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To post or not to post.

All-in-one reversing related discussions
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WaxfordSqueers
Senior Member
Posts: 1015
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2004 11:00 am

To post or not to post.

Post by WaxfordSqueers »

Have a several projects going right now but none of them legitimate reversing that may be of interest. One may be of interest. I am trying to upgrade Hirens 15.2 so it will run on a newer generation mobo. I have a B360C/CSM Intel chipset and XP won't run on it natively nor will W7 run USB on it. Required mods to get them going. Just hate to see the site so quiet avfter all the trouble getting it back up.

Hiren's 15.2 runs on a mini-XP base. I have added mods (ACPI and a SATA driver) to get it going to an extent. It runs the text setup part of boot OK but when XP starts, it runs to a blank screen. No BSOD, just blank.

This is not really an XP issue since Hiren's runs by itself. It's a mobo chipset issue. However, I have heard that mini-XP is not designed to run on an ACPI system. Don't know enough about it. I have verified that the blank screen is not a video driver issue so something else has made the XP loader decide to quit, right as Windows is starting. Normally, that has been the SATA driver but it produced a BSOD.

Anyone know anything about mini-XP and its capabilities? I hate to ask since I know how certain experts frown upon XP. :-)

Another project is the network drivers on W10. The NIC part of the mobo is Intel, but when I try to load the most current driver for the LAN, Intel tells me the drivers are not for this version of Windows. A quick look in the inf file reveals the reason, only W8 is listed. That may be an easy fix on the face of it but it seems Intel is now in collusion with Microsoft re W10. They have abdicated their historical policy of helping the user and handed driver issues over to Mocrosoft, who long ago lost interest in the users.

Of course, W10 is slowly becoming a horror show. Since the most recent update, my network and internet access has stopped working. Don't know if anyone else is experiencing this.
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Kayaker
Posts: 4179
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2000 11:00 am

Re: To post or not to post.

Post by Kayaker »

Aye, there's the rub.
I wasn't expecting much in bringing back the forum, but it's here for what it's worth. I don't feel much incentive in restoring the rest of the old sites that were hosted here mind you.

XP was a really fun OS from a reversing point of view, you could modify just about anything in the kernel. Win 10 is just a big bore. I have to admit to getting frustrated with Win10 crap. I had initially removed a lot of the bloatware with Powershell, but it seems to keep creeping back with updates.

I checked the other day with
> DISM /Online /Get-ProvisionedAppxPackages | select-string Packagename
and found that there were packages for eBay, Priceline, Netflix, Amazon, WildTangentGames, Kindle, as well as the Microsoft Zune/XBox/YourPhone/yaddayadda garbage, all under C:\Program Files\WindowsApps.

I took "ownership" of that folder to see what was in there, some of it can't be deleted with PS or manually, including Microsoft.YourPhone. Really? You *used* to be able to remove that app in earlier versions, but now they officially say:

"The Your Phone app is deeply integrated into Windows to light up multiple cross-device experiences now and in the future. In order to build more of these experiences between phones, PCs, and other devices, the app can't be uninstalled."

*expletive deleted*


Another thing I've been looking into lately is the Windows ESENT database, kept under
C:\Users\~\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WebCache

You can view the WebCacheV01.dat file with for example with ESEDatabaseView from Nirsoft. It records Edge and IE history, but also Windows recent files and search results. I never use either of the MS browsers, but I noticed the database full of Bing .js url's. Again, really?
I think they are a result of the fact that when you do a Search from the StartMenu it includes web searching. That always annoyed me because when I do a search that way I only want to search for local programs or files. There is a way to disable that by a hack, adding a BingSearchEnabled = 0 entry in the registry (or DisableSearchBoxSuggestions in the newer updates). Why do we have to resort to such methods? And how the hell did they figure out to add a registry entry that didn't exist before to control features?


I could happily run Linux, but I've got so many applications on Windows now and do most of my web browsing on an Android tablet while flaked out on the couch that there's little point in running another OS just to get shed of MS.

I saw a video recently where someone had installed the latest version of ReactOS, it seems to be becoming a usable OS rather than just a POC, hmm...

K.
WaxfordSqueers
Senior Member
Posts: 1015
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2004 11:00 am

Re: To post or not to post.

Post by WaxfordSqueers »

@Kayaker...what I've been doing with W10 is attack it offline. For example, I have used Hiren's newer app that is an x64 system and will run with newer motherboards. I have used regedit on Hiren's to load a hive from W10 and I can merrily edit what I want. Or, I can use their file explorer to access directories in W10 that W10 won't allow me to access.

Here's a link to an article by a guy who found ways to drill even deeper into the Windows registry. I found there are certain keys with a sub-hive called 'properties' that W10 won't allow anyone to see. This article explains how to read the hive.

https://superuser.com/questions/73494/u ... 64#1551364

There are guys over at win-raid using drivers from W7 and W10 with XP. Interesting in the sense that XP fairly screams along on a newer chipset/mobo without the overhead and bloatware of W10. Of course, W7 is good as well. Hoping eventually to get softice running on x86 version of XP again.
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Kayaker
Posts: 4179
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2000 11:00 am

Re: To post or not to post.

Post by Kayaker »

Thanks for mentioning Hiren's. I didn't have a current boot USB, other than an old BartPE version. Good to have just in case of course.

I decided to delete the YourPhone app that I griped about above. So far nothing has broken and I haven't gotten a call from MS.

Of course now I won't be able to enjoy "multiple cross-device experiences now and in the future", but hey I guess that's the price I'll have to pay for a little bit of satisfaction of deciding what I want on my own computer.

I'd like to clean up my smallish SSD as much as possible, much of it being taken up by the OS and other installation files, so I could use it more for video and photo processing rather than the slower HDD. Maybe I can use Hiren's to start cleaning up chaff, until I do break something of course, lol.
WaxfordSqueers
Senior Member
Posts: 1015
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2004 11:00 am

Re: To post or not to post.

Post by WaxfordSqueers »

Kayaker wrote: Mon Apr 26, 2021 11:45 pmOf course now I won't be able to enjoy "multiple cross-device experiences now and in the future", but hey I guess that's the price I'll have to pay for a little bit of satisfaction of deciding what I want on my own computer.
Exactly. I am reading a book on security and the apps you mention are related to smart phones. Not only does Msoft have the ability to spy on you via those apps, The FBI/CIA can as well, and no doubt, our own government agencies. In fact, the FBI have been complaining about Apple closing security holes in the app software that they used to spy on people.

Another issue that came as no surprise was the book's author pointing out well before the US 2020 election that...ta da...voting software was insecure. He even mentioned one party using it against another party to stuff ballot boxes. Please tell me it isn't so.

I use W10 as little as possible. I have started using it for online banking, reasoning that if I do get hacked, my bank will use W7 security as a reason to cut me off from reimbursement. Of course, like you, I have tuned W10 to my own liking. I use Classic Shell to replace the W10 start button, making it appear more like W7. Even though CS is now defunct it still works with the latest W10 update. I also use an older version of Do Not Spy, which systematically shuts of all the W10 spying mechanisms. I'll likely need to look for a newer app since they now charge a fee for their services.

I mentioned Hiren's 15.2 for a reason. It has apps on there the newer Hiren's don't have.
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