December 25, 2013
Merry Christmas! SimpleHelp 4.2 Beta is now available for download!
We thought that since the beta had run on so close to Christmas it would be fun to release it as a present to anyone waiting to see what the new developments are.
The Focus of 4.2
SimpleHelp 4.2 is our first step towards building a bigger, better product in the future. While we could have included basic support for monitoring and running commands on remote access services more quickly, for us it has never been about marketing points. Instead it’s about providing you, our users, with the best software we can imagine.
Although a lot of 4.2 has been about groundwork, we’ve already added some really exciting features as well. Although we think this is a big step up from 4.1 its important to realise that this is just the beginning and there will be more to come in the future.
It’s been a lot of work but we’re happy with the result and we think it’s already been worth it. We hope you do too.
What follows is a quick overview of the major changes in 4.2, we’ll post more in depth details in the coming days about what to expect.
We’ve had a lot of requests to “keep remote access services in the list” and to make more information available about the machines, such as the user that is currently logged on, to make servicing these machines simpler.
In this release any remote access service shared can be asked to provide monitoring information efficiently and very securely to your server for display in the new access tab. Data can be gathered from any supported operating system (Linux, OS X, Windows) and is stored securely by the server. The data is then presented in the Access tab in either a table format or a thumbnailed grid of machines showing screenshots. All data is updated live as the machines run and change.
Here’s a screenshot of the access panel in grid mode:
The server can now communicate more efficiently and immediately with remote services allowing it to ask them to quickly perform on-demand operations such as Wake-On-LAN.
Session Histories and Video Recording
Another request we have often had is to keep an easily accessible log of sessions that have been run. In 4.2 the technician client has a new History tab which gives you a searchable, time-filtered list of sessions that have been run along with various information automatically picked up from them such as chat logs and technician comments.
You can also record a video of your session via a button in the tool panel which is then automatically uploaded to the server and made available via the History tab.
Download and Important Notes
4.2 makes some important security upgrades and changes which you need to consider before upgrading. The upgrade process follows that from previous versions: once your server is upgraded all sessions will upgrade as necessary.
Since we have had to make some in depth changes to the remote access services it is necessary to restart them for them to support monitoring. To do this you can use the Update Remote Service option in the cog menu in the access tab however once you have upgraded a service to 4.2 it cannot connect to any servers of an earlier version. We therefore recommend that you don’t upgrade your live system to the beta at this time.
Some of the changes we have made will ensure that this is no longer necessary in the future and you will simply be able to mark services as ‘open for maintenance’ at a time which is convenient for you to allow the server to restart and upgrade them automatically.
Part of the security upgrade in 4.2 means that after starting the 4.2 server for the first time you should back up your server configuration as soon as possible. If you lose this backup then even if you reinstate your server any remote access services will not connect to it. You can now backup your entire server configuration folder via the Administration tab (Server > Overview).
In this beta version there are no restrictions on monitoring and monitoring does not use up sessions. This may or may not change in the full release so again feel free to give us your feedback.
4.2 is currently in Beta, we do not recommend you replace 4.1 with it at this time and we cannot offer high priority support and bugfixes while it is in beta.
- Once a service is upgraded to 4.2 it will not connect to any version prior to 4.2 without being manually downgraded
- You should back up your server configuration as soon as you run 4.2 via the Administration tab
If you would like to download and try 4.2 you can do so at the following links:
Beta Download Links
As always we would love to have your feedback and in particular if you have ideas for additions to the monitoring and control framework then let us know.