How to run an elevated privilege ("as administrator") app on Windows startup

Submitted by Arktronic on 6 November 2013 - 2:26pm

Running an elevated application at startup time on Windows 8 is rather annoying. Normally, the easiest way to run anything at startup is to simply create a shortcut to it in %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup. Unfortunately when UAC is on, Windows will simply refuse to launch any shortcut at startup time if its properties are configured to run the application to which it points as administrator. In Windows 7 and below, disabling UAC let everything work just fine. Windows 8 changes matters by requiring UAC to be enabled in order for the Metro app sandbox to function - in other words, disabling UAC kills all Metro apps. You can still silence UAC (I do) but it's no longer reasonable to disable it.

Farewell, Windows Phone

Submitted by Arktronic on 29 March 2013 - 4:46pm

It was a gray afternoon, the kind that makes people long for rain just to break up the dreary monotony of the sky. I was nursing a scotch, which was by this point in time far too diluted for my taste, as the ice had long melted. As I lit my fifth cigarette I heard a dull thump outside. Must be the paper. Late as usual.

Spend time on your UX

Submitted by Arktronic on 12 December 2012 - 4:39pm

You're working on a killer new app. Or a small niche website. Or really any kind of human-facing software. If you're like most developers, your primary focus is on functionality: before anything else, it has to work. How can anybody disagree with that? If it doesn't work, then what's the point?

Digital trust issues

Submitted by Arktronic on 4 October 2012 - 10:12pm

I will freely admit that I have digital trust issues. In fact, I will go so far as to say that if you don't have these issues as well, then you are either not in the software engineering field, or you are being willfully ignorant. Allow me to explain my terminology and position.

Authentication, part two: are your users' passwords secure?

Submitted by Arktronic on 20 September 2012 - 11:26pm

In Authentication, part one I discussed the pros and cons of single sign-on, and if you've decided to use an SSO solution, that's great. However, if SSO doesn't fit your requirements, then you'll need to take care of storing your users' passwords. The first thing you should do when determining how to store passwords is apply the YAGNI principle. In other words, avoid overengineering.

Authentication, part one: what choices are out there?

Submitted by Arktronic on 18 September 2012 - 12:15am

Authentication is something that virtually every developer these days has dealt with at least once - and sometimes has purposely avoided increasing that particular counter. Security in general is hard to get right, and authentication is, arguably, at its heart. There is precious little out there today that has no need of authentication, so one would think that (1) by now there would be excellent, vetted, and widely-used authentication systems that can be plugged in to any app, and that (2) everyone uses such systems. Unfortunately, neither of those is actually true.

A good Windows console environment

Submitted by Arktronic on 8 September 2012 - 8:39pm

Sometimes I really miss the Linux shell on my Windows computers. I rely on too much Windows-specific stuff to actually switch to Linux for my everyday computing activities - not to mention Windows Phone development - but I do want more power from my commandline than cmd.exe provides by itself. I've customized my console experience pretty heavily on my Windows 8 laptop, and I'm pretty happy with it now. This post is both to help others do the same if they so wish, and to help me remember what I did for next time.

How to do a clean install of Windows 7 or 8 on Samsung Chronos laptops

Submitted by Arktronic on 5 August 2012 - 9:04pm

First, some background. I've got a new Samsung Series 7 NP700Z3A-S06US notebook (that name just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?) and the first thing I always do when I get a new computer that I didn't build myself is wipe everything off the hard drive(s) and install the operating system from scratch. This applies even to the "Microsoft Signature" computers, which are supposed to be bloatware-free, but still contain too much unnecessary stuff for my taste. So, when I looked over the installed software on this machine, I decided that I might as well do my usual thing and wipe it.

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