Windows 8 enable autorun (for real)

I recently had an awful time configuring my system to auto-run files from a USB drive. Problem was, no matter how many settings I changed, my executable just wouldn’t auto launch off my USB drive upon connecting the drive to my PC.

I tried the usual ‘AutoPlay’ settings from the control panel and checked the “Use AutoPlay for all media and devices” –

Use AutoPlay

The above didn’t work and I still kept getting the ‘What action would you like to take’ popup. I also tried changing the “Software and games” section to “Install or run program from your media” –

AutoPlay2

The above didn’t work either. This was both frustrating and confusing. Here I was using the control panel and selecting the right options but nothing seemed to work. I started scouring through some forums and realised that a lot of other people were facing issues with Windows 8 auto-runs as well. As a side note, I noticed that Windows 7 and below had absolutely no problem running an executable off a USB drive via auto-run. I was starting to believe this was some sort of ploy by Microsoft to secure Windows and prevent infections / malware that targeted auto-run.

After some more digging, I came across this article –

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2328787

just for kicks, I fired up the Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) and changed “Turn off Autoplay” under “Autoplay Policies” to disabled. Voila! It worked!

Then I noticed on my friends computer he did not have gpedit.msc as he was using the Home Premium edition of Windows 8. For operating systems that do not include Gpedit.msc and for an optional resolution, you can directly check and change the NoDriveTypeAutoRun entry value in the following registry key other than 0xFF.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Polices\Explorer\
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\

AutoPlay3

The Kick: Trying this on another friends PC, I noticed the control panel steps mentioned above worked! No registry editing required. The only difference between the two PCs? He ran Windows 8 while I ran Windows 8.1. I have concluded that this is some sort of bug or a step taken on purpose to keep auto-run disabled by default by Microsoft. If it is that, I think its a bit unfair to assume that nobody will want to auto launch files from their drives upon connection. I tested on another Windows 8 machine and it worked fine on that one too. Windows 8.1 is where this problem lies!

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Get a free Microsoft SDK / Intel Galileo board

Microsoft are having an interesting promotion at the Windows on Devices web page.

They are asking you to sign up and provide details such as the languages you work on and any other hobby boards you may have worked on previously (Raspberry Pi, Beagle Board etc.). Fill in the details and MS will get back to you with another email asking you to provide your shipping address.

I haven’t received mine yet but I found a picture of what the kit could possibly look like –

Intel Galileo Kit

Intel Galileo Kit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head on over to https://www.windowsondevices.com/ to get one for yourself 🙂

BossKee – Hide any window instantly with a shortcut

BossKee is a utility which I coded in a single day to help hide any Window from prying eyes. There are numerous times when you are reading something private (like an email, nsfw joke) or viewing photos and suddenly out of the blue realise someone behind your shoulder is peeping at your computer screen. Usual reaction is to fumble trying to find the minimize button (atleast mine is!)

BossKee User Interface

This application lets you target a specific Window from a list of open Windows. BossKee then runs in the background silently monitoring the Window you selected. The minute you press the shortcut (Ctrl + Space), it hides the selected Window instantly. To bring the Window back, simply press the shortcut combination (Ctrl + Space) once again. Go on, fire up that browser or application you were working on, without having to watch your back.

“BossKee – I have your back!”

Click here to download BossKey v0.1 (Tested on Windows 7 and Windows XP)

Enabling the status bar / line number indicator for Notepad in Windows

Notepad is one of the most commonly used application in Windows. Recently I was doing some code reviews and since Notepad wasn’t showing me line numbers, I had to load up another bulky editor which was a real pain.

In order to enable line number indication and to enable the status bar in Notepad, we need to do some simple registry editing –

1. Start the registry editor (Start > Run, type regedit.exe and press enter)

2. Goto the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Notepad section

3. For the “StatusBar” key, change the REG_DWORD value to 1 (Double click, type “1”, Click OK)

Close the registry editor, and your Notepad should now be able to display the status bar along with the line/column count. Pretty cool.

Notepad - Status-bar enabled

If editing the registry seems like a scary proposition to you, click here to download a registry script. Run it by double clicking.

