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News Archives 2009 Q2


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September 29, 2009 • I updated SecStat.vbs: it too now includes the Windows Update status.
September 26, 2009 • I updated SecStat.bat: it now also includes the Windows Update status.
September 25, 2009 • Four new scripts today:
September 24, 2009 • Today the new KiXtart 4.61 RTW was released.

Thanks Ruud
September 18, 2009 • I updated DispEDID.vbs, a script to retrieve EDID asset information of monitors. It was based on a script by Michael Baird.

Thanks Michael

• While updating DispEDID.vbs I found out the link to its "mother" script by Michael Baird is no longer available, due to the fact that Clarence Washington's site is no longer available. Clarence maintained his scripting site for 13 years. We're going to miss this valuable source of information.

Thanks Clarence
September 17, 2009 • Today I found over 59000 files and folders in the %windir%\Temp folder on a computer. No wonder it had become sluggish.
So I updated DelTemp.vbs, it now includes %windir%\Temp.
September 16, 2009 • I uploaded a tiny little script to return the version of the locally installed Skype software: SkypeVer.vbs.

• While on the subject, I also wrote a script to read the latest available Skype software version from its download page: VerSkype.vbs.
September 15, 2009 • I usually add a lot of "non-essential" code to my batch files, to make sure they don't run in environments they weren't intended for (e.g. Windows 9x or even MS-DOS). However, since this results in extra code, and the batch files are meant to be used for learning purposes (examples), I'm not sure if this extra code is useful for you.
To find out, I "created" a little poll, so you can tell me if you want this extra code included in my batch file samples or not.
September 14, 2009 QPro2Xls.vbs is a script, written in VBScript, that uses Quattro Pro to convert Quattro Pro spreadsheets to Excel.

• Based on LastWUpd.bat I wrote a quick and dirty check if the last Windows Update failed: WUTest.bat.
It compares the date and time of the last install against the date and time of the last download; if the latter was later, the batch file reports a failure.
I haven't done any testing yet, so consider this an alpha release.
September 11, 2009 • My latest LastWUpd.bat returns the date and time of the last successful Windows Update, both on screen and in an environment variable LastWUpd. Tested in Windows XP SP3 and Windows 7 RC.
September 5, 2009 • Yesterday I learned about Opera's site navigation tags.
Because I like this feature, I built site navigation support in my own web pages.
To give you an idea what it looks like, I added a (working) demo at the top of this page. So Opera users will probably see 2 site navigation bars.
September 3, 2009 • I got a question I couldn't solve (yet): using TYPE to convert Unicode text files to ASCII did not work on one computer, even though it has been used successfully on many others. After trying several options I wrote a quick solution in VBScript: Txt2ASCI.vbs.

Update Problem solved: the files we started with were invalid Unicode files.
September 1, 2009 • Brian Williams sent me a new "big number math" batch file: Add.bat.
It adds 2 large numbers. We tested it with 2 2000 digit numbers. How? Simple:
ADD.BAT 4444...4444 5555...5555 > ADD.TMP
Just make sure both numbers are 2000 digits, and check the length of the first line of ADD.TMP, it should be 2000 characters long and consist only of nines.

Thanks Brian
August 31, 2009 • I added the CDBURN and DVDBURN commands to my list of batch commands, and also gave them a page of their own.
August 26, 2009 • It has been quiet on the KiXtart front for quite a while. Today, however, I received a copy of the new KiXtart 4.61 RC.
Besides some bugfixes, version 4.61 has an updated @PRODUCTTYPE macro to correctly report Server 2008 and Windows 7, and a Replace( ) function.
Download KiXtart 4.61 and experiment.

Thanks Ruud
August 25, 2009 • Justin sent me an bugfix for his calendar.bat.
The problem he fixed was with leap years staring on Saturday (like 2000).

Thanks Justin
August 21, 2009 • A suggestion by Rick Pember made me rewrite part of my command line arguments page: the part explaining %* was outdated (valid for MS-DOS, skipped important differences with NT), and %CmdCmdLine% wasn't even mentioned. I hope the new text will do a better job explaining these variables.

Thanks Rick
August 20, 2009 MakeTemp.bat has been updated: some basic error handling has been added, and you can now specify the variable name that should receive the fully qualified path of the new temporary file.
August 19, 2009 • My new SecLogin.bat makes Windows XP's login a little more secure by requiring Ctrl+Alt+Del to login, using the "classic" login dialog instead of XP's welcome screen, and preventing the display of the last user name in the login dialog.
In Windows 7 and Vista, SecPol.msc is required to make these changes.
August 18, 2009 • A new sample script, Revo_ver.vbs, has been added to this site's VBScript Scripting Techniques section. It reads the latest available Revo Uninstaller version from Revo's web site.
I also wrote a KiXtart version of this script.

• A new sample batch file, MakeTemp.bat, has been added to this site.
It creates a temporary file with a more or less random name, and returns the fully qualified path of that file in an environment variable %TempFile%.
August 17, 2009 • I replaced my home made books pages by more advanced Amazon "aStores".
Besides saving me a lot of work, it will now be much easier to keep the pages up to date.
Unfortunately, they do take a little more time to load.
August 13, 2009 • I rearranged the Schedulers subsection in the batch file scripting techniques section.
August 12, 2009 • David Arlen found an error and a solution in the Foxit Reader 3.0 command line switches: to silently print a PDF file to a specified printer, use "Foxit Reader.exe" /t PdfFile PrinterName, not the "Foxit Reader.exe" PdfFile /t PrinterName command suggested in the Foxit Reader 3.0 Manual.
The latter may still work for Foxit Reader 2.3, though.
Likewise, to print a PDF file to the default printer, use "Foxit Reader.exe" /p PdfFile, not "Foxit Reader.exe" PdfFile /p.
As a result of these changes, I also added/updated my PrnPDF9 batch file that will use Foxit Reader 3 or Adobe Reader 9 to silently print a PDF file to any printer.

