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LiVista Rescup


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#1 mihi

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 08:14 PM

Hello,

hope I am right here. If not please tell me :thumbsup:

I have been tinkering with a Vista DVD for some time, tried a lot and unfortunately most things did not work for me (like mounting the install.wim from the Setup or increasing the ramdisk size while it was running).

Now I found a way to load Windows Explorer (including taskbar) from an original Vista Setup disk (with just a 300K file stored on a floppy or an USB pen). I'd like to make this even better so that you can have most parts of Windows (maybe optionally, since the ramdisk of Vista Setup is a bit small) just by booting from a disk that soon most people will have.

It will hopefully be easier to share than PeBuilder or WinBuilder (i.e. there are no m$ files in the tool, so there is no need to build again on every PC).

If anyone wants to share his knowledge with me and help me in building such a thing, post here or as a comment on my "development blog" site: http://rescup.wordpress.com

If you like the idea, please give feedback as well on how to improve it.

Download link for current version (which is mostly batch scripts and 7-zip) is on my blog site as well.

Have fun, and happy hacking,

mihi

#2 was_jaclaz

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 07:37 AM

VERY interesting :thumbsup:

jaclaz

P.S.: Rather obviously, I am not gonna download/install Adobe Reader 8 to get those files :D to have a look at them!

Please feel free to post here and put the files (.zip or .7z) as an attachment.

Also, check what can be done in 800 Kb:
http://blog.kowalczy...are/sumatrapdf/

#3 mihi

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 07:00 PM

VERY interesting :thumbsup:

jaclaz

P.S.: Rather obviously, I am not gonna download/install Adobe Reader 8 to get those files :D to have a look at them!

Please feel free to post here and put the files (.zip or .7z) as an attachment.


Here you are.

Also, check what can be done in 800 Kb:
http://blog.kowalczy...are/sumatrapdf/


[off-topic]
1) Latest version is 1104KB
2) This is the first site where I had to reenable cross-domain referrer sending for downloading the file (if not, I am just returned to the download page again and again).
3) That is a bit too minimalistic for me. Yes I know that there are small PDF renderers available (JPeDal lib is another example) that can render 99.9% of all PDFs. But broken fonts in the rare 0.1% cases, or even the inability of clicking intra-document links make them no real alternative for me. On Linux I use xpdf myself (and only acroread if I have to), but on Windows...
4) Is there a way to view current page number or goto page number? Or to create bookmarks inside the document? Otherwise reading long ebooks is almost impossible...
[/off-topic]

mihi

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#4 TheHive

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 08:49 AM

Suggestion to include a readme with the details on how it works and stuff in the zip attached.
This is very small and interesting.

P.S! Welcome to the Community.

#5 risolutore

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 03:58 PM

I visited the blog of LiVista, but I think that we all need uou to include a readme with the details on how it works.

#6 ktp

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 07:40 AM

After unzipping the zip from mihi, in fact you must first rename rescup.bat to rescup.dat, then rename rescup.txt to rescup.bat.
Then inside the Vista recovery environment, run the rescup.bat (from floppy or USB key).

#7 mihi

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 11:44 AM

Sorry for the delay. I will post more info about it (and a new version) soon at http://rescup.winbuilder.net/ (yes I know the webspace is empty now, just give me one more week :thumbsup: )

I will announce it here then.

#8 mihi

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 05:50 PM

Sorry for the delay. I will post more info about it (and a new version) soon at http://rescup.winbuilder.net/ (yes I know the webspace is empty now, just give me one more week :tabletalk: )

I will announce it here then.


Okay, there is a new version, with a small exe file inside that makes it even nicer :thumbsup:

Release is at http://rescup.winbui...escup-0.0.2.zip
Readme file is included in release.

Source code of everything is in Subversion repository at http://rescup.winbuilder.net/svnroot/

What's new? http://rescup.wordpr...king-it-better/

Homepage is still empty, but hopefully I will find time to make a nice website for it.

mihi

#9 was_jaclaz

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 06:17 PM

Readme file is included in release.


