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AlwaysUp not Working? Please Send us these Details so we can Help!

Help us help you

Sorry to hear that you are having a problem running your application with AlwaysUp! Windows services can be tricky beasts but our team of experts has spent many years wrestling them into submission. Rest assured that we will do our best to get you up and running ASAP.

As with most technical problems, the devils are in the details. Please answer these five questions to help us diagnose the problem:

  1. What application are you installing as a Windows Service?

  2. AlwaysUp runs thousands of programs, batch files and scripts, but each one brings its own unique challenges. Which one are you trying to run as a service? Is it publicly available? And what does it do?

    Run Dropbox as a Service   Run Java as a Service   Run Batch File as a Service   Run Box Sync as a Service   Run OneDrive as a Service

  3. What version of AlwaysUp are you running?

  4. Each version of AlwaysUp is different. Knowing which build of the software you have installed enables us to offer you the best advice and the most helpful solutions.

    To find the version number, start AlwaysUp and select About AlwaysUp… from the Help menu. The 4-digit version number is displayed in the window that appears.

    Here you can see that we have 10.4.2.47 installed:

  5. What version of Windows are you running?

  6. The version of Windows installed on your PC can definitely impact your software’s ability to run as a background service. For example, Windows 10 might prevent you from interacting with your application, while older, less secure editions of Windows often behave very differently than their modern counterparts.

    Run the helpful winver command to confirm the operating system you are running. A window like this should pop up to report the details:

    This article from Microsoft support describes a few other ways to find your Windows version.

  7. How have you configured your application in AlwaysUp?

  8. AlwaysUp offers over practical 40 settings to run your program securely as a Windows Service. Some applications run perfectly with only the basic settings applied while others need fine tuning to operate smoothly. We recommend that you send us what you have so far, for review.

    To export your application’s settings to a XML file:

    1. Highlight your application in AlwaysUp

    2. Select Export… from the Application menu (shown here for Google Backup and Sync):

    3. Save the XML file in a friendly location.

    We’ll take a look and let you know if we see anything fishy!

  9. Are any errors reported in the AlwaysUp Activity Logs?

  10. AlwaysUp writes errors and warnings to the Windows Event Logs — the recommended destination for notifications and alerts from Windows Services. While you can use the Windows Event Viewer to browse recent log entries, it is much easier to see that activity from AlwaysUp:

    1. Highlight your application in AlwaysUp

    2. Select Report Activity > Past Week… from the Application menu:

    3. In a few seconds, your web browser will pop up with a page showing when your application/service was started, stopped, etc.:

    4. Please save the web page (Ctrl+S) or take a screenshot of the browser window and send it to us for review.

Send us these details and we’ll get back to you very soon

These five items should give us an excellent understanding of what is going wrong. Please email your specifics to support@CoreTechnologies.com and we will review and respond promptly — usually within a few hours.

Thanks!

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Q & A: How Do I get AlwaysUp to Restart my Hung Script?

Q & A

My company uses AlwaysUp CLT to run our script every 5 minutes as a windows service. The script starts running when the PC boots and repeats every 5 minutes throughout the day. It usually takes a few seconds to do its work on each run.

However we have a nagging problem. After some hundred or more cycles, the script occasionally gets stuck and never finishes! When this happens, my customers get upset because their kiosks aren’t updated.

How can I get AlwaysUp to kill the script and restart it whenever it hangs?

— Dan @ LaptopsAnytime


Hi Dan. I’m not sure what your script does, but it is very unlikely that AlwaysUp will be able to tell that the script isn’t working properly. However we can use AlwaysUp’s powerful Sanity Check feature to terminate (and restart) your script when it runs for too long.

To setup the sanity check with the AlwaysUp GUI (we’ll cover the CLT later):

  1. Create a new batch file with a single command: exit 1

    Save the batch file to a convenient location on your file system. We have saved ours to “C:\Scripts\hung-sanity-check.bat”. Note the full path to the new file as we’ll need it in a later step.

