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AutoStart second release

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rene
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AutoStart second release

It is now 4 weeks ago that the initial AutoStart.exe was released, so I thought it was time for an update. Here is the short list of what has changed:

  1. USB Hard Drives now have a tray icon.
  2. TrueCrypt volumes, now also get a tray icon.
  3. TrueCrypt volumes stored on a flash drive are automatically dismounted when that flash drive is ejected.
  4. Selecting 'Eject/Unplug' on a TrueCrypt volume itself will dismount it.
  5. Code to eject a drive has been rewritten from scratch and now supports more exotic device trees.
  6. I improved the code that scans the flash drive for portable applications to handle PortableApps directories better.
  7. Made a -eject [drivenum] switch so you can eject from the command line.
  8. If you rename AutoStart.exe to AutoEject.exe and put it on a flash drive, you can then eject that drive by running the AutoEject.exe
  9. A newer AutoStart will shutdown the previous AutoStart with a lower version number and keep on running itself.

Update: October 18, 2006 - 1:00pm
An update is available that fixes a bug where AutoStart would put the contents of your Recycle Bin in the list of applications during install on a flash drive.

Update: October 19, 2006 - 9:00pm
When the dust settles around this release, I'm going to be focusing on the following stuff:

  1. Implement a mechanism that allows you to tell the application scanner where to look for applications. This is to prevent unwanted stuff appearing in your menu.
  2. Go fully unicode, so Asian languages get handled correctly.
  3. Rewrite the notification area icon code. Support for balloon popups will be added so I can popup transient messages telling you things like autostart ejected your drive and such. (I'll have a quiet mode too if you get irritated by balloon popups)
  4. Rewrite the menu building/handling code. I'm going to investigate whether the following stuff is doable:
    1. icons in the menu items
    2. drag and drop reordering of menu items
  5. Implement the extension API that will give access to the internals of AutoStart so extensions can be written. The idea is to give acces to all information that AutoStart collected about your attached removable drives. Also event registration so extensions can respond to drive insertion and such. Give access via the API to the contents of the autorun.inf files. So anything that may be of interest to an extension will be available via the API.

I can't give guarantees how much of this I manage to get working for the next release.

Update: October 21, 2006 - 4:00am
I've made available a new version that fixes the device eject problems on U3 devices mentioned in this thread.

Here is a direct link to Download Liberta AutoStart

Jonathan
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I have it installed on a USB

I have it installed on a USB Hard Drive and I'm on Windows XP Home SP2. I was wondering, the long list that I have under "Liberta Flash Drive (E:)" is all random letters and number as far as I can see. They go like A0and some other random numbers. I was wondering what those are?

rene
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Probably caused by scanning for applications

The theory I have is that I have scanned the contents of the 'Recycle Bin' and placed them as shell\xxxx entries in autorun.inf. I never noticed this myself because I constantly empty the Recycle Bin.

So, could you check whether this is caused by a lot of shell\xxxxx entries in your autorun.inf file ?

rene
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System Volume Information

OK, I confirmed this is the contents of System Volume Information.
I'll put some filters in the scanning code and release and update shortly.

rene
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Fixed

I fixed this bug in version 1.0.0.58.

Please, use notepad or any other text editor to remove the mess I made from autorun.inf.

Jonathan
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Yup, that did it.

Yup, that did it.

Ryan McCue
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I notice

you have actually made the update checker work Wink
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gjjh25
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what is the best way to

what is the best way to install this? is it ok just to overrite the usb installation and the pc installation?

Graham Yates

rene
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No need to uninstall first

If you run the downloaded executable, it will ask you whether you'd like to update the installation on the PC. If you then choose no, you can later select "Update on PC" from the menu when you right click the notification area icon (tray icon).

You also don't have to exit a running AutoStart first, the new AutoStart will shutdown a running AutoStart.

Lastly you can just select "Install on Drive X:" and it will update the existing install on your flash drive.

gjjh25
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thank you

thank you

Graham Yates

zikarus
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Hmh, I like your eject

Hmh, I like your eject function a lot - but I would be pleased too to be able to use PStart (and it's direct apps-access) the way I am used to.