If it is, it's VERY well hidden! :tabletalk:

I guess that for the moment getting the .pdf:
http://rescup.winbui...escup-0.0.1.pdf

is advisable :D

:thumbsup:

jaclaz

#10 mihi

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 06:43 PM

If it is, it's VERY well hidden! :thumbsup:


Oh dear. Can you please download again and look it it is less well hidden now? :tabletalk:

mihi

#11 was_jaclaz

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 06:52 PM

Oh dear. Can you please download again and look it it is less well hidden now? :tabletalk:

mihi

Everything is cool now :thumbsup:

Just in case, here is a quote from it, so people will be able to understand what it is before downloading it:

LiVista Rescup
==============

What is LiVista Rescup?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

LiVista Rescup is a program that you can store on a USB pen drive or
floppy disk and run from within the Vista Setup. It will automagically
load a nice environment (with taskbar, explorer etc.) you can use as a
rescue system.

Usage
~~~~~
- Copy rescup.bat and rescup.dat onto a USB stick or onto a floppy
drive.
- Boot Windows Vista Setup. When using an USB key, attach the USB key
before booting the setup. Wait until the welcome screen appears.
- Confirm the first two dialogs, by clicking "Next" and "Install Now".
- The background changes color and the product key dialog appears
- Now press Shift+F10.
- You may now run notepad and use its File|Open command to determine
the drive letter of your USB stick. Close notepad again.
- When using a floppy, insert the floppy now and enter A:\rescup at the prompt.
When using an USB key, run L:\rescup at the prompt (replace the
drive letter appropriately)
- Select the Edition of Windows Vista to use the files from and press OK.
- Select additional components to load and press OK.
- Wait until you see the task bar appears
- You can now load an explorer by selecting "Computer" from the start menu.
- You can also run any portable apps you have on your USB key.
- When finished with using the rescue system, open the start menu and
enter
x:\rescup\rescman.exe /shutdown
to shutdown the PC.


:D

jaclaz

#12 mihi

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 09:01 PM

For those of you who want to add more components to livista rescup:
http://rescup.wordpr...own-components/

#13 Nuno Brito

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 11:15 PM

Why don't you create a winbuilder project and take advantage of the built-in tools along with the growing repository of app scripts that add all sort of components?

- would allow downloading updated files
- easier to sort which scripts to run or not
- dependencie checks to enable a script

I can help you with the initial project design if you wish as it would be good to work together and could surely boost the functionality as winbuilder.exe is also standalone and sized in ~800kb

The only obstacle is likely the need for IE to be installed for downloading files but I'm already working to remove this dependency on version 075.

:thumbsup:

#14 mihi

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 12:17 AM

Why don't you create a winbuilder project and take advantage of the built-in tools along with the growing repository of app scripts that add all sort of components?


Most likely because I don't really know what winbuilder can do, or because I am illiterate in Delphi and are helpless if I cannot fix a Delphi program problem myself... For me, WinBuilder is a tool to add third-party apps (like your favourite browser, antivirus, etc.) to a live cd and to burn that CD. But I don't want to add third-party apps to Livista Rescup, but use the tools that are already on the Vista DVD (like Internet Explorer, or Paint/WordPad, or the games, or the .NET framework). And I don't think there are many modules available for winbuilder that do that (correct me if i am wrong please).

For a third party app, I can eihter try to integrate "Foo" to LiVista Rescup and store that one on USB, or put "PortableFoo" onto my USB and can as well use it in lots of more situations (like when I'm in an inet cafe or at friends). So the "PortableFoo" solution is IMHO preferrable to adding lots of "Foo" to Livista Rescup. On the other hand, scripts to add IE or .NET framework are a few kilobytes of settings only, since you can extract the original files from the install.wim on the vista dvd.

In addition, using 7zip to extract files takes a lot of time to scan the archive, and only very little time to extract the files (in other word, extracting 20 files takes about the same time as extracting one file), which is the reason I had to abandon my idea to use just batch files for everything: every batch file extracts one or two dlls. With rescman, all the extract commands are collected and passed at once to 7zip so that it extracts all the files at once.

Now you know why I invented a component format for my own. And now I want to know in what way winbuilder can help me here :D

I'm very open to other's ideas, it's just that I cannot see the benefit currently :D

- would allow downloading updated files


while running from the live system? Nice idea :thumbsup:
That reminds me that I need to figure out a way how to load (network) drivers while the system is running :tabletalk: Most LiveCDs just add the drivers to the Windows directory as far as I know, but that is not an option for me because Windows does not recognize new drivers there automatically (if it already recognized the hardware before). And there is no add hardware wizard in the vista setup either - would be very inconvenient anyway because when you install vista there is no need for installing sound and network drivers just for the installation B)

- easier to sort which scripts to run or not
