Windows 8 Lock Screen Policy

February 20th, 2013 | 2 Comments

In November 2012 Microsoft released an update for Windows 8 and Server 2012 (KB2770917) that added the ability to “Enable enterprise customers to customize the default lock screen.” This meant the addition of a Group Policy that enabled control of the Lock Screen.

Although specifically for enterprise customers, I was looking for a way to programmatically change the Lock Screen across all install types – so I began to investigate. Sure enough, after installing the update, the option to “Force a specific default lock screen image” appeared in Group Policy. Although I could set this policy, as highlighted below, it would only be applied on domain-joined or enterprise machines.

forcelogonscreen

I traced the checking of this policy back to Windows.UI.Immersive.dll in the %SYSTEMROOT%\System32 directory. As of the November update a function named LockScreenPathFromGroupPolicy() made an appearance in this DLL. Roughly translated the function looks like this:

lockscreencode

The EnterpriseCustomizationAllowed() function is also a new addition, with LockScreenPathFromGroupPolicy() currently being the only function that makes this check.

From here it was a matter of removing this check and letting the function follow on whether the user was in an enterprise setting or not. In assembly, the check looks like the following:

enterprisecheck

To remove the check, open Windows.UI.Immersive.dll in your favourite editor and NOP (0×90) 9 bytes at offset 0x4607A (x86) or 0x560A5 (x64).

I have found no reason why this policy is “enterprise only” and have experienced no side effects from performing the above mentioned patch, however, your mileage may vary.


Logon Screen Rotator – now with Windows 8 support

February 18th, 2013 | 2 Comments

I have yet again updated Logon Screen Rotator, this time with Windows 8 support. Head on over to http://www.lukepaynesoftware.com/lsrotator/ to download and install the new update.

This version includes minor fixes across the board, so I also recommend Windows 7 users installing the update.


Logon Screen Rotator v4.2

February 15th, 2013 | 5 Comments

A small update for Logon Screen Rotator (v4.2) is now available

This version includes:
- The ability to stretch image to screen while maintaining aspect ratio
- Verbose critical error logging for those with configurations that are experiencing issues


Moving The Default Windows 8 Screenshot Directory

November 11th, 2012 | No Comments

Windows 8 includes a new screenshot function that takes a screenshot and dumps it to the Screenshots folder within your Pictures directory.
The shortcut to trigger this function is Windows_Key+Print_Screen for keyboard users and Start_Button+Volume_Down for tablet users.

Being that I have my Pictures directory in a place other than the default, I came up with a platform independent (Windows 8 x86 & ARM) way of moving this directory – I make use of symbolic links to point the directory to another.

Here is the batch file I created for doing this:

@echo off
 
SET CurrentScreenshotsDirectory=%userprofile%\"Pictures\Screenshots"
SET NewScreenshotsDirectory="ENTER NEW PATH HERE"
 
IF EXIST %CurrentScreenshotsDirectory% (
RMDIR %CurrentScreenshotsDirectory%
)
 
IF NOT EXIST %NewScreenshotsDirectory% (
MKDIR %NewScreenshotsDirectory%
)
 
MKLINK /D %CurrentScreenshotsDirectory% %NewScreenshotsDirectory%

Just plug in the new screenshots directory and run the batch file under administrator credentials. However, if you have and want to keep existing screenshots, you will need to move them before running this script.

FYI – You can control the screenshot counter index by tinkering with this registry key:

HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ScreenshotIndex


Multiple Windows Media Player now compatible with Windows 8 (UPDATE)

July 21st, 2012 | 3 Comments

UPDATE: Now works with Windows 8 RTM.

You can now run multiple copies of Windows Media Player on Windows 8 Release Preview.
I have updated the patch to make it compatible with Windows 8 RP: http://www.lukepaynesoftware.com/other/

Speaking of Windows 8, you may come across messages from Windows SmartScreen when trying to run various applications (mine included). You are able to still run the application by selecting “More info” on the first screen and then “Run anyway” on the second screen. You should only do this with software from a trusted source.

 


StartMenuX Preview 2

July 5th, 2012 | 2 Comments

StartMenuX Preview 2 is now available for download: http://www.lukepaynesoftware.com/projects/startmenux/

Keep an eye on this website for updates including newly released versions and plugins to extend functionality.


How would you like to see Logon Screen Rotator function on Windows 8?

April 17th, 2012 | 4 Comments

As Windows 8 draws near I plan to adapt Logon Screen Rotator to have new functionality, which will make use of the new customization possibilities in Windows 8. The current version of LSR which works on Windows 7/Vista will still be supported, but the product will do more with Windows 8.

So I put it to you, what functionality would you like to see LSR take on with Windows 8? I wont announce my ideas at this stage as I want to see what the communities response to this question is first. So you can reply to this post, email me directly at luke@lukepaynesoftware.com or connect with us on Facebook www.facebook.com/lukepaynesoftware with your thoughts or comments.

I look forward to reading you responses

Luke.


Logon Screen Rotator v4.1

April 17th, 2012 | 3 Comments

Logon Screen Rotator v4.1 has been released and is now the main download on the LSR page. This version includes mainly bug fixes and there are no major new features.

Head on over to http://www.lukepaynesoftware.com/lsrotator/ to download it now, or launch LSR on your PC to check for updates.


Wake On Lan

February 14th, 2012 | 2 Comments

Short version: A new application is available for download that allows you to wake PCs across the LAN using magic packets. You need the LAN IP & MAC address of the target PC, and you need to enable wake by magic packet on the target PC. You can download the application from here.

Wake On Lan is an application I developed that sends a “magic packet” to the sleeping PC in order to wake it up. You can read more about the magic packet/wake on lan technology here.

You will need to ensure that wake by magic packet is enabled on your PC and that the PC does not turn off the network card when it goes to sleep. This can be activated in some cases by the BIOS, in others by the PC, either way I recommend ensuring you have the latest drivers for your network card. It can be a bit fiddly on some setups to configure, and there is no straight forward one size fits all guide; but in cases, like mine, it is worth setting up.I have a media PC that sleeps when it has not been used in X amount of time. When I am on the other side of the house I want to be able to access media without having to go back over the other side to wake the PC and this is where this application comes in. As mentioned you need the LAN IP and MAC address of the target PC, both of these are obtainable on a Windows PC by running “ipconfig /all” from the command line. Once you entered this data into Wake On Lan it will remember it for next time.


Windows 8 – Hiding the Start Button

February 11th, 2012 | No Comments

Recently, images from a newly compiled Windows 8 build were posted on a Chinese forum. In these builds the Start Button is hidden by default which was not the behaviour in the Developer Preview. However, after poking around the Developer Preview it is apparent the folks at Microsoft were at least thinking about this behaviour from an early stage, with a registry switch being available.

You can toggle the switch by heading to the registry path: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer, creating the a new DWORD named YouBettaHideYoPearl and setting the value to 1. After restarting Explorer or logging off & on the settings will be enabled, you can undo this by either setting the registry key to 0 or deleting the key.

After enabling this behavior, you can make the Start Button temporarily reappear by hovering your mouse over the bottom left hand corner of the Taskbar, if your into mouse movements.

Before:

After:


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