Friday, February 19, 2021

e-EQE: Troubleshooting WISEflow, LockDown Browser, Zendesk

Updated 4 Mar 21
Updated 24 Feb after Mock3
Updated 22 Feb with note about "company computer" and chat window
Updated 19 Feb with WISEflow browser test
These are technical problems and solutions that candidates have had and sent to me that are not covered in the user guide and need to be solved BEFORE the exam. These are likely related to either personal or company restrictions or firewall settings. I have no idea how widespread these problems and if they will work for everybody. Let me know if you want to add. 

Testing your system using Mock1 and Mock3 flows

  • Check your system by following the official Step by Step to the e-EQE: www.epo.org/learning/eqe/e-eqe.html. There is also a Compilation of Information with the official user guides. Check regularly for updates.
  • Check that you can login to WISEflow, download and print the exams from WISEflow, login to Zendesk outside the LockDown Browser, start the LockDown Browser and login to Zendesk within the LockDown Browser.
  • Unfortunately, there is no test portal you can log on to to see if the camera and microphone monitoring are working correctly under LockDown Browser exam conditions. 
    • A testflow is available where you can take an image - see below
Testing your system and camera using test flows
  • After logging in to WISEflow, click on the drop down menu next to your name and select "Edit profile"
  • Click on the "System Requirements":
    • Test Browser - it starts the LockDown Browser in a test mode, checking correct Browser operation and indicating that connection can be made to Secure Websockets.
    • Start Flowlock - a dummy exam window, similar to Main Exam windows is opened so you can try it out
    • Start Flowmulti -  a dummy exam window, similar to Pre-Exam T/F window is opened so you can try it out
  • New: to test your camera, Start Flowlock to start the LockDown Browser. 
    • In the Assignment Options, click on "Appendix material" and "Manage appendices" to open the "Appendix manager" tab.
    • In the "Appendix manager" tab, click on "New appendix", and then "Take an image". This looks like the "Entry image" screen used before each exam / flow.
    • Unfortunately, no microphone test

General Hardware/Software issues
  • Some problems may be due to using a company computer where you don't have full admin rights. For example, blocked urls, a missing chat window in Zendesk, changing IP addresses, automatic virus scans, screensavers that cannot be disabled, updates that cannot be disabled.  
  • If you cannot solve the problems, you may have to switch to a personal laptop or PC, and either log on to the company guest network, and/or do the exam from a different location.
  • In general, only connect the hardware you need, and exit all software/apps except your normal internet browser. Also those running in the background, like backup software and synchronization programs (onedrive, dropbox etc).
  1. USB-hubs, port replicators and docking stations. LockDown Browser disables "suspicious" processes on startup. Some people have had problems starting, and/or disconnection problems. This might be due to using a modern hub with more than one video output. Solution: use a simple USB-hub with only what you need.
  2. VPN. Can lead to slow connections. LockDown Browser cannot handle changes in your IP address. Solution: don't use VPN's.

Camera

  1. Camera turns off during exam. During Mock3, many candidates had problems with the camera turning off after some time during the exam (entry image and initial testing by LockDown Browser were all successful). Cause: <unknown>. Solution (ME): Refresh Browser (either F5 in Windows or click on browser "refresh" icon top-left). Solution (PE): For Pre-Exam, LockDown Browser works differently - you will need to enter flow AND invigilator password after a refresh.
    • your camera and microphone are sampled, and the invigilators have a dashboard with the real time status. If one of them is "zero", you should go to the top of the list, and they may contact you. But it depends on how busy they are. If you notice the camera is off (e.g. LED turns off), report it as soon as possible in Zendesk chat (you likely will not know how long it has been off). For PE, you need invigilator password to refresh, so don't try it - ask Zendesk what to do. For ME, you can try a refresh - if it does not work, you need the invigilator password to exit the LockDown Browser, so ask Zendesk first what to do.

