Provision Team Computers

Team computers give administrators control over managing computers that people use at your company.  These computers can be assigned to a member of your team, to a group of people on your team, or to Guest Access. Team computers assigned to a group operate in host only mode (i.e. you cannot connect from them to another computer). A team computer assigned to a user can act as a client after the assigned user authenticates with their credentials. You can manage and re-assign team computers from here.

Setup and Install Team Computer

Team Computers are provisioned by using the Team ID and Team's Computer Key, which can be obtained from the Teams administrator portal in the Team Computers section. The Computer Key is unique and can be regenerated at any time, but keep in mind that regenerating will invalidate the old key. Make sure to store it somewhere safe and treat it as confidential as it shouldn't be widely shared.

When a member of your team installs Parsec and signs in using email and password or SAML directly without using the team's Computer Key, administrators can still limit access to their computer by putting restrictions on the user's account through groups. However, the administrator will not be able to reassign the computer or see it in the admin dashboard. Follow the steps below to provision a Team computer.

  1. On the Team Computers tab, copy the Team ID and your Team's computer key. Make sure they're saved in a secure location that you can reference for future steps. 

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  2. Get the Parsec installer from the downloads page.
  3. Run the Parsec installer.
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    • While running the installer, you'll likely want to select "Shared" to use the same Parsec account for all users and allow access to the login screen.
  4. Once installed, launch the Parsec app and click "Set up as Team Computer" on the login screen, then insert your Team ID and Team Computer Key from earlier.
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Assign Team Computers

Team computers can be assigned to a team member or a group. They can also be unassigned.

Unassigned computers

Computers in this state have not yet been assigned or they have been explicitly unassigned. They are ready to be assigned but no one can connect to them unless they are used for Guest Access. This is the default assignment, unless Parsec was installed with command line options to assign the machine (Windows only).

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User assignment

A computer can be assigned to a single team member. The assigned person will be able to connect to the computer as if they had logged in on it themselves. If enabled, the assigned user can use this machine as a client to connect to other machines - configured connection policies will be honored. The assigned person can invite others to connect to the computer using either share links or the friend system. The group restrictions of the assigned person still apply and nobody outside of the team can connect (unless the computer is also used for Guest Access). To assign a computer to a user, follow the steps below:

  1. On the Team Computers tab, find the computer.

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  2. Click 'Assign'.
  3. Select 'User'.
  4. Find and select the user.
    • You can provide an email address of a person who is not currently part of the Team. Doing so will reserve the machine for the person when they accept their invite to the Team.
  5. Optionally, enable Guest Access.
  6. Click 'Confirm'.
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Group assignment

Computers assigned to a group are considered Shared Computers, multiple people may have access to them. It's important to note that assigning a computer to a group doesn't always mean that members of that group can connect to it, and it's also possible that members of other groups can connect to it. This is controlled through group connections. To assign a computer to a group, follow the steps below:

  1. Follow steps 1 & 2 from 'User assignment'.
  2. Select 'Group'.
  3. Find and select the group.
  4. Optionally, enable Guest Access
  5. Click 'Confirm'.

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Shared computers

Team Computers assigned to a group are considered Shared Computers, meaning multiple team members may have access to them. For anyone with access the computer will show in the Computers tab in Parsec and they can connect to it as if it was their own. When users are connected an icon shows in the corner. Multiple users can connect at the same time. You can restrict multiple people from connecting at the same time, however, by using the advanced setting that sets the max connections. You can set this to 1, and only one person will be able to connect at a time.

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Shared computers can only be assigned to one group, but they can still be shared among multiple groups. This happens through connections between groups.

When you assign a computer to a group you don't give access to that group, instead you make the computer part of the group. This means the group's members can only connect to the computer if the group has "Allow Connections Within Group" enabled. Members of other groups can also connect to the computer if their group has an outbound connection to the computer's group. These can be configured when editing the group on the Groups & Members page.

