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pandemic remote login hell.

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  • pandemic remote login hell.

    I hope you all are safe and well from all this whatever it is going around. Not much that hasn't been affected around the globe.

    Forced to work from home, thank god the bills are paid and still working. Company requires some sort of video connection for "face to face" like meetings. Nothing but trouble. Maybe a someone might have a couple of suggestions.

    I have my son's hand me down laptop, an HP Envy m7 with built in web camera. the laptop runs Windows 10 Home. <frown>
    At first, the built in Camera app would not see the camera. I found the model, its an intel, went to their site, updated the firmware and drivers. Now all software on the laptop sees the camera and it works fine.

    So, I need to remote desktop into my work computer, 10 miles away that runs windows 10 pro.

    I poked around and found the settings in the Remote Desktop configuration to allow the remote computer to access audio and video. Set that all up. Audio works fine. No video. None of the remote computer's software can "see" the local computers camera.

    Two more days on the web, found some black magic that allows Windows 10 Home to self install the policy editor. Ran that, ran fine. Ran the policy editor, and modified a bunch of settings to let the camera through. Also edits to the crappy, sorry I mean excellent Windows firewall. Restart, go through all the VPN stuff, remote log in. Remote OS still can not see the local camera.

    Arrggghh. So, posted on a few microsoft blogs. They basically came up with what I did above, but one suggested that the laptop might have a camera kill switch. Didn't find one, but the camera seems to work fine locally. There are a bunch of web sites eg "Test your webcam", they all work. Local "camera" software works.

    So I dug around in the closet and found a ~10 year old cheap cheap USB web cam. Plugged in, runs fine local, remote can't see it.

    What I have not done recently is restart the remote computer. Im a bit afraid since we're forbidden to enter the building and if it doesn't restart I don't have a contact on the skeleton crew who can push the button for me. Will try that later.

    Challenge working blind with microsofts hiddenware.
    The only good solid state amp is a dead solid state amp. Unless it sounds really good, then its OK.

  • #2
    Thought maybe the camera itself was too old, driver mismatch . Found a nice 50.00 camera. out of stock. MANY are out of stock, delivery not till end or after April! Found the camera on newegg. 160.00. For a 50.00 camera <big frown>.
    The only good solid state amp is a dead solid state amp. Unless it sounds really good, then its OK.


    • #3
      Since the company has systems capable of work from home, it seems they might have an IT guy. Can you not contact THEIR IT people and ask assistance?
      Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.


      • #4
        My son had the same issues with his older laptop (running Windows 10 Pro) in trying to take a test remotely.
        Couldn't see the camera.
        Ran the test from my wife's brand new laptop and bingo!
        So now all of these college students have to do homework & take tests online.
        But if you don't have the latest and greatest hardware/ software setup you have to buy a new laptop????


        • #5
          A provincial cabinet minister lives 6 houses down from us. I talk to her occasionally, just never about politics. She, like many others, is now working from home, as is her husband. Their daughter is in high school and now obliged to take her courses on-line. Normally, the mom would either be in her government office in Toronto, or her local constituency office. I imagine she has a work laptop that she brought home when it was clear that would be "the office". But you have to wonder what sort of bandwidth their home router has, and how easy it is for all three to do what they need to do. Our house is probably a little bigger than theirs. Not sure how much separation from each other they can find. Saw her pass by the house a few times early this morning, getting a leg stretch, with the phone plastered to her ear. I suspect that's what a lot of politicians are doing these days.

          My wife has a modest government job in food safety, and is also working from home on a secure machine from work. To avoid overloading the servers, ministry employees have been divvied up into shifts and instructed to only access the departmental network to check e-mail and access documents during their assigned shifts, but she finds that plenty of times she simply can't get through. She has a few Zoom meetings scheduled this week. Because it doesn't meet government security requirements (or at least hasn't yet been cleared as such), employees have been told not to use their work laptops with Zoom. We did a test run this weekend, and seemed to get it working, using my tablet and her home machine. Then she tried a virtual "get together with the girls" last night, and it bombed completely. None of them could get it to work, so they did a conference call on the phone. I'm sure folks somewhere are getting all their tech stuff to work. But you never had to read a manual to get your settings right to attend a meeting. You just show up on time, grab a seat, listen, and answer questions. Tech is capable of much, but regular life is SOOOO much easier.


