Monday, May 07, 2007

[Visual Basic 6] Boost again, but as a binary

As nice as the VBScript version of BOOST is, some people prefer a compiled binary. So, here's the VB6 version.

But first, credit where credit is due:
Ultimate Packer for eXecutables which compresses binaries;
Euphoria programming language website for the SETSUBSYS tool which I use to turn a GUI applications into a console ones;
Experts Exchange for their ParseCommandLineValue function; and
* for their sample on how to make console applications

Okay, now to the code. The algorithm is very similar to the VBScript project, but there are some new things.

First the constants:

Here are two functions vital to making the application function appropriately in a command line environment. The first discovers the handle for StdOut. The second writes to a file handle, in this case the handle for StdOut.

After the function declarations is a user-defined wrapper. Interesting how the output of the WriteFile function is transmitted to the return value of the wrapper (the last argument in the call is the name of the wrapper function -- I'd never seen that before.)

This is the SetPriority function pulled straight out of the VBScript project. Notice I haven't even been polite enough to VB6 to specify sProcess As String and nPriority As Integer. I haven't typed any of the variables local to the function either. It doesn't matter: VB6 types them all as Variant and takes care of my carelessness (and I have put them in since.)

Next comes the Experts Exchange code for parsing the command line.

Now the Main. For ease of access to the relevant values for the SetPriority function, I've used a Collection. I could have used VBScript's Dictionary (by adding a reference to SCRRUN.DLL in the Projects menu) but the Collection works well enough.

Now we parse the commandline and output a message about syntax if things aren't correctly specified there.

Assuming that the commandline is okay, we then attempt to figure out the runlevel value from the user-supplied specification, and show an appropriate error if it doesn't make sense.

And, finally, where it is all made to happen. If everything's set up right and there is in fact a process running that matches what's stored in sProcess, then it gets boosted and the user is informed. If there's no match, the message says that the process wasn't boosted.

Having compiled the code to an .EXE, I used the setsubsys tool to change the binary from a GUI app to a console app

I also compressed it using UPX,
taking a 24576 byte application and leaving me with an 8192 byte one.

If anyone's interested in downloading the BOOST binary (which now contains a KILL_PROCESS 'level'), please leave a comment to that effect and I'll put up a download link.

By the way, if you think my code sucks, say so. Critiques are always welcome. King Solomon said, "The wise person accepts instructions." and also "Better is open rebuke than hidden love."

1 comment:

lapa said...


i would really like to try the code, seems to be a useful tool.

the vbs code does not change the prio p.e. of mplayer.exe (media player classic) to realtime, only to high. strange, but i can give it a realtime prio trough task manager... maybe the binary will overcome this.

tx in advance,

lapa (at webgame dot hu)