Rob van der Woude's Scripting Pages

News Page

On this page I'll report on changes to my web site or related news items.

Don't expect a full-blown weblog, more like a list of highlights in shorthand.


For a file based list of changes look at the What's New list.

Use ChangeDetection's button, located at the bottom of each page, to receive an e-mail when that particular page changes, with the changes highlighted.
Note, however, that this could mean subscribing to 439 individual webpages (besides hundreds of source text files), and still you wouldn't get notified of new pages. By subscribing to this news page only, you'll be notified of all "important" updates and changes and new pages.

Note: Do not try to subscribe to the What's New list; even without any changed page at all, this list will automatically change almost every day!


September 27, 2016
• A minor update for WGetIE.exe: error handling has been improved, and you can now optionally specify the program's timeout and its virtual "browser window width".
September 20, 2016
BirdName's regular expressions are fine tuned to reject numbers in local names (try "Natterjack toad" in the old version: it returned "32", in part due to different family names used by biologists in different countries; I prefer an empty translation field over a number).
• I started removing most of the ads from advertising networks from my site — the revenues are not worth the delay in page loading, not to mention the privacy issues.
If you subscribed to ChangeDetection ("Monitor Changes" button) to keep track of changes to my site ("Monitor Changes" button), you may expect some "false positives", though most ads had already been excluded from tracking by ChangeDetection long ago.
September 19, 2016
• Release Candidate 2 of WMIGen.exe is available for download.
September 12, 2016
• The first Release Candidate of WMIGen.exe is available for download.
September 10, 2016
• The tenth public beta version of WMIGen.exe is available for download.
Some annoying problems with maximizing and "unmaximizing" the screen have been fixed.
September 8, 2016
• The ninth public beta version of WMIGen.exe, with much improved query timeout handling, is available for download.
September 6, 2016
BirdName has been completely rewritten in C#.
Maintenance of the HTA version has been stopped, though it is still available for download.
Unlike its name suggests, BirdName is not limited to translating bird names to and from any language, in fact it can be used for any class of animals (and possibly plants as well).
August 19, 2016
• The eighth public beta version of WMIGen.exe, with improved error handling in the "Run" and "Generate" code, is available for download.
August 17, 2016
• Karen Little reported a broken link in Hardware.hta's help; this has been fixed.

Thanks Karen
August 15, 2016
• And yet another update for CountDown.exe: its new optional command line switch /R makes the program's return code equal the number of seconds remaining, i.e. if the countdown was interrupted, the return code tells you how many seconds were still remaining.
The following code demonstrates a possible application of this feature:

CountDown.exe 30 /R && GOTO:EOF
ECHO Interrupted with %ErrorLevel% seconds remaining, continuing countdown...
CountDown.exe %ErrorLevel% /R || GOTO Loop
August 13, 2016
CountDown.exe has been updated:
August 11, 2016
• A minor update to HideInput.exe: its help text now explains the risks of "recovering" the hidden input, and how to prevent it.
Shell32Icons.exe is a new GUI program to view all icons available in Windows' Shell32.dll.
I wrote it for myself, to select icons for (GUI) programs I write in C#.
Just select an index, and the associated icon will be used as the program window's icon (top left of program window).
The code to extract icons from Shell32.dll came from Thomas Levesque on

Thanks Thomas
August 10, 2016
DateTimeBox.exe has been updated: Thanks Dennis
August 9, 2016
• It took me a while, but with code by DmitryG on I finally managed to make MessageBox.exe's dialog disappear after a specified timeout.
While working on MessageBox.exe I also made the command line a bit more "forgiving": And escaped Unicode characters are now accepted in the title too.

Thanks Dmitry
August 8, 2016
• I added a new page on How to Hide the Console in Batch Files to the Batch File Techniques: User Interaction section of this site.
Of course this page features ConsoleState.exe and RunNHide.exe, but also several other utilities, and some techniques using native commands only.
August 7, 2016
RunNHide.exe is a new tool to start console programs (including batch files) completely hidden.
Since RunNHide.exe itself is a Windows.Forms program, no "black square flash" will be seen when the console program or batch file is started.
August 6, 2016
ConsoleState.exe is a new tool to hide the console, or restore its visibility, or check its current state.
Since it is started from within the batch file, a short "black square flash" will be seen when the batch file is started.
If the batch file is started by a shortcut, it can be started minimized, so in that case the "black square flash" will go unnoticed.
August 5, 2016
MessageBox.exe has been updated: it now accepts escaped Unicode characters in the message text.
The technique to unescape Unicode characters, by "dtb", was found on
The updated MessageBox.exe now also accepts the option HideConsole to (permanently) hide the console window.
The technique was presented by Anthony on

Thanks "dtb" and Anthony
August 2, 2016
• Johnny reported that DropDownBox.exe did not always show itself in the foreground. He suggested to use the Form.TopMost property to solve it.
So by default the updated DropDownBox.exe's dialog window will always be on top, unless the new optional command line switch /NM is used to make it Non-Modal.

