Archive for the ‘VB Script’ Category


Top FlagIT Posts of 2009


It’s been about a year since I started blogging here and whilst it was primarily supposed to be a site for quick useful tech-related posts several have grown into far larger posts.  Whilst some posts have remained somewhat quiet on the number of reads others have generated far more interest than I could have expected.

It’s actually five more days until this blog is a year old, but I thought that new year’s day might be as good an opportunity to review what the top ten posts were.  This has been based on the number of visits from more than six and a quarter thousand since the blog was created.

10. Reclaim more Memory on a Windows Mobile Device

Posted: 04/04/2009

Reads: 95 (Daily Average 0.35)

Windows mobile phones have a finite amount of memory and like any operating system (particularly M$ ones?) memory leaks can stop memory being released.  This post highlights how to resolve some storage issues with the Mobile Opera browser and a useful tool for reclaiming that memory lost to leakage.

9. Simple Template Workaround for Evernote

Posted: 21/11/2009

Reads: 95 (Daily Average 2.32)

A relatively recent post about one of my favourite pieces of software (Evernote) and how to use a simple bit of scripting to create templates in Evernote.

8. A Ceiling Function for VBScript

Posted: 31/07/2009

Reads: 133 (Daily Average 0.86)

This post includes some VBS code to round a number off to the greatest integer.

7. Developer Tabs and Drop Down Lists in Word 2007

Posted: 17/03/2009

Reads: 135 (Daily Average 0.47)

This post explains how to access the developer tab in Microsoft Word 2007 and briefly discusses some of the shortcomings of the drop down lists it offers.

6. VBScript – Count Occurrences in a Text String

Posted: 30/07/2009

Reads: 148 (Daily Average 0.95)

Another simple bit of VBS code that counts the number of instances of a string of text within another string of text.

5. Omnia to Oblivia (and back)

Posted: 05/04/2009

Reads: 151 (Daily Average 0.56)

I have a Samsung Omnia mobile phone and have had a number of issues with it.  This describes how I resolved one of the most difficult issues with the file system constantly mounting and dismounting a storage device.

4. A Flexible Progress Window in VBScript

Posted: 19/07/2009

Reads: 169 (Daily Average 1.02)

Another popular bit of VBS code is some that builds a customisable progress window based around dynamically updating a web page that is automatically loaded into a browser.  The progress window allows the user to display messages and progress bars.

3. VBScript – Select a Folder

Posted: 28/03/2009

Reads: 278 (Daily Average 1.00)

The most popular VBS code post on the blog in the past year this one shows how to access a common dialog to select a folder and pass this back to the main code.

2. Controlling Spotify

Posted: 29/07/2009

Reads: 1172 (Daily Average 7.51)

At this point we see a big change in the number of reads of the posts.  This particular post’s popularity is most likely related to the popularity of Spotify.  The post describes a way in which an iPhone emulator can be used on a PC running Microsofrt Windows PC to control Spotify installed on an Apple Mac.

1. Excel – Dynamic Drop Down Lists with Full Validation

Posted: 15/03/2009

Reads: 1272 (Daily Average 4.36)

At the top spot is a post relating to Microsoft Excel.  It looks at how to overcome some of the limitations on dynamically populated drop down lists.  There are a number of other Excel related posts on the blog that people may find useful in combination with this and it has certainly made quite an impact with some of the spreadsheets I’ve developed for colleagues at work.  It seems as though that popularity is spreading to hundreds of others across the Internet.

So please have a look through these top ten (and others if you like) and I’d encourage you to leave a comment or rate the post.  If you like the content why not subscribe to one of the RSS feeds?


Skype and Web Servers


I briefly had a problem with the web server that’s running my personal wiki yesterday.  Try as I might it just wouldn’t start-up.  I hadn’t had a problem before and after three or four attempts at clicking the start option I took a step back and surveyed my machine – a useful option in many circumstances.

I spotted the culprit straight away as I had come across the issue before – Skype.  When Skype starts up if the default port (51907 on my current instance of Skype) is unavailable (because another application is using it or more likely a firewall is blocking it) it tries to set-up on a port that is more likely to be available – 80 or 443 which are used by web servers for insecure and secure traffic respectively.

Whilst there is an advanced option in Skype to force it away from these two alternative ports often there are no other convenient ones to choose from.  This is because it is good practice security to block unused ports and Skype isn’t always a top runner so to speak on ports to have open.

The moral of the story is simple – start your web server before you start Skype.

However this got me to wondering what else might pick a port that could conflict and how would you know what it was without just systematically working through all the applications and services you have running … which for me could be a large number.  My solution was to use some DOS commands.  NETSTAT can be used to examine what ports are in use by what processes.  TASKLIST can be used then to identify the executable.

To smooth things over a little I’ve concocted a little script to automate this process.  It’s really just a bit of a nicer front end to the whole thing and whilst several command prompt windows may briefly flash up as it runs, the script will take in the information from the commands and process them to filter out the pertinent information.

