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Author Topic: IDEA: VUE; Virtual User Environment  (Read 3447 times)
SexyLilDarkPaw
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« on: November 01, 2006, 06:52:36 PM »

The plan is to use BATCH scripting to make a USB portable "Roaming Profile" for XP based systems.  It would show up in the explore context menu of the USB drive as the second item.  When activated or launched it would redirect %USERPROFILE% to E:\%PortableProfile%.  Thus reading and writing to your application data folder history and cookies would take place on the usb key.  The programs you use would not follow you but the settings would.

for example any pc you go to and load VUE, you would run msnmsgr on their pc and it would see "E:\%portableprofile%\Application Data\MSN Messenger\" it would then load msn based on your settings, this would mean it would save your emoticons and your contacts nicknames, and how your organize them etc,.. so you wouldnt have to reconfigure for every pc. msn is just an example i think it would work other places too.

I also think after VUE loads it should refresh and and load "E:\%portableprofile%\application data\microsoft\Internet Explorer\Internet Explorer Wallpaper.bmp" as well as "E:\%portableprofile%\desktop\" this would replace the desktop wallpaper with yours and have your desktop shortcuts / icons and they would be arranged just how you like.  Start > my documents should link to "E:\%portableprofile%\My Documents" and so on.

My question to you all is do you think its possible  tellme or am i just crazy.  Technically roaming profiles exist for networks and store the info cached on the hard drive, i want to do the same thing except i want it on USB.  Now would you say its best to make a BATCH that abused the SET command and changes it all to what needs to be and when you unload the usb you must unload VUE first as to not corrupt the current user you like absorbed lol.  It would prolly be even more amazing to code an EXE loader maybe NSIS that would load off the USB and edit in memory and redirect all reads/writes and when you disconnect the USB drive it would have the original variables stored in ram [only like 1k text] that it would then reset upon the USB drive disconnecting.

Basically the idea is a Freeware version of U3/Ceedo, except it would be ten times better, and it would be compatible with all applications that are already install on the host pc.  Though this would not make apps portable, it would allow you to carry your desktop and documents as well as settings everywhere.  portable apps already exist but whats the fun without a portable profile  Grin.

Not sure if it can be done.. i am starting to try the SET command and browsing around in batch and i downloaded nsis but im a newb and never coded anything if anyone can do it or has a better idea, i would be very much interested.

-Felicia

P.S. sorry for the mega rant
« Last Edit: November 03, 2006, 09:41:08 AM by brotherS » Logged
jgpaiva
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2006, 07:03:44 PM »

I don't know how it can be done, but i think this could actually work. The problem is: what would happen if you tried to change the pointer to somewhere else while some programs are using files from that folder. Most probably, it wouldn't let you change the path.

But, if those programs are closed, possibly this could be done.
Also, please keep in mind that it'll only work for programs that use that place to store settings. (just warning because that's not the case of most the programs i use)
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SexyLilDarkPaw
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2006, 07:12:54 PM »

What if it were to End Process Tree explorer thus killing all open apps, and restart with whatever VUE loads *grins evilly* maybe a custom shell [AstonShell, Talisman, or bluebox, litestep etc,.]? also its very common that most programs store to your user profile.

Firefox, msn, & many more popular programs save to these dirs. =) What kind of programs do you use that don't save to the user profile, the ones that don't / shouldn't would only be system tools and why would you use system tools on someone else computer (I'm thinking user here not technician =P though that would be nice too lolz). Another example the newest version of winamp and others i believe let you choose to set your files to application data folder and have it custom settings for each folder =).

Also just now i noticed in System properties > advanced > user profiles > settings
you have the option to copy a profile.. i was thinking that would be a could start to copy say a default user profile, but it would get no where in the actual program working lol.

Can you give examples of mainstream programs or rare ones that it wouldn't work on (I'm just curious i love to try new programs).  The other thing is if they don't use it maybe it could find a work around for that.  I know John Haller and many many others use NSIS for loaders etc,.. to make apps portable and store their data on to the USB drive even some that don't use Application data folder are made to work.  I am starting to think NSIS is a better option than batch =\ haha batch was my only hope *cries* haha i don't know anything about NSIS or loaders for that matter.

thanks for the reply  smiley encouraging and thought provoking as always,

-Felicia

P.S. - Anyone know NSIS or like where to get guides on it? Any help would be nice  tongue
« Last Edit: November 01, 2006, 07:23:18 PM by SexyLilDarkPaw » Logged
jgpaiva
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2006, 07:26:33 PM »

Well... I could go on and on about programs that don't store anything there. For example, none of mouser's apps do, and those are vital for my computer usage. On the other hand, they can be ran directly from the usb drive, since they only store stuff in their own directories (as any decent app should Wink ). Also, the file explorer i use (www.xyplorer.com), also only stores stuff in its own dir.

Still, truth is that if these programs only store stuff in their own folder, i'm gessing they are already portable apps.
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SexyLilDarkPaw
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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2006, 07:42:03 PM »

Vital for usage huh  cheesy  haha such a wonderful compliment for Mouser.  tellme So if they are already portable whats the problem XD ?