Thanks David

• Peter Lancashire sent me a useful tip on command line switches for EXPLORER.EXE.

Thanks Peter

• A diamond in the rough: Lee Peedin's PrintObject2 DLL to control printing properties (e.g. paper bin, paper size, orientation, etcetera).
Though posted on an ooRexx oriented page, it can be used in any COM/OLE enabled programming or scripting language, as demonstrated by the following VBScript code to display the default printer name:

Set objPrinter = CreateObject( "RxVB.PrinterObject" )
objPrinter.InitializePrinter( )
WScript.Echo "Default printer: " & objPrinter.PrName
Set objPrinter = Nothing

You may have to experiment a little to find out the correct values of various properties, as most of these properties are "write-only", but it beats hacking the registry to change the paper size.

Thanks Lee
August 11, 2009 • I added a WSH versions section to my VBScript debugging page.

• And a sample script to read the latest available VBSEdit version from its website was added to the VBScript Scripting Techniques section of this site.
August 10, 2009 • I added a Windows versions section to my batch file debugging page.
August 9, 2009 • I added a password management section to my security tools page.
August 8, 2009 • Remember Reinhard Irnberger's PUSHD trick to automatically map a drive if a UNC path is specified?
I use PUSHD "%~dp0" ever since, as the first command in any batch file that could be run from a UNC path.
Without this PUSHD command, the start/working directory of the batch file will be changed to %windir%\System32.

Today Denis St-Pierre informed me that this change of working directory also occurs when a batch file is running in elevated mode in Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 or Windows 7.

I checked, and it occurs too when a script is started with RUNAS or PSEXEC.
I suppose that's because my current/working directory is saved in my "volatile environment" in my profile, and thus is not available in the elevated user's environment.

So there you have it, one more reason to specify (as opposed to assume) the working directory in your batch files.
I think PUSHD "%~dp0" is by far the most reliable way to do this, and it will work with RUNAS, PSEXEC, UNC paths, UAC and Explorer's "Run as..." option.

Thanks Reinhard and Denis
August 5, 2009 • I added a demo script, OffVer.vbs, that will list version/build numbers for all Microsoft Office programs.

• Some time ago, Denis St-Pierre sent me an improved version of my IELogin2.vbs script, along with an entirely new IEButtons.vbs script. The improvement of the login dialog script is the error handling Denis added to prevent an error message if the dialog is closed using the 'red X' or Alt+F4
The IEButtons.vbs dialog sample can be used to present users a graphical alternative to the CHOICE command.

I added Denis' error handling code to my other Internet Explorer based dialog samples as well.

Thanks Denis

• By the way, in my June 30 news entry I mentioned that Brian Williams' Multiply.cmd was being investigated for bugs.
I forgot to mention that the bug has been fixed.
The version that can be downloaded here is the fixed version.

If you aren't sure, you can test if you have the right version with this command:

MULTIPLY.CMD 54545435435453435156154215351 515614354354354534534534534354

The correct result should be:
(verified using Ruby)

The old "buggy" version would give this incorrect result:

So why not test it using this batch code:

FOR /F %%A IN ('MULTIPLY.CMD 54545435435453435156154215351 515614354354354534534534534354') DO (
    IF "%%~A"=="28124409475028454049834952897667265650883878214061023668254" (
        ECHO You have the fixed version of MULTIPLY.CMD
    ) ELSE (
        ECHO Your version of MULTIPLY.CMD has a bug!
        ECHO Please download the latest fix at
        ECHO http://www.robvanderwoude.com/files/math.zip

Thanks again Brian

• A new "third party" batch file: Calendar.bat by Justin.
It prompts for a year and then displays a calendar for that year:

Calendar.bat screenshot

Thanks Justin
August 2, 2009 • Until today, visitors navigating to my old .html pages were automatically redirected to the correct new .php page. As of today, they will get a request to change their links (or have it changed), and a link to the correct new .php page.
The reason for this change is that ChangeDetection still kept record of the old pages and the new ones because of the automatic redirection. With this change, ChangeDetection will no longer index changes in the old .html pages - except today, for the last time.
So you may want to change your subscription(s) if you hadn't done so before.
July 31, 2009 • You may find my What's New page of little use today: I just uploaded about 140 pages with corrected links, but no change in content.
This may also lead to some "false positives" by ChangeDetection.
Sorry for the inconvenience.
July 29, 2009 • I successfully tested AllHelp.vbs on Windows 7 RC.
I wouldn't recommend using AllHelp.bat as it will fail on FINDSTR's help output.
As a "spin-off" I combined all AllHelp related information in a single AllHelp page.

• I started a "bulk search" for dead links; as a result you may receive lots of notifications from ChangeDetection.
July 25, 2009 • I corrected a "design error" in SetDate.vbs: 2 digits just wasn't enough to store the Day of Year number, so I changed it to 3 digits.
July 23, 2009 • I described how to build JT command lines on my new JT page.


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