Posts Tagged ‘windows xp’

Using Umbrello on Windows

March 25th, 2009 4 comments

umbrello Window
Some of you might already know that some KDE Applications have been supported on Windows and MacOS after version 4.0.

I wanted to install Umbrello on my Windows XP Machine and I consulted the documentation to learn more about the installation process. KDE is nice enough to provide an installer for Windows but it’s terribly slow since all the packages are downloaded using a single thread which will take you at least 3 times longer than if you had download the individual packages manually with a download manager application.

I tried searching for help online, but there isn’t any useful information on how to go about doing this, so I’ve decided to write one.

Anyway, I decided to download all the packages manually and use the installer to unpack them into a single directory. Unfortunately, the KDE Website doesn’t mention which packages Umbrello needs so I had to use the installer and its log dumps to figure out which URLs it was drawing the packages from.

To use umbrello on Windows, you can either download the KDE libraries and source code and compile it yourself using Visual C++ 2005 or MinGW, or you can download the precompiled binaries and libraries and use them directly. To be honest, there’s no point in compiling KDE yourself since the source code files are as large as the precompiled binaries so you’re better off downloading the binaries.

Umbrello is present in the kdesdk package which is about 5.3MB and you need to download additional libraries as well along with the kdesdk package. The installer only mentions 32 packages in the package dependencies list but there are actually 35 of them (don’t worry though, the installer installs all 35 if you choose to download the packages automatically)


The installer needs the MD5 hash of every package you want to install so make sure you have them too. After you have downloaded all the package files, place them in a temporary directory and start the Installer. Then choose to Download and Install from the Internet. (Although the install from Local Directory option exists, it didn’t work for me)

After that choose the directory where you placed all your packages in the temporary directory selection screen and choose the kdesdk Package for download. Click past the package dependencies page to install KDE.

If you downloaded all the 35 packages correctly (1 package = binary + binary.md5 + libraryArchive + libraryArchive.md5) then the installer will skip directly to installation and it will install KDE on your computer. If not, it will download the missing packages and install it once it is complete.

That’s it! KDE is installed and you can run Umbrello from the Start Menu Shortcuts or from the bin folder in the KDE directory (C:Program FilesKDE by default)

That was the gist of what you need to do to be able to run Umbrello on Windows. Now for step-by-step instructions.

1)  Download the KDE Mirror List from here. If the link is dead you can choose one of the mirror sites from here:

ftp at
http at
ftp be
http be
ftp de
http de
ftp dk
http dk
ftp es
http es
ftp nl
http nl
ftp tw
http tw
ftp us
http us
http us
http us
http ca
http cn
ftp de
http de
http ro
ftp ro
ftp cz
http cz
ftp pl
http pl
ftp pl
http pl
ftp se
http se
ftp gr
http gr
ftp it
http it
ftp be
http be
ftp is
http is
ftp ie
http ie
ftp jp
http jp
ftp gr
http gr
ftp ie
http ie
http it
ftp fi
http fi
http au
ftp us
http us
ftp au
http au
ftp kr
http kr
ftp us
http us
ftp us
http us
http fr
ftp ru
http ru
http uk
http de

Choose any of the websites given above although you should preferably choose a website which is closer to your location for faster download speeds. Most of these websites allow directory listings, so you should be able to see a list of directories on the website.

2) Navigate to stable -> 4.2.1 -> win32.You will now be able to see all the KDE packages in this directory. You don’t need all of them so don’t download them all. You need to download 143 files which are listed below:

The total file size should be about 154MB.

Note: You will also need to download the Visual C++ 2005 SP1 Redistribution Package if you don’t already have it.

3) Place all these files in a single directory. Now start the Installer and choose Install From Internet.


4) Click Next and choose the End User Install Mode.


5) In the next screen you will need to enter a Download Path. Choose the directory where you stored all the downloaded packages and click Next.


6) The next screen displays all the KDE releases which are available for download. As of writing, the latest KDE version is 4.2.1 stable but choose a newer version if it is available. If a newer version is available, ensure that you are downloading the correct packages.


7) In the next screen you will need to select KDE packages which you wish to install. Since we only want Umbrello, check the kdesdk-msvc Package but you can add any other package that catches your fancy but keep in mind that the extra packages that you’ve selected might need other packages as well. To be honest, you don’t need to worry so much. The installer will automatically download the required packages, although it will take a lot longer than if you do it manually. Click Next.


8)  If you’ve done everything correctly, the installer should jump directly to the installation part and the installer window should look something like this:


If not, there’s no need to worry. The installer will download the other packages for you and then start the installation process.

9) You’ve successfully installed KDE on your computer. If the installation is successful you should see a screen like this:


Now all you have to do is navigate to KDE 2.4.1 Release -> Development from the Start Menu and click on Umbrello. Alternatively, double-click on the Umbrello icon in the <KDE_Install_Directory>bin folder.


Umbrello should now start. 🙂



Note: Umbrello on Windows has many bugs and crashes when you right click and select the export to image option. If you use the Main Menu, you can export the diagrams as images and it wont crash. It might also crash while closing Umbrello. KDE for Windows is still a work in progress and they’ll fix these bugs in future versions so keep checking for newer, stable releases.

Removing Viruses From Thumb Drives

February 10th, 2009 7 comments

You’ve probably come across Thumb Drive Viruses when you connect your thumb drive to a computer at work or at school.

These viruses copy themselves onto a thumb drive as soon as it is connected to an infected computer and the second they’re connected to any other computer, the virus spreads on that machine as well.

Since you may not be able to remove the virus from the infected computer (due to insufficient admin privileges, etc.), you can ensure that the virus on the thumb drive does not spread on another machine.

