N-central Notes

At work we use the N-central remote management and monitoring system. It has some quirks that I will attempt to document here.

Reformatted computer not appearing in list

You have reformatted/reimaged a computer that was previously working in N-central. It has a new computer name. The agent has been installed, but it's not showing up in the list of devices. You've deleted the old agent.

Compared to Kaseya (where it's occasionally difficult to STOP a computer from registering), actually adding a device to N-central can be complex and tricky process. Here are some garbled points that I will soon expand into a full explanation.

Agent ID is presumably tied to serial number or MAC or something like that rather than just the computer name.

  • Look at the add/import devices list. Remove devices. Run a discovery probe. Check if the devices are present by their old names. Re-impo

rt them and change the display name. Find ID.

  • agentcleanup, reinstall using agent ID
  • Check the agent.log log (I think). Sometimes for some reason N-central screws up the association between the agent ID and the customer ID, and thinks that the customer ID is now invalid and will report this in the log. In this case, you'll need to remove the device from N-central, then uninstall/clean up and reinstall as if it was a brand new device.

DirectConnect not working

List some of the strategies I use, in order of ascending frustration

  1. Restart Windows Agent Service. Doesn't usually help.
  2. If the device needs a proxy to access the Internet, make sure one is set because the device will need to download NTR bits.
  3. Pore through the logs. Doesn't usually help.
  4. TeamViewer! Works great if someone is sitting at the computer.
  5. Push out VNC either using psexec (preferable) or an automation policy (computer's not on a domain). TightVNC allows you to set install the server silently using MSI parameters.


List of things that annoy me, which I will collate and eventually feed back

  • Asset->Application report for a device does not show version numbers. It's necessary to run a Detailed Report, but that can only be launched from the menu on the left hand side and not from the device's "Reports" tab.
  • The whole device Asset tab is a bit of a dogs breakfast. Using tables for the tabular data with sortable columns would make it a whole lot more intelligible - especially things like Services. Collapsing publishers under Applications is a real pain when you want to rapidly check devices. There are rarely thousands of applications, so just expand them all (or use a table!)
  • Dashboard views - I wish it was possible to include some of the columns from All Devices. The main one is the logged in user, but it would be nice to have the option to include any and all of these 'special' columns.
  • No user idle time information. I know we shouldn't rely on users being away from their desktop for any reason and that a 'do you allow remote admin?' prompt is the way to go, but it IS useful information. Maybe this could be hacked in using a custom Windows program that runs as the logged in user, reads the output of GetLastInputInfo(), and puts it into WMI? Then the agent can monitor and report on that using the N-central SDK. Some code to look at can be found here: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Programming/Languages/.NET/Q_21504813.html