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Friday, August 10, 2012

Interactive Services Detection - Accessing Session 0 on demand via the command line

Note that the FireDaemon Pro installer enables the UI0Detect service plus allows you to switch to the Session 0 desktop via the FireDaemon GUI or CLI.

Also check out the FireDaemon Session 0 Viewer. It supersedes the method of switching to and remaining on Session 0 as outlined below.

Windows Vista introduced us to the concept of Session 0 Isolation. This was in response to the need to isolate highly privileged service applications from malicious applications running in user space. These malicious applications would attempt to inject arbitrary code via into the service application via the application's message loop. These attacks are classified as shatter attacks. The net effect of this is that interactive Windows services are only available on Session o (or the Console session). When you log on to your Vista, 2008 or Windows 7 machine you now no longer login to Session 0 but into Session 1. Session 0 Isolation becomes problematic when attempting to run applications under FireDaemon as the interactive component (ie. the application's "visible" GUI) is no longer visible on the currently logged on session. Luckily Microsoft supplies the Interactive Services Detection Service on Windows Vista, 2008 and 7 to allow you access to Session 0 so you can interact with any interactive services (including FireDaemon ones) running on that session. Enabling the Interactive Service Detection Service (UI0Detect - that's UI "zero" Detect) is completed fastest at the command line. You will need to be an administrator to do this. Open an elevated command prompt and type:

sc config ui0detect start= auto

followed by

sc start ui0detect

Interactive Services Detection

Once that is done you will notice the Interactive Services Detection popup in the Task Bar:

 

This dialog can be annoying and is easily dismissed by clicking on Ask me later. The problem then arises on how to switch to the Session 0 desktop when the Interactive Services Detection popup is not present? There are two undocumented system calls available which allow you to switch to and from Session 0: WinStationSwitchToServicesSession and WinStationRevertFromServicesSession. These two system calls only work if the Interactive Services Detection service is running. To switch to Session 0 enter the following at a command prompt:

 rundll32 winsta.dll,WinStationSwitchToServicesSession

Windows will switch desktop and you will find yourself on Session 0. You can then revert back to your logged in session by clicking on Return now or entering the following at a command prompt:

rundll32 winsta.dll,WinStationRevertFromServicesSession


Friday, July 13, 2012

How do I increase my game performance

Games often require you to have a fast computer.  Especially newer games. If you encounter 25 FPS or lower in your games, then something is slowing it and affecting your game performance. You should (if possible) be running a minimum of 30FPS at all times or else it will be difficult to play the game smoothly. The following steps will help you to increase your game performance: 1) Check your process list before starting your game.  Often anti-virus software and other applications that read or write to the hard drive will slow down your game performance.  Especially applications that defrag it, they really slow it down. 2) Defragging. Not only does it increase the life span of your hard drive, but it also makes games run faster.  Why?  It because it puts all the files that the game needs to run in one continuous space instead of spread out all over the hard drive.  You should defrag at least once a month, but better yet is daily (preferably during off hours like at night). The defragger built into windows cannot be scheduled so you'll either have to remember to run it periodically or use My Defrag.  It's a freeware defrag tool that can be scheduled. 3) If you did the two things above and your games are still performing poorly.  There's a few things you can do in-game to improve your game performance:

  • Screen Resolution: extremely high screen resolutions will really hurt game performance. : try reducing it to 1024x768.
  • Shadows: sure they add realism but they really put alot of strain on your video card.  Try putting them at low or even off.
  • Aniscopic Filtering: this makes objects ahead of you more clear.  It's a real game performance hog though so you should leave it disabled.
  • Anti Aliasing: this makes the edges of objects slightly blurry.  It also puts a lot of strain on your video card and unless you're really paying attention, you wont notice it most of the time so just leave it disabled for that extra performance boost.
  • Texture Quality: the last thing you can try is reducing texture quality.  Higher textures take up more video card memory.

If you tried all these things and your game is still performing badly than your only course of action is to upgrade your computer to increase your game performance. First look at your video card.  How much memory does it have?  If its less than 256MB, you really should upgrade it as most games today require at least 512MB to run smoothly with higher settings.  Also look at how much ram you have.  You should have at least 2GB on 32-bit windows.  Don't get higher than that on a 32-bit operating system because 32-bit windows is unable to enable more than 2.2 GB.  The best thing you can do is get 4GB but only on 64-bit windows (all the memory will be usable). If you want to run your game server as a Windows Service you can do so with FireDaemon Pro and Manage via the web/iPhone/iPad with Fusion. If you have any other tips on game performance, feel free to share them in the comments below.