  2. Start AlwaysUp. Highlight your application and select Application > Edit… to summon the “Edit/View Application” window.

  3. Switch to the Monitor tab. Check the Whenever it fails a sanity check box and click the button:

  4. In the “Configure Sanity Check” window that comes up:

    1. In the Run section, enter the full path to the batch file you created in the first step.

    2. Using the Every controls, specify a time that you consider “too long” for your script to run. Since your script usually takes a few seconds to run, we recommend entering 2 minutes. That should give an unusually long run some extra time to complete, while ensuring that your customers never experience an outage lasting longer than a couple of minutes.

    3. Also, specify 2 minutes in the Wait for setting and check the Also wait whenever the application is restarted box. These ensure that your script will have time to complete before performing the first sanity check:

  5. Click the OK button and save your settings in AlwaysUp.

With the sanity check monitor in place, your script should never hang for longer than two minutes.

Command line switches for AlwaysUp CLT

To achieve the setup described above with AlwaysUp CLT, specify the following parameters to InstallService:

  • -t “<Full path to your batch file>”

  • -a 120

  • -xd 120

  • -xr

For example, our InstallService command line looked like this:

InstallService.exe “MyMainScript” “c:\Scripts\MyMainScript.bat” -k -m -t “C:\Scripts\hung-sanity-check.bat” -a 120 -xd 2 -xr -rn -f 3 0 -fd 5 1

For a full description of these and other command line flags, please see the “Customized Sanity Checks” section (page 12) in the AlwaysUp CLT User Manual.

Email alerts?

You may also consider setting up email alerts — to inform you when your script had to be forcibly restarted. A timely notification may help you to diagnose and ultimately fix the underlying problem with your temperamental script. Until then, rest assured that AlwaysUp has you covered!

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How to Use VNC to Remotely Access Session 0 (with Keyboard and Mouse!)

Remotely Access Session 0 with VNC


Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 contain a curious problem affecting interactive windows services. When you switch to Session 0, you cannot use the keyboard and mouse. This frustrating flaw makes it impossible to interact with any window displayed in Session 0. You can’t even click the “Return Now” button to go back to your regular desktop!

Hopefully Microsoft will fix this bug soon. But if you are using RDP to connect to the server running AlwaysUp, you can use the free and reliable VNC software instead, to resume normal operation in Session 0.

What is VNC?

VNC (which stands for Virtual Network Computing) is a cross-platform technology facilitating remote desktop sharing and control. It is very similar to Microsoft’s RDP. With VNC, you install a software component on the machine you wish to view/control (“the server”) and run another component installed on your local computer (“the client”) to access the server’s desktop.

Which version of VNC should I use?

Several implementations of VNC are available for Windows. We have used (and can recommend) RealVNC, UltraVNC and TightVNC, but this article will focus on TightVNC because it is:

  • actively maintained
  • free for both personal and commercial use
  • fully supported on Server operating systems
  • already installed and in daily use on our Windows Server 2016 QA/test server! :)

Note however that TightVNC does not currently encrypt desktop traffic. Look to UltraVNC or RealVNC Professional Edition if that is an important consideration.

How to Use TightVNC to Access Session 0 Remotely

  1. Download TightVNC for Windows

  2. Grab the latest 64-bit or 32-bit installer from the TightVNC download page. It will only be a couple of megabytes large.

    We will run the installer on both the server and client machines.

  3. Install TightVNC on the Remote Server

    1. Run the installer on your server (the computer running AlwaysUp):

    2. Accept the terms and click Next. When you get to the Choose Setup Type screen, click the Custom button:

    3. On the Custom Setup Type screen, configure the tree so that TightVNC Server will be installed. We decided to omit the TightVNC Viewer since we have no need for that component on the server:

      Click Next to continue.