Is there a way to config the autorun.inf in order to give me direct access to each of the programs on my stick(s partitions)?

BR
zikarus

Edit: And is there a possibility to integrate a function to achieve the opposite of an eject (so that we would not have to take the stick of and put it back into the USB-connection after an eject)?

Ryan McCue
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I

doubt there is an "opposite of eject" that you could call. Could be possible though.
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rene
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Using AutoStart with PStart

use PStart (and it's direct apps-access) the way I am used to.

I don't known how you are using PStart, you did not actually tell me.
However, you can use AutoStart together with PStart in a number of ways.

To combine PStart with AutoStart look at this thread.

If you like the eject, you could also just copy AutoStart.exe to your USB Flash Drive and rename it to AutoEject.exe (or autoeject.exe, it's case insensitive).
Then when you doubleclick autoeject.exe it will eject that flash drive (all programs need to have been shutdown though).

And is there a possibility to integrate a function to achieve the opposite of an eject (so that we would not have to take the stick of and put it back into the USB-connection after an eject)?

I have looked for something like that, but I could not find it. If anyone has information about this, I'd be happy to incorporate it in AutoStart.

azjerry
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eject problem

I set up my drive as per the thread above so I can use PStart and it works well. I like it.

But, the tester in me had me do this:
- Click on AutoStart to start PStart
- While PStart is open use AutoStart Eject/Unplug drive. At this point AutoStart icon turned gray but drive light was still on.
- Try to exit PStart. Get a PStart error that there is no disk in the drive.
- After clicking through a number of PStart errors it finally closes and I can use the Safely Remove Hardware icon to finally unplug the drive.

I had similar results when KeepPass was open- AutoStart did it's eject thing and assumed the drive was ejected. But because of one or more open files the entire process didn't complete.

As long as all apps/files on the drive are closed your eject process works fine. But if someone forgets one there's problems. Depending on what a user is doing, files on the drive could be corrupted or work lost.

Suggestions:
- Keep track of the open apps/files and remind user to close them first. Might be possible if opened through AutoStart but probably a lot harder if opened through PStart or Explorer.

- Do some checking during eject process and pop a warning message. Let user close apps/files and use the eject/unplug option again. Don't disable eject/unplug until it's truly ejected.

rene
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Welll this is unexpected behavior

I honestly never have been able to eject a drive when applications are still running from it. You see the eject can be vetoed by Windows and for me it always gets vetoed whenever an application is still running from the drive.

Assuming that you were using your USB Hard Drive, I just tried it again with my "Spire GigaPod V" USB Hard Drive and it doesn't matter how often I try it just doesn't get ejected.

So this makes me wonder what kind of setup you've got. Like OS, Portable Drive, all the relevant stuff. Also could you check with 'Unlocker 1.85' to verify the applications really have links open to your drive ? Because this really is unexpected behavior.

Also the fact that PStart says that there is no disk in the drive really shows you that the eject was successful to some extent. Perhaps not to the extent that the whole device tree was removed, but at least the drive got ejected.

azjerry
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setup

-XP SP2
-Verbatim 1G Store N Go U3 USB flash drive with U3 removed (actually haven't used the USB hard drive in quite awhile since it's so slow)
-KeepPass running from drive.

When I had AutoStart eject/unplug the drive:

- In My computer the drive changed from Liberta drive to Removable Disk and the AutoStart icon turns gray.

- Unlocker verifies that KeepPass on the flash drive is holding it open after giving an error that there is no disk in the drive.

- Closing KeepPass results in several errors until it finally goes away

- Double-clicking the drive in My Computer gets a Please insert a disk into the drive popup.

- Safely Remove Hardware can now be used to finish the removal process EXCEPT this last time I tried it, SRH rebooted by PC :^(

azjerry
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same problem at home

My previous posting was about my work PC. I just had the same promblem on my home XP SP2 PC- AutoStart thought the drive was ejected and unplugged but PStart was still running. When I then attempted to close PStart my PC rebooted. :^(

rene
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Determined that an eject IOCTL is causing this

The approach I take during an eject is to first try a 'soft eject' i.e. I ask the device driver to eject the drive with a IOCTL_STORAGE_EJECT_MEDIA request.
Most devices don't respond to that, no harm no foul, right ? Until now that is.