Option Explicit

Dim objCommandPort
Dim astrResults
Dim astrInfoLine
Dim strOutput
Dim strPortCommand
Dim strPID
Dim strApps

strPortCommand = "netstat -ano" 

set objCommandPort = New clsDOSCommandExecutor

strOutput = objCommandPort.GetOutput
astrResults = split(strOutput, vbCrLf)

strApps = "PORT: APPLICATION" & vbCrLf
AssessPort "80"
strApps = strApps & vbCrLf
AssessPort "443"

MsgBox strApps, vbInformation + vbOKOnly, "Applications using web server ports"

Sub AssessPort(p_strPort)
 Dim intCounter

 For intCounter = 1 to Ubound(astrResults)
 If inStr(astrResults(intCounter), ":" & p_strPort) > 0 Then
 astrInfoLine = split(astrResults(intCounter))
 strPID = astrInfoLine(ubound(astrInfoLine))
 strApps = strApps & vbCrLf & p_strPort & ": " & AppOnPort(strPID)
 End If
End Sub

Function AppOnPort(p_strPID)
 Dim objCommandPID
 Dim strPIDCommand
 Dim strPIDOut
 Dim astrPIDOut

 set objCommandPID = New clsDOSCommandExecutor
 strPIDCommand = "tasklist /fi ""PID eq " & p_strPID & """"


 strPIDOut = Right(objCommandPID.GetOutput, len(objCommandPID.GetOutput) - inStrRev(objCommandPID.GetOutput, "=" & vbcrlf))
 astrPIDOut = split(strPIDOut)

 AppOnPort = Replace(astrPIDout(0), vbCrLf, "")
End Function

Class clsDOSCommandExecutor
 Dim objShell, objExec
 Dim strCommand
 Dim strError
 Dim objError
 Dim objOutput
 Dim strOutput

 Sub ExecuteCommand(p_strCommand)
 strCommand = "cmd /c " & p_strCommand
 Set objShell = CreateObject("Wscript.Shell" )


 Set objExec = objShell.Exec(strCommand)

 Do Until objExec.Status
 Wscript.Sleep 200

 Set objError = objExec.StdErr
 strError = objError.ReadAll

 Set objOutput = objExec.stdOut
 strOutput = objOutput.ReadAll
 End Sub

 Function GetOutput()
 GetOutput = strOutput
 End Function

 Function GetError()
 GetError = strError
 End Function

 Function Failed()
 If strError = "" Then
 Failed = false
 Failed = true
 End If
 End Function
End Class

DOS Command Class for VBScript


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VBScript and Getting the Message Across


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DropBox Freezes Out Explorer


I’ve been using DropBox for some time now and I use it in some ways that I think are quite innovative and will be the subject of future blog posts.  However in the last few days I’ve been having a few problems with Windows Explorer taking forever (well over a minute or two at times) to respond and it responds very sluggishly.  I’ve managed to track the problem down to DropBox misbehaving.

I’m running version 0.6.507.0 as I have been for some time, but something somewhere has started causing these little fits.  The solution is simple.  Bring up task manager, find the dropbox.exe process and kill it.  Then navigate to the start up programs on the Windows start menu and start Dropbox.

Actually whilst that’s simple it all seemed a bit too much of a hassle for lazy me so I wrote a little script to do it.

Option Explicit
Const DROPBOX_FOLDER = "C:\Program Files\Dropbox\"
Const DROPBOX_EXE = "Dropbox.exe"


Sub KillProcess(p_strProcess)
 Dim objService, objProcess
 Dim colProcesses
 Dim strProcessKill

 Set objService = GetObject("winmgmts:{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\.\root\cimv2")

 Set colProcesses = objService.ExecQuery("Select * from Win32_Process Where Name = '" & p_strProcess & "'")
 For Each objProcess in colProcesses
End Sub

Sub StartApplication(p_strAppPath)
 Dim objShell
 Set objShell = WScript.CreateObject( "WScript.Shell" )
 objShell.Run("""" & p_strAppPath & """")
End Sub

Pop a shortcut to the script on your desktop and you should be able to access it quick enough – or even quicker if you set a shortcut key combination on it.

The script uses a couple of fairly standard little routines.  One kills the process and the other starts the application.  If you happen to have DropBox installed in an unusual location (mine is in the default), then just amend the first constant.

You may see two icons

You may see two icons

NB: You’ll probably notice that after the script ruins you’ll have two DropBox icons in your system tray.  If you move your mouse pointer over the two icons the one for the now terminated process will disappear.


Filter files into silo folders


Recently a number of my friends have hard hard drive failures and have asked me to retrieve data from their hard drives.  I’ve been reasonably successful in each case recovering well over 95% of the data in each case – thanks not to me but the proliferation of free data recovery tools out there on the Internet.

The last one I’ve been working on however has had a particularly mangled folder structure such that a large number of the recovered files haven’t been able to be assigned the correct file name and folder.  The recovery software has auto generated file names and placed them in a single folder … all 245,528 of them.  As you might expect Windows isn’t all that happy with that many files in a single folder when you want to interact with them.

Windows Explorer is incredibly slow to interact with this amount of content and even using SnowBird the speed of access was prohibitive.  I had a need to somehow rearrange the files into some other structure and since the naming is random, the folder structure does not need to be particularly meaningful – just practical to sort through.  Given there was no (free) software up to the job and being the consummate IT support chap I am  I decided to script my way around the problem.

I wrote a VB Script to process the folder of files and to “silo” the files off into groups within other folders.  A couple of constants at the top of the script tell it which folder to process and how many files to put into each folder.  The script then calculates how many folders to create and starts to process them.  I’ve used my generic progress window to show what file is being moved and how far through the process the script is.

The script doesn’t contain anything particularly nifty that hasn’t already been covered in one of my previous VB Script posts, so rather than displaying the source code here I’ve just provided it as a download:


A Ceiling Function for VB Script


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