Group connections control what users are allowed to connect to what other users, and what shared machines user can connect to. Even if a user has group permission to connect to another user they can only do so if the target user shares a link or befriends the user that wants to connect. If a user has group permission to connect to a shared computer they can always connect.

Example A

The Design group has "Allow Connections Within Group" enabled. If you assign a  computer to the Design group all members of that group will be able to connect to the computer. Members of the Design group are also allowed to connect to each others computers, but only through share links or friendships and with explicit approval from the computer's owner.

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The Engineering group has permission to connect to the Design group. All members of the Engineering group will also be able to connect to the computer. They are also allowed to connect to computers belonging to Design group users, but again only through share links or friendships.

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Example B

QA shares computers. They should all be able to connect to these shared computers but not to each other. To accomplish this the QA group has "Allow Connections Within Group" disabled but it has an outgoing connection to the QA Computers group. This is a group that only contains shared computers.

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Setup and Install Team Computers using CLI (Optional. Windows only)

Installing Parsec and setting up the computer as a Teams computer without assigning to a specific user.

To provision a computer on Windows via command line (CLI) you'll run the Parsec installer as administrator, passing in the team id and your team's Computer Key.

When provisioning a computer you can also immediately assign it by passing additional command line arguments. A previously provisioned computer can also be reassigned by re-running the script. Using the Parsec installer with specific command line flags will allow you to write the authentication file. 

The example below covers a basic CLI install, automatically provisioning the computer on your Teams account, where 'my_team_id' is your Parsec Team ID [not alias], and 'teams_computer_key' with your team's Computer Key.  

./parsec-windows.exe /silent /shared /team_id=my_team_id /team_computer_key=teams_computer_key

On completion of the installer running, an authentication file (user.bin) will be written to:

C:\ProgramData\Parsec

An install log will appear at location:

C:\Program Files\Parsec\log.txt

Parsec then will run after completion, and you can assign the computer from the admin dashboard.

If the Team Computer successfully authenticated, it will show the hostname of the computer on the top right followed by #0

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Assigning to a user

You can assign a computer to a user using their Parsec email or their Parsec user ID (the number after the # symbol in their Parsec username, eg. user#1234 would be 1234). If the email does not match an existing team member the computer becomes reserved and once a user with a matching email joins the team the computer is automatically assigned to them. You can revoke reservations through the admin dashboard.

Assigning to a user by email address

./parsec-windows.exe /silent /shared /team_id=my_team_id /team_computer_key=teams_computer_key /user_email=user@emailaddress.com

Assigning to a user by user ID

./parsec-windows.exe /silent /shared /team_id=my_team_id /team_computer_key=teams_computer_key /user_id=user_id

You can verify if the computer was assigned to an existing team member by viewing the username at the top right of the Parsec app. 

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If the computer is reserved for a future user it will show the hostname of the computer on the top right followed by #0.

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Assigning to a group

To assign to a group you need the groups ID. The group ID can be found under Groups & Members in the admin dashboard. Select the group, then click Edit Group. The group ID is displayed under the group name.

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Assigning to a Group

./parsec-windows.exe /silent /shared /team_id=my_team_id /team_computer_key=teams_computer_key /team_group_id=team_group_id

If the machine successfully authenticated, it will show the hostname of the computer on the top right followed by #0

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Enabling Guest Access

When you enable a computer for guest access you can later schedule guest access invites to it through the admin dashboard.

Unassigned with Guest Access enabled

./parsec-windows.exe /silent /shared /team_id=my_team_id /team_computer_key=teams_computer_key /guest_access=1

A computer can both be assigned to a user or group and used for guest access. 

Assigned to user with Guest Access enabled

./parsec-windows.exe /silent /shared /team_id=my_team_id /team_computer_key=teams_computer_key /user_email=user@emailaddress.com /guest_access=1

Assigned to Group with Guest Access enabled

./parsec-windows.exe /silent /shared /team_id=my_team_id /team_computer_key=teams_computer_key /team_group_id=team_group_id /guest_access=1