We have a microscope that our students are able to schedule exclusive time with. It's becoming obvious that some have requested time and then never show up. This frustrates a lot of others who are struggling to schedule time for their own projects and seeing it sit idle.
The microscope is controlled by vendor-specific software on a Windows 7 computer. The computer has a single user level account that is always logged in that everyone uses and I have an administrator account.
I would like a way to prompt the user for their student ID number, and then track the time the program is open and closed. This way we can go back and see who is requesting time and then not using it when others could be.
The prompt doesn't need to check against a database for authorized users, but shouldn't allow a blank entry either. It doesn't need to be complex or have specific security features either since I'm just using it to see who is NOT using the computer when they say they will.
It's a Dell Precision T7600 with dual XEON E5-2665 2.4Ghz, 128GB ECC RAM, and a Samsung 850 SSD. Performance is also a major issue so I don't want something that affects the computer.
I was thinking an easy way to do this was to replace the desktop shortcut to a custom app that gets run instead, which prompts the user, logs their input, and tracks the time the program is used, then runs the intended EXE and monitors how long it stays open. Logging into a remote SQL database would be ideal since I have an SQL server setup that is also logging other info.
I'm predominantly a Mac user with a PHP/SQL background so I also know my way around a terminal and writing bash scripts, but I don't even know which approach to take on this inside Windows.
Are there tools inside windows already that offer this? I have access to visual studio, and I'm not afraid to write a little code, but what language would be the most efficient way of doing this? Am I really just overthinking something so simple?