Data Centers

Remote control with RCONSOLE for NetWare

Have you ever gotten a call in the middle of the night asking you to come in and reboot the Novell server? In this NetWare Note, Steven Pittsley introduces a great tool that will let you reboot the server from the comfort of your own home.

  • RCONSOLE.EXE is the workstation software module.
  • REMOTE.NLM manages the workstation connection.
  • RSPX.NLM is used for network access to the server.
  • RS232.NLM provides an asynchronous modem connection to the server.

RCONSOLE commands
The commands to prepare a server for an RCONSOLE session can be placed in the AUTOEXEC.NCF file. As with any .NLM file, you can also execute the commands from the server console. The syntax is the same, regardless of how they are loaded.
LOAD REMOTE <password>  (Always password protect access to the server)
LOAD RSPX  (or LOAD RS232, to enable asynchronous communication)

Once the .NLM files have been loaded on the server, you can execute RCONSOLE.EXE from the DOS prompt on a workstation or from the Tools menu in NetWare Administrator. You will be prompted to select a connection type of either Asynchronous or SPX, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

A list of available servers will be displayed. This will allow you to choose the one with which you are going to establish the RCONSOLE session. After making a selection, your screen will display the server’s current screen, and you can control the server as if you were standing in front of it. The following function keys are available for you to use during the session:
  • [Alt][F1]—View the RCONSOLE menu.
  • [Alt][F2]—Exit the RCONSOLE utility.
  • [Alt][F3]—Move forward through the screens on the server.
  • [Alt][F4]—Move backward through the screens on the server.
  • [Alt][F5]—Display the network and workstation addresses.

Remote boot
After mastering RCONSOLE, you can prepare the server to be rebooted remotely. The first step in this process is to add the following lines to the server’s AUTOEXEC.BAT file. These commands will automatically start the server whenever it is rebooted:

Next, create a file called REBOOT.NCF. The following commands are included in the file:

The REMOVE DOS command will remove DOS from server memory and force the computer to reboot when the EXIT command is issued. DOWN and EXIT are normally used to bring the server down. Once you create this file, you are ready to reboot the server remotely.

Establish an RCONSOLE session with the server. Type REBOOT from the console prompt. The REBOOT.NCF file will be processed, will bring the server down, and will physically reboot it. Since we placed the SERVER command in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file, the server will start automatically. When AUTOEXEC.NCF is processed, REMOTE.NLM and RSPX.NLM (or RS232.NLM) will be loaded, and you will be able to connect to the server again to ensure that it is running smoothly.

Pretty slick, isn’t it? These few, simple steps will prove useful if you are called during the night because you need to reboot the server. Instead of driving to work, rebooting, and driving home again, you can simply dial in, connect to the server, and reboot it.

Steve Pittsley is a CNE and desktop analyst for a Milwaukee hospital. He enjoys playing drums, bowling, and most sports.

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