    4. We recommend sticking with the defaults on the Select Additional Tasks screen. It is best to run VNC as a windows/system service so that it starts promptly after a reboot, without anyone having to log in first:

    5. The rest of the installation process should be straightforward so please proceed with your good judgment. Be sure to set strong passwords when you get to the Set Passwords step!

    After installing, TightVNC Server will be running in the background as a windows service (and will start automatically when your server boots). Check it out in Services.msc:

    TightVNC Server Windows Service

  4. Install TightVNC on the Client

    1. Launch the installer to your client computer — most likely your PC with the physical keyboard and mouse attached.

    2. When you get to the Choose Setup Type screen, once again click the Custom button:

      TightVNC Viewer Install: Choose Custom

    3. On the Custom Setup Type screen, configure the tree so that only TightVNC Viewer will be installed:

      TightVNC Viewer Install: Select Viewer

      Click Next to continue.

    4. Again, the defaults on the Select Additional Tasks screen are probably fine:

      TightVNC Viewer Install: Additional Tasks

    5. Follow the remaining prompts to complete the installation.

    TightVNC Viewer will be available in the C:\Program Files\TightVNC folder. You may want to place a shortcut to the viewer application (tvnviewer.exe) on your desktop for convenience.

  5. Run the Viewer to Connect to the Server & Switch to Session 0

    1. Start the Viewer application (C:\Program Files\TightVNC\tvnviewer.exe) on your client PC. Type in the host name (or IP address) of the server and click the Connect button:

      TightVNC Viewer: New Connection

    2. Next, enter the password you specified for the server (in step 2e) and click OK:

      TightVNC Viewer: Enter Password

    3. A window showing your server’s desktop will appear. Click the Ctrl+Alt+Del button on the toolbar to sign in to Windows:

      TightVNC Viewer: Sign in to Windows

    4. Once you are in, switch to Session 0 — either from the Tools menu in AlwaysUp, or via our free Switch to Session 0 utility. You will be able to use your keyboard and mouse!

      Here is our Windows Server 2016 machine with both winver.exe and Notepad running in Session 0:

      Session 0: Keyboard and Mouse Working

    Caveat: Not a solution for one computer

    Using the VNC remote access software won’t work if you only have a single computer setup. VNC cannot view itself — not without incurring the wrath of infinity. :) For the single computer scenario, you have to wait for the folks in Redmond to wave their magic wand and fix the bug…

Posted in Windows Services | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How do I Prevent the Interactive Services Detection Window from Constantly Coming Up?

Interactive Services Detection Dialog

Why do I see the “Interactive Services Detection” window?

The Interactive Services Detection (ISD) window appears whenever a Windows Service running on your computer is showing a window or prompt in Session 0 — a “background desktop” created when your computer boots. The ISD window allows you to switch to Session 0 where you can see the window and take action.

The next section explains the situation in greater detail; read on to find out more. You can also skip directly to the 3 solutions if you are short on time and just want to get rid of the dreaded ISD window. :)

History/Background

Window services run in Session 0. On legacy versions of Windows (NT, XP and 2003), the first person to log into the PC was placed in Session 0 — where all the windows, alerts, tray icons and other user interface elements created by services were visible. Thus a service could easily interact with that first user.

But Microsoft changed the playing field in Windows Vista (circa 2007). Citing security concerns, Session 0 was isolated and logging in to Session 0 was strictly forbidden. Suddenly it was impossible for a Windows Service running in Session 0 to interact with users, who were strictly working in Session 1, 2, etc. This behavior holds true for Windows 7, 8, 10 and Server 2008, 2012 and 2016.

However isolating Session 0 introduced a problem. Services that show a window — requiring someone to click a button or enter a password to proceed — were suddenly rendered “invisible”. How do you know that a windows service application needs your input when you can’t see it?

The Interactive Services Detection windows service was introduced to address the invisibility problem. Whenever a window is showing in Session 0, the service will summon the ISD window to warn you and allow you to switch to Session 0.

