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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So, since I was curious about how that worked, I tried to figure out how to identify superseded patches and started to script my own, open source (it's a .bat file, not obfuscated) solution that should give similar results — albeit with a much less sexy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 a few 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 my script causes an issue, they're more likely to be able to clearly explain it and maybe even solve it by themselves.

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

Feel free to reply with any constructive criticism!

General Software Discussion / Image editor with a zoom reticle?
« on: July 25, 2019, 05:46 AM »
Hey there,

I've been wondering if there is any image editor out there (or maybe a plug-in for an existing image editor), preferably freeware, where the user can press or hold a key to activate a zoom reticle over a very localized area.

The point being: while helping my users via remote control, I often want to take screenshots of a specific window to document the issues they're having, however I can't exactly do that with Alt+Printscreen due to the active window on my end being the remote control software's.
So what I do is take screenshots of my whole monitor, which I then have to crop as I want to show only the relevant window(s).

However, I'm a bit of a maniac when it comes to cropping, and as much as possible, I want to avoid having a few lines of pixels that aren't part of the window showing on the edges, or the window's picture to have missing pixels — yeah, I should probably take some kind of medication for that ^^'.

So I use the zoom feature from whichever picture editor I have at hand, so I can see the individual pixels while making my rectangular selection, but then the whole picture is zoomed in and unless it's actually quite small, I can't see both the top left and bottom right corner at the same time, which is annoying.

Thus the idea of a zoom reticle which could be activated and deactivated with a keypress (or by holding a key).

I did try using Windows' magnifying glass, but its zoom is blurry and not "pixel perfect" — I guess they wanted it to have some kind of antialiasing.

Does anyone know of an image editor which includes that feature, or has/could have a plug-in which does that?

Failing that, maybe an alternate magnifying glass software which could be enabled and disabled from the keyboard (so I don't need to move the mouse to disable it), and if possible would even allow slowing the mouse movement when it's active? Obviously, it should allow to see exactly where the mouse cursor is.

If not, then I guess that could be a coding snack…

Hello there .o/

Intro (to skip, go to the next bold text)
One of my colleagues has been working lately on making and documenting a procedure to automatically install an OS on a specific model of computer using SCCM.

While his process works fine, his documentation looks awful, mostly due to the quality of his pictures, which he made by taking photos of the screen with a phone while performing the procedure :(

I can easily take better quality pictures of most of the process by performing it in a virtual machine, however as far as I know, I can't have the VM's BIOS be identical to that of our real hardware (?)

I've already tried to decrease the color depth of his photos to 16 or 256 with IrfanView, with or without dithering, but the results always look pretty bad :/

Another option would be for me to re-type *everything* that appears on the screen and maybe add ANSI escape codes for color, but that would be very time consuming and could cause adding typos...

And this is why I would like … End of Intro
… a program that would take a picture, and decrease the color depth of each pixel to the nearest one that specifically exists in the palette that text mode DOS/Windows console can use (see color /? from the command line if needed).

I've seen that there is a program here: which does something kind of similar, however from what I understand, there would be a few issues with trying to use that one for my needs:
- it would most likely try to replace every colored area with characters of its own choice
- it "works best" with 80 pixels wide pictures, which would obviously would make the pictures I want to "convert" unreadable, at 1 only pixel per character

Does someone know of such a program? Or does one of you want to give a try to making it?

Skwire Empire / Spews : about the automatic switch delay
« on: April 05, 2018, 08:47 AM »
Hi there .o/

I've noticed something: I recently set the automatic wallpaper switching delay to 240 hours, but after exiting the program and starting it again, I see it has been set to 100 hours instead of the 240 I had chosen.

I guess it's a limit that has been set on purpose (?)
Anyway, would it be possible to let the user also choose "days" for the time delay unit?

Also, I just tested (with version 1.0.8) and setting the delay to 0 seconds just makes it switch wallpapers very quickly (as fast as it can, I guess). Would it be possible to make it so that when set to 0 seconds, it disables automatic switching (while still letting the user manually switch with the previous/next wallpaper hotkeys, and/or keeping the switch at startup)?

Note: made a new thread because of the message about the original thread's last reply being more than 360 days old.

Hello there .o/

I've been looking for a while but didn't find any way to force programs under Windows 7 to use the "Common File Dialog" (as shown here: ) instead of the newer "Common item Dialog" ( illlustrated there: ).

Would anyone here know of some way, or perhaps be able to create some sort of "hack"/utility which would do that?
I really hate the newer dialog that shows that whole tree filled with folders I don't usually need to access, while the older dialog and its customizable "Places bar" was just fine.

Thanks for your replies :}

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