The ActivTrak Assist Browser Extension (For Improved Website Activity Capture)

While ActivTrak’s Agent is robust, the modern web browser is an operating system of its own, running many of the cloud-based applications essential for business operations. With the multitude of apps, settings, policy controls, and third-party extensions running on each browser, there may be scenarios where the ActivTrak Agent cannot properly capture browser session activity. These include:

  • Browser is in full-screen mode and the URL is not visible
  • Specific web applications that interfere with activity detection
  • Dialog box (e.g. Ctrl+F search) in the foreground
  • Firefox on macOS does not support URL capture without an ActivTrak Browser extension

To solve for these scenarios and prevent the appearance of  ‘URL unavailable’ in ActivTrak dashboards and reports, we recommend installing the ActivTrak Assist Browser Extension for Windows or macOS.

Note: The ActivTrak ChromeOS Agent is for Chromebooks only, while the browser extensions in this article are for Windows and macOS browsers.

Enabling and Deploying ActivTrak Assist Browser Extensions

The ActivTrak Assist Browser Extension must be both enabled and deployed. Enabling allows the extension(s) to communicate with the ActivTrak Agent, supplying website URLs when the Agent is inhibited from detecting them. If an Admin enables ActivTrak Assist Browser Extension(s) without also deploying them on target computers, the Agent will listen for URLs but not receive them, causing continued ‘URL unavailable’ issues in your ActivTrak Dashboards and Reports. 

Deploying ActivTrak Assist Browser Extensions via the Agent Installer:

Browser extensions can be enabled during deployment using command line parameters specified below for each operating system.

Windows OS

1. Before installing this utility, it is recommended to first completely uninstall ActivTrak from the target computer. This article covers how to uninstall the agent.

2. Once the agent is uninstalled, download the latest version of the installer from app.activtrak.com and open the Command Line utility, as outlined in this article

Configure the Agent to use the extension

1. For Chrome, Edge, and Opera, the extension should be installed before configuring the agent to use it. Chrome, Edge, And Opera can all be installed through each browser’s store. Chrome and Edge can be installed via GPO using the following extension IDs:

Chrome: cpgdkomjahikojeoiigeidjpccncmjkh

Edge: gandpjcpohekjcecaomnejegkmbcmdje

Any GPO settings should be at the machine level

2. To configure the agent to use the ActivTrak Assist Chrome extension, for instance, change the string to the following:

msiexec /i ATAcctXXXXXX_{RandomSecurityToken}.msi USE_CHROME_EXT=1 

(Replacing the "X"'s and RandomSecurityToken section with the string specific to your downloaded MSI) 

Force install the extension

1. To install the ActivTrak Assist Chrome extension, for instance, change the string to the following:

msiexec /i ATAcctXXXXXX_{RandomSecurityToken}.msi FORCECHROMEEXTENSION=1 

(Replacing the "X"'s and RandomSecurityToken section with the string specific to your downloaded MSI). This step also takes care of configuring the agent to use the extension.

2. Once the agent has been reinstalled with the Chrome Assistant, you will see the assistant listed under chrome://extensions. This will help the agent to gather URLs more consistently and accurately. 

You may replace ‘USE_CHROME_EXT=1’/ ‘FORCECHROMEEXTENSION=1’ to the following for other browsers:

 

Browser extension Agent version required Command line enable Command line enable & force install
Enable all supported browsers (below) Windows agent 8.3.4+ USE_ALL_EXTS=1  
Chrome Windows agent 8.2+ USE_CHROME_EXT=1 FORCECHROMEEXTENSION=1
Edge Windows agent 8.3.4+ USE_EDGE_EXT=1 FORCEEDGEEXTENSION=1 (requires Windows agent 8.5+)
Firefox Windows agent 8.3.4+ USE_FIREFOX_EXT=1 FORCEFIREFOXEXTENSION=1 (requires Windows agent 8.5+)
Opera Windows agent 8.3.4+ USE_OPERA_EXT=1 (Opera does not support)

 

macOS

Installer configurations on macOS are stored in a .ini file and specified as follows:

1. Before installing this utility, it is recommended to first completely uninstall ActivTrak from the target computer. This article covers how to uninstall the Agent.

