Perspectives

  • The Magnificent Eleven
  • This & That

  • Your Vote Counts!
  • Script Watch

  • An Easy Way to Prevent Runaway Scripts
  • Info To Go


    Perspectives
    by Karen Bemowski, kbemowski@windowsitpro.com

    The Magnificent Eleven
    In "Favorite Tools and Favorite Articles" (http://www.windowsitpro.com/Articles/ArticleID/93888/93888.html), I mentioned that I'd narrow my list of favorite scripting articles to two and talk about them this month and next. My pick for this month is Dick Lewis' "Small Scripts Pack Power" (http://www.windowsitpro.com/Articles/ArticleID/49078/49078.html). In this article, Dick provides 11 mini scripts that perform a variety of focused tasks related to system security and stability. The scripts include:

    • GetHostsFileSize.bat, which lets you quickly spot machines that might have unusual HOSTS file entries
    • GetHotFix.bat, which lets you search your environment for a specific installed hotfix to verify that your automated or pushed updates are working correctly
    • GetLastUserFromReg.bat, which helps you identify users who are logging on using service or Administrator accounts

    I've made this typically locked-down article available for public viewing so that you can check it out. To download the scripts in this article, simply click the "Download the Code Here" button near the top of the page.

    This & That

    Your Vote Counts!
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    Scripter's Toolkit

    An Easy Way to Prevent Runaway Scripts
    A script can perform numerous operations quickly, but that blinding speed can work against you if you launch a script accidently. A misplaced double- click can send a script into action, copying files, deleting users, or performing some other operation at warp speed. A runaway script can do considerable damage before you have the chance to cancel it.

    One way you can prevent the accidental launching of a script is to add a .txt extension to its filename after you've executed the script. For example, the script DelOldFiles.bat becomes DelOldFiles.bat.txt. Adding a .txt extension defuses the danger of accidental launches but lets you keep the script's original filename and keeps the code intact for future reference and use. To use the script again, you just remove the .txt extension.

    Although you can add the .txt extension manually, a simple one-line

       Move %0 %0.txt

    uses the Move command with %0--an argument-holding environment variable whose value is the script's pathname. By using %0 as the source parameter (i.e., a pathname that specifies the file's current location and filename) and %0.txt as the destination parameter (i.e., a pathname that specifies the file's new location and filename), you're appending the .txt extension to the filename while "moving" the script to the same location.

    To use this Move command, you must place it at the end of your script. It must be the final line of code; any code after it won't execute. When you run the script, you must launch it with the extension specified. For example, when you run the script DelOldFiles.bat, you need to type

       scripts\deloldfiles.bat

    on the command line. Typing only

       scripts\deloldfiles

    will cause the Move command to fail.

    Because you're changing the name of the .bat file while it's running, you'll likely receive the message, "The batch file cannot be found." Despite this message, the Move command will have successfully added the .txt extension.

    If you're familiar with Windows shell scripting, you might be wondering why I didn't use the Rename command to add the .txt extension. To use this command to rename a file, you follow the syntax

       Rename \[drive:\] \[path\] filename1 filename2

    As this syntax shows, the Rename command requires the file's path to be stated only once. If you were to use the %0 argument-holding environment variable with the Rename command, you'd be specifying the path twice because %0 contains the complete pathname, thereby causing the command to fail.

    Thanks to Dick Lewis for writing and sharing this tip.

    Info To Go

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