- dependencie checks to enable a script


At runtime? BTW my dependency checking works as well :D

I can help you with the initial project design if you wish as it would be good to work together and could surely boost the functionality as winbuilder.exe is also standalone and sized in ~800kb


I'm open to your suggestions.

The only obstacle is likely the need for IE to be installed for downloading files but I'm already working to remove this dependency on version 075.


Getting IE running should be possible as explorer is already running. B) If not, just extract the components you need from install.wim, they are surely in there.

mihi

#15 Nuno Brito

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 12:53 AM

It's not difficult to understand once you start tinkering with scripts.

They are not delphi based, just text files that contain the instructions of the things that you want to do.

Each script has a [main] section.

On this section you can write a property called "Level" and all scripts are organized from top to bottom according to their level number.

Level=1 will place the script on top while Level=10 will drag it to the bottom.

If same scripts share the same level they are grouped and sorted alphabetically.

To organize scripts you can create folders and subfolders which are then reflected on the main window of wb, this is particulary good to have separate folders for settings, drivers, components, etc.

-----------

We've been working a lot on the concept of "app scripts" which allows for users to add programs on their projects. The good part is that these app scripts follow a few common standard rules which makes it possible to be used directly on your project without any changes - good for people who wish to add/run their favourite tools without need to code anything.


The repository is very extensive and the user can select whichever apps we wants to run/add.

-----

Each script can have their own UI - where you add buttons, text, images, weblinks, etc.

You can also run other external programs (in hidden mode if needed) and log all operations to know if something went wrong.

The coding language allows to add/remove registry keys, manage INI files or copy a large portion of files with progress indicator.

----

To test the editor, open up wb - select a script and click on the edit button to see the functions available.

Fn9f_y3fFVY

No need to memorize any coding language - there's a source code editor tab - use the right-click to browse all available commands.

There's also a lot of info on the tutorial section and ispy also created a neat guide here: http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=4264

---

I guess that the biggest advantage is the possibility of users to simply click&download which components they want to add directly on their USB pendrives from anywhere.

One other feature I'm looking forward to add on v.075 is automatic USB detection - the end user only needs to plug-in the target usb disk and the script will know the target drive to use.

Already added this feature on another app which will be available soon.

Would be good to share a lot of work that has been done for quite some time now and see it well applied on this project to have excellent results.

:thumbsup:

#16 mihi

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 12:42 AM

I guess that the biggest advantage is the possibility of users to simply click&download which components they want to add directly on their USB pendrives from anywhere.


Will it be possible to run WinBuilder from USB stick to select (again) which components to install to the ramdisk at runtime? It is not only which components to add to your USB stick, but also which of them to load into the ramdisk.

I played around with Winbuilder a bit today, but did not find how to start a project from scratch? It lets me go into the editor only after I downloaded some file.
Also, I don't really get (as of now) how the stuff is glued together - i. e. will it only do things in the scripts or will it do anything else (like assuming a drive to store stuff into or something)? And for things it cannot do, I guess I will have to call an external application? (no such thing as plugin support in Delphi...?)

If you can find the time, it would be nice if you gave me some example how to build a project like mine which is not primarily focused on building an ISO image *g* so that scripts from others can work there too. It need not be quickly, since next week my vacation is over again and I have some other higher-prio things to do as well :thumbsup:

mihi

#17 dennis123123

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 07:31 PM

Sorry for the bump if this project has been nearly abandoned ( :) ), but I am new to this and find it very interesting.

Would somebody please explain (in terms of batch file/pseudocode/etc - i'm no good with VB!) how the program manages to close/hide the vista setup dialog without a reboot being forced?

I am at the moment trying to get a greater understanding of this neat idea :)

#18 mihi

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 10:13 PM

Would somebody please explain (in terms of batch file/pseudocode/etc - i'm no good with VB!) how the program manages to close/hide the vista setup dialog without a reboot being forced?


It sets the main thread of WINPESHL.EXE (which does nothing else than wait for setup to quit) into the Suspended state using the SuspendThread WINAPI function.

If you want to do that manually, start up Sysinternals Process Explorer, right-click WINPESHL.EXE and select Suspend.

Afterwards, you can easily close or kill the setup window.

I don't know if it is possible to do that from a batch file.
