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Author Topic: SquidGirlCleaner: open source superseded update (re)mover - testers wanted!  (Read 484 times)

ConstanceJill

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Hello there :)

As some of you may be aware, Windows' "C:\Windows\Installer" folder tends to grow increasingly larger as time passes and more updates get applied to programs which rely on Windows Installer — especially if you've had the same version of Microsoft Office for a few years and let Windows Update do its thing automatically.

There are various solutions to this problem such as:

  • reinstalling the system from scratch: huh, overkill much?
  • completely uninstalling the big programs/software suites that had multiple updates in the past, and reinstalling them (if still needed) with only the latest, current patches: while less overkill than a complete system reinstall, it's still not a very practical solution
  • moving the folder to a different drive and making a hard link to it: may not always be feasible, especially if you have a laptop with no room to add another internal storage drive… also, while that's kind of clever, it's only a workaround that doesn't really address the main problem
  • using a dedicated cleaning tool such as PatchCleaner: IMHO, that appears to be the best option

However, some people may have trust issues with PatchCleaner because it is closed source.

So, since I was curious about how that worked, I tried to figure out how to identify superseded patches and started to script my own, open source (it's a .bat file, not compiled or obfuscated) solution that should give similar results — albeit with a much less sexy interface and less options, but the more suspicious people can actually inspect the code!

A few words of caution, though:
  • I've only tested it on very few (less than 5) computers so far, all running the same version of Windows (7)
  • while I've not noticed any issue after using my script to "clean up" those (again very few) computers I did test it on, and had no problem applying the august 2019 security updates for MS Office 2010/2013 on them, I cannot tell for sure if there won't be issues later on
  • I'm not even a programmer, which I guess increases the probability for this script to not be extremely reliable ^^'

This is why I need testers, preferably technically inclined ones for now, so that if when my script does cause issues, they're more likely to be able to clearly explain it and maybe even solve it by themselves.

I've included a warning message on a red background when you start the script as an attempt to make people think twice about running experimental stuff that hasn't been tested much yet ;D

With that being said, the script is in the attachment.

Feel free to reply with any constructive criticism!

nickodemos

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Found three orphans at 78MB in total.

ConstanceJill

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That's not much. Was your system installed recently? Do you perhaps not have MS Office on it? Or maybe you used another cleaning tool already which may have removed most of the unneeded updates?

nickodemos

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Installed around ten months back.

No MS office installed. I have not had a need for it since I graduated from college.

And yes the system has been cleaned before.

ConstanceJill

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Hmm while re-reading my own code, I noticed a bug in one of the functions (regread): while attempting to optimize it after debugging it, I went a bit overzealous and removed the line that set the "Value" variable, which would have been used if we tried to read the data from any registry value with 1 or more spaces in its name.

However none of the registry values we need to read has any, which is why it has no effect on the outcome of the script, so that alone is not worth publishing an updated version for. Still, it will be fixed in the "final" version.

Edit: found another minor bug: if the script was called by double clicking it instead of from an already opened command prompt, the script's window closes at the end, while it should stay open and pause to let the user read the statistics.
Again, it doesn't seem worth publishing an update yet, but will be fixed.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 04:27 AM by ConstanceJill »

Shades

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Same here. 3 Year old Win 10 installation with Office 2010 on it.

But in my case, I go out of my way to use portable applications and if not available, I'll try to make the application 'portable' myself and if that doesn't work, the application will be removed. Having said the above, it does require me to install stuff on a semi-regular basis, so I thought your script to be useful in finding out how much crap remains, even after software has been removed (using Revo UnInstaller). But that is the extent of cleaning I have done on this particular computer.

If it is of any help, your script returned 2 orphans, one of them was: ccc-utility64. The other: Microsoft SQL Server Data-Tier Application Framework (x86).

ConstanceJill

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OK, thank you for letting me know the results :)

Hmm I don't know if it's an effect of the summer vacation or if I should have tried to scare people a bit less, but only 2 answers in 2 days seems a bit low. I also didn't expect the testers to have such clean systems already xD

Deozaan

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I downloaded it and was going to test it, but the warning scared me off. :D

ConstanceJill

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Hmm perhaps I should replace the message with something like "it's advised to make a backup or your system before you use this script", and maybe remove the red background, then? ^^'

ConstanceJill

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Alright, I have news: I made a new version, which is significantly faster than the previous one.

The speed change is mostly due to a major change in the algorithm: instead of starting from the list of files in %windir%\Installer and, for each and every one of them, searching for a match through potentially hundreds of registry keys, we start by looking at the registry and creating lists of known files, and patches with their current state. Then we work with those lists' contents.

The new version is attached to this post. I'm not sure if I should (or even can) change the attachment to the initial post (?)