 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Running TeamSpeak 3 Server As A Service With FireDaemon

Ran into this video today on Running TeamSpeak 3 Server under FireDaemon Pro.

http://youtu.be/p9DmUQUALQQ

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Scheduling a Service to run once per day

If you need a service to run once per day at a specific time and then exit, you can do so with the following

  1. Create your service as normal
  2. Set Settings -> Upon Program Exit -> Disabled (or Report the Termination)
  3. Set Scheduling -> Schedule a Restart -> At Specific Time

This will cause FireDaemon to run your app initially to completion. When the app quits FireDaemon doesn't restart it. At the "Specific Time" the app is run again and the cycle continues.

 

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

FireDaemon On Windows 8 and Server 2012

Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 are here with the new Metro interface. FireDaemon Pro and FireDaemon Fusion both install and run successfully on both versions of Windows. FireDaemon services can be successfully installed and run. Start In Session and Restart In Session also works. There is one issue that we have encountered with both Windows 8 and Server 2012 and that is the Interactive Services Detection service fails to run and bombs out with the error "The Interactive Services Detection service terminated with the following error: Incorrect Function". To fix this get into the Registry Editor and look for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Windows and change NoInteractiveServices from 1 to 0. Once you make that change you will see the Interactive Services Detection dialog and you can switch desktop over to Session 0.

 

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Are user passwords encrypted?

This was a question that was recently asked in a support ticket and it is a very good one.  For those of us who are concerned about security, this is very important. Rest assured though, the service password is not stored in the filesystem. When the service is created is it passed to the Service Control Manager where it is hashed and stored in the SAM.

 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Network Shares and FireDaemon

You can run an executable as a service under FireDaemon even if that executable resides on a network drive. In order to run an executable off of a network drive the following must occur or be true:

    1. The executable must be placed in a directory that is shared out
    2. The executable can be normally referenced via mapped drive (eg. L:\pathfile.exe) or via UNC path (eg. \\serversharepathfile.exe).
    3. Mapped drives or UNC paths can only be used if the service is run as a nominated local or domain user (see next point).
    4. If you intend to run the service as a nominated local or domain user then that user has must have permission to access the network resource (ie. share) in question. Further, if you want your application to Interact With The Desktop then you need to ensure that the local or domain user is in the Administrator's group.
    5. If you want to use a mapped drive then you are going to have to setup a Pre-Service Program to complete the mapping.
    6. The application working directory can be either a mapped drive or UNC path - however, if a UNC path is used, a trailing slash () must be supplied (eg. \\serversharepath).
See http://forums.firedaemon.com/threads/how-do-i-use-mapped-drives-and-or-unc-paths.38/ for more information.
Thursday, January 19, 2012

Unable to install FireDaemon

If you've ever encountered an error like "Installaware Wizard: Setup database not found" while trying to install FireDaemon or other applications, the reason is because your MSI database might be corrupt. The MSI database stores information about all installed MSI applications. To fix it, download the MSI Cleanup Utility from Microsoft from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290301 Ensure that you remove any remnants of the FireDaemon installer - then attempt to install again. Also look at deleting the MSI uninstaller. You will find it at a location similar to the following:

C:\Users\YOURACCOUNT\AppData\Loca\l{824BE5B1-A0FD-4187-A76C-E3E4E0203A66}

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pre-Post Service Executable's die before they run

If your Pre-Service or Post-Service executable is dying before it has a chance to run, the problem is that the execution time is too low. By default, it is set to 3000ms (3 Seconds). Try setting it to something higher (you might have to keep increasing until you find the proper time).

Pre-Post Service - Execution Time

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Quick Shortcuts to Services Control Panel, Event Viewer and Task Manager

If you need to access the Services Control Panel, Event Viewer or Task Manager there's a way to do it a lot faster. Rather than going through the run box, start menu, or right clicking my computer you can do it entirely through the FireDaemon window! Simply click the "File" menu and select your desired tool there.

FireDaemon Tools


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