          • #6
            Hi Everyone, thanks for the info, and replies, it has been a challenging few weeks that is for sure!

            Sharing what I learned after way too many hours searching for similar problems, in case it might help someone out there.

            Enzo, yep ... but, IT is happy to help with company issue computers, but as things go, I don't have one, and our home computers are outside "support" and well into "you can try this" mode. So, what I found:

            My son's hand me down laptop at home is Windows 10 Home build 1909. My company issue PC sitting on my desk at work is Windows 10 Pro. Build 1709. Apparently the Build 1709 does not support video stream redirect through remote desktop. And, Microsoft, being what it is, provides no logging, debugging, diagnostics to tell you that. It just doesn't work. So I fished around, and found one other guy in my group, same problems, spent unbelievable number of hours futzing with software etc, and could not get it to work. He has the same version Win 10, 1709.

            Seems that the video streaming is a nice idea, but just not possible with the sad internet infrastructure we have in the US. We have meetings every day. So far Im not a video attendee, but I can see the presenters desk top and get and send audio just fine. So, when more than 2 or 3 people try to video stream their little camera image, the connection flakes out and we get really odd behavior. Like one meeting attendee's audio breaks and it sounds like he inhaled helium when he talks. The group gets a nice roar out of that! Of course, there is no audio redirect so you can't hear what you are saying, only what others are saying. I guess they do it like that to save bandwith. The poor guy it happened to could not hear why the *entire* group went into roaring laughter when he tried to speak.

            Maybe for a short, one on one meeting, video is possible, choppy, not very good quality, almost useless, but possible. if more than 2 like 3 or
            4, forget it.

            But, after that one time, my manager has not mentioned again that we must be available with no notice for anyone to call in and video chat. I get the feeling that the president send a note down through the vice presidents and on down hill as sort of a scare tactic so people will be less likely to have the dancing girls and beer kegs in their home office during work hours. Nyuk, nyuk.

            So the idea of running this big an upgrade, remotely, with no reasonable way to start my computer at work if it shut down and refused to restart, Ive put off doing the 1709 to 1909 upgrade. One guy in the group did it, said it took hours and several reboots. The last time I did a major patch upgrade, 1 1/2 years ago, the windows update killed my computer, and I had to install everything all over again. Days of work.

            The old hand me down laptop is working, and my cheap-o samsung (probably the cheapest) extension monitor, I have 2 monitors, and I can work <makes sign of the cross> . Although, with no video.
            The only good solid state amp is a dead solid state amp. Unless it sounds really good, then its OK.


            • #7
              Going back quite a few years, after the big internet crash in the early 2000's, I remember reading articles that tens of thousands of miles of fiber was installed all over the USA, blown through conduit, and basically dry docked. They found rats got into teh conduit and ruined lots of the fiber.

              The then president of Verizon, don't remember which crook that was, was furious about the whole internet thing and said something like "we're not going to spend one more penny on fiber bildout" Apparently, he had presented 3 points on a graph, to tha board, put a yard stick onto the 3 points, drew a line upward to the right to infinity, and said by 20XX everyone in the USA will spend every penny they have on internet and services. Etc, etc. Jackass.

              They mismanaged the whole internet thing so badly, Google started to roll out its Google Fiber in a few cities, then mysteriously stopped. My brother lives in Austin, has google fiber there, solid, reliable internet like 50 times better than I have for a little cheaper. My guess is that some political bs went on behind the scenes, some congressman had a finger shaken in his or her face, and calls were made,and Google just decided, even though their service beat the crap out of Verizon's, they were not going to continue. Sad, sad, sad.

              So we have internet service that would have been fanTAStic for 1995, okay for 2005, crappy for 2015, and well behind the times for 2020. So Verizon is much better at politics and buying congressmen than they are at delivering good quality service.

              Oh Jayyzzzus I hope none of you all work for Verizon!
              The only good solid state amp is a dead solid state amp. Unless it sounds really good, then its OK.


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