Posts Tagged ‘Scripting’

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Creating a Daily Journal in Evernote

15/03/2010

This post has now been migrated to ThoughtAsylum.com.

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.

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ENScript – Scripting Evernote in Windows

21/08/2009

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Filter files into silo folders

31/07/2009

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:

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VB Script – Count occurrences in a text string

30/07/2009

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Presentations – Keeping your screen active

20/07/2009

Power saving options on computers are something that I personally think are great.  They not only help reduce carbon footprints, but they also help draw out even more life from your laptop battery.   One of the main ways in which this is done (others being things such as disabling hardware) is by having an inactivity option that turns off the screen and the hard disk after a period of inactivity.  Unfortunately there are times when this isn’t something you want.  The primary example of this is when you are giving a presentation.

The typical way of overriding this in Windows is to change what power saving scheme is being used through the Windows control panel or a third party application that links directly to these options.  However sometimes end users don’t have access to this.

This typically occurs where a group policy has been applied to stop users ‘tinkering’ with the power saving schemes.  Users with access can amend or delete power saving schemes which can lead to complications with machines and so it is not that uncommon to restrict access.

Whilst applications such as Microsoft PowerPoint can lead the OS into knowing that it should keep things like monitors on if a presentation is in a browser or some other “power unaware” application, then power saving actions can kick in.

I decided to apply a brute force solution to this by creating an AutoHotKey script to send a key press to the OS at regular intervals.  By default it sends a Shift key press as this is least likely to have any impact on any application, but this can be modified along with the frequency with which it is sent by the use of a settings file.  The settings file also includes an option to choose whether to start sending key presses as soon as it is run.

The code for the script is given at the end of this post, but I have also compiled this into a stand alone executable that you could even pop onto your flash drive if you’re going to be presenting on someone else’s PC.  Similarly you could add it into your start-up group (with it set not to auto start sending key presses) so it is always there when you need it.

The script places a monitor icon in the system tray.  When it is black power saving actions through inactivity will take place.  When it is blue, key presses will be sent.  Right clicking on the icon will display a menu with an override option.  Selecting this option will place a check mark next to it which will set the icon blue and initiate the override mode.  Selecting the option again will uncheck it, set the icon black and turn off the override mode.

Only one setting is available on the settings menu.  This is another check item and determines whether override mode should be enabled immediately when the utility is first started.

The utility looks for a settings file called ActiveDisplay.ini in the folder from which the utility is being run.  If it does not exist, the utility will use its default settings which match the settings given in this example file:

[Settings]
;Set to 1 to enable override mode at start-up and 0 to disable.
EnableOnRun=0
;Specify what characters should be sent.  Use {} for special key strokes
KeyStroke={SHIFT}
;Number of milliseconds between sending the key strokes (120,000 milliseconds : 2 minutes)
Period=120000

If you want to tweak the script to meet your own needs you can get the details below and use your own icons.  If you want to get the compiled version you can download it for free.

#Persistent
#SingleInstance

;Read in settings
iniread, EnableAtStartup, %A_ScriptDir%\ActiveDisplay.ini, Settings, EnableOnRun, 0
iniread, KeyStroke, %A_ScriptDir%\ActiveDisplay.ini, Settings, KeyStroke, {Shift}
iniread, Period, %A_ScriptDir%\ActiveDisplay.ini, Settings, Period, 120000

;Create the tray menu
menu, tray, add, Override, Override
Menu, SettingsMenu, add, EnabledAtStartup
Menu, tray, add, Settings, :SettingsMenu
menu, tray, add, About
menu, tray, add, Exit
menu, tray, nostandard

;Initialise
;Time to do something that seems crazy - we'll flip these and then call the menu selection routines where it will get flipped back
EnableTimer := EnableAtStartup
EnableAtStartup := Not(EnableAtStartup)
GoSub, EnabledAtStartup
EnableTimer := Not(EnableTimer)
GoSub, Override
return

