If the K-12 assessments that are provided by AIR Secure Browser or Take a Test detect that unauthorized apps are running in the background, due to which you can’t start an assessment, or you are logged out of an ongoing assessment, then you have to first manually end the apps using the Task Manager. In today’s post, we will identify the cause and then provide the resolution to the issue of K-12 assessment unexpectedly reports apps like Microsoft Photos and Microsoft Edge are running in the background in Windows 10.
First, let’s take a look at some of the key terms that are used in this post.
1] K-12, a term used in education and educational technology in the United States, Canada, and possibly other countries such as Afghanistan, Australia, Ecuador, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey – is a short form for the publicly-supported school grades prior to college. These grades are kindergarten (K) and the 1st through the 12th grade (1-12). (If the term were used, “13th grade” would be the first year of college.)
2] K-12 assessment is an accountability formative and summative assessment that evaluates student learning at the end of the year. It provides a broad view of student and school educational performance and allows districts and states to measure how well learning and teaching is meeting required state standards.
3] The AIRSecure browser app from the American Institutes for Research® ensures a secure online testing experience for students taking online assessments with a Chromebook computer. When the secure browser is launched, users cannot perform certain hardware functions, such as taking screenshots. Students who take a test and try to switch to other applications and/or web sites will be logged out automatically. To maintain a high level of test security, the AIRSecureTest secure browser requires the Chromebook to be set to kiosk mode.
4] Many schools use online testing for formative and summative assessments. It’s critical that students use a secure browser that prevents them from using other computer or Internet resources during the test.
The Take a Test app in Windows 10 creates the right environment for taking a test:
- Take a Test shows just the test and nothing else.
- Take a Test clears the clipboard.
- Students aren’t able to go to other websites.
- Students can’t open or access other apps.
- Students can’t share, print, or record their screens unless enabled by the teacher or IT administrator
- Students can’t change settings, extend their display, see notifications, get updates, or use autofill features.
- Cortana is turned off.
Below is a flowchart showing how the Take a Test app works.
K-12 assessment detects unauthorized apps running in the background
This issue occurs because AIR assessments have a list of apps that aren’t allowed to run during or before the assessment, and apps like those cited previously are blocked. Therefore, when the apps are preloaded, the assessment will think there is a breach of security because the apps are running in the background, and log the user out.
Windows gives Universal Windows Platform (UWP) store apps, such as Microsoft Photos app, the ability to register to prelaunch. Pre-launching helps the performance of Microsoft Edge and minimizes the amount of time that is needed to start Microsoft Edge. So, to work around this issue, Microsoft recommends disabling the application prelaunch by using a PowerShell command, and Microsoft Edge prelaunch by using a registry key.
Since this is a registry operation, you’ll need to first backup the registry or create a system restore point in the event that the procedure goes wrong.
Once you have done either of the suggested precautionary measures, you can proceed as follows:
Launch PowerShell in elevated mode, then run the following PowerShell cmdlets:
1. Temporarily disable the Window Defender Application Guide service, because the Disable-MMAgent command fails if this service is running or not used.
Stop-Service -Name hvsics -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
2. Disable application prelaunch.
3. Restart the Windows Defender Application Guard service. If this is not used, the command silently fails.
Start-Service -Name hvsics -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
4. Disable Microsoft Edge prelaunch by setting a registry key.
$registryPath = "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\PreLaunch\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe!MicrosoftEdge"
$Name = "Enabled"
$value = "0"
New-Item -Path $registryPath -Force | Out-Null
New-ItemProperty -Path $registryPath -Name $name -Value $value -PropertyType DWORD -Force | Out-Null
5. Create a scheduled task that re-enables application prelaunch on a specified date.
$A = New-ScheduledTaskAction -Execute "powershell" -Argument "-Command `"Stop-Service -Name hvsics -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue; Enable-MMAgent -ApplicationPreLaunch;Start-Service -Name hvsics -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue;New-ItemProperty -Path `"HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\PreLaunch\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe!MicrosoftEdge`" -Name `"Enabled`" -Value `"1`" -PropertyType DWORD -Force | Out-Null`""
$revertDate = <Specify a date>
$T = New-ScheduledTaskTrigger -Once -At $revertDate
$P = New-ScheduledTaskPrincipal -UserID "NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM" -LogonType ServiceAccount -RunLevel Highest
$timespan = New-TimeSpan -Minutes 1
$S = New-ScheduledTaskSettingsSet -AllowStartIfOnBatteries -DontStopIfGoingOnBatteries -DontStopOnIdleEnd -StartWhenAvailable -RestartCount 3 -RestartInterval $timespan
$D = New-ScheduledTask -Action $A -Principal $P -Trigger $T -Settings $S
Register-ScheduledTask DisableAppPrelaunch -InputObject $D
Note: Set $revertDate to a date when to re-enable application prelaunch. For example, $revertDate = [datetime]”6/28/2020 5:35 PM”.
I hope you find the post useful.