WISEflow

  1. Not able to download and print exams. Possible cause (1): <unknown, but it is likely that the url is blocked by the firewall>. Solution: <find it in the WISEflow page source code or with a network monitor, and whitelist the url and/or domain in firewall>
    • To find url's, load regular browser as normal and disconnect the internet. Click on the link and you should see the url it was trying to access. Documents currently come from https://europe-files.wiseflow.net
      • So whitelist traffic from *.wiseflow.net
  • Added 4 Mar 21: possible cause (2): on systems where the links have worked before, they may not appear before the exam as intended. Helpdesk: ".. participant’s computer has changed its external IP addresses from when they last refreshed the page in WISEflow (flow overview)". Refreshing only the flow page (where the download links are visible) is not enough. Solution (1) from helpdesk: Reload (Refresh in browser or CTRL F5) of flow overview page in WISEflow
    • Solution (2) from participant (if (1) does not work): logout and back in to WISEflow

Zendesk Chat

  • After starting LockDown Browser, you must manually start Zendesk Chat through External Resources. Remain logged in through the whole exam. It is also accessible from a normal browser by going to epo.zendesk.com
    • apparently, the chat widget will only appear if there is an invigilator logged in at the time
  • Official troubleshooting: support.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360022362053-Zendesk-Chat-system-requirements#topic_jt2_hqv_m4b
    • only uses ports 80 and 443, which should be open on all firewalls
    • whitelist traffic from *.zopim.com on the firewall
    • relies on Amazon for services. Check whether Amazon IPs are blocked. 
  1. No chat window in bottom right after logging in to epo.zendesk.com (only logo). Cause: firewall is blocking urls. Solution: whitelist three URLs (unsure which one worked). Source: Irina Bagyan: ^https?://([A-Za-z0-9.-]*\.)?zendesk\.com/ and ^https?://([A-Za-z0-9.-]*\.)?zdassets\.com/ and  ^https?://([A-Za-z0-9.-]*\.)?zopim\.com/
        LockDown Browser (by Respondus)
        1. Browser freezes or crashes due to user input. Possible cause: certain keys and combinations that attempt to switch between windows/applications are forbidden. Solution: Mechanically disable the keys involved - either insert a piece of plastic or remove the keys.
        2. Browser freezes or crashes due to trackpad input. Possible cause: certain gestures and finger combinations that attempt to switch between windows/applications are forbidden. Solution: disable all gestures in the trackpad settings and use an external mouse with a scroll wheel.
        3. Browser freezes or crashes with no warning. Possible cause: Some computers change their IP address while you still working. Solution: <not sure>
        4. Browser freezes or crashes when new tab is opened. Possible cause: Too many open tabs crashes the browser. It is related to screen width, but for most people seems to be max. 10. Solution: don't open too many tabs (Zendesk chat and external resources will open their own tabs as well)
        5. Main tab in LockDown Browser is blank. Possible cause: firewall blocking traffic. Solution: see official troubleshooting above. At least whitelist traffic to *.wiseflow.net. Someone who had an internet failure noted that the Browser retrieves exam content from https://europe.wiseflow.net/participant/flowlock/display.php#
        External Resources (EPO site)
        • Also possible to access official EPO legal texts within LockDown Browser. A separate tab is opened when you click on EPO legal texts on dropdown menu.
        • You should see www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts.html, and be able to browse to any page within www.epo.org domain, including OJEPO, EPO EPC Guidelines, EPO PCT Guidelines, Euro-PCT Guide, Case Law (only if looking for specific case - you can waste a lot of time reading this)
        • At bottom right of page is link to Advanced Website Search, which allows limiting the scope of the html search to specific documents: www.epo.org/search.html
        1. Not able to access legal texts. Possible cause: firewall is blocking urls. Solution: whitelist complete www.epo.org domain 
        2. Not able to open pdfs of legal texts. Possible cause: large pdfs cannot be opened in LockDown Browser. Solution: brows using html or use html search www.epo.org/search.html

        35 comments:

        1. A month ago, when I couldn't get the software to work, I wrote some emails to the Helpdesk at the EPO. They answered yesterday. So, I guess, if half the people still haven't used the software, that is why. :)

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. A technical helpdesk would have made a lot of sense - it is a big difference if you ask IT to open a specific url or you ask them to figure out what the problem is.
            A lot have that Zendesk problem, but they don't even know it. If you don't have the chat window, you are really in trouble if you have a problem.

            Delete
          2. Good that at least you have received an answer. I have 3 e-mails still unanswered :)

            We record and create evidences and all due care proofs but then what ? What will happen if you loose 30 minutes at the exam... What will happen once you fail? what are the options instead of getting angry and expressing your feelings to the appeal board?

            Delete
          3. I don't know. There is always an EQE evaluation (candidate survey) where candidates can provide feedback. I am sure the national patent attorney associations will also have some kind of evaluation.

