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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Useful Software: TreeSize Free

TreeSize Free is a great tool that shows you all the files and folders on your hard drive and the size of them.  It's great to use when you're running out of hard drive space and you want to deleted something but don't know what.

TreeSize Free

Several years ago i ran this tool, and discovered a 2GB page file that wasnt used for several years.  I deleted it and recovered 2GB so i didnt need to buy a new hard drive right away. TreeSize Free is freeware and you can download it at http://www.jam-software.com/freeware/index.shtml. Wikipedia article is here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TreeSize. The latest version is compatible with Windows 2000/XP/Vista. Version 2.1 is compatible with Windows 9x/ME.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Useful Software: Moo0 SystemMonitor

Moo0 SystemMonitor is an application that displays various system statistics right on your desktop.  It has a large variety of sensors like CPU usage per core, free memory, hard drive temperature,  incoming and outgoing bandwidth and much much more. It doesn't use too many system resources (ive noticed on 2 server systems and 1 client system that it uses around 20MB of memory and between 0.20% to 1.3% CPU).  It's an especially useful application to use on a server since you can monitor everything going on in one central location. You can change skins, increase/decrease the font size, change transparency, dock it, auto hide it, change the layout and more.

 Moo0 SystemMonitor

You can download Moo0 SystemMonitor from http://www.moo0.com/software/SystemMonitor/ Moo0 SystemMonitor is freeware and is compatible with Windows XP/2003/Vista

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.

 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Useful Software: Bitvise WinSSHD, an easy to use SSH server which includes secure remote access

Bitvise WinSSHD is an easy to use SSH server which includes Secure remote access via console (vt100, xterm and bvterm supported), Secure remote access via GUI (Remote Desktop or WinVNC required), Secure file transfer using SFTP and SCP (compatible with all major clients) and Secure TCP/IP connection tunneling (port forwarding). If you're worried about security or want to harden your existing setup, then adding SSH on top of your RDP connection is the way to go. By default RDP is not entirely secure because the encryption it provides is only half-way meaning that it does not encrypt usernames and passwords. With SSH, you can encrypt the entire connection!

WinSSHD There are other SSH server's on the market, but they are very complex to set up. WinSSHD is free for individual/personal use and requires license purchase when used in a commercial environment. You can download it at http://www.bitvise.com/winsshd

Friday, October 28, 2011

Useful Software: Bitvise Tunnelier - an easy to use SSH client

Bitvise Tunnelier is an easy to use SSH client "which includes state of the art terminal emulation, graphical as well as command-line SFTP support, an FTP-to-SFTP bridge, powerful tunneling features including dynamic port forwarding through integrated proxy, and also remote administration for the SSH server, WinSSHD".

Bitvise Tunnelier I've used Putty in the past and putty was confusing, but this application makes connecting to SSH a breeze. You can even generate Public/Private keys! Tunnelier is free for individual use and requires license purchase when used by more than 1 person. You can download it from http://www.bitvise.com/tunnelier

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Useful Software: freeFTPd - free and most secure sFTP Server available

FTP by itself is very insecure. Passwords are sent in plaintext over the internet; there is no encryption. You can set up FTP with an SSL certificate, but it can be complicated. This is where sFTP comes in. sFTP is FTP encryped with an SSH layer. freeFTPd is a free sFTP server. It's very easy to set up the server, set up users, view logs etc. Its a lot more secure than FTP. To give you an example of how much more secure it is, the strongest SSL certificate is 256 bits. With SSH you can go all the way up to 4096 bits!

freeFTPd

freeFTPd is freeware and compatible with any Windows NT based system (eg. XP, Vista, 7, 2003, 2008). You can download it from http://www.freesshd.com/?ctt=overview


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