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Systray Deleecher/Autorun Manager


This essay does not describe an existing computer program, just one that should exist. This essay is about a suggested student project in Java programming. This essay gives a rough overview of how it might work. I have no source, object, specifications, file layouts or anything else useful to implementing this project. Everything I have prepared to help you is right here.

This project outline is not like the artificial, tidy little problems you are spoon-fed in school, when all the facts you need are included, nothing extraneous is mentioned, the answer is fully specified, along with hints to nudge you toward a single expected canonical solution. This project is much more like the real world of messy problems where it is up to you to fully the define the end point, or a series of ever more difficult versions of this project and research the information yourself to solve them.

Everything I have to say to help you with this project is written below. I am not prepared to help you implement it; or give you any additional materials. I have too many other projects of my own.

Though I am a programmer by profession, I don’t do people’s homework for them. That just robs them of an education.

You have my full permission to implement this project in any way you please and to keep all the profits from your endeavour.

Please do not email me about this project without reading the disclaimer above.

This project is not particularly well suited to Java, but more to C++. However, you might tackle it with a combination of Java and C++ or Java and MASM (Microsoft Assembler) to get some practice writing native methods via JNI (Java Native Interface).

In the beginning, when Microsoft created Windows and saw that it was good, Microsoft made a rule. If you want a program to automatically start up, just put an icon for it in the STARTUP folder. Every vendor and his dog crammed the STARTUP folder with their useless little doodads. People simply deleted them to stop the apps from autostarting. Every once in a while, users would accidentally delete something they should not have. There was no easy way to recreate it.

Microsoft itself and later other vendors then started getting clever, finding obscure way to make their programs automatically start — ways that users could not defeat. Users had then to put up with all kinds of useless programs running all the time cluttering the systray or task bar, chewing up RAM (Random Access Memory), eating CPU (Central Processing Unit) cycles and doing precious little useful to earn their keep.

I call these annoying autostarting programs leeches.. Steve Crook coined the term as an improvement on my original worms which already had an established meaning. Your job is to create a deleecher that defeats all known strategies for autostarting. Your program should be able to remove any individual leech on request. When your program removes them, it should record how the leech used to be hooked into autostart, so it can be restored later at any time with just a mouse click.

Since I wrote up this project, there have been a number of shareware and commercial implementations.

autorun manager: to see what the commercial competition has come up with since I wrote up this project

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