Setting up a Windows XP-based Open Meetings Kiosk
This is a step-by-step guide to setting up your own Open Meetings Kiosk using Windows XP.
- Find an old Windows computer. Any old doorstop with a working disk drive, network port, and graphics card will do. The really old ones have speakers inside. If the one you find doesn't, then you'll need external powered speakers.
- Pop open the lid and clean off the dust using a can of compressed air.
- Find a Windows XP install disk, and do a clean install, reformatting the hard drives. (If you cannot find a Windows XP install disk, check out how I set up a Ubuntu Linux-based Open Meeting Kiosk.)
- Connect to your network, and go to Settings > Control Panel > Windows Update (on the left).
- Choose Express and say Yes to everything, and repeat the previous step over and over and over until you are finally up to date. This will take about a day.
- Go to http://www.java.com, select the Download link, Run, and do a default installation (you'll need java for the talking part). Feel free to decline the toolbars.
- Download the Google Chrome browser from http://www.google.com/chrome, and do a default installation.
- When Chrome starts up, click the wrench on the right, and select Options (or Preferences, in some versions). Set On startup: to Open the following pages then click Add... and enter this URL:
http://www.mytowngovernment.org/your zip code/talking?name=Kiosk+Name+Here
The name you give will appear in the town management interface. Use + for spaces.
- Exit Chrome, then double-click the Google Chrome icon on your desktop.
- Select the Always trust content from this publisher. option, then Run. (This is for the talking part.)
- Adjust the volume, and then Exit Chrome.
- Right-click the Google Chrome icon on your desktop, and choose Properties. At the end of the Target field, after the ", add -kiosk, so it reads
- Drag the Google Chrome icon down to the Start menu, wait for it to open, then drag onto Programs, then Startup Items, and then drag it over so a black line appears above the word (empty). This will cause Chrome to start when you boot the computer.
- Right-click the task bar at the bottom of the screen, choose Properties, and choose Auto Hide the Taskbar.
- Right-click the desktop, choose Properties, Settings tab, and set the resolution to 1024x768. Then go to the Screen Saver tab and set it to (None), and then choose the Power... button, and set it to turn off the monitor Never.
- From the Start Menu, select Turn Off Computer and then Restart. When you see the BIOS setup screen, hit F2 or Del or whatever key gets you to the menu.
- Find the boot options, and see if you can get the computer to Power On automatically when power is applied, and wake up every day at midnight. This will ensure that the Kiosk boots up after a power outage. If there is an option to allow booting without a keyboard, select that as well. Exit and Save Changes.
- If you did everything right, then the Talking Kiosk for your town will appear after the machine boots up. If you made a mistake, use Alt-F4 to exit the browser, and make whatever adjustments you need.
Note that the kiosk pages are resilient to network outages. They will cycle back to the list screen until internet access becomes available again.