Normally only multi-card readers respond to this 'soft eject' because they have removable media. However I recall that the U3 flash drive device also responds to this. I have checked with a multi-card reader and it seems this 'soft eject' always succeeds and is not vetoed by the OS when applications are still open on the device. However when I do this on a multi-card reader the applications go down muttering a couple of objections before exiting, but the system does not reboot.

An immediate fix I will implement is to skip the soft-eject on all devices except the multi-card readers. This will make the eject code move on to the CM_Request_Device_Eject or CM_Query_And_Remove_SubTree calls that do get vetoed by Windows when applications are still open.

Another approach would be to actively look for applications still open on the device, but if you take a closer look at e.g. Unlocker 1.85 you'll see that it uses a whole slew of device drivers, and other helpers to find out this information. It is a whole new challenge onto itself.

rene
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Fixed

I fixed this in release 1.0.0.59.

azjerry
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doesn't eject at all

Nothing seems to happen at all when I select eject/unplug

rene
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My Kingston DataTraveler U3 device ejects nicely now

The only thing is, you need to have all applications closed.
Did you check with 'Unblocker 1.85' whether any application was still using the device ?

azjerry
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all applications/files are closed

Unlocker doesn't report anything running from the drive.

So I pulled the drive out and tried again. Out of the 10 or times I tried it successfully dismounted the drive every time except one. That time it only partially dismounted it, just like before.

rene
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It should never partially dismount in this situation

The partial dismount is now only enabled when there are multiple disks, so for a multi-card reader. Please check "About Liberta AutoStart" and look if the version in the about box says 1.0.0.59. Perhaps something went wrong when you updated autostart on the drive.

An eject/unplug should now either fail or succeed, partial ejects should not happen anymore.

azjerry
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It was .58 version

Redownloaded and installed and verfied I now have .59 version.

zikarus
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Thank you for the hint rene!

Thank you for the hint rene! Another proof that thinking before writing may help Smile

I have meanwhile set up my USB-stick this way: AutoStart is installed on the first partition, PStart is running on the second, password protected partition via a simple autorun.inf in combination with a tiny little AutoRun.exe ( http://www.tarma.com/index.htm#/products/autorun/index.htm ). Works fine.

As soon as it will be possible to show icons in your apps shell, I may stop using PStart.

Another feature request: Please make it possible to freely shift the programs, listed in the shell up and down without having to edit the autorun.inf in an editor.

Fantastic work so far anyway rene!

Steve Lamerton
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Well,

I was going to write a program to move the apps around as soon as I get some more done on PUSS, so it shouldn't be long.

Yours

Steve Lamerton

zikarus
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Yesss, keep going

Yesss, keep going Smile

rene
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Just curious ...

The second protected partition, does AutoStart insert a tray icon for it ?
Or is it completely ignored by AutoStart ?

zikarus
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No password, no tray

No password, no tray icon.
The way it should be, no?

Jonathan
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I was wondering, it was

I was wondering, it was finding all the .exe in my Documents directory. Then it wouldn't find any .exe in my PortableApps directory. Is there a way to make it find the launchers to my Portable Apps and not random installers and stuff that I have stored in other directories?

rene
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What about this approach

I would like the portable application scanner to work without asking questions all of the time. I can imagine it also being used after you install a portable app to the drive and you just want to update the menu for AutoStart.

So I propose the following:

1. On a drive that does not have an autorun.inf with an AutoStart section, I will ask what application directories you'd like to scan, defaulting to the root of the drive. The path you select is then stored in the AutoStart section under the name 'ApplicationScan.SearchFolders'. You can also manually put in a list of directories relative to the root of the drive separated by ';'

2. Have another value ApplicationScan.SkipFolders where you can put in a ';' separated list of paths you really don't want searched for applications.

I think this could be the best of both worlds, only asking once which application directories to search on the initial install to a drive. Then on subsequent updates your application direcory is rescanned. Still, for people who need that, you get the full power of specifying multiple search directories and skip directories if you need more complex situations.

What I imagine is once I publish the extension API, I can just write some configuration dialogs for configuring this with a GUI.

Jonathan
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That works well.