Suppose you’re not sure if your thumb drive is infected or not and wish to connect it to your computer without taking the risk of infecting it. To ensure that the virus does not start, Hold Shift and insert the thumb drive into the USB Port. This will prevent the AutoPlay function from being executed from the thumb drive, and hence does not start the virus when the thumb drive is inserted.

Now that you’ve connected your thumb drive, it’s time to check if it has a virus or not. Most Thumb drive viruses can be detected by using these 2 techniques:

1) Check Drive Icon:

Although the virus is an exe file, it uses the directory icon to fool users into clicking it.  Though not all viruses do this, it’s still worthwhile to check if the icons have been changed.

This what an uninfected thumb-drive looks like:


An infected thumb-drive looks like this:


Now, if you want to access the files in this pen-drive, DO NOT DOUBLE-CLICK THE THUMB-DRIVE ICON as it starts AutoPlay and will execute the virus program.


Instead, right-click the icon and choose Explore OR click the Folders icon on the menu bar and select the thumb drive from the left pane as shown below:



Now it’s time to find the viruses and remove them. If you look at your directory contents it will look like this:


You won’t see any viruses as they are hidden. What’s worse, since they are also marked as system files some anti-virus programs ignore virus scans on such files. This is the time to use the second technique.

2) The ATTRIB Test

Click Start->Run and type cmd and press Enter. Once you see the command prompt, type [USBDriveLetter]: and press Enter i.e. E: in this example.

Now type attrib and press Enter. The output should look like this:


You’ll notice a few files with the SHR File attributes in this window. One of these files will be autorun.inf, which instructs the OS which applications to run when the thumb drive is inserted. The other files will be .exe, .vbs or .pif files and are usually the viruses that you are looking for.

To remove all file attributes type this command: attrib -s -h -r <filename.extension>

After you type this command for all the filenames set with SHR file attributes, type attrib again and observe the result:


Cool, now open Windows Explorer and you’ll notice that the viruses are now visible.


The next part is simple, choose all the viruses and delete them. You should also delete the autorun.inf file unless your thumb drive is made by SanDisk (SanDisk thumb drives depend on autorun.inf to start its own utility programs). If your thumb drive is manufactured by SanDisk, open the autorun.inf file and simply remove all lines that contain the virus filenames.

That’s all. Your Thumb Drive is no longer infected.

There’s something you should take care of though. Many Thumb Drive viruses make copies of itself in every directory on the thumb drive. If that’s the case then you will have to perform the above steps for each folder or use attrib -s -h -r /s *.* to unset SHR attributes of all files in your thumb drive. You can then delete them individually.

To play safe, instead of relying on pressing Shift every time you insert your thumb drive, it is wiser to disable autorun for all removal drives so that Autorun.inf is never executed when your thumb-drive is inserted.

To do that in Windows XP, download a powertoy called TweakUI and disable autoplay for all removable devices as shown below:


Once that is done, you no longer have to press Shift to disable autorun every time you connect your thumb drive.

However, you will still need to use the attrib command to unset file attributes and delete the files manually.

You can also use Ninja PenDisk to do the same thing automatically but I suggest doing this on your own as Ninja Pendisk may not be able to detect and remove all viruses.


Some “USB-Viruses” hide all directories on your thumb drive and replace them with exe files (i.e. the virus) having the same name.

In that case, change your attrib command to this:

attrib –s –h –r /s /d *.*

This will make all the hidden directories visible again.

The Windows Green-Screen

January 17th, 2009 6 comments

I wanted to post this a few years back but I just didn’t have the time.

This is something really interesting and it seems that nobody else has come across this little secret.

Many members from Forums asked me how I could make my signature show videos running in the background and I’ve finally found time to explain how.

This is how my Forum Signature looks like (or looked like when I was writing this post) :b2c_sig

To see how this works, follow these steps:

  1. Open your favourite media player and play any video file.
  2. Ensure that the media player window is covering the image above.
  3. Now, minimize the media player.
  4. You should now see a portion of the video being played on the image as if the image itself were a media player.

Awesome, isn’t it?

I figured this out while I was experimenting with an application of mine which tried to modify Media Player Classic on-the-fly.

It seems that in Windows XP (might also be true for other windows OSes and other OSes), Video files can only be displayed on a portion of the screen that has a particular colour. The video can only be displayed on a portion of the screen which is currently displaying a specific colour.

That specific colour is RGB(16,0,16).

Try it out for yourself. Create an image with a background colour of RGB(16,0,16) like this:b2c_test_screen

Now play any video over this image and minimize the video player. The video should now be visible on the image.

My guess as to why this works is that Windows (or other OSes) needs to be able to figure out where a video should be displayed when a media player requests for playback. According to me, this has been intentionally included in the video playback design.

If the media player just provided co-ordinates of a rectangle to the OS for displaying the video, that would mean that if any other application was placed on top of the media player window, the video would be displayed over the application’s interface which would not allow the user to see the application’s user interface (forms, controls etc.)

Here’s what I think they did to fix the problem.

The principle behind this design could have been that “if a video could be displayed only within a rectangle that displayed only a specific colour, no overlapping application would be affected.

But which colour would be best suitable for this purpose? Black is the first colour that comes to my mind for obvious reasons but black is a common colour and is used frequently in desktop wallpapers or in user interface elements.

Hence they chose a colour that’s technically not black but would look just like black and hence they must have come up with the colour RGB(16,0,16)

My reasoning probably isn’t correct but I’m pretty sure that the real reason is based somewhere along the lines.

I just find it ironic that something that behaves just like a green screen doesn’t even have a hint of green in its colour code (its 16,0,16 in RGB) 😉

As I’m still not sure if this works on other operating systems, I’d appreciate it if you could test this on your operating system and post the result as a comment to this post. Thanks.