March 17, 2006

Vista Recording

Filed under: Vista — Marcus Tettmar @ 4:20 pm

Good news – we now have macro recording working nicely under Windows Vista. Macro Scheduler is able to run at the “asInvoker” level, marked as a “uiAccess” application, meaning it does not need to “elevate” and can interact with other processes – so any level of user can run it and record macros successfully.

The next challenge is to consider the scheduler service under Vista. At present admin privileges are required to start the scheduler service. Only administrators can install services anyway, so we will probably make the Macro Scheduler installer detect whether or not the user is an administrator and only install the services if the user has administrative privileges. However, Vista no longer even supports interactive services, which are needed for UI automation macros to work, so at this stage I’m not even sure if a Vista scheduler service is feasible or beneficial. In addition AutoLogon, if at all possible, will need completely re-engineering as the entire logon system changes in Vista. So we are currently looking at the feasibility of AutoLogon in Vista and how it might be achieved if it is even possible. Watch this space ….

Having used Vista for a while now, I can see the majority of users disabling User Account Control in Vista and going back to the old way of doing things – by running everything as Admin. Microsoft has done a lot of work to make Vista more secure, but the downside is the extra loops a user has to go through. For example – with a new Vista install (latest release) and no system changes – so an out-of-the-box install – I wanted to make a new directory in Windows Explorer. On doing so a box pops up saying “You aren’t allowed to do that, but do you want to do it anyway” (or something to that effect). So I click “yes”. Then another box pops up saying “Allow file control to run?”. So I click “yes”, again. So now I have a new folder called “New Folder”. Now, of course, as usual I want to rename it – I don’t want it called “New Folder”. So I hit F2. A box pops up saying “You’re not allowed to rename the folder, but do you want to do it anyway?”. So I click “yes”. Then another box says something like “Allow file control to run?”. So I click “Yes” again. Finally I can rename the folder. Phew! All that to create a new folder!? Four extra clicks! By disabling UAC and running as Admin I’d have none of that. Progress? I’m not so sure. What made Windows successful was it’s ease of use. But it is not known for being the most secure operating system. Perhaps you can have one but not the other. It seems that the more secure something is the less friendly it becomes to use, because by definition you need more controls and warnings. So it remains to be seen what happens when Vista rolls out. Perhaps by then they’d have made things simpler. If not I can see people switching off all that new technology that Microsoft have worked so hard on …