That works well.

zikarus
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Sounds great to me

Sounds great to me too.

Btw.: Wouldn' t it be nice to have the icons displayed in the shell too? That would make it replace PStart for me Smile

Jonathan
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To my understanding, I think

To my understanding, I think the point of Autostart was just to start up something like a Launchpad which would have more of an interface like PStart.

rene
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You are correct in your

You are correct in your understanding. In principle AutoStart is designed to be a tiny long running process that just runs bigger apps to do the heavy lifting. I'm very careful that I don't bloat AutoStart with features that actually should be handled with a (dynamically demand loaded) extension or external program.

Whenever I include a feature I consider it very carefully. An example is support for TrueCrypt in AutoStart. I decided it was worth supporting encrypted volumes because it is actually usefull to have a launcher that will launch the applications from an encrypted volume. Also automatic dismounting encrypted volumes when the parent flash drive is ejected is a big convenience.
The TrueCrypt specific part took no more than a 100 lines of code and therefore practically comes for free.

The same thing goes for icons in the menus. If it can be done with minimal code and it doesn't introduce large delays in showing the menu and if it actually looks good, I will get the icons from the executables and show them in the menu. I need these icons anyway when I create the exentions API, an application launcher extension would be interested in getting the application icons. The icon extraction code is already there because I needed it for the drive icon.

arqbrulo
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1. I accidently clicked on

1. I accidently clicked on about AutoStart, and realized that it started from "c:\Doc....\temp" is this the way AutoStart works? I imagine the file is deleted after I close it.

2. Is there a way I can change the à icon?
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rene
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Running from temp
  1. Yes AutoStart will copy itself to temp when you run it from the usb flash drive. When you exit autostart it will delete itself from the temp directory leaving no further trace. The reason for this is that AutoStart can't eject a USB Flash Drive when it is running from that same drive, also a single running instance of AutoStart shows icons for all flash drives you have attached.
  2. The icon can be changed in autorun.inf find the line
    icon=AutoStart\AutoStart.exe,0
    

    Then put a reference to an icon file there or put another application there.
    Alternatively, you could just remove the whole icon= line and that will give you the standard removable disk icon.

Ryan McCue
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Also

2. We are currently working on an icon, which also has transparency. It's being developed by one of Steve's friends and is coming along good.
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gvgerman
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autostart not removed from temp

I realize I'm trying to jump-in and am not quite sure where or how to properly do this. But I'm intrigued about AutoStart and I've run into a couple problems w/ my installation.

I installed AutoStart on the USB hard drive - not on the PC. All seemed to be going well until I removed the drive.

AutoStart tray icon remained but the blue icon turned grey. This surprised me as I thought the program would remove itself from the PC.

I exited the program from the trayicon and went to the PC temp folder and manually deleted the autostart program which still was there. Neither AutoStart or Liberta (or anything similar) showed in the programs listing in "Add / Remove Programs".

When I plugged the USB hard drive back in, AutoStart did not start. Also, the normal designation for the USB drive had been changed to "Liberta" and the drive could not be accessed from Windows Explorer.

To resolve the problem, I downloaded autostart and saved it on the PC drive. I double-clicked the autostart file and the trayicon reloaded. This allowed me to access the drive again. I removed all the autostart items from the USB drive and the PC drive and then exited autostart from the tray. The drive Liberta designation then reverted to the normal designation and the USB drive was working properly again - it could be accessed w/ Windows Explorer and plug & play worked again.

I hope this helps you in some small way.

Live by the Law of the Minimum

Ryan McCue
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.

AutoStart tray icon remained but the blue icon turned grey. This surprised me as I thought the program would remove itself from the PC.
No, it removes itself when you restart Windows. It is not installed, just running.
I exited the program from the trayicon and went to the PC temp folder and manually deleted the autostart program which still was there.
That would be IE or Firefox's error.
Neither AutoStart or Liberta (or anything similar) showed in the programs listing in "Add / Remove Programs".
Because, it isn't installed, just running.
When I plugged the USB hard drive back in, AutoStart did not start. Also, the normal designation for the USB drive had been changed to "Liberta" and the drive could not be accessed from Windows Explorer.
Now that surprises me. Renè? (Side-note: it is a grave isn't it?)
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Thanks for reply, regarding

"I exited the program from the trayicon and went to the PC temp folder and manually deleted the autostart program which still was there."

and the reply:

"That would be IE or Firefox's error."