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

SendKeyStroke:
Send %KeyStroke%
return

Override:
EnableTimer := Not(EnableTimer)
If EnableTimer
{
 menu, tray, Check, Override
 menu, tray, icon, C:\Icons\Monitor On.ico
 menu, tray, tip, Default Power Saving Mode Overridden
 SetTimer, SendKeyStroke, %Period%
}
Else
{
 menu, tray, UnCheck, Override
 menu, tray, icon, C:\Icons\Monitor Off.ico
 menu, tray, tip, Default Power Saving Mode
 SetTimer, SendKeyStroke, Off
}
return

EnabledAtStartup:
EnableAtStartup := Not(EnableAtStartup)
If EnableAtStartup
{
 menu, SettingsMenu, Check, EnabledAtStartup
 iniwrite, 1, %A_ScriptDir%\ActiveDisplay.ini, Settings, EnableOnRun
}
Else
{
 menu, SettingsMenu, UnCheck, EnabledAtStartup
 iniwrite, 0, %A_ScriptDir%\ActiveDisplay.ini, Settings, EnableOnRun
}
return

About:
MsgBox, 0, About Active Display, Version 1.0`nCopyright 2009 RebootIT`n`nhttps://flagit.wordpress.com
return

Exit:
ExitApp
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A Flexible Progress Window in VBScript

19/07/2009

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Shortcuts with VB Script

18/07/2009

Sometimes I need to create shortcuts with VB Script especially if the script is being installed and a shortcut needs to be created to the script.  The code to create a shortcut is quite straight forward,  but the CreateShortcut() function presented here pulls everything together into a single reusable form.  Optional parameters that you don’t want to use can be filled by the use of “NULL” and environment variables can be included in file paths to make this as flexible as possible.

Option Explicit

CreateShortcut "%UserProfile%\SendTo\Test Link.lnk", _
 "C:\Scripts\Test-Script.vbs", NULL, "A test script", NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL

Function CreateShortcut(p_strShortcutPath, p_strTargetPath, _
 p_strArguments, p_strComment, _
 p_strHotKey, p_strIconPath, p_strIconPosition, _
 p_strWindowStyle, p_strWorkingDirectory)

 'Example Parameters
 'p_strShortcutPath = "%UserProfile%\SendTo\Shortcut to Something"
 'p_strTargetPath = "%PROGRAMFILES%\Somewhere\Something.exe"
 'p_strArguments = "/O"
 'p_strDescription = "Start Something"
 'p_strHotKey = "CTRL+ALT+Q"
 'p_strIconPath = "%PROGRAMFILES%\Somewhere\Something.exe"
 'p_strIconPosition = "3"
 'p_strWindowStyle = "1"
 'p_strWorkingDirectory = "C:\Working\"
 'Use NULL for parameters which are not to be set

 Dim objShell, objShortcut

 Set objShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
 Set objShortcut = objShell.CreateShortcut(objShell.ExpandEnvironmentStrings(p_strShortcutPath))

 If Not isNull(p_strTargetPath) Then
 objShortcut.TargetPath = objShell.ExpandEnvironmentStrings(p_strTargetPath)
 End If

 If Not isNull(p_strArguments) Then
 objShortcut.Arguments = p_strArguments
 End If

 If Not isNull(p_strComment) Then
 objShortcut.Description = p_strComment
 End If

 If Not isNull(p_strHotKey) Then
 objShortcut.HotKey = p_strHotKey
 End If

 If Not isNull(p_strIconPath) Then
 objShortcut.IconLocation = objShell.ExpandEnvironmentStrings(p_strIconPath & ", " & p_strIconPosition)
 End If

 If Not isNull(p_strWindowStyle) Then
 objShortcut.WindowStyle = p_strWindowStyle
 End If

 If Not isNull(p_strWorkingDirectory) Then
 objShortcut.WorkingDirectory = objShell.ExpandEnvironmentStrings(p_strWorkingDirectory)
 End If

 objShortcut.Save
End Function
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Self Installing VB Scripts

18/07/2009

I like using VB Scripts and the Windows Script Host to resolve issues as it has proved quick and flexible for most tasks.  One thing I have found problematic on occasion is the installation of the scripts on a user’s PC.  It takes time to do if it is not being deployed using logon scripts, group policy, etc.  To this end I decided to write a function to allow a script to install itself.   The script below is primarily made up from three functions/routines.