From VB you have to do the same as from C++ (or from Delphi) - CreateToolHelpSnapshot, Process32First, Process32Next until you find the right PID, Thread32First, OpenThread, SuspendThread, CloseThread.

Hiding the window should work as well, but since the setup process needs a considerable amount of RAM I preferred to kill it completely.

mihi

#19 dennis123123

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 10:48 PM

Thanks for that quick reply :)

Great explanation, i had a play with Process Explorer like you described and it works (I suppose you knew that! :) )

And i'm with you and many others on your last point, grrrr :) at the amount of ram/hdd space stuff uses nowadays!

little question: winpeshl - in the previous winPE 2003 iirc it was the loader microsoft gave us to be used in conjunction with another shell via an ini file to circumvent the default 6 process limitation with cmd as the shell, i guess this no longer applies in winpe2?

#20 mihi

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 10:57 PM

little question: winpeshl - in the previous winPE 2003 iirc it was the loader microsoft gave us to be used in conjunction with another shell via an ini file to circumvent the default 6 process limitation with cmd as the shell, i guess this no longer applies in winpe2?


No idea. I never had a look at the guts of older PE version...

But maybe someone else here can answer that.

#21 DigeratiPrime

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 04:05 AM

I dount want to sound critical but I am a little confused: is LiVista Rescup basically WinPE + USB Flash Drive with Explorer components on it? And is it a derivative of the VistaPE Explorer script? I am interested in this project and will be downloading and inspecting it closer this weekend :huh:

#22 dennis123123

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 09:01 AM

is LiVista Rescup basically WinPE + USB Flash Drive with Explorer components on it?


No not at all :huh:

The whole point of this project is that it uses the *original* untouched vista installation dvd as its core, the only thing you need to run it is a tiny executable stored on a usb drive, or floppy disk. All of the windows copywrited (is that even a word?!) files are in their original location on the original DVD, instead of on your custom PE cd or USB drive, making this method 100% shareable without being chased down by the microsoft police :) :)

Although the original author seems to have abandoned it (no updates since March) :huh: I was working on improving it (fixing bugs, adding features, etc) and compiling it as a C application, rather than the millions of BAT files and a VB app it is now :) I've just been busy with other things and it got shuffled to the back of my mental jobs queue.

If you like what you see with his version, stay tuned for a week or so and i'll upload mine!
(all credit for the "rescup" method goes to the original author - mihi)

@mihi - if you have a problem with me sharing this version i've coded, please let me know and it will stay private

#23 was_jaclaz

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 10:43 AM

and compiling it as a C application, rather than the millions of BAT files and a VB app it is now :huh:


If I may :), the ONLY thing that would be "wrong" would be to compile it in a C application. :huh:

I think we have some experience by now that:
  • doing a sequence of actions can be obtained by a script
  • a script is far easier maintainable than a compiled app, even if it's source code would be released as "Open Source" or "Public Domain"
  • using scripts a larger part of the intended audience can more easily contribute to the project and add new features, modify it, etc.
  • to execute a script a script engine is needed
  • since the "standard" scripting engine (read .bat/.cmd/.vbs) is somewhat limited, a newish scripting engine (Winbuilder) has been developed, with the "specific" features needed to build bootable environments from CD's, DVD's and practically any available media

Thus, in my personal view, if you better the original idea by mihi and "translate" it to Winbuilder .script, you are doing a great service to the Community, by "encapsulating" it in a compiled .exe, you are not, on the contrary you actually somehow contribute to "subtracting" knowledge from the Public.

As said, just my personal view on the matter, but would like to hear your reasons in favour of the "C compiling". :)

:)

jaclaz

#24 dennis123123

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 10:55 AM

I think you are missing the point of this Jaclaz... :)

if it was a winbuilder script, you would need to carry around with you all of the winbuilder files, and the script itself to run the app, and a compiled app (to initiate the environment, afaik winbuilder cannot suspend or terminate processes on its own), a total of about 10MB at my last check!!

my app is 230kb, standalone no dependancies :huh:

as for developing it by the community, like mihi uses, INI files can be used to change the program's actions; so the program itself is its own script engine!

...but if you do have some sort of genius idea Jaclaz, please explain it, im always willing to hear what you have to offer :huh:

#25 was_jaclaz

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 11:36 AM

As long as your app is a "script engine" of some kind and can be updated/enhanced/whatever through .ini (or however easily editable files) I'm more than OK with it. :huh:

I thought you were making one of those "smart" apps that seem to tell the user

I know much more than you do, I'm by far more intelligent than you, you can't do anything but accept the results of what I think is better for you


which often (read always :huh:) deliver something almost, but not quite, completely unlike what you wanted.

:)

:)

jaclaz




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