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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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)

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 C++ intermediate files / folders cleaner

If you like me find it extremely frustrating   to manually clean intermediate files generated by Visual Studio while compiling projects, this is a great solution.

Visual C++ Cleaner is a small script written by me entirely in VBScript that automates the cleaning of intermediate files that are normally created when we compile Visual C++ projects.

Its features are –

  • Clean the entire folder (with subdirectories) by entering only the path
  • Clean by extension
  • Clean by folder name (Debug, Release etc.)
  • Built in logging support
    Current extensions which are cleaned –

pch,clw,aps,plg,opt,ncb,scc,ilk,htm,vss,pcx,bkp,bak,bsc,user,suo

Current folders which are cleaned –

    debug, release

    This script is extremely flexible and can be used even for system maintenance by making a small change to the script. You can include any extensions which you want cleaned from your system and the script will take care of the rest. This script is also a great way to learn the basics of the VBScript language.

    I’ve even created a small user manual if you are finding it difficult to use the script

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.

Top 5 Google Chrome extensions

Google Chrome extensionsLately I have ditched Firefox completely to adopt Google Chrome. The reason? Speed! Firefox crawls even on a fairly modern system when a javascript/flash filled  page is loaded. I am not saying Google Chrome is perfect but it it light as hell and the fastest browser on the planet as of now. Yes, it is faster than Opera.

The only reason why I completely switched to Chrome so late is because of poor Linux support and lack of extensions. All that has changed now and things are really beginning to heat up! The Linux and Mac versions are out of beta. What better time than now to write and article about my favorite Chrome extensions.

5. Adblock – Goto Adblock page

Adblock is a very nice extension to have. It is one of the most popular extensions for Firefox and is now available for Google Chrome. Block those pesky ads with support for whitelists, blacklists and filter lists. Another cool feature albeit in beta is the the ability to block ads in Youtube. I hate those pesky youtube ads. This extension runs in an unobtrusive manner so installing this extension is a no brainer.

4. StumbleUpon – Go to StumbleUpon page

StumbleUpon is known by almost every webjunkie out there. Find great webpages just by clicking the “Stumble!” button. StumbleUpon needs no introduction. If websurfing is your passion, then Stumble Upon should be in your arsenal.

3. Feedly – Goto Feedly page

Feedly organizes your favorite sources in a magazine-like start page. A very innovative way to read your RSS feeds in Google Reader. It feels like you have a fresh, well laid out magazine laid out in front of you each day. Trust me, once you read your feeds using Feedly, you will never go back.

2. ScribeFire – Goto ScribeFire page

ScribeFire is a full fledged blog poster/editor with support for the mainstream blog sites like blogger, wordpress etc. Installation and setup is a breeze and is fairly easy to get up and running. Give it a shot if you don’t want to install additional software on your machine or just want a quick and convenient way to post to your blog.

1. Chromed Bird (twitter) – Goto ChromedBird page

No top list is going to have twitter missing J This has got to be one of the nicest twitter clients out there. Just authorize the extension to access your twitter account and you are all set. Tweet, reply, retweet, direct reply all from a nice and easy to use interface. It’s not the best client out there but it is an extension and for that it does all you need.

Other honorable mentions –

Downloads, Facebook for Google Chrome, FlashBlock, LastPass