Starting from the bottom, the BuildFolderPath() function just takes a file path and adds a backslash to the end if it needs one.

The next function is a little more interesting.  ScriptPath() returns the folder in which the script is being run from.  Note that if it is being run from a shortcut it is the target folder.  This script works by removing the name of the script from the full file path of the script file.

The last chunk of code is the sub routine InstallScript() and does the majority of the work so to speak.  This checks to see if the script is in the correct location.  If it is not it asks the user for permission to copy it from the current location to the one against which it checked.  This does of course rely on the user having appropriate file permissions to copy the script there in the first place, but if we need anything more then some sort of executable or direct access by an administrator is always going to be best otherwise you’ll be handing out administrator passwords verbally or in plain text in script files.  Once installed (or if the user chose not to install) there is a bit of feedback to the user and the script ends.  If the script is running from the right location, no further action is taken and the script continues.

Option Explicit

Const INSTALL_TO = "%UserProfile%\SendTo"

InstallScript INSTALL_TO

Msgbox "The script is being run from the right place..."

'This routine checks if the script is in the right folder location and if it
'isn't it will give the user the option of copying the script to the right location
Sub InstallScript(p_strInstallTo)
 Dim strInstallToFolder
 Dim objShell, objFSO

 'Set the installation folder
 Set objShell = CreateObject( "WScript.Shell" )
 strInstallToFolder = BuildFolderPath(objShell.ExpandEnvironmentStrings(p_strInstallTo))

 If Not strInstallToFolder = ScriptPath Then
 'Copy the script to the correct folder if the user agrees
 If Msgbox ("This script is not being run from the expected location." & vbCrLf & _
 "Would you like to install it to " & strInstallToFolder & " now?", _
 vbYesNo + vbQuestion, "Install Script") = vbYes Then

 Set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
 objFSO.CopyFile WScript.ScriptFullName, strInstallToFolder & WScript.ScriptName

 MsgBox "The script has been installed/updated.", vbOkOnly & vbInformation, "Install Complete"
 Else
 MsgBox "The script has not been installed and will not run.", vbOkOnly + vbExclamation, "Install Cancelled"
 End If

 'Finish the script at this point
 WScript.Quit
 End If

End Sub

'This function returns the path which the script is running from
Function ScriptPath()
 ScriptPath = Replace(WScript.ScriptFullName, WScript.ScriptName, "")
End Function

'This function just adds a trailing backslash if there isn't one
Function BuildFolderPath(p_strPath)
 If Right(p_strPath,1) = "\" Then
 BuildFolderPath = p_strPath
 Else
 BuildFolderPath = p_strPath & "\"
 End If
End Function

An interesting thing to note is that I’ve passed folder paths through the ExpandEnvironmentStrings() function.  This converts any environment variables in the string and allows them to be converted to their full path.  If you want to know more about environment variables I’d recommend a few minutes browsing this page on environment variables in Windows XP.

So all you have to do is decide on a folder where you want the script run from and then pop these functions into your script.  Personally I like to create shortcuts for scripts too (e.g. in the user’s send to folder, start menu or the desktop).  I’ll be posting a little later on how to add that to your toolbox – particularly useful for installations like this.

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VBS – Duplicate Folder Structure

28/03/2009

Armed with my folder browser script I finally finished rounding out my script to clone / duplicate a folder structure.

On occasion I produce a folder/directory structure which I’d like to be able to reuse as a template – e.g. on a project.  The problem is that it already has lots of files in and I have to copy the whole thing and then use an ‘open’ search to list the files in the new structure so that they can be deleted, but if there are lots of big files this operation can be slow and the inefficiency of it grates against my programmer’s nature.

Thus came about the writing of a little bit of VBScript to copy an existing folder structure and effectively clone it to another area on a file system.  So here’s the script … I hope you find it useful.

