Monday, June 16, 2008

Launching Active Content, Revisited

Since the original post about launching active content, which appeared nearly a year ago, I've changed the way I do it. So it's time to share the improved approach.

The latest Flash-Fix script works great and has been updated only for readability, but the original Net-Share script had at least three problems:

  • the script fails if there is no network

  • the script fails if network sharing is disabled (eg- in secure enterprises)

  • the script tends to run very slowly if a virus scanner is enabled

I have since come up with a replacement called the IE-Fix script, and it directly updates the user's registry to allow active content to be launched from removable media and the current working directory. This works like a champ in most instances, and directly overrides the default settings of the IE browser, rather than trying to trick the browser into thinking that the content is running from a network device. It does not slow the presentation down in any way, and fails gracefully. So use IE-Fix instead of Net-Share workaround.

The IE-Fix script would fail if virus scanning software or admin rights prevented a user from updating their registry. But registry updates are now so common that this is not usually blocked. And the script only operates on the HKCU hive, where even guest and limited account users can make registry changes. In the readme.txt file on any CDs or DVDs that use this script, I also advise that the IE settings for launching active content can be modified manually (be sure to tick both My Computer and CD options).

I also launch the Flash-Fix and IE-Fix scripts from a script named autorun.bat located in the root directory of the removable media. This simplifies testing.

Hope this updated information is helpful.