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CopyX v1.0 beta – File / Folder queue utility for Windows

CopyX User Interface

I’ve continued developing in .NET and C# and have developed this small application called CopyX. I tried to make it as simple to use as possible.

When you want to copy multiple files / folders in Windows (even Windows 7!), explorer will open a new copy dialog for each operation. This will eventually slow down the copy process as you run multiple copy / move operations. I wanted some way to queue up files / folders to be copied like adding multiple jobs and processing them like a queue. I searched online and came across TerraCopy but for some reason it wasn’t stable on my system so I decided to write something of my own and release it for free ( as always 🙂 )

CopyX was born! Please use it, abuse it, do what you like with it! It comes with no warranty or support. If you have issues let me know but I’m not sure when I will release an update. Hope it helps someone out there the way it helped me.

Note: You need Microsoft DOT NET Framework 3.5 to run CopyX

Click here to download

Simpo v1.0 beta – The Simple Password Organizer

Simpo User Interface

DOWNLOAD

I’ve been a hardcore C++ buff right from the early days. Recently I decided to take up learning C# and .NET. Boy, was I in for a treat. I was blown away. Don’t get me wrong. C and C++ are still my favorite languages. But the simplicity and speed of C# and .NET reminded me of the Visual Basic days. Heck, they’ve even gone and made Visual Basic Object Oriented (VB.NET)

Anyways, I developed this nifty little application in my spare time (~ 3 days). Hope you guys find it useful. It basically maintains a list of all the sites and passwords that you enter in it so that you can keep track of all your passwords in one place. We all know how frustrating it is especially with multiple accounts and logins and not remembering the passwords at the right time.

The application even encrypts all the usernames/passwords/comments you store so that no one except you can have access to this sensitive information. Just make sure you don’t forget the password. There is no way to recover the master password and you will lose your data if you do. Lastly, this is hobby software and comes with no guarantee. Let me know if you find any bugs or if you can suggest some enhancements. This program needs .NET framework 3.5 installed on your machine.


Visual Studio – amazing macros

visualstudio_logo Typing repetitive text or executing repetitive commands can be a real chore while coding. One often overlooked feature of Visual Studio is macros.

For example, I found myself continuously typing my name and the date as a comment for every small change that I made to code I was reviewing code. This helped my team working at another location to see the changes I had made. Visual Studio macros to the rescue! I wrote a simple macro which helped me save some time (and frustration) –

Sub test()
        Dim dtCurrDate As Date
        dtCurrDate = Now
        DTE.ActiveDocument.Selection.Text = "//Karan " + dtCurrDate.ToString()
End Sub

The output of the above macro will be //Karan 9/6/2010 11:06:47 PM. This is a great way to insert comments at the places where you make changes to code. The inserted time provides even more accuracy to the reader.

Some more examples of macros are –

Sub Cleaner()
        DTE.ExecuteCommand("Build.BatchBuild")
        DTE.ExecuteCommand("Build.RebuildSolution")
End Sub

What the above macro does is clean your current solution ( delete intermediate files ) and then rebuilds the solution.

Sub ifdefOut()
        PoundDefOut(False)
End Sub

The above macro can be used to #ifdef / #endif out a section of code.

An easy way to create your macro if you don’t know how to write code in basic is to use the built in macro recorder. Use “Ctrl+Shift+R” to record your macro and “Ctrl+Shift+P” to play the macro back. If you want to save this macro then you can go to Tools –> Macros –> Save Macro. This will save the macro to a file and can be viewed using the Macro Explorer (View –> Other Windows –> Macro explorer).

If you are comfortable with coding in basic, then the best way is to create your own macros is to launch the Macro Editor (Tools –> Macros –> Macros IDE) or Alt+F11, then type your macro.

Another great idea is to assign your macro a shortcut, so that you can invoke your macro without digging through menus. To assign macro shortcuts, go to Tools –> Options. From the Dialog that launches go to Environment –> Keyboard and set your shortcut.

The above macros are really simple macros. Visual Studio 2008 comes with many pre-installed macros. Right click –> edit these to view their source code so that you learn from these great examples.

The above macros have been tested on Visual Studio 2008 but the basic idea should work for other versions as well. Let me know in the comments if you know or would like to share some of your own macros.