Working with the Interactive Services Detection window

The ISD starts out by flashing on the taskbar:

Interactive Services Detection Dialog icon flashing

It you activate the window and click Show program details, the bottom of the window expands to reveal information on the program trying to get your attention. Here we see that it is the standard Notepad application running in Session 0 (launched as a windows service by AlwaysUp):

Clicking View the message will transport you to the austere Session 0 desktop where you will see the window that may be trying to get your attention:

Clicking Ask me later will dismiss the ISD window but only for 5-10 minutes. Read on and learn three ways to dispatch the window permanently!

Solution #1: Tell AlwaysUp to hide your application’s windows

If you never need to see your program’s windows, then you should have AlwaysUp suppress the windows and avoid triggering the ISD system. Simply edit your application in AlwaysUp and check the When a user logs on, don’t show the application’s windows and tray icon (if any) box on the Logon tab:

Tip: This is the best option for legacy applications, scripts and batch files which occasionally throw up command/status windows. You can always capture console output to a log file if necessary (via controls on the Extras tab).

Solution #2: Disable the Interactive Services Detection Service

If you never want to see Session 0, then your best option is to do away with interactive services detection altogether. To prevent the service from starting:

  1. Open the Services Control Panel Application (services.msc)

  2. Find the Interactive Services Detection service; double-click it to open its properties

  3. Set the Startup type value to Disabled

  4. Click OK to save your changes.

Tip: AlwaysUp will NOT be able to switch to session 0 when the ISD is disabled. Our free Switch to Session 0 utility will not work either.

Solution #3: Set the Interactive Services Detection Service to start manually

If you occasionally inspect Session 0, disabling it will be inconvenient. Instead, set the ISD service to start manually and launch it whenever you want to see Session 0:

  1. Open the Services Control Panel Application (services.msc)

  2. Find the Interactive Services Detection service; double-click it to open its properties

  3. Set the Startup type value to Manual

  4. Click OK to save your changes.

Tip: You will be able to switch to Session 0 from AlwaysUp as normal. AlwaysUp will start the ISD service whenever you switch and will stop the service when you return to your normal desktop.


Hopefully one of these three methods works well for your situation. If not, please get in touch and we’ll do our best to help!

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Q & A: How do I Update my Dropbox Preferences?

Q & A

I have a 10 installations of AlwaysUp in my company that are running Dropbox as a service. Is there a way I can surface the Dropbox icon in the taskbar whilst it is running underneath AlwaysUp? I need to make some preference changes and of course when configuring Dropbox to run underneath AlwaysUp we can’t see the task tray icon!

— Matt @ Triaster Ltd


Hi Matt. When Dropbox is running as a windows service with AlwaysUp, you won’t see its familiar task tray icon () on your desktop. This is because Dropbox is operating in the background, on the isolated Session 0. And because Session 0 does not contain a task bar, you won’t see the tray icon even if if you switch to Session 0.

Fortunately you have a couple of options to reveal the tray icon and gain access to the Preferences window:

1. Stop Dropbox in AlwaysUp and start it normally

The first option is to simply stop Dropbox under AlwaysUp and fire it up as you would normally on your desktop (by double-clicking on its desktop icon).

Once you are done making changes to your settings, exit Dropbox from the tray icon and start it as a service under AlwaysUp again (Application > Start “Dropbox”).

2. Restart Dropbox on your desktop from AlwaysUp

For the second option, you can stop Dropbox running in the background (Session 0) and restart it on your desktop/session — all from AlwaysUp. To do this,
highlight the entry in AlwaysUp and select Application > Restart “Dropbox” in this session:

In a few seconds, Dropbox will magically appear on your desktop. Click on the tray icon and then click the gear image in the upper right to summon the Preferences window:

When you are done making changes, switch back to AlwaysUp and choose Application > Restart “Dropbox” from the menu. This will stop Dropbox on your desktop and return it to Session 0 (the home for all windows services).