Neither IE or Firefox can delete a file, can they? I'm using Firefox Portable (from PortableApps). Do you mean Firefox did not completely end (for some reason) and AutoStart didn't see some trigger it needed to delete autostart from the PC temp folder?

Thanks!

Live by the Law of the Minimum

Ryan McCue
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.

(Sorry for the late reply)
Neither IE or Firefox can delete a file, can they? I'm using Firefox Portable (from PortableApps). Do you mean Firefox did not completely end (for some reason) and AutoStart didn't see some trigger it needed to delete autostart from the PC temp folder?
All apps should empty their Temp folders and/or files after closing.
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Source Code

Rene - don't forget that you also need to post the updated source code for any releases you announce on this site. The source in SVN at SourceForge is from the old release 4 weeks ago.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

rene
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Oops

Sources now checked-in and verified that they actually built.

The only rewrite remaining of 3rd party sources is the elimination of trayiconimpl.h. I'm already making good progress, and the code is much simpler than trayiconimpl.h while also supporting things like balloon help.

After that I will have to do a lot of work to eliminate WTL and ATL7. I eventually want to be able to build AutoStart with just the compiler in the Windows DDK and using only ATL3.

zikarus
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I recently encountered the

I recently encountered the problem, that my USB stick (with AutoStart installed on it) would not offer me any action when put into the USB hub at my computer at home. In other words: The autorun feature did not work though it did before and though it does at the USB hub in my office.

I have already read in another thread, that this behaviour might come from a registry entry in the host-PC - is that right? Any solutions besides re-installing AutoStart on the stick or PC?

One more request: Could you enlarge the max. shell size (and thereby the number of apps listed in the shell). As it is, it cuts of the apps-list somewhen...

Ryan McCue
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This

happens to me as well.
Install AutoStart on your computer.
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"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate."

gjjh25
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would it be possible to make

would it be possible to make autorun ask for a password, so the drive is not accesible without it?

Graham Yates

Ryan McCue
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Nope

Because of lack of Autorun.
Plus, if it was to do it, it would be in an extension.
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"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate."

Frank D. Hubeny
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Hello Group;I am useing

Hello Group;

I am useing autostart on a Windows 2000 PC with service pack four.

When ever I plug the USB drive in nothing happes at all. Is there no way other then installing autostart on each PC you use to get it to start up automatically.

It does work if I double click on "autostart.exe" but that is the only way.

Frank D. Hubeny

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Hello Group;A number of

Hello Group;

A number of posts seem to say that "autorun" may not work on all OS's automatically with out some registry modifications.

I use my USB drive on only a few PC's. At work My USB drive is always drive "G". So I can start up AutoStart by opening up the run menue item and entering in "G:\autoStart.exe" and it works.

I post this for those who wish to use AutoStart on PC's where it does not automatically run.

Then if i do try to use it on a PC where it does automatically start up it should work.

Hope this helps out until a OS wide Auto run or auto launcher comes out.

Frank D. Hubeny

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Hello Group;I was wondering

Hello Group;

I was wondering if an option to run an application could be added. I have to manually start AutoStart now. Could AutoStart not start up one application when you click on Autostart. Or if it is automatically started by the OS.

It would allow a person to single click on AutoStart and have it start a application chosen. Now you have to start AutoStart and them chose a application from the menue.

Frank D. Hubeny

zikarus
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One more feature request

One more feature request that came to my mind:

Besides telling Autostart where to search for .exe files - would it be possible to tell Autostart only to include those .exe files that contain a part of the programs name for example (or/and one per folder)?

If you have a look at the - let's say - bin-folder of Universal Extractor you may understand, what I am talking of: Many .exe files are to be found here, but only one, the UniversalExtractor.exe is wanted as a reference in the shell.

I know that there may be other applications (like OpenOffice) where the way I have proposed here would lead to unwanted results. But I think that it would be easier (=less work) to manually include the few lines for multiple entries in the shell than delete the much more unwanted .exe entries...