Option Explicit

'Defintions
Const ForReading = 1
Const ForWriting = 2
Const MAKE_FILE = "BuildFolders.txt"

Dim objFSO, objFolder, objFile
Dim strSourceFolder, strDestinationFolder, strBuildFoldersFile
Dim intFolders

'Initialise and capture folder paths
intFolders = 0
Set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
strSourceFolder = SelectFolder("Select a source folder")
strDestinationFolder = SelectFolder("Select a destination folder")
strBuildFoldersFile = strDestinationFolder & "\" & MAKE_FILE

'Read, store and then build the new folder struture
CreatestrDestinationFolder
CreateBuildFile
MakeFromBuildFile

'Finalise
DeleteBuildFile
MsgBox "Created " & intFolders & " folders", vbOKOnly & vbInformation, "Folder Generation complete"

'-------------
'SUB ROUTINES
'-------------

'Read the source folder structure and store it
Sub CreateBuildFile()
	objFSO.CreateTextFile(strBuildFoldersFile)
	Set objFile = objFSO.CreateTextFile(strBuildFoldersFile, True)
	ReadstrSourceFolders(strSourceFolder)
	objFile.Close
End Sub

'Create the destination folder - should exist from the selection ... but just in case
'I (or someone else) wants to parameterise this script later on...
Sub CreatestrDestinationFolder()
	If Not objFSO.FolderExists(strDestinationFolder) Then
		objFSO.CreateFolder(strDestinationFolder)
		intFolders = intFolders +1
	End If
End Sub

'Create the new folder structure
Sub MakeFromBuildFile()
	Set objFile = objFSO.OpenTextFile(strBuildFoldersFile, ForReading)
	Do While Not objFile.AtEndOfStream
		objFSO.CreateFolder(strDestinationFolder & objFile.ReadLine)
		intFolders = intFolders +1
	Loop
	objFile.Close
End Sub

'Remove the file that was holiding the data structure
Sub DeleteBuildFile()
	objFSO.DeleteFile(strBuildFoldersFile)
End Sub

'Write a folder structure to the build file
Sub ReadstrSourceFolders(p_strSource)
	Dim colSubFolders
	Dim objSubFolder

	Set objFolder = objFSO.GetFolder(p_strSource)
	Set colSubfolders = objFolder.Subfolders
	For Each objSubfolder in colSubfolders
		objFile.WriteLine(StripstrSourceFolder(objSubfolder.Path))
		ReadstrSourceFolders(objSubfolder.Path)
	Next
End Sub

'Remove the source folder path from a string (i.e. a sub folder's path)
Function StripstrSourceFolder(p_strFolder)
	StripstrSourceFolder = Right(p_strFolder,(Len(p_strFolder)-Len(strSourceFolder)))
End Function

'----------
'FUNCTIONS
'----------
'Select a folder
Function SelectFolder(pstrDialogLabel)
	'Select a folder
	Const BIF_returnonlyfsdirs   = &H0001
	Const BIF_editbox            = &H0010

	Dim objBrowseFolderDialog, objFolder, objFSO, objSelection
	Dim bBrowseForFolder

	Set objBrowseFolderDialog = WScript.CreateObject("Shell.Application")

	bBrowseForFolder = true

	While bBrowseForFolder
		Set objFolder = objBrowseFolderDialog.BrowseForFolder (&H0, pstrDialogLabel, BIF_editbox + BIF_returnonlyfsdirs)

		'Check that something has been returned
		If IsValidFolder(objFolder) Then
			Set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

			Set objSelection = objFolder.Self
			If objFSO.FolderExists(objSelection.Path) Then
				'A valid folder has been selected
				SelectFolder = objSelection.Path
				bBrowseForFolder = false
			Else
				'The selection is not a valid folder, try again...
				MsgBox objFolder.Title & " is not a valid folder, please select another folder" _
					, vbOKOnly & vbExclamation, "Invalid Selection"
			End If
		Else
			'Nothing was selected, so return a null string
			SelectFolder = ""
			bBrowseForFolder = false
		End If
	Wend
End Function

Function IsValidFolder(pobjFolder)
	'Check that we have a valid value
	'i.e. you can concatenate it to a string
	Dim strTest

	On Error Resume Next

	strTest = " " & pobjFolder

	If Err  0 Then
		IsValidFolder = false
	Else
		IsValidFolder = true
	End If

	On Error GoTo 0
End Function
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VBScript – Select a Folder

28/03/2009

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