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Author Topic: Requesting input for new config automation program  (Read 2106 times)

broken85

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Requesting input for new config automation program
« on: May 25, 2006, 01:45:19 AM »
The Problem:
I'm a gamer who wants Windows to be slimmed down, streamlined, and generally clear of all extensions and extra services or clutter that may interfere with gameplay. But that's not all. I'm also a musician who wants my studio software and all related applications running, but everything else disabled or turned off to leave as many resources free for audio processing as possible. But that's not all. I'm also a power user, web designer, programmer, etc. I don't like constantly changing settings, starting and stopping services, etc. But I hate compromising.

The Concept:
I want some kind of automation of the constant system config changes that need to be made to accommodate whatever I may be working on. But I don't want to write a bunch of batch files, because my needs are constantly changing and constantly editing code is not my idea of a streamlined process. What if there was a piece of software that allowed me to set up specific "modes" for my computing experience so that I could switch between them at will easily.

My Solution:
Enter ModeSwitch XP. Or at least that's what I'm calling it for now. It's a small Windows program with a GUI interface, allowing for an unlimited number of totally customizable "modes" all accessible with a click of the mouse. Every mode can have its own independent settings for:
-Starting and stopping any number of Windows services
-Closing (or killing) any running processes (predefined lists can be selected whether or not the process is currently running)
-Starting and number of applications (or scripts, or anything else that can be executed)
-Changing any of the Windows XP Visual options (eg. animations, theme support, menu fading, etc)
-Changing windows display settings (color depth, resolution, refresh rate, etc)
-Setting a number of "advanced" options (eg. registry and other tweaks)

Essentially, all of the points above can be individually enabled or disabled for every mode (so, for instance, you can have your Gaming mode change your resolution to a specific value, while having your other modes leave the settings at whatever they were before). Any option that is enabled has a button bringing up the properties for that option. For security, since some people may not want others changing their computer settings so easily, I'm going to add password support for the entire program (eg. you can run the program but cannot modify or activate any modes without the password, if so desired). In future versions I hope to add password support on a per-mode basis as well.

I also hope to add support for setting options for common video cards (eg. nvidia and and ATI Radeons), though that may not be available initially. I don't want to add tons of unneeded features and end up with a bloated "all-in-one" pile of junk, so I'm starting off with the basics and will add more features as I find there is a desire to have.

I have come to really love this site and these forums over the past week or two, and value the opinions and ideas of everyone who is a part of it. I'd love to get some feedback before my initial release of the software so that I can try to include all the basic features you all want. What am I forgetting? What could I do better/different? Any suggestions or ideas that may relate to the program?

I've got a server with plenty of bandwidth and can host the files, but perhaps it could be included with the other software available on this site when it is ready? I'm hoping some of you will be kind enough to help me work through a few initial releases before opening it up to the general public, but that won't be for a little while anyhow. I'll post some screenshots and a feature list when I'm able as well. Thanks everyone; I look forward to getting some input on this.

-Ben
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Ben M

Rover

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Re: Requesting input for new config automation program
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2006, 09:54:29 AM »
broken85 - this may be of interest to you: http://juice.altiris.com/svs

Quote from: Their wiki
Software Virtualization Solution (SVS) is a new offering from Altiris that isolates applications and data and allows you to instantly add, remove or reset applications on a Windows workstation. With SVS installed you can completely avoid conflicts between applications or even between different versions of the same application.

Creating a "virtualized" application is a fairly straightforward process. However, our early-adopters have proven that virtualization can be as much art as it is science. That's why we created this Wiki area for software virtualization best practices.

It sounds like it's what you're looking for.  I looked at this a few weeks ago and the core of their system is a virtual file system that hides applications, dlls, etc. that you don't want in use.  I'm sure there is more to it than that to manage running processes, etc.

Good luck.
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broken85

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Re: Requesting input for new config automation program
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2006, 10:26:18 AM »
Hello,

Thanks for the response. That software looks interesting, but I'm not sure that it's exactly what I'm looking for. It sounds like it's able to do some of the things I'm looking for, and maybe even all of them, but I'd like to have a solution that can work on the fly no matter how software was installed.

I just want a very basic solution for preconfiguring different computing "modes" that lets me change both software and core windows settings, starting/stopping services (including those that were installed with Windows that can be stopped), etc. That would be superior in my opinion for what I'm looking to do, and it'll save me from having to buy more software.

I'm hoping there will be others that find my app useful as well, but it'll be there just incase either way :)

Thanks again for the post. Virtualization software looks pretty cool, and sounds like something I need to try out.

-Ben
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Ben M

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Re: Requesting input for new config automation program
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2006, 10:43:59 AM »
ben,
actually your idea is one i know will be popular; aspects of it have come up several times in this forum in different circumstances, with regard to modes that would:
  • change the size+layout of existing windows.
  • start and stop different programs.
  • change visual appearance.

i think it's defintiely something worth pursuing.
You'll get lots of beta testing here i'm sure and lot's of suggestions once you get started.