Configuring PCs as a BrightDoor Apps Device


When BrightDoor apps such as Sales Presenter (formerly BrightShow) or Kiosk (formerly BrightGuide) are used in physical sales environments such as welcome centers, sales models, office and other locations, its important that the software remain up and running optimally.  While we configure and recommend standard, off-the-shelf Windows PCs from Dell, HP and others, the idea is to “strip down” and simplify the OS so that the focus is on running the BrightDoor app without interruption. This article provides a high-level description of the steps required to prep a Windows PC for usage as a BrightDoor app device. It assumes that you have purchased a BrightDoor recommended PC and it’s plugged in and ready for configuration.

Please note that depending on the type of PC (Desktops, All-in-one PCs or Display-embedded), some steps might be slightly different or not required. By “Desktops” we mean a typical stand-alone PC in a desktop or tower configuration. By “All-in-one PCs” we mean a single integrated PC and touch display in one unit (think iMac with a touch screen). A Microsoft Surface tablet would also be considered an All-in-one PC. By “Display-embedded” we mean small slot PC cards that install on the rear of large commercial touch displays (typically sourced by BrightDoor or an AV integrator on your behalf).


Step 1 – First Start (Desktops, All-in-one PCs only)

  1. Turn on the PC and let the Window’s OS perform the initial “out of the box” setup.
  2. When prompted to provide a computer name, name it something relevant and descriptive (ex. MyCommunity Touch Table)
  3. When prompted to provide an administrator name and password, use “brightdoor” for the administrator name. The password should be provided by your BrightDoor Account manger and is common for all of your onsite devices. BrightDoor AMs determine the onsite device password and manage it in our private database.
  4. Once the initial Windows setup is complete, you should be on the desktop and ready to move to the next step.

Step 2 – Optimizing Windows

NOTE: Before proceeding, if you are configuring a “Display-embedded” PC, we recommend that prior to continuing with setup that you review and ensure the Windows OS is not actively running a management tool called the “EWF Manager”. When running, this tool prohibits updates and changes to the primary hard drive. You must deactivate it prior to setup or any/all changes will be lost when you reboot the system. For more information about managing/disabling the EWF manager, read this article from Signage Live or the Microsoft MSDN article. After disabling the EWF manager, you can proceed with these steps.

All of these configuration settings are performed in the Windows Control Panel (XP, Vista, Win7, Win8):

  1. Open Date and Time: Set clock and time zone accurate per final install location. Also, ensure the Internet Time is set so it stays in sync.
  2. Open Power Options > Change plan settings: Set display and PC to “Never off” for both battery and plugged in profiles
  3. Open Personalization (or Display in XP): Set Screensaver to “None” and Desktop Background can be set to a solid black or dark gray color. Also, select “Change desktop icons” (Desktop > Customize Desktop in XP) from the sidebar and uncheck all Desktop icons (Computer, Recycle Bin, etc)
  4. Open Programs and Features (Add or Remove Programs in XP): Un-install any non-essential Windows software (ex. MagicInfo, Samsung utilities, Microsoft Office, unnecessary utilities, games, etc). This may require a few reboots to complete. If you have questions about which apps can/should be removed, please contact your BrightDoor Account Manager.
  5. Open Action Center > Change Action Center settings (not available in XP): Uncheck all notification messages
  6. Open Windows Updates > Change Settings (Automatic Updates in XP): Set Update to “Never Check for Updates” (essentially, turn off updates)

Step 3 – Configuring for Windows Auto-Login

Later on in this article we will be walking through the steps in scheduling two important automated tasks for the PC to run nightly. In preparation for this, it’s important that the PC automatically login to the BrightDoor administrator account without any user intervention. To configure Windows for this, please follow the steps below.

  1. Click the Windows Start button, enter “CMD” in the Program search box, select CMD.exe from the search results to open a Windows terminal window
  2. In the CMD terminal window, type “control userpasswords2″ and hit Enter
  3. When the User Accounts window opens, uncheck the “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer” checkbox
  4. When it asks to enter the account password and confirm, use the adminstrator account password and click OK
  5. Now, when the PC reboots, it should automatically login to this account desktop

Step 4 – LogMeIn Remote Desktop Installation

BrightDoor has an enterprise account with the online PC management system LogMeIn. We are able to access and help remotely manage your onsite devices through this system. To install LogMeIn on your PC, contact your BrightDoor Account Manager and they will send you an email you an installer package for each device so you can install and configure LogMeIn on your PC. For security purposes, we are not able to allow non-BrightDoor staff access to our enterprise dashboard for self-service installation.


Step 5 – Touch Drivers and SuperFlex Media Sync Installation (Desktops only)

Typically All-in-one and Display-embedded PCs will already have touch drivers pre-loaded. However, for stand-alone desktop PCs, it will likely require the installation of the compatible 3rd party driver matched to the touch display hardware. Since there is a myriad of various vendors & drivers, please reference the touch display vendor’s documentation on which driver is required. In most/all cases, you’ll be able to download the latest compatible driver online. Follow the typical process for installing software on Windows to complete this step.

