How to trigger events on a remote pc
March 1, 2007 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Creative solutions for making a (shudder) Macro Express Macro run on a remote computer within restrictive group policy (all windows) (remote desktop or vnc type solutions are out since that would be too much of a disruption to the user of the remote machine) ... means of triggering the macro: keyboard input (hotkey), schedule (won't work in this case - needs on demand), or the appearance of a window on the screen - this is the most promising I think - but the obvious solutions are eluding me... how can I make a harmless window open on a remote computer? (I've tried msg and psexec to run a bat file, but the remote server bits are all off limits due to group policy.)
posted by dorcas to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Can you compile the macro into an exe then run it on a remote computer via psexec?

I know AutoIt can, if the macro isn't too complicated you might be able to do it in AutoIt.

What does it need to grab from the server? Could you make a batch file that grabs those pieces then deletes them when finished?
posted by mattdini at 12:46 PM on March 1, 2007

Microsoft Outlook 2003 (Not express, full blown Outlook) has an option to set up an email rule (filter) to run a particular program when triggered by an email received.

This is a bit of a roundabout solution, and far from perfect considering the price of outlook and the fact that it must be running for the trigger to work, but its the simplest solution that I've found.

I got the idea from here
posted by .taft at 12:48 PM on March 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

Have you looked at Automation Anywhere. It has exe capability that you can deploy on remote machines.
posted by macro-automation at 1:34 PM on March 1, 2007

Thanks for the suggestions. I really like the email to trigger idea although Outlook does seem like a high price to pay (not just the $ either) Anyone know of another program that'll allow a received email to trigger an event?
posted by dorcas at 2:00 PM on March 1, 2007

You could set up a scheduled event that will never happen (or has already happened), then remotely visit the Scheduled Tasks folder on the PC in question and run them from there.

Go to //[the PC in question] and look for the Scheduled Tasks folder.
posted by krisjohn at 4:08 PM on March 1, 2007

What, exactly, do you want to happen on the remote computer when your macro is triggered? It might be time to take a pace back and look for alternative ways of making the desired end result happen.
posted by flabdablet at 3:19 AM on March 2, 2007

would that I could flabdablet, it's a long and tragic story that involves some fairly awful software called Quickbooks Point-of-Sale so aptly acronymed (even by vendor) POS.(don't even get me started on why the Intuit software - I didn't get to decide, I'm just stuck with supporting it)
I need to populate POS' customer list from an existing registration software whenever someone is registered by the front desk. The ONLY way I have found to do this is through POS' import wizard using and excel sheet that auto updates from the registration database (MySQL). There is a company, QODBC that has working ODBC drivers for Quickbooks, sadly the driver for the POS software is Beta and built for a POS 2 versions back and doesn't work for my needs - believe me I tried to make it work. So I'm stuck having a macro program step through this dippy wizard. ugh!
posted by dorcas at 8:57 AM on March 2, 2007

So let me see if I understand this correctly: you've got computer A on the front desk, running some reasonably tweakable registration software, and whenever it registers a customer you want it to signal computer B, which is running Intuit's POS, and add the customer to POS's list of customers.

You've got a user on computer B Doing Stuff at the same time so you don't want keyboard and mouse control seized away from that user for any length of time, but the only way you're going to get that customer in there is by using POS's import wizard and feeding it an Excel spreadsheet emitted by computer A.

The import wizard can't be scripted except by feeding it keystrokes via a macro engine of some sort, and you have Macro Express and have worked out how to use it to get the job done, given (a) the spreadsheet with the customer info (b) a signal to start.

Group Policy (which I gather you're not able to modify) stops you opening arbitrary ports or installing arbitrary software on the POS computer, though you've apparently got Macro Express running on it OK.

Is that about right so far? If so: you have pointy-haired bosses, and my deepest sympathy.

You say that scheduling your macro is no good, because it has to run on demand; but how close to real-time response do you actually need?

I have in mind a scenario where you have something on Computer B that sleeps for a minute, checks for the existence of a spreadsheet in a shared folder, cranks up the import wizard thing if it finds one, then moves the spreadsheet to a different folder or deletes it, then checks for the existence of another one in the original folder, and loops to process it if it's there or loops back to sleep if it's not. A cursory glance at the Macro Express web site suggests to me that ME could probably do that whole polling loop on its own, provided you released the keyboard and mouse hooks while it was sleeping.

This wouldn't need any signalling mechanism from Computer A to Computer B beyond the existence of a file in a shared folder.

Any use?
posted by flabdablet at 4:12 AM on March 3, 2007

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