What is KACE?

KACE is a suite of applications and servers that provide a broad range of computer management tools including imaging (loading operating system and applications in one automated process), software installation, and patching (updating applications from a variety of software vendors including Microsoft, Adobe, and Oracle (Java)).

Why did the college purchase KACE?

Software updates and patching: Many computers on campus have no primary user or may have multiple users who share them. In such an environment, there is often no one regularly available who has permission to maintain software updates and verify the healthy operation of the computer, let alone install additional software as needed. The result is numerous computers that may fall into disrepair and be vulnerable to viruses and other security threats. Similarly, there are a variety of applications installed on our computers that require updating; knowing what to update is a challenge and ignoring updates leaves the computer vulnerable to viruses and other malware. KACE can simplify matters by identifying critical updates that are not installed on managed systems, and installing them.

Software installation: KACE can also be used to install selected software titles automatically on specified computers. This will simplify the installation process when preparing new or re-imaged computers, as well as when customers request additional software and the computer is in their possession. The college purchased a similar product called Casper for Mac computer management in 2011. This tool has proven extremely beneficial for the timely delivery of software installations on Macs in labs as well as on faculty and staff computers.

Computer imaging: ITS also uses KACE to load or restore the Windows operating system and related drivers and software to new computers or replacement hard drives. KACE is a Quest product, with excellent integration for Dell branded hardware and support for non-Dell hardware.

How does KACE work?

ITS installs the KACE "agent" on managed computers. KACE includes a service (background program) that has permission to install applications and updates, even if the computer is logged out, or if the logged-in user has limited permissions.

Will KACE interfere with the use of my computer? Will the computer reboot without my permission?

Guidelines for the use of KACE by ITS staff stipulate that installations of applications will be made at the request of the end users and may be cancelled at the time of installation. (Public lab computers will not have prompts for software installations; they will happen automatically.) Software updates that have been thoroughly tested, or are critical in nature, may be applied without the option to cancel, but notice of such updates will be provided. If a reboot is required to complete an installation or patching process, there will be an option to postpone the reboot until a more convenient time.

Does KACE allow ITS to see what I am doing on my computer?

KACE does not monitor or report your activities, except as required for the software to function. For example, KACE does have an inventory component with information about the hardware and software installed on a computer. This is necessary for it to deliver reliable installations. This information is not used by ITS for any purposes other than providing timely and reliable assistance with the operation of your computer and maintaining compliance with software licensing. KACE does not provide real-time data about the applications in use on the computer, nor any visibility into the data stored on the computer. ITS abides by the Responsible Use policy for computing resources, and the related privacy policy.

How do I use KACE Self Service to install software on my Windows computer myself?

ITS uses KACE's Self Service feature to make commonly-requested software installers available so they can be run when convenient for you.

  1. For best results, use a wired (Ethernet) connection from on-campus.
  2. Some installers may conflict with running programs. For best results, reboot before proceeding, and only open your web browser (Internet Explorer, etc.).
  3. Visit https://vigo.middlebury.edu (or use http://go/kss).
  4. Log in with your Middlebury username and password; leave the Organization field blank.
    • Note: Your email address will not work on this site; you must use your username.
  5. Click the blue Want Software? button.
  6. In the Downloads section, click the blue link for the desired installer.
  7. Important! Scroll down and confirm that the Device to install software on is correct. If is it not, select the correct device from the drop-down menu.
    • FIX: If the correct computer name does not appear in the drop-down list, please navigate to C:\LIS and double-click Update Inventory Now, wait 5 minutes, then go back to your browser and refresh the page. You may need to exit your browser and start again.
  8. Click the blue Install button, then be patient.
    • All installs take several minutes or more before there will be any sign of installation, and many installers require 15-30 minutes or more to complete.
    • If the blue Install button doesn't appear, follow the Fix instructions in step 6, above.
  9. To check that an installer has finished, click the Windows Start orb, then click All Programs. You should find new application entries in the list (or new folders) for the newly-installed software.

How can I use KACE to have software installed on my computer?

Simply submit a software installation request online, including the "Property of Middlebury College" number of the computer and the name and version of the software you need. If your request is approved and the installation is one that ITS can offer with KACE, we will enable that installation for your computer and notify you. The next time your computer checks in to see what installations are available (approximately every 2 hours), you will be prompted to install that software via a pop-up dialog box in the lower right corner of your screen. If the timing is not convenient, you may postpone the install. If you opt to continue, the software should install "silently" in the background and notify you when it is complete. Similarly, if the installation requires a reboot to complete, you may postpone that as well, and continue when you are ready.

Does KACE update all of the applications on my computer?

KACE will update select applications currently installed on your computer with recent patches to your existing versions.  It will not upgrade these applications to a newer version.  KACE may be used to patch Microsoft, Adobe, Apple and Java applications installed on Windows computers.  The updater for each application may still be running in addition to KACE patching, giving you the option to get updates through that means as well.  

Can I control what gets updated?

One major purpose of KACE is to keep computers up-to-date and protected.  There may be applications that will not work with the latest patches; this does not mean the patches are faulty.  If you receive updates via KACE that you do not want, please notify the Helpdesk, providing the Midd number of the computer and the application that updated.

How do I troubleshoot KACE installations?

  • Installations work best when you are on-campus using an Ethernet (wired) connection. Campus wireless should work as well, but it will be slower. Many installers are large and take some time even when using a fast connection.
  • If you are off-campus, you must use a VPN connection. This is no guarantee of success, however, as many installers are simply too large.
  • If you only see a few installers on the self-service web site, and/or the installer you want has an error message saying your IP was not found instead of a blue "Install" button, try going to C:\LIS and double-clicking Update Inventory Now. Accept the security prompt, then wait a few minutes for the black window that appears to do its thing. When it's done, open a new browser session and go to go/kss again, and you should see the installers you're looking for.
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