SuperFlex File Sync is an FTP-based file sync application that BrightDoor has acquired an enterprise license for usage on devices that receive content and app updates from the BrightDoor production cloud. The primary apps that require this sync software are Sales Presenter (formerly BrightShow) and Kiosk (formerly BrightGuide). Should you need to install and configure this software for your installation, please download this SuperFlex Installation Guide.

Once SuperFlex has performed the first run and downloaded all app files & media, take a moment to create app shortcuts on the desktop in case the user ever needs to relaunch the app(s). This will save them the hassle of having to navigate the Start menu from the touch display.


Step 6 – Scheduling Automated BrightDoor App Tasks

To ensure optimal performance and usage of our onsite apps, we configure Windows scheduled tasks to perform a nightly PC reboot as well as re-launch the desired BrightDoor app. This reboot window also allows us to have a period of time for any core application file updates to be applied (which typically can’t be installed while the app is running). Below are instructions on scheduling these two automated tasks in Windows.

NOTE: If you are working on a Display-embedded PC, the model of touch display may require that you have the AV installer program the display’s timer schedule versus using the Nightly Shutdown/Reboot Task highlighted below. Newer touch displays with embedded PCs operate on shared power, meaning turning off the PC or display shuts down the other – they operate in sync. In these scenarios, the touch display’s timer schedule is programmed to handle the Nightly Shutdown/Reboot Task (versus a Windows scheduled task). You will still need to program the Nightly BrightDoor App Launch Task described below.

 

Getting Started:
  1. Under Control Panels > Administrative Tools: Click to launch Task Scheduler
  2. Before creating the new scheduled tasks below, remove any existing tasks created by the Windows build/setup
  3. Click on Task Scheduler Library from the left pane tree view
  4. For any/all existing scheduled tasks in the details pane, right click and select Delete to remove them
  5. With all existing scheduled tasks removed, you’re ready to move on to add the new BrightDoor tasks

 

Nightly Shutdown/Reboot Task:

With the Task Scheduler open, select Create Task from the Action menu at top and follow this order:

GENERAL TAB

  1. Provide a name like “Nightly Shutdown” for the task
  2. In the “Configure for:” pull down menu at the bottom, select the option matching the Windows OS version (likely Windows 7 or 8 at this point)
  3. Move to the Triggers tab

TRIGGERS TAB

  1. Select “New…”
  2. Set schedule for “Daily”
  3. Set the Start Time for 5:00:00AM (this can vary based on other factors like the sync window for Superflex, etc)
  4. Click OK
  5. Move to the Actions tab

ACTIONS TAB

  1. Select “New…”
  2. Click “Browse…” to navigate to the Shutdown.exe app
  3. The “Shutdown.exe” app is located in the “C:\Windows\System32” folder. Again, per Windows OS version, the file path might vary. But, just find “Shutdown.exe” in the “System32” folder. Select it and click Open
  4. In the “Add arguments (optional):” box, enter “-r -f -t 00” (what this tells the app is to reboot “-r”, force quit apps “-f”, and set the timer to immediately “-t 00”
  5. Move to the Settings tab

SETTINGS TAB

  1. Uncheck “Stop the task if it runs longer than:”
  2. Click OK at the bottom to save the task

You should be set to run the reboot/relaunch nightly now.

 

Nightly BrightDoor App Launch Task:

With the Task Scheduler open, select Create Task from the Action menu at top:

GENERAL TAB

  1. Provide a name like “BrightDoor App Launch” for the task
  2. In the “Configure for:” pull down menu at the bottom, select the option matching the Windows OS version (likely Windows 7 or 8 at this point)
  3. Move to the Triggers tab

TRIGGERS TAB

  1. Select “New…”
  2. Set schedule for “Daily”
  3. Set the Start Time for 5:30:00AM (this can vary based on other factors like the sync window for Superflex, etc)
  4. Click OK
  5. Move to the Actions tab

ACTIONS TAB

  1. Select “New…”
  2. Click “Browse…” to navigate to the desired BrightDoor app
  3. For example, let’s say you browse to “C:\BrightDoor\SalesPresenter\SalesPresenter.exe” and select that app
  4. In the “Start in (optional):” box, enter the file path minus the app name. For the example, this would be “C:\BrightDoor\SalesPresenter\” – please include the forward slash at the end. Without this condition, the task can’t gain permission to launch the app and it won’t work
  5. Click OK
  6. Move to the Settings tab

SETTINGS TAB

  1. Uncheck “Stop the task if it runs longer than:”
  2. Click OK at the bottom to save the task

You should be set to relaunch your BrightDoor app after the reboot.


At this point, you should be ready to put your PC into use as a BrightDoor onsite device. Please contact your BrightDoor Account Manager should you have any questions.