookie_monster's Avatar
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    Re: LAN Ranger alternative

    The problem there is that we use Ranger Remote and Dameware for management of stations so don't really want another remote management package running.

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    cookie_monster's Avatar
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    Re: LAN Ranger alternative

    We don't licence RRC for all stations as it's too expensive so we can't manage office or admin PC's using that.

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    Re: LAN Ranger alternative

    Though I've not looked at it or seen any costs there is a Ranger alternative called Impero. Seems to combine features of LR and RRC

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    Re: LAN Ranger alternative

    We moved away from ranger this year, and built our own custom vanilla network enhanced with a range of VB scripts. LAN ranger is a good product thou, and there are bits I do miss. Removing it really sped up our login times and workstations general speed, and it cut down on network traffic too.

    To track user logins, I've got a VB script that logs logons and logoffs in a mySQL database, and a PHP front end to display logged on users.

    To stop duplicate logons I used a VBscript from this site that works fairly well.

    For desktop and startmenu icons, initially I used redirected startmenus and desktops that pointed to a network share. I changed this to directing the desktop and startmenu to a local folder on the machine, where the correct shortcuts are copied from a network share at machine startup. This was mainly to help wireless laptops that lost their desktop icons and startmenus if the wireless coughed.

    For machine shutdown, I have a scheduled task added to each machine that calls a batchfile on the netlogon share at a set time. This batchfile calls the windows shutdown command. The reason I did it this way, is if we ever want to cancel the shutdown for any reason, we simply alter the batchfile. I could have called the shutdown command directly from the task scheduler, but it would have been more awkward to have changed it at short notice then.

    I wrote a simple password changing utility in VB.NET to take the place of Ranger Account Manager for staff. It's one click to reset a users password to a pre-defined password, and it forces a change at next login. Was going to offer copies of this to interested people, but it's hard coded to our network so it wouldn't work on anyone elses at the moment. Working on changing it to use an XML settings file, so may be available soon. Adding new users etc. we do using Active Directory which, if you have it set up properly, creates the users homefolder and sets the permissions for you too.

    We also use RRC, and havn't found the replacement for this yet as we still have until April left on our license. We will probably use netsupport school thou, as it's identical to RRC so the staff will already be used to it.

    Mike.

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    Re: LAN Ranger alternative

    Isnt't Impero that curse from Harry Potter?

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    Re: LAN Ranger alternative

    Hi Mike, we have almost everything setup the same way you have here the ranger client does pretty much nothing now which is why i'm looking into removing it. We do use shutdown scripts to close down any stations that are left on each night or we can use this to reboot rooms when needed but there isn't an easy way to like opening LAN Ranger and looking which machines are on in real time (network places just isn't good enough).

    We also have a VB script that allows staff to reset passwords and force a change at next logon and VB logging but at the moment it logs to an access Db.

    Like i say it's mainly a couple of features in the LANRanger console that were holding me back, executing a program on all stations instantly is another good example.

    I'm having a look at Dameware NT Utilities at the moment it seems to fulfil most functions and is a one off purchase which i like the look of.

    Cheers.

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    maniac's Avatar
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    Re: LAN Ranger alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by cookie_monster
    We also have a VB script that allows staff to reset passwords and force a change at next logon
    I think you found the same script I did which I've then re-packaged into VB.NET to add a fancy front end to it.

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    Re: LAN Ranger alternative

    @cookie_monster: I suspect that netSupport could be talked into giving you a very good deal to move to 'proper' NSM as opposed to OEMed NSS... the price difference between NSS and NSM isn't huge and it sounds like ALL the features you desire are there. You will also be saving a large chunk of money by ditching Ranger.

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    cookie_monster's Avatar
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    Re: LAN Ranger alternative

    One of the problems there is that we use Dameware to manage office and lesson monitor PC's and RRC in classrooms so we couldn't manage all PC's from RRC. All of the features in NNS are supposed to be in RRC but i've noticed that the WOL feature only works if the MAC adds are cached which isn't very usefull when you want a PC you haven't connected to in ages.
    Dameware NT utilities is looking good so far it's only £150 per admin licence for unlimited clients which is very cheap when compared to RRC or NSS.

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    Re: LAN Ranger alternative

    We are in the process of moveing from Ranger to impero, we get the activity logging etc and remote control for much less than Ranger would cost us.

    Worth looking at the impero demo, as it co-exists with ranger nicely.

    Rob K

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    Re: LAN Ranger alternative

    Impero looks like it has some good features. Have you any idea how much it costs?

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    Re: LAN Ranger alternative

    Impero cost us much less than ranger, but I can`t remember if we got a deal or not. Worth mentioning that you plan to move, it seems to reduce the costs a bit....

    HTH

    Rob

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