Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How to drop me into your network remotely ;)

WTH!!!!  It's been 2.5 years since I've posted to this blog. Surely I haven't run out of things to say.....

Nope, that's not it at all. Rather all sorts of things have happened that have undeniably affected my life in ways that I could never have seen coming. But this blog post isn't about all that. This post is about a little trick I found to give me remote access to a network via a Linux environment in 11 easy steps...

  1. Have the client download the Ubuntu 32bit installation ISO and burn it to CD-R.
    ** you can also place this image on a USB drive w/ Win32 Disk Imager
  2. Insert the CD (or USB drive) into the dead machine and boot to it.
  3. Choose, "Try Ubuntu" when the menu appears. (This will not install Linux to the hard drive)
  4. Once you're booted to the desktop, have them open Firefox browser (4th icon on right side) and go to
  5. Have them click the circular blue "Tux" icon on the right side of the page (or just click on the big green "Download" button).
  6. When the Linux download page appears, Select the 1st download in the list (Debian, Ubuntu v10.0) and choose Save File
  7.  After the download completes, Click on the download arrow in Firefox and click the Teamviewer file once to open in Ubuntu Software Center
  8. When a new window appears with a "Install" button, click it and be patient.
  9. Once it's completed installing, click the Red "X" in the top left of the window.
  10. Have the customer click the far upper-left dock icon "Dashboard"  (1st icon on the side bar) and search for "Teamviewer". Click the Teamviwer icon to open it
  11. After accepting the licensing agreement and closing the popup for "Check out what's possible with TeamViewer", have the client give you the number listed in "Your ID." and password.
**** This was based on Unbutu 14.04.3 and Teamviewer 10 *******

Presto! That's it. This works great and gives me remote access in most networks as long as I have a person willing to follow the steps above.  Since Ubuntu gives me a complete Linux environment on the running computer without actually installing anything on the computer this is a great way to do network diagnostics as well as host troubleshooting when I can't sit down in front of the computer/network in person.

Thanks to Bryan Chandler for the original instructions that I refined for today's current offerings from Ubuntu and TeamViewer

UPDATE:  Looking around the web, I found the Ubuntu Customization Kit.  I wonder if I could condense all of the steps above to make a custom distro that launches TeamViewer so that all I need is the ID and password. Hmmmmm. We'll see.

UPDATE @ 2:46PM:   Well given enough time I knew I could accomplish what I was really after. And it actually took less effort than I expected.  Here are my notes for building the image, they are of course NOT intended to be a step by step guide.

So here's how to use this handy tool:
  1. Have the client/remote tech download the custom built Ubuntu-TeamViewer image and create the install media
    DVD Rom ISO
    - burn w/ your favorite DVD burner
    USB drive - create with Win32 Disk Imager
  2. Insert the CD (or USB drive) into the dead machine and boot to it.
  3. Once you see the desktop, clear the two notices covering up the TeamViewer Application
  4. (OPTIONAL)  If the computer is using wireless, establish a wireless connection by clicking in the top right portion of the  desktop and follow the prompts
  5. Have the client/remote tech provide you with the "Your ID" and password.  
I like this process because it removes any installation of software by the person on the other end of the phone. You can also leave a disc or USB drive with this image installed at client sites and just have someone plug it for you when something goes wrong. ;)