Can't access MLS from another Windows account

Discussions around the setup, operation, replacement, and disposal of clerk computers, not to include using MLS
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Mikerowaved
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Can't access MLS from another Windows account

Postby Mikerowaved » Sat Sep 03, 2016 12:18 am

As the STS, I have all the PC's in our stake setup with a StakeAdmin Windows local account with administrator privilege so I can help if the regular Clerk account goes haywire. I also have a StakeAdmin (out of unit) username in MLS with admin rights on each clerk PC. This has served me well for years.

I recently received 8 new Lenovo ThinkCentre M700's for our stake and set them up by first letting the LDSProvisioning software run and answering the questions for each unit's PC. When the provisioning ended, I ran MLS using the unit's newly created Windows login and created a StakeAdmin MLS user to make sure it installed OK. (I was careful not to do a Send/Receive at this point, but thinking back, it would have failed anyway due to security reasons.) I then added a StakeAdmin Windows account with administrator privilege and attempted to run MLS from it. About 3 seconds after launching MLS, I got the popup window shown below. As you can see, there is only one option and that's to exit MLS. All 8 PC's performed the same way.

MLS Error Box.jpg
(56.48 KiB) Not downloaded yet

On one of the new PC's, I logged into Windows as StakeAdmin and tried right-clicking on the MLS icon and set it to Windows 7 compatibility, no change. I then took that off and set it to run as an administrator. It ran MLS this time, however, when I logged back into the Unit's account, it had a problem accessing MLS. (Sorry, I can't recall the exact error.) While still logged into the unit's Windows account, I right-clicked the MLS icon and ran it as an administrator. Thankfully, this cleared the problem and I could run MLS once again without needing to elevate to admin.

The Dell Optiplex PC's that were getting replaced were mostly Windows 10, with 2 still on Windows 7. Some were using MLS 3.8.4, while others were on 3.8.5. On every one of these older PC's I could log into Windows as StakeAdmin and open MLS using the StakeAdmin username with zero problems. After transferring all the data from the old to the new PC's, I was hopeful something would change for the better, but no dice.

Anyone ever see this error message before? I sure don't want to have to remember every unit's password. I can't see how it could be intentionally designed to run this way as this would seriously impact those who need to have multiple units share the same PC.
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Re: Can't access MLS from another Windows account

Postby russellhltn » Sat Sep 03, 2016 12:48 am

I'd look at where the MLS database is located and what rights are set on it. If it got stuffed into the user's data area, that would explain a lot. Admins would still have access once the security rights were reset.
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Re: Can't access MLS from another Windows account

Postby russellhltn » Sat Sep 03, 2016 3:16 am

russellhltn wrote:I'd look at where the MLS database is located and what rights are set on it. If it got stuffed into the user's data area, that would explain a lot. Admins would still have access once the security rights were reset.

Just to elaborate, I've seen this on Win7 user areas. You got to click on another user's area and it says something like "Access denied, but click this button to give you permanent access." Once you do that, you can browse their area anytime.

I think that's pretty rare any more. I could see it might be deliberate. One issue is that be default, Windows allows multiple people to be logged in at the same time (fast user switching). As a result, you could have multiple users trying to open MLS at the same time. It's not designed for that.
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Re: Can't access MLS from another Windows account

Postby jdlessley » Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:25 am

Building off of russelhltn's comments, I would disable fast user switching through the group policy editor and see what happens.
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Re: Can't access MLS from another Windows account

Postby Mikerowaved » Thu Sep 08, 2016 5:05 am

I got a reply back from MLS Support that reads:

The bottom line is security and yes the new password convention used on these new desktops do require the unique login for the unit. That is how MLS will continue to be supported on the new desktop. We're sorry for this frustration, but the policy will not be changing.


Not exactly what I was hoping for. They must have something different in the works for multiple units that share the same PC, because it definately won't work the way it is now.
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Re: Can't access MLS from another Windows account

Postby russellhltn » Thu Sep 08, 2016 10:28 am

There's a downside to multiple logins having access to MLS. Thanks to Window's "Fast user switching", it's not necessary for one user to log out before another logs in. As a result, you can have multiple sessions with MLS open. MLS isn't designed for that, and the developers may be tired of fixing the problems that's caused.

I've disabled fast user switching on all our stake machines, but the MLS team may have a harder time getting the Desktop team to do that.

Another downside to multiple logins is it encourages people to store sensitive information on the computer (outside of MLS). If it's a shared login, they're going to be more cautious about that.
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Re: Can't access MLS from another Windows account

Postby Mikerowaved » Thu Sep 08, 2016 3:16 pm

What you're saying is true, however, there's nothing new about Fast User Switching and/or using another Windows account to "hide" stuff in that wasn't present the day MLS first rolled out. The ONLY other Windows account I create from the default setup is the StakeAdmin one. It's rarely used and certainly not in the conditions named above.

Last night I found the trigger point for the error, but policy will prohibit me from discussing it further. I'll just say it smells more like a glitch than a true effort to lock MLS down from other Windows accounts being able to use it.
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Re: Can't access MLS from another Windows account

Postby drepouille » Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:15 pm

When I became ward clerk back in April, our ward computer was running Windows 7. I created a Windows account for me, so I could login to Gmail and other Google services. I also run MLS from my personal account, always exiting MLS when I am done. When that computer was upgraded to Windows 10, both the Clerk account and my personal account can still run MLS. I suppose the new computers with the new image are locked down more than our computer is.
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Re: Can't access MLS from another Windows account

Postby russellhltn » Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:22 pm

drepouille wrote:I suppose the new computers with the new image are locked down more than our computer is.

Or, it may be an issue about the new MLS installs. Were you to completely uninstall MLS and re-install, you might find yourself limited. Heck, you may find your self limited on a new install under WIndows 7, too. Without knowing the details, it could have been something started in the latest versions.
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Re: Can't access MLS from another Windows account

Postby sbradshaw » Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:02 pm

I've shared a computer with multiple units before. We used the same login account. Wards shouldn't be storing confidential info on their desktop, and it's easy enough to make a folder for each ward if they want to store things like sacrament meeting program templates, etc.
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