NetRef Windows as a Service Release Notes

NetRef is now a Windows Service!

The NetRef client now runs in the background as a windows service! This is a big change that has a lot of advantages for you and your school:

  • It’s much, much harder for students to disable NetRef.
  • You can apply NetRef’s controls to devices even if the user isn’t logged in.
  • You’ll be able to update the NetRef client on users’ devices without reinstalling it. This also means we’ll be able to update the client more often!
  • We’ll get better information about what’s happening on a device when something goes wrong, making troubleshooting easier and quicker for everyone.
  • The client has better access to Windows’ security features and tools, so we can make NetRef more secure than ever!


How can I update NetRef to the latest version for my school?

To get the new NetRef agent, log on to your Netref Admin Panel, then go to Settings > Deployment > Windows and select the Download button.

You can push the updates for most users, as long as their browsers (Chrome or Edge) are managed via Group Policy and students log in to their Windows devices using the email addresses that are configured in Netref.

For most users, pushing the agents will accomplish the following:

  • Uninstall the previous version.
  • Install the latest version.
  • Add all needed registry entries for Chrome and Edge extensions.  
  • Start up process, no longer requiring a restart of the device upon install.

How do I configure the latest version of the NetRef agent?

  1. If you’re managing student devices via Group Policy, push these registry entries to stop the NetRef agent from making registry changes on the browsers:
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\NetRef\BrowserExtensionInstallEnabled: False
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\NetRef\BrowserPoliciesInstallEnabled: False
  1. Add the following extensions to the Browser Forced Install list needed to track and control URLs.
Chrome: abmmkhcfmfmkgeeopaedjcnckmchannj
Edge: pndmjdpdifhgmpcpkimclagphocjfbco
  1. Set these policies for all browsers:
Incognito Mode: Disabled
Developer Tools: Disabled
Task Manager: Block users from ending processes
to secondary accounts: Blocked
Multiple Sign-In Access: Blocked

Can I install the latest version if a student is logged in to their Windows device using a different email address?

If you install the updates, the NetRef agent will use the “domainName” and “username” as a fallback.  We recommend installing the agent into a few test devices to ensure that it works with your setup. 

If updating fails, open localhost:5555/debug on the device. Send the information that appears to the NetRef support team at  or phone at 844-638-7331 ext. 3.

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