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Help Desk Skills | Spiceworks – Part 1

Special thanks to our member for creating this content: John Korduba

Main Course Content Page

Spiceworks – Part 1 of 2

Contents

Spiceworks

Tools & Apps

Installing Spiceworks

Disable IE Warnings

Downloading the Spiceworks System

Running Spiceworks

Running an Inventory Scan

Scanning additional networks

Dashboard

Searching for a device

Trouble shooting a device/ IP address

Scanning a device

Spiceworks

Spiceworks is a professional network for the information technology (IT) industry

The software has an inventory feature that “discovers” (i.e., detects) IP-addressable devices on a network and also includes help desk functionality and an integrated knowledge base.

Spiceworks has an active community to which you can submit questions.

NOTE: Spiceworks works best on modern browsers.

Tools & Apps.

Spiceworks has tools and apps, such as:

  • Help Desk Ticketing system
  • Connectivity Dashboard to monitor IT infrastructure.
  • Track your vendor contracts
  • IP Lookup – tests whether a site is up or not.
  • SSL Checker – checks whether a site’s security certificate is current/secure.
    • An HTTPS error prompt when accessing a site may indicate an expired or invalid certificate.

In a typical configuration, a particular server might hold the inventory feature, and then that server scans the rest of the network “discovering” what devices are there. The inventory scans utilize ports.

Installing Spiceworks

Log into the server to which you’ll be installing the Inventory system.

In practice, ensure that your server has two CPU’s running.

Note: You can install spiceworks on Windows 10 OS but we are using servers in our lab.

Disable IE Warnings

If IE gives you warnings about downloads (example below)…

…then do the following:

Go to Start/Server Manager.

Click Local Server.
(“Local Server/ Properties” area displays)

Click IE Enhanced Security Configuration to turn it off.
(“Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration” dialog box displays)

Ensure that both settings in above dialog box are set to “Off”.

Note: This is only recommended in the lab setup, please do not turn off security on the production servers.

Downloading the Spiceworks System

Do a Google search for “Spiceworks inventory download”

(Search results display).

Click “Free Spiceworks Download…”

(Download starts immediately)

“Do you want to run…” prompt displays

Select a folder (e.g., “Download”) to Save the download to, and click Run.
(“User Account Control” dialog box displays).

Click Yes.
(“The Spiceworks.exe download has completed” prompt displays.)

Click Run.
(“Welcome to Spiceworks Desktop Setup” dialog box displays)

Notice that it is designating “port 80” to install to. This is the HTTP port. (It is not a “secure” port).

Click Next.
(“Spiceworks Setup” dialog box displays)

  • NMap = Network Mapper – an open source network scanner.
  • WinPCap =

Click Next.
(“Destination folder” dialog box displays).

Click Install.
(Installation processes).

Click Continue.
(Installation complete).

Running Spiceworks

The app starts running immediately upon installation.

Notice in the address bar, it says “Localhost”.

  • What is “Localhost”? See “Loopback Address” topic on page 8 for explanation.

As Spiceworks starts up, the “Welcome to Spiceworks” screen comes up.
(“Discover & Monitor My Devices” screen displays).

Spiceworks also offers a Help desk ticketing solution.

Right now, we’re not going to focus on the Help Desk ticketing tool, but only Spicework’s “Discovery” feature.

Running an Inventory Scan

Click Discover & Monitor My Devices.
(Screen below displays)

We are going to log in to the “Windows using WMI” screen. WMI is a scanning protocol.

For Username, it’s asking for a “domain admin account” For this you would enter the NetBIOS name followed by your user name. You must have admin rights.

To find the NetBIOS name of your domain, see “NetBIOS” topic on page 10.

Enter “dcdh0\helpdesk” as your domain admin account, along with your password.

(Using WMI as a scanning protocol will give us information about our network and the devices on it. For more information on WMI, see “Q&A – WMI” on page 11.)

For this training, check “I don’t have any” for the Mac/Linux/Unix pane. Leave “Use public” checked for the Printers/ Switches pane.

Click Go to Inventory.
(Spiceworks begins its inventory scan of the network.)

(IP addresses and devices on the network will display).

NOTE: Never scan a network without permission.

Scanning additional networks

You can have SpiceWorks Inventory scan additional networks.

Click Settings.
(“Settings” screen displays).

Right now, Spiceworks is checking the network that it detected from the local host it was installed on.

IP range: 192.168.10.1-254

Click +Find More Devices.
(“Where should we look for devices?” dialog box displays)

Change address range to “192.168.11.1-254”.

Click Add.
(A second network is added).

Dashboard

Provides a high level view of your network.

Click Dashboard
(“Dashboard” view displays).

The different panes provide different information summaries:

  • Security Center tells the percentage of machines that have anti-virus installed.

  • Inventory Summary tells you how many different devices the network has.

Searching for a device

You can find a networked device by entering its name (e.g., “helpdeskdh”) in the Search field
(Found results display).

Click “helpdeskdh” and press ENTER.
( machine “helpdeskdh” details display)

Clicking Add
(menu displays)

You can add a “ticket”, “Purchase” or “Warranty” information to the device record.

Trouble shooting a device/ IP address

Note the red X in front of the IP address 192.168.10.6. This suggests that the device is not running or not connected to the network properly. The scan is not able to run efficiently on this device address.

  • First, let’s test connectivity with the machine by pinging it.

Ping is successful, so connectivity is okay.

  • Second, let’s re-scan the device by clicking Tools/Rescan.
    (“Tell us how to scan this device” dialog box displays).

In the above screen capture, along the bottom it shows which ports were scanned and, of these, which ports are open and which are closed.

Scanning a device

In this case, port 135 is the main one used.

Enter your domain admin account and specify the port to use (“135”).

Click Scan.
(“execution expired” message displays. This indicates something isn’t working right with this device/IP address). Next step could be to check the firewall.

Open the Firewall app
(“Windows Defender Firewall” displays).

We see that the Firewall is on. Because our lab environment requires that the firewall be turned off, this may be the problem with our scan.

Turn off the Firewall.
(“Turn off..” settings for Domain network, private network and public network are activated)

Click OK.

Now let’s try the scan again.
(“…Worked..” message displays)

Now the scan runs successfully and generates a report on the device.
(Information on “helpdeskdh” machine displays).

Special thanks to our member for creating this content: John Korduba

Main Course Content Page

 

September 18, 2020

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