Executor – Challenger to the Launchy throne

Executor is a multi purpose launcher and a more advanced and customizable version of windows run. It allows you to pretty much ignore your start menu and do all kinds of time saving stuff from the Executor itself.

No doubt I’ve been in love with a similar application called Launchy for quite some time. Launchy is a free windows and linux utility designed to help you forget about your start menu, the icons on your desktop, and even your file manager. It indexes the programs in your start menu and can launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes!

Many have come, but Launchy still stands as the king. But Executor brings with it many features that Launchy doesn’t have and it might be time to make a switch.

One of the major differences between the two is Executor’s emphasis on keywords. Although it does text search for just about anything, Executor gives priority to user-assigned keywords for launching apps, documents, and folders. What’s more, you can assign a keyboard shortcut to any keyword for quick launches without even invoking Executor. It’s also has a small footprint on your system clocking in at just about 10 megs.

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Unstoppable Vista Hack Created

In a presentation at the Black Hat briefings, Mark Dowd of IBM Internet Security Systems (ISS) and Alexander Sotirov, of VMware Inc. will discuss the new methods they’ve found to get around Vista protections such as Address Space Layout Randomization(ASLR), Data Execution Prevention (DEP) and others. Essentially they’ve figured out a way to hack Vista using Java, ActiveX controls and .NET objects to load arbitrary content into Web browsers.

What they are indicating is that they have revealed a fatal flaw in Windows Vista which potentially blows the OS wide open and in such a way that it cannot be fixed. The attacks themselves are not based on any new vulnerabilities in IE or Vista, but instead take advantage of Vista’s fundamental architecture and the ways in which Microsoft chose to protect it.

Many of the defenses that Microsoft added to Vista and Windows Server 2008 are designed to stop host-based attacks. ASLR, for example, is meant to prevent attackers from predicting target memory addresses by randomly moving things such as a process’s stack, heap and libraries. That technique is useful against memory-corruption attacks, but Dai Zovi said that against Dowd’s and Sotirov’s methods, it would be of no use.

“This stuff just takes a knife to a large part of the security mesh Microsoft built into Vista,” Dai Zovi said. “If you think about the fact that .NET loads DLLs into the browser itself and then Microsoft assumes they’re safe because they’re .NET objects, you see that Microsoft didn’t think about the idea that these could be used as stepping stones for other attacks. This is a real tour de force.”

They go on to imply the approach can also potentially be applied to other operating systems such as Windows XP and Mac OSX (but not with this specific technique).

Read more at TechTarget or TrustedReviews

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Customize Vista before installing it

Windows Vista from Microsoft takes a lot of resources, we all know that. vLite provides you with an easy removal of the unwanted components in order to make Vista run faster and to your liking.

This tool doesn’t use any kind of hacking, all files and registry entries are protected as they would be if you install the unedited version only with the changes you select.

It configures the installation directly before the installation, meaning you’ll have to remake the ISO and reinstall it. This method is much cleaner, not to mention easier and more logical than doing it after installation on every reinstall. It allows for Service Pack slipstreaming too!

Grab vLite and check out more at the vLite site.

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Add Defragment to a Drives Right-Click Menu

Direct from HowToGeek comes instructions on adding a simple registry tweak that will allow you to add “Defragment” to the context menu on any drive when you right click it.

After manually applying or downloading the hack, you’ll have a new item on the right-click menu for your drives…

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Which will start up the command-line version of Disk Defragmenter (after accepting the UAC prompt)

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Manual Registry Hack

Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box, and then browse down to the following key:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive\shell

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Create a new key under shell called “runas”, and then set the (Default) value to “Defragment”. If you want to hide this menu item behind the Shift key right-click menu, then add a new string called Extended with no value.

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Next, you’ll need to create a key called “command” and set the default value to the following, which is the command to run defrag with the default options but show verbose output.

defrag %1 -v

You can alternately choose from one of the other defrag switches here if you’d like.

Downloadable Registry Hack

HowToGeek provides a downloadable registry hack to do all of this for you. Simply download, extract, and double-click on either AddDefragToDriveMenu.reg (for the regular menu) or AddDefragToExtendedDriveMenu.reg (to hide behind the Shift key). There’s also an included removal script that will remove either one.

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Automatic Defrag All Drives in Vista


By now most people have likely already upgraded to Windows Vista Service Pack 1, but one of the smaller feature upgrades might have passed most people by: You can now configure automatic defragmenting for All drives, as well as defragment all of your drives at the same time.

Set Automatic Defrag Options

Launch Disk Defragmenter by typing dfrgui into the start menu search or run box (or you could just search for defrag in the start menu or control panel)

Once you are there, you will notice the new “Select volumes” button that wasn’t there before Service Pack 1:

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This will launch a dialog where you can choose which drives should be automatically defragmented at the scheduled time:

Note: Vista SP1 most likely already scheduled all your drives to be defragmented by default so there’s really nothing to do but make sure you have the latest Vista Service Pack!

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