Not only for Dropbox…

Note that both options above will work for almost any program that displays a tray icon or window! We recommend the same procedures when managing common GUI applications as services, including OneDrive, VirtualBox, Box Sync and Outlook 2010.


If you have a question about Windows Services, 24×7 operation, or any of our products, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ll do our best to provide a timely and informative answer!

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Goodbye Google Drive, Hello Backup and Sync!

Welcome to Backup and Sync


If you are running Google Drive as a windows service with AlwaysUp, beware: Google Drive is going away. The folks in Mountain View broke the news in a recent G Suite update, stating:

Google Drive will no longer be supported starting on December 11th, 2017, and it will shut down completely on March 12th, 2018.

I’m using Google Drive. What should I do?

Google isn’t leaving its users stranded. Their new Backup and Sync application is an excellent (and free) replacement for Google Drive. Just uninstall the old program, install and configure the new application and you will be good to go!

But if your goal is quickly and easily access your files in Drive from your PC, then you should also consider Drive File Stream. This new application — which will be publicly available on September 26 2017 — lists your files in Google Drive as a special folder on your PC and allows you to grab those files on demand. Drive File Stream uses less disk space than Backup and Sync, is less taxing of your network bandwidth and also boasts offline access. However, whereas Backup and Sync will happily copy files from whatever folders you designate, Drive File Stream only synchronizes the files explicitly placed in its “My Drive” folder. This may be an issue if the files you want to share span many folders across your PC. Check out this page comparing the similar products to find out which one is right for you.

One important note: Drive File Stream is not supported on Windows Server editions. This is a curious restriction for a product aimed at “G Suite Enterprise, Business and Education customers” — a group that routinely runs server products. Backup and Sync has no such limitation.

Can I run Backup and Sync as a Windows Service with AlwaysUp?

Yes! The setup is very similar to what we recommend in our Google Drive tutorial.

The full path to the Backup and Sync executable is:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Drive\googledrivesync.exe

Specify it in the Application field on the General tab:

Here is a screenshot of Backup and Sync running with AlwaysUp on Windows Server 2016:

So far so good!

We will continue to test the Backup and Sync service for a couple more weeks and write up a step-by-step “setup guide” to help future customers. A tutorial for Drive File Stream will follow once that software has been officially released (near the end of 2017).

Finally, good luck migrating from Google Drive to Backup and Sync. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you encounter trouble running Backup and Sync as a Windows Service!

Posted in Software | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

How to Verify that Dropbox is Synchronizing your Files and Folders

Dropbox Synchronizing with Windows

AlwaysUp is designed to run Dropbox 24/7 — starting it when your PC boots and keeping your files up to date all the time despite failures or other unexpected interruptions. You don’t even need to log on!

But to gain those benefits, AlwaysUp must launch Dropbox in the background as a Windows Service. In that situation, described in our tutorial showing how to setup Dropbox as a Windows Service, Dropbox’s familiar “box” icon won’t appear on your taskbar. You won’t see the informative icon overlays beside the files and folders being synchronized either. And without those visual hints, how do you know that your important files and folders are being copied to and from the cloud?

Perform this easy 4-step test to prove that your important files are protected:

  1. Start Dropbox in AlwaysUp

    From AlwaysUp, select “Start Dropbox” from the “Application” menu:

    Your service should transition to the Running state after a few seconds. Clicking on the green circle should reveal details of the running process:

    Please consult our online troubleshooter or get in touch if you can’t get this far!

  2. Wait for five minutes while Dropbox starts

    Dropbox can take a while to get going — especially if it has a long list of files and folders to synchronize. Take this brief opportunity to:

    Dropbox should be ready and waiting when you return.