What do you think?

BR
zikarus

Ryan McCue
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Why don't you use

AVE?
----
Ryan McCue
Cube Games
People who didn't need people needed people around to know that they were
the kind of people who didn't need people.
(Maskerade)

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate."

zikarus
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I do Ryan , but I tried to

I do Ryan :-), but I tried to point out that it might be even easier if the routine that selects the .exe could be made a bit "smarter".

BR
zikarus

Ryan McCue
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Yes, but

remember, AutoStart can't do everything Wink
If Renè added every feature everyone asked for, AutoStart would become too bloated. This is what the extension API is for; to avoid bloat.
Completely off-topic: Anyone ever heard of The Polyphonic Spree?
----
Ryan McCue
Cube Games
People who didn't need people needed people around to know that they were
the kind of people who didn't need people.
(Maskerade)

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate."

Frank D. Hubeny
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Hello Group; I like it. I

Hello Group;

I like it. I have found a couple of ways to use this application on my PC.

First, On my PC's it does not automatically start up. No real problem. Because I have found creating a desktop short cut to it works fine. You can also start the application from the start menue.

After it is running I have found that even when I eject my USB drive the AutoStart icon is still in the system tray. If you do not exit the program. You can reinsert your USB drive and after it is found you can just click on the icon and run applications from your USB. This feature is really great. You can remove your USB when you leave the PC. Then just reinsert it and continue to work from it.

I do hope that some day things will change so that the auto matic feature can be used universally with out registry modifications but I have found a work around for my situation and if it makes your life easier fine. One last item you can manually edit the "inf" file. I found I had to make small tweaks. Try this you self but first make a copy of the original in case you mess up like I did the first time.

The only thing I really wish for is another icon perhaps a brighter one the light gray is in need of something. If I knew how I would change it.

Thanks again

Frank D. Hubeny

Ryan McCue
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.

First, On my PC's it does not automatically start up.
Add a shortcut to Start Menu » Programs » Startup.
After it is running I have found that even when I eject my USB drive the AutoStart icon is still in the system tray. If you do not exit the program. You can reinsert your USB drive and after it is found you can just click on the icon and run applications from your USB. This feature is really great. You can remove your USB when you leave the PC. Then just reinsert it and continue to work from it.
That is the point. It is running from the Temp directory. Makes it easy to install on another USB.
I do hope that some day things will change so that the auto matic feature can be used universally with out registry modifications but I have found a work around for my situation and if it makes your life easier fine. One last item you can manually edit the "inf" file. I found I had to make small tweaks. Try this you self but first make a copy of the original in case you mess up like I did the first time.
Use AVE.
The only thing I really wish for is another icon perhaps a brighter one the light gray is in need of something. If I knew how I would change it.
I can confidently (?) say that there is a great new icon coming, done by one of Steve's friends.
----
Ryan McCue
Cube Games
People who didn't need people needed people around to know that they were
the kind of people who didn't need people.
(Maskerade)

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate."

Frank D. Hubeny
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Joined: 2006-06-29 06:53
Hello Group; I just tried

Hello Group;

I just tried the new portable apps backup/restore from John. Auto start does not pick this up. It does not seem to pick up either the backup or the restore files at all. I was able to use it before with his first release but not the new one. It seems like the file name "portableappsbackuprestore.exe" is part of the problem.

Frank D. Hubeny

Frank D. Hubeny
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Last seen: 10 years 8 months ago
Joined: 2006-06-29 06:53
Hello Group; I found that

Hello Group;

I found that for some reason the latest autostart does not like the latest portableappsbackup/restore from John.

It did not pick them up. I did find a fix that may not be proper.

I made two directories of the latest portableappsbackup. I called one backup, and the other restore. I renamed the "exe" files "backup.exe and restore.exe. Then I removed the unneeded "exe" file from each directory. I removed the backup file from the restore directory and the restore file from the backup directory.

Now both apps are picked up by the latest autostart. I can only think it is a combination of directory name and file name lengths.

If anyone has a fix or other idea pleas let me know. I am not sure if renameing "exe" files is a good thing to do.

Frank D. Hubeny

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