Thanks Johnny
July 26, 2016
Chr.exe has been updated: it no longer appends a linefeed after the output character.
So, appending 43 backspaces from the command line to a text file has never been easier: FOR /L %A IN (1,1,43) DO (CHR.EXE 8 >> textfile.txt)
July 25, 2016
• The seventh public beta version of WMIGen.exe fixes some minor UI bugs and adds a "Reset" button in the Settings window to restore the "factory defaults".
July 18, 2016
• The sixth public beta version of WMIGen.exe fixes an annoyance: instead of generating lots of useless code if a class has no instances (and hence its properties cannot be enumerated), it will now show a single comment line in the generated code window.
July 14, 2016
• I'm introducing a modified layout for pages with "embedded" script samples: tabbed source code.
The general idea was "borrowed" from Microsoft's site, the required CSS/JavaScript from Chris Coyier on

Thanks guys
• The first page with the new looks is my Hardware Requirements page.
The extra script samples I had to write to make the tabs useful were created with the help of the latest WMIGen beta release.
July 13, 2016
• The fifth public beta version of WMIGen.exe (compiled executable) has been released.
Focus won't be "stolen" anymore by the thread that creates the list of available namespaces (i.e. when you were typing in the Search box just after the program started, chances were that you would suddenly find yourself typing in the Namespaces box; this is now fixed).
CountDown.exe is a new batch tool, like Windows' own SLEEP command, but showing only the number of seconds left, nothing more.
You may append its counter to a custom text, like this:

REM Show custom text without linefeed
SET /P "=Counting down: " < NUL
CountDown 10

or even insert the counter in a line (where each « must be replaced by a BackSpace character):

REM Show custom text without linefeed, using backspaces to move the cursor back to the start of the series of dots
SET /P "=You are .... seconds removed from your coffee break«««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««" < NUL
CountDown 3600
Note: The « character represents the BackSpace character, or ASCII character 8.
Though it is a representation of the BackSpace key, inserting a BackSpace character in a text is not to be confused with pressing the BackSpace key while editing the text! Displaying a BackSpace character on screen in a text is equivalent to pressing the left arrow key, moving the cursor one position to the left.

How to insert a BackSpace character depends on the editor you use:
  • In EDIT, use Ctrl+P followed by either Alt+8 (on the numeric key pad) or Ctrl+H; unfortunately, the 16 bit EDIT program is not available in 64 bit Windows.
  • In Notepad or Wordpad, copy and paste the BackSpace character from some reference file you can create using EDIT or any alternative editor capable of inserting special characters.
    Or use Chr.exe to store a BackSpace character on the clipboard, to paste it later:
    CHR.EXE 8 | CLIP
    Or write the batch file up to the point where backspaces should be inserted, save and exit the file, and use Chr.exe to append a backspace:
    CHR.EXE 8 >> mybatchfile.bat
    To append 43 backspaces, use:
    FOR /L %A IN (1,1,43) DO (CHR.EXE 8 >> mybatchfile.bat)
    Next reopen the batch file in Notepad or Wordpad and continue editing.
  • In Norton Commander, File Commander (and possibly other Norton Commander "clones" like Far Manager too, not tested), use Ctrl+Q followed by Ctrl+H.
  • In UltraEdit, press Ctrl+I followed by the BackSpace key.
July 12, 2016
• The fourth public beta version of WMIGen.exe (compiled executable) has been released.
C support has been restored, and C++ has been added to the list of supported output languages.
July 10, 2016
• A question sent by e-mail made me write TouchDetect.exe, a new command line tool to detect touch enabled input devices.
It uses the WINAPI (user32.dll) GetSystemMetrics function, which to me looks like it is more reliable than the PointingType property of WMI's Win32_PointingDevice class.
Since I don't have any touch enabled devices om my own Windows computers, I decided to release this first hardly tested alpha release, hoping for some feedback from you.
Just run the executable and check its return code (ErrorLevel) to test for touch enabled input devices.

Update: First test results seem to suggest this touch detection method isn't fool proof either. More testing will be required.
• I figured detecting touch enabled input devices might not be the only useful application for the WINAPI GetSystemMetrics function, so I wrote GetSystemMetrics.exe, a wrapper for the WINAPI function.
Specify a SystemMetric by name or index to get the value on screen and as return code (ErrorLevel), or use /L to list all SystemMetric names, indexes and values.
The results can be interpreted with the list of SystemMetrics and their values on MSDN. This URL will be opened automatically when the optional command line switch /U is used.
July 7, 2016
• The third public beta version of WMIGen.exe (compiled executable) has been released.
On returning to the main window, it now restores focus to the control that had focus when leaving the main window.
C support has been dropped for now, though I do intend to add it again in a later release.
I'm also working on C++ support (for a later release).
July 5, 2016
RepeatEvery.bat has been updated: besides the (now more or less "uninterpreted") command to be repeated, it also displays the working directory and the loop counter. The updated batch file's help text also explains the use of non-static variables on the command line.



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page last uploaded: 2016-09-27, 23:32