  3. Create a new file in your Dropbox folder

    Open your Dropbox folder in Windows Explorer. Right-click in the files area (on the right), select New > Text Document and give the file a suitable name:

    We called our file “DropboxTest.txt”:

  4. Login to Dropbox online and confirm that the new file is there

    Sign in to your Dropbox account online and browse to your files. The new text file should be listed, as it was for us:

    If you don’t see the new file, do a few more stretches and try again. Sometimes Dropbox can be a bit slow…

What should I do if my file didn’t show up?

If your new file wasn’t listed online, something is definitely wrong with your setup. We’re here to help! Please get in touch so that we can get you going ASAP.

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OneDrive Can’t Be Run Using Full Administrator Rights

Administrator rights not allowed

OneDrive hates admin rights

A customer looking to run OneDrive as a Windows Service with AlwaysUp recently contacted our support team for help. Even though he had diligently followed our step-by-step tutorial, his files were not being synchronized as intended. OneDrive refused to refused to work as a service!

After confirming that his files were not being copied, our support team launched OneDrive “in this session” — to see the normal tray icon and check if an error was being reported. We were greeted by this puzzling error message:

OneDrive can't be run using full administrator rights

So it seems that OneDrive doesn’t like to be run with admin rights. And the customer’s account was a member of the Administrators group — which is recommended for smooth operation as a Windows Service with AlwaysUp.

UAC enables an administrator to run OneDrive normally

But why does OneDrive work at all in the customer’s admin account? Why doesn’t the software complain when he starts OneDrive normally on his desktop?

The answer lies with Microsoft’s User Account Control (UAC) security feature. By default, applications started interactively are run with lower, non-admin privileges. This happens for all accounts — even for administrators. OneDrive seems to require that lower privilege context to do its work. Indeed, in this OneDrive desktop FAQ, Microsoft confirms that UAC is what enables OneDrive to be started by an administrator. If we removed UAC from the equation (by by right-clicking on OneDrive.exe and selecting “Run as administrator”) we were able to reproduce the error straightaway.

But while UAC restricts rights for the desktop user, UAC is not in play when running in the context of a windows service. Services are always run with the highest privileges. We must find a way for our customer to start OneDrive with reduced rights to avoid the error.

How to launch OneDrive with reduced rights from AlwaysUp

Our new Run with Restricted Rights command-line utility comes to the rescue. Here are the steps we performed to get the customer up and running:

  1. Download RunWithRestrictedRights.exe (it’s free).

    Save it to a new folder on your hard drive. We suggest C:\Tools.

  2. Start AlwaysUp.

    Double-click your OneDrive service to edit it.

  3. In the Application field, enter the full path to RunWithRestrictedRights.exe.

    In the Arguments field, enter the full path to your OneDrive executable, enclosed in quotes. It should look something like this:

    “C:\Users\[USER-NAME]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\
    OneDrive\OneDrive.exe”

    where [USER-NAME] is the name of your Windows account.

  4. Save your settings.

With this new setup, AlwaysUp will start RunWithRestrictedRights.exe, which will launch OneDrive with diminished permissions. You should not see the “full administrator rights” error anymore.

Note that we plan to add the capability to run an application with diminished rights directly from AlwaysUp. That feature will probably included in AlwaysUp version 10.3, which should released to all customers in September/October.

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How to Confirm that OneDrive is Synchronizing your Files

OneDrive Synchronizing with Windows

AlwaysUp is designed to run OneDrive all the time — starting it when your PC boots and keeping synchronization going 24×7 despite failures or other unexpected interruptions. You don’t even need to log on!

But to gain those benefits, AlwaysUp must launch OneDrive in the background as a Windows Service. In that situation, described in our tutorial showing how to setup OneDrive as a Windows Service, OneDrive’s usual “cloud” icon won’t appear on your taskbar. You won’t see the informative icon overlays beside the files and folders being synchronized either. And without those visual elements, how do you know that your important files and folders are being copied to and from the cloud?

