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PowerTeacher Gradebook Preferences Won’t Open

This post is for you if:

– You use PowerSchool’s PowerTeacher Gradebook, and the Preferences dialog box won’t open, AND

– You use a read-only redirected desktop for your faculty.

We noticed that PowerTeacher Gradebook worked fine, except for the preferences dialog box. When you click ‘Preferences’, nothing would happen. After some digging with Procmon, I discovered that the only thing that happened when you clicked Preferences was a quick Java thread execution. No info there, so I dug deeper in the bowels of the Java console.

When the application loads, it makes some horrible assumptions about file locations, specifically the location for .gradebook_userdict.tlx.

The console shows the “User Home Dir” location, which was simply showing \\servername for us. This is because our Start Menus and Desktops are redirected from read-only shares on \\servername. While the Desktop is redirected to \\servername\DesktopShare$, the Gradebook client assumes the .gradebook_userdict.tlx file should be one level up, at \\servername.  Since that’s not a valid place to stash a file, I had to improvise.

The solution for redirected read-only desktops is to create the desktop redirection folder one level below a share, and not make the redirection to the share itself. I converted our redirect locations to a ‘resource’ share located at: \\servername\res$\desktopshare, which is transparent to the client, but serves a useful purpose in the ability to stash the .gradebook_userdict.tlx file in the root of the \\servername\res$ share. Of course, you also have to change your redirection targets in the respective GPO(s).

Incidentally, I called PS support, who chastised me for using Java 1.6 instead of their officially supported 1.5. I placated the support rep and installed 1.5, producing the same results.