So far i am debating with myself, we know U3 did it but i think they had it built-in to the hardware and some people found it inconvenient.  Not an option anyways i don't make USB drives lol.

Ceedo did it all software based, same concept works the same, less features then what i said.  The thing about ceedo that gets me is it doesn't work with some programs unless you download them specially packaged and install them to usb.  I can understand having a portable app on your USB.  but if you know its something on everyones pc why not save space and only keep the settings stored not the app  huh makes sense to me.  Like save you like using a program that is most definitely not portable, but you can save your settings and take them to multiple computers that already have it installed, that may not be a great as taking the app everywhere but it gives you a break by skipping inputting all your settings each time you go to a new pc.

Ultimate goal is to never have to reconfigure anything =P from scratch.  At my college every pc i login to i get msn autoloading when i don't want it too, msn auto pops up msn today, it sorts people by groups, and doesn't remember my custom groups, or it doesn't save my emoticons, doesn't save my display pic, i doesn't keep tracks of my desktop or my files on my desktop etc,..

I am sure many other people can see how tedious this gets, it is also annoying beause every time i open MS Word on another computer it brings up the registration for user thing and asks for my initial and name so it can register to my user account and say who wrote the document in the detailed info / metadata.  I honestly want it to feel like i am going to the same pc no matter where i am.  Comfort is a good thing to have ^_^ i am sure you can appreciate what i mean since youa re so dependant on Mouser's wonderful apps =P.

I think NSIS is the only option though, but like i said i havent done anything before so maybe someone has better ideas or knows an easy way to code in it.

-Felicia


P.S. http://windowsxp.mvps.org/usershellfolders.htm <- has an awesome list of the User shell folders as well as their registry keys.  It may be helpful. (XYPlorer is looking good on my desktop  Kiss)
« Last Edit: November 01, 2006, 08:05:05 PM by SexyLilDarkPaw » Logged
jgpaiva
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2006, 03:03:03 AM »

Oops.. Now i see the completeness of your idea. You are thinking about using it in computers without admin rights. That's definitelly a problem. I don't think it's possible to change that paths without having admin rights  Sad (even though i don't quite know how to change it using a program)
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SexyLilDarkPaw
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2006, 06:59:55 PM »

Actually strangely enough that still works out, admin on my laptop, admin on my desktop, and at school we are admins on the PC's themself but not the network.  we can install and uninstall and do w/e we want :-p computer labs and in the commons. =) they are confident in their security enough to give us that power i guess.  Almost every computer is stocked with games and stuff, they dont care because we pay them so much maybe?

But yeah ... be kind of tough for people who dont have admin at school, but its still great if you have multiple PC's or a laptop and want to synch settings and profiles and stuff =)
« Last Edit: November 02, 2006, 07:02:25 PM by SexyLilDarkPaw » Logged
sharpie
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2008, 10:02:55 PM »


Ceedo did it all software based, same concept works the same, less features then what i said.  The thing about ceedo that gets me is it doesn't work with some programs unless you download them specially packaged and install them to usb.  I can understand having a portable app on your USB.  but if you know its something on everyones pc why not save space and only keep the settings stored not the app  huh makes sense to me.  Like save you like using a program that is most definitely not portable, but you can save your settings and take them to multiple computers that already have it installed, that may not be a great as taking the app everywhere but it gives you a break by skipping inputting all your settings each time you go to a new pc.

-Felicia

I know that this is an old thread, but I feel that it is worth resurrecting it.

Ceedo has come a long way since Felicia made this post. Argo, which used to be called "Install Anything" is the Ceedo application installer, and can install a ton of regular unmodified software on a USB drive or portable hard drive that has Ceedo installed on it. MS Office is now supported (2000 through 2007 in XP, and 2000, 2003 and Office XP in Vista). .msi Application installations are pretty well supported, and this support is improving steadily. Apparently, .NET support is planned for the next release of Ceedo.

Ceedo is available for download as a trial version at http://ceedo.com.

One more thing: Argo used to be sold separately, raising the cost of Ceedo significantly, but now Argo and Ceedo are bundled on the same license, and the cost is around $39.00. Not a bad deal considering everything you can do with Ceedo.
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scancode
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2008, 10:39:42 PM »

Try this (last publicly available version): * JauntePE.rar (206.74 KB - downloaded 195 times.)

JauntePE is a simple utility that is designed to help you attempt to run non-portable applications in a portable manner. Its two main features are the redirection of registry modifications into a portable registry file and the redirection of special directory file system modifications into equivalent portable directories.
JauntePE accomplishs the "portablization" of applications through dll-injecting and api-hooking, allowing JauntePE to insert its runtime dll code into the launched application's created process so that JauntePE's runtime code is executed in place of the OS code that would otherwise allow the registry and file system modifications to occur that make the application unportable. The JauntePE runtime then analyzes the requests made and either executes its own code to portablize the request or, if it determines that no unnecessary modification will be made, allows the request to be processed by the OS as normal.

AND READ THE DOCS!

edit: added some info
« Last Edit: June 15, 2008, 10:48:34 PM by scancode » Logged

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