Perform this easy 4-step test to prove that your files are protected:

  1. Start OneDrive in AlwaysUp

    From AlwaysUp, select “Start OneDrive” from the “Application” menu:

    Your service should transition to Running after a few seconds. Clicking on the green circle should reveal details of the running process:

    Please consult our online troubleshooter or get in touch if you can’t get this far!

  2. Wait for five minutes while OneDrive starts

    OneDrive can take a while to initialize itself — especially if it has a long list of files and folders to synchronize. This is a good opportunity for you to:

    OneDrive should be ready and waiting when you return.

  3. Create a new file in your OneDrive folder

    Open your OneDrive folder in Windows Explorer. Right-click in the files area (on the right), select New > Text Document and give the file a suitable name:

    We called our file “TestSync.txt”:

  4. Login to OneDrive online and confirm that the new file is there

    Sign in to your OneDrive account and browse to your files. The new text file should be listed, as it was for us:

    If you don’t see the new file, do a few more stretches and try again. Sometimes OneDrive can be a bit slow…

What should I do if my file didn’t show up?

If your new file wasn’t listed online, something is definitely wrong with your setup. We’re here to help! Please get in touch so that we can get you going ASAP.

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Why Does Windows SmartScreen Flag Our Software?

Windows SmartScreen Filter Warning

Last month we released a new version of our popular run-anything-as-a-windows-service software, AlwaysUp. Everything was going smoothly — until we encountered a very alarming situation while testing the new software on Windows 10!

After downloading the new AlwaysUp installation executable with Microsoft Edge, the browser asserted that “AlwaysUp_Installer.exe is not commonly downloaded and may harm your computer”. WHAT??

Clicking the Actions button gave us the option to “Run Anyway”, and the installation completed without further incident, but the whole experience left our team worried and full of questions. Specifically:

  • Why did this suddenly start happening?
  • How will our customers react to Microsoft’s unfounded suspicions?
  • And most importantly, how do we get rid of the chilling warnings?

SmartScreen Complains because our Software is “New”

Apparently we’re not the only developers tormented by SmartScreen. Warnings are common, especially for small software companies like ours. The “Criticism” section of the Wikipedia article on SmartScreen Filter says it best:

SmartScreen Filter creates a problem for small software vendors when they distribute an updated version of installation or binary files over the internet. Whenever an updated version is released, SmartScreen responds by stating that the file is not commonly downloaded and can therefore install harmful files on your system.

Only a Few Customers are Blocked by SmartScreen Filter

To date, only one customer has asked about SmartScreen’s warning. We had expected hundreds! Fortunately there are a few reasons why many customers aren’t being tripped up by Microsoft’s overly cautious approach:

  1. Our products are digitally signed for security and authenticity. SmartScreen takes this as a positive sign and is likely to avoid prompting all customers all the time.
  2. Prior to Windows 8, SmartScreen Filter was a part of Internet Explorer. Thus customers using Chrome or Firefox on Windows 7 and Server 2008 will never encounter SmartScreen warnings.
  3. After testing downloads on Windows 8, 10 and Windows Server 2012 and 2016, we only received warnings on Windows 10 with Edge.

So it seems that SmartScreen warnings are largely limited to customers using Internet Explorer or Edge. Metrics gathered from our website (via the incredibly useful StatCounter) tell us that only about 11% of all visitors are using those browsers:

Time (and Good Behavior) will Disarm SmartScreen Filter

We hoped for a simple solution: Inform Microsoft that our software is 100% safe and they would promptly update their SmartScreen database to remove all warnings. All would be right with the world. But SmartScreen doesn’t work like that.

SmartScreen is reputation based. Each time someone downloads our software package and declares that it is safe to install, that executable gains some positive reputation. Once enough people have successfully installed and the accumulated reputation crosses some magic threshold, the warnings disappear. Only an established track record of doing no harm will halt the SmartScreen dogs.

Indeed, after a couple of weeks the warnings for AlwaysUp version 10 seems to have gone away:

Yay!

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