In the course of supporting end users outside of the workplace, inevitably the root of most issues frequently gravitates to poor browsing habits. Whether the problem is websites that someone shouldn't really be visiting, trusting any available game download site, or a poorly configured browser, it is up to us to find a solution. How many times have you heard, "So you work on computers, okay, well, I've been having this problem…"— you know how it goes.
Recently, I came across a free tool that gives IT professionals an easy way to start the inevitable task of supporting end users outside of the workplace. Information security risk and compliance services company Qualys offers the BrowserCheck service for inspecting Web browser configurations. BrowserCheck scans everything from the operating system, to the browser and the plug-ins. If your advice alone isn't enough to get a relative off of Windows 95, maybe this tool will be enough to convince them!BrowserCheck supports most modern configurations on Windows 2000 and newer. There is also Mac OS X support should you need to scan on that platform. The scan is quite simple and easy to understand. A scan on a Windows 7 system using the Opera browser is shown in Figure A:
On that same system, the scan is run in Microsoft Internet Explorer with a similar report. Figure B shows this report:
Click image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
BrowserCheck supports Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari for Windows operating systems. The Camino browser is also available for Mac OS X. The full list of supported and beta configurations can be found at this link on the Qualys Communities site. What I like best about the tool is that in most situations the "Fix It" link takes the end user right to the resource to address the issue.
Do you find browser configuration the primary issue in supporting users outside of your organization? I see this tool as a great self-service tool, as it is easy to use. Give it a try and share your comments below.
Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.