2. Once the agent is uninstalled, download the latest version of the installer from app.activtrak.com and open the Command Line utility, as outlined in this article

3. Create an install arguments file named at_install_args and place it in the same directory as the installer. 

Configure the Agent to use the extension

1. For Chrome, Edge, and Opera, the extension should be installed before configuring the agent to use it. Chrome, Edge, And Opera can all be installed through each browser’s store. Chrome and Edge can be installed via GPO using the following extension IDs:

Chrome: cpgdkomjahikojeoiigeidjpccncmjkh

Edge: gandpjcpohekjcecaomnejegkmbcmdje

2. To configure the agent to use the ActivTrak Assist Chrome extension, for instance, edit the file to contain the following: --USE_CHROME_EXT 1

3. To verify, examine the contents of /Library/ProviledgedHelperTools/scthost.app/Contents/Resources/activtrak.ini. It should reflect your extension choices, for example:

Software.Policies.Birch Grove.ActivTrak.ChromeExtension=1

Software.Policies.Birch Grove.ActivTrak.UseAllExtensions=0

You may replace ‘--USE_CHROME_EXT 1’ with the following for other browsers:

 

Browser extension Agent version required INI file enable INI file enable & force install
Enable all supported browsers (below) macOS agent 8.3+ --USE_ALL_EXTS 1  
Chrome macOS agent 8.3+ --USE_CHROME_EXT 1  
Edge macOS agent 8.4+ --USE_EDGE_EXT 1  
Firefox Always Enabled N/A (required) N/A (required)
Opera macOS agent 8.4+ --USE_OPERA_EXT 1  

Enabling ActivTrak Assist Browser Extensions account-wide from the ActivTrak web app:

ActivTrak Assist Browser Extensions require specific Agent versions, as outlined below:

 

ActivTrak Agent Version Supported ActivTrak Assist Browser Extension(s)
Windows Agent < 8.3.4 Chrome (Download)
Windows Agent ≥ 8.3.4

Chrome (Download)

Edge (Download)

Firefox (packaged with Agent installer)

Opera (Download)

macOS Agent < 8.3 Firefox (packaged with Agent installer)
macOS Agent ≥ 8.3.3

Chrome (Download)

Edge (Download)

Firefox (packaged with Agent installer)

Opera (Download)

 

We strongly recommend that ActivTrak Assist Browser Extensions be deployed like other extensions using group policies (GPO) specific to each browser. For some browsers, we support a Force Install method, which should be reserved for testing on problematic computers before rolling out account-wide via GPO.

Additional permissions are required for ActivTrak Assist Browser Extensions to operate in private or incognito browsing modes or private browsing can be disabled entirely via GPO.

Deploying ActivTrak Assist Browser Extensions account-wide from the ActivTrak web app

Once you have verified that browser extension(s) have resolved ‘URL unavailable’ issues on affected computers, you may decide to deploy this solution account-wide.

To make this process simpler, we have controls that allow you to enable browser extensions remotely without the need for uninstalling and reinstalling the Agent. For now, to make changes to these settings you will need to contact Support.

New account-level settings

Computers on Windows Agent 8.4+ and macOS Agent 8.4+ can be enabled remotely from the ActivTrak app by contacting support. Please ensure that for each machine, either no users currently have the extension installed, or all users for that machine have it installed. 

To view current browser extension settings:

1. Log in as an admin to app.activtrak.com

2. Navigate to Settings > Account Configuration

3. Scroll down to Browser Extensions

If a given browser-OS combination is enabled, all Agents on that OS will listen for the respective ActivTrak Assist browser extension to supply URL information. Hence, account administrators should be prepared to install the ActivTrak Assist Browser Extension account-wide (preferably through browser-specific group policies).

For some browser-OS combinations, the ActivTrak Agent can modify extension configurations directly, instructing the browser to download and install our ActivTrak Assist browser extension – what we refer to as a “Force Install.” This occurs outside your centralized group policies (GPO) and may even have unintended interactions with other policies, therefore, use caution when considering this deployment path.

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