            Delete
        2. I have a further question related to Zendesk, and I do not know whether it has been answered before in any Q&A / webinar:

          I experienced during Mock 2 that I was logged of from Zendesk due to inactivity (once it happened while waiting for help for Alt-Tabbing in Part DI-1, so I was again at the end of the line). I think it happend between 30 and 60 minutes after the last activity.

          The guide says to logon at the beginning of the Examiniation. Do I need to check on a regular basis that I am still logged in? Otherwise there could be problem if an inviligator needs to contact me, e.g. because he wants be to do a room sweep with the camera). Or can I avoid being logged of automatically?

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. Same happened to me. It logs you off automatically after a certain period. This has not been discussed at the EPO webinars as far as I can recall. At the end, that's not our problem if the invigilator cannot contact us, is it? We followed the instructions from the EPO website, logged on to Zendesk at the beginning - our part is done, no?

            Delete
          2. This may have been just during Mock2. The rules say that the chat must be on during the whole exam.
            Try it during Mock3

            Delete
          3. If your internet connection is somehow interrupted, or lost it is okay to continue with the flow as if nothing happened because it reconnects automatically. However, same is not correct for the Zendesk. I have simulated some incidents during Mock 3, flow automatically reconnects to the hotspot in the next room, but you need to log in to zendesk yourself again.

            Delete
        3. Yesterday evening EPO provided, finally, the official Rules relating to the implementation of the e-EQE.

          At least I have already waiting for those but better late than too late. It is a good thing that we have now very good rules and that is legal basis in the case of conflicts between EPO and a Candidate.

          I tested yesterday also Mock-I (1.2) and in connection with that, as a test, copied the whole Ancillary Regulations (> 600 pages, [638 or 648 to be very precisely]) to implement FIND in the answer part of the lockdown browser. The browser freezened complitely of that kind of act...

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. And one more thing. CTRL-SHIFT-V really works also in Firefox! I tested also this yesterday, and actually, this was my main concern and main point of testing in yesterday.

            Delete
          2. See here my post on the Instructions. The investigation procedure seems pretty open ended.

            Delete
        4. I have a question - how would the invigilator contact you if he/she wants to do a room sweep. You will be in the text editor all the time. Does a message pop up of your text editor? Would it freezes your screen and then stop you from writing further until you reply?

          I'm not sure how we will know when they want us to do a room sweep.

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. I would hope the chat makes a noise, or they would alert you using the speaker.
            I don't know what powers the invigilator has to interrupt you - maybe some will see during Mock3.

            Delete
          2. you hear a bip sound when they write to you and this is exactly why you need a speaker. So do not forget to volume up.

            Delete
          3. Once I have asked the invigilator to speak and say something to me just to test, and she said that they wont speak. Then I have asked why we have speaker and she answered that it is only to hear the bip sound indicating that you have a chat message.
            When you hear the sound, you click on the tab that you have the zendesk open (it is another tab just as pdf tabs without any indicator name) No pop up messages.

            Delete
        5. short question: when I log into zendesk via epo.zendesk.com(today sunday) there is no chat window. I assume the window is only available during and shortly before and after the exam is this right, or should I have a look at my firewall configuartions?

          Best
          J

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. Someone in the Telegram group tries it earlier in the week and the chat window was available. I have no account, so I cannot try it at all.
            I would add the exclusion in the firewall anyway.

            Delete
          2. thank you pete!

            Delete
          3. For me the chat window was not available before/after Mock 2, but was available during Mock 2. I read somewhere that it only appears when an invigilator is logged in

            Delete
        6. Hi Pete, thank you very much for all the work you put in to help us all to pass the EQE.

          Assuming, I'm in the middle of Part A and my PC/Laptop crashes for no apparent reason. What is the best solution to get back into the lockdown browser?

          I asked helpdesk if it will be possible to reenter the lockdown browser after an unexpected crash occured. I, however, never received an answer :/

          Thanks in advance
          Best regards

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. Hi Stat80, you are welcome. I hope Mock3 runs smoothly to clam some nerves (on all sides).
            In my other post, I have a short procedure to follow.
            It depends on whether you have the invigilator password or not.

            Delete
        7. in one of the numerous documents from the EPo I found:

          "For the purpose of testing, please note that the chat widget will only appear if there is an invigilator logged in at the time."

          So it may be that everything is fine, will test it tomorrow...

          ReplyDelete
        8. Some problems may be due to using a company computer where you don't have full admin rights. For example, blocked urls, a missing chat window in Zendesk, changing IP addresses, automatic virus scans, screensavers that cannot be disabled, updates that cannot be disabled.

