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Lobby Display Screen PC Configuration

Introduction

 

The Lobby Display Screen (LDS) is a specialized web view for your ActiveBuilding portal that is designed for large TV screens in your building lobby.  It displays packages, community events, and any other images or info you customize.

 

You can connect a Windows PC to a TV screen to display the LDS in your community’s lobby or leasing office.  The following instructions provide guidance on getting your computer into a kiosk-ready state that will display the webpage in a stable and consistent manner.

 

(Unsupported) Google TV Devices

 

ActiveBuilding previously supported the Lobby Display Screen view on the Google TV platform, but in 2014 Google officially ended development of the Google TV platform.  No new devices will be manufactured for Google TV and neither hardware manufacturers or Google will be continuing their support for them.

 

As a result Active Building can no longer continue supporting the Lobby Display Screen view on Google TV devices.  We recommend that any new customer installations for the LDS view use alternative solutions like Connected PCs.

 

Pre-Configured PCs

You can order a pre-configured computer from Staffordworks via their contact page. Please provide them with your portal url, e.g yourcommunity.activebuilding.com/lds.

 

PC Minimum Requirements

 

Your Windows PC needs to be capable of running Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 along with the Firefox web browser and a few associated extensions and plugins.  Microsoft’s minimum requirements for Windows 7 are:

 

  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor.
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver.

Please see our Lobby Display Screen Hardware Guide for more LDS hardware options.

 

Configuring your Windows PC

 

The following instructions provide guidance on downloading and configuring free software that allows your Windows PC and a connected large TV screen to function as a kiosk.  These instructions are intended for a computer running Windows 7 or higher, and while applicable to other earlier versions of Windows like XP or Vista the exact instructions may differ slightly.

 

Required Steps

 

1.     Download and Install Firefox

 

Firefox is the recommended browser for using with the Lobby Display Screen.  It is easily configured and we can install several plug-ins that are needed to operate your PC as a kiosk computer.

a. Download and install the latest version of the Firefox web browser from http://www.firefox.com

 

2.     Configure Firefox

 

Here we’ll make some basic configuration changes to allow Firefox to load your Lobby Display Screen on startup and reload it automatically if your computer reboots or crashes.

a. Open Firefox (if it is not already open) and choose Tools > Options.

b. Uncheck the option to "Always check to see if Firefox is the default browser on startup".

c. Set the Default Home Page to the your community’s unique Lobby Display Screen URL

              i. Your LDS URL is your community URL with /lds

              ii. E.g. http://yourcommunity.activebuilding.com/lds

d. (Still in Tools > Options) Cick "Advanced" and then click the "Update" tab.

e. Uncheck the options to automatically check for updates to "Firefox", "Installed add-ons", and "Search Engines".

f. Press OK.

g. In the URL bar of Firefox, type "about:config" and press enter.

h. Find "browser.sessionstore.resume_from_crash" and change it to “false” (right click it and choose "toggle")

 

3.     Install Kiosk Extension

 

The R-Kiosk extension is a special Firefox add-on that allows it to run without displaying the browser navigation bars and menus.

a. Install the Firefox R-Kiosk extension: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1659

b. Note: From now on, when Firefox starts, it will default to kiosk mode. To close Firefox when in kiosk mode, press ALT + F4. To disable this extension you need to run Firefox in Safe Mode.

 

4.     Set Firefox to Load on Startup

 

Adding Firefox to the Startup folder of Windows will allow it to start automatically when your computer reboots or recovers from an outage.

a. Create a shortcut for Firefox by right clicking on the program icon and selecting “Create Shortcut”

             i. This can be done from your desktop or the folder where Firefox is installed

b. Go to Start > All Programs > right click the “Startup” folder and click Open

c. Drag the Firefox shortcut you created into the Startup folder

 

5.     Change Power Settings

 

By default Windows will idle the screen and computer after period of non-use to save power.  We want to disable this so that the screen and the computer continue to show the LDS long after it’s configured and deployed.

a. Go to Start > Settings > Control Panel

b. Open "Display"

c. Click the "Screen Saver" tab

d. Click the "Power" button.

e. Set both options "Turn off monitor" and "Turn off hard disks" to Never.

f. Press “Apply”

 

Optional Steps

 

The following steps are not required to get your computer working as a kiosk display for the Lobby Display Screen, but may be undertaken if you’re seeing issues to improve performance.

 

6.     Set up a Nightly Reboot

 

The Windows operating system performs best when it is rebooted regularly to clear up any used memory and temporary files.  The following steps walks through installing and configuring a scheduling program that will reboot the computer at a set time each morning to keep things running smoothly.

a. Install system_scheduler from: http://www.splinterware.com/download/ssfree.exe

b. Double click the system scheduler icon in the system tray

c. Click the "New Event" icon.

d. Make sure Event Type is "Run Application"

e. For Title, enter "Reboot"

f. For Application, browse to c:\WINDOWS\system32 and select shutdown.exe

g. For Parameters, enter exactly this: "-r -t 03"

h. Select "Hidden" from the State

i. Make the reboot at hour:  “03”

 

7.     Install Remote Management Software

 

In the event any issues or problems arise on your PC, installing a remote management program can allow your IT team to access and troubleshoot the computer remotely.

a. Based on your IT policy, install a remote management client so you will be able to service the computer the remotely

b. ActiveBuilding recommends using LogMeIn: http://www.logmein.com

 

8.     Uninstall any Unnecessary Programs

 

Some computers may come pre-installed with a variety of programs that can consume system resources and disrupt the kiosk experience when they attempt to automatically look for updates.  You should remove them so that the computer operates as simply as possible.

a. Go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Programs and Features

b. Remove the anti-virus, Adobe Flash, Silverlight and any other program that is not needed or can automatically check for updates

c. Uninstall the following Windows components: Messenger, Windows Media, Root certificate.

 

9.     Install Windows Security Essentials

 

Windows Security Essentials is lightweight real time anti-virus software that provides basic protection against malware and other threats.

a. Download Security Essentials directly from Microsoft: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/security-essentials-download

b. Install Security Essentials and set it to update automatically without intervention.

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