Eric's Technical Outlet

Learning the hard way so you don't have to

Category Archives: Windows Desktop

Defrag (Is) For Dummies

Kind of funny how one little word really changes the meaning of a sentence, doesn’t it? The title is a bit harsh but there is more than a little truth in it.

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Take Ownership of and Reset Registry Key Permissions with VB.Net

Windows programming has begun a trend away from using the registry to store application data. There are a lot of reasons for that, most of them are pretty good, and I have no intentions of debating them in this post. There are still plenty of valid reasons you might wish to use the registry. Unfortunately, the .Net Framework’s abstraction of the registry is nowhere near as robust as it is for other system objects, such as files and folders. The area that it’s most critically lacking is that the only thing you can do without an active handle to a registry key is open a handle to a registry key. Most of the time, that’s not a big deal. Any key you can’t open is probably a key you shouldn’t open. Then again, there are those few times that you need to open a key but can’t. This post is intended to show you how to do that in VB.Net. C# users should be able to read along without a lot of difficulty, although you’ll probably want to refer to or a similar resource for the exact methods of calling the specified Windows API functions from within C#. Read more of this post

Adventures in Least User Privilege: Explorer and Control Panel

Have you noticed that “RunAs” doesn’t work for Windows Explorer or Control Panel items? That’s because the shell (the program you use to communicate with the operating system itself) is Windows Explorer. Windows Explorer is (normally) running all the time, and while it’s running, it doesn’t allow you to start other instances in other security contexts (a very long way of saying that “RunAs” doesn’t work for Windows Explorer). Control Panel items don’t work either because they’re not actually programs; they are applets that run within the context of Windows Explorer. So, you can’t connect to a user’s station and use RunAs to, say, change TCP/IP settings.

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