          ReplyDelete
        9. Hi,
          an SOS question: Mock 3 asks the invigilator password so I can not log in, abc or cba do not work. I had no problems with Mock 1 and 2. Any ideas?

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. Official way is via zendesk login through a normal browser to epo.zendesk.com.

            Delete
        10. Thank you, I did not expect chat to work. So I you happen to be late for the exam, you have to ask it via Zendesk first to let you in...

          ReplyDelete
        11. New: to test camera in LockDown Browser:
          - After logging in to WISEflow, click on the drop down menu next to your name and select "Edit profile"
          - Click on the "System Requirements", Start Flowlock to start the LockDown Browser.
          - In the Assignment Options, click on "Appendix material" and "Manage appendices" to open the "Appendix manager" tab.
          - In the "Appendix manager" tab, click on "New appendix", and then "Take an image". This looks like the "Entry image" screen used before each exam / flow.
          - Unfortunately, no microphone test

          ReplyDelete
        12. Dear Pete, Dear All,

          first of all, thank you so much for all your effort, giving such a great overview and bits and pieces for a successfull exam!


          This is just to share my experience with the online pre-EQE today and to tell my technical issues I experienced today. Maybe this helps finding others who had similar issues or - even better - to avoid similar issues in the future. So here is what happened today:

          Today, during the online pre-EQE I had serious troubles as my webcam allegedly did not work (system settings: laptop with Windows 10, external monitor and external webcam, laptop lid was closed during the exam, all screen savers, lock screens, energy saving modes etc were turned off, the privacy settings were adjusted accordingly and the webcam was given full access to apps, including desktop apps). During system tests provided by Wiseflow (under profile settings "test Browser" / and test flow, where you can take a picture as an appendix) as well as the Mocks 2 and 3, in particular, no problems occured, at least I was not contacted by an invigilator. Also I could take the entry photos before every flow without encountering any problems.

          In part 2 of the exam I was contacted by an invigilator via zendesk, and told that they realized that my cam was allegedly not working correctly. I responded immediatly and we tried to find out where the problem was. We could not solve the issue, but I was allowed to carry on. I was requested to be 30 minutes early prior to part 3 and to contact the invigilator via zendesk again. A technical expert was invited into the chat and told me to disable the integrated webcam of my laptop as this might have caused conflicts. I immediately did what I was requested to do. Part 3 went well without any interference by an invigilator. In part 4, I was contacted again by a different invigilator, as my camera did sent black photos, i.e. the same problem as before. The invigilator immediately asked me, whether I was working with a laptop and external webcam, indicating that the problem already occured elsewhere. I was asked to open the lid of my laptop. This did not change anything and the invigilator allowed me to carry on.

          All invigilators were very friendly and tried to help. Still it cost a lot of nerves and time.

          I am wondering if anyone had a similar experience today? I would appreciate if anyone who had similar issues might be willing to share. Thanks a lot in advance!

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. Sorry - that is a horrible experience.
            Yes - ithers are reporting it and discussing it in the Telegram group. It seems to be a problem with the LockDown Browser defaulting to the internal webcam.
            Some people have said that they were able to get it to work again by unplugging the USB, but it seems to depend a lot on what your system configuration is.

            Delete
        13. I have just helped Preston Richard create a framework to help with submitting a complaint to make it go at lot faster. Don't just copy/paste it - personalise it to your situation.
          We basically collected common things from all the blogs and chats ��
          If you submit it now, it gives them a chance to take it into account. They will always consider individual cases. Don't sit back and just hope for compensation to be applied to "all candidates" - they will be looking for formulas and options, but they can run into problems with the existing regulations.

          ReplyDelete
        14. On the official e-EQE page:
          Message from the Examination Board (3 Mar 2021)
          The Examination Board of the EQE is aware of a situation that affected paper D1.1. The Examination Board guarantees that the marking process will be conducted so that no candidate will be disadvantaged because of that.

          ReplyDelete
        15. Added 4 Mar 21: Not able to download and print exams. Possible cause (2): on systems where the links have worked before, they may not appear before the exam as intended. Helpdesk: ".. participant’s computer has changed its external IP addresses from when they last refreshed the page in WISEflow (flow overview)". Refreshing only the flow page (where the download links are visible) is not enough. Solution (1) from helpdesk: Reload (Refresh in browser or CTRL F5) of flow overview page in WISEflow
          Solution (2) from participant (if (1) does not work): logout and back in to WISEflow

          ReplyDelete