There was a recent Windows PowerShell forum post that discussed HTAs. Due to that, I thought I would discuss a couple old HTAs I wrote and include their download links. Many people may not know it, but I was once a VBS aficionado. I had a task to set some registry settings back in 2005, or 6, and ended up staring some VBS examples right in the face. I was instantly hooked. I starting writing all kinds of things, and today I’m going to share two of my old HTAs — a couple favorites.
HTAs are HTML Applications. They allowed script writers, such as myself, the ability to create GUIs for their scripts. I suddenly had a way to hand over scripts in an easy to use fashion for users, and other IT personnel.
Funny story, but when Windows PowerShell — a.k.a Monad — was first introduced, I was excited at first, but then I was pissed (upset, not drunk). I had put so much time and effort into VBS, that moving to something else was upsetting. I’ve gotten over that now; I would need an extremely large pay day, to write and/or troubleshoot any VBS.
The first of the two HTAs I’ll share is called LoggedOnUser (1.6). Its original purpose was to determine who was logged on to a specific computer. Here’s what the HTA looks like when it’s first opened.
While you may not know what to do right away, there’s a tooltip that displays when you hover over the textbox, that reads, “Enter computer name, IP address, cmd or exit.” If someone entered “cmd” and pressed Enter, it would open the command prompt. I guess that seemed important at the time. If you entered “exit” and pressed Enter, then the HTA would close. Hopefully no one had a computer named cmd or exit! I wrote this for myself, so I assume I wasn’t worried about that possibility. If a computer name or IP is entered, it would attempt to connect over the network (using VBS and WMI), and populate three fields: Computer (as in the computer’s name), the currently logged on user as domain\user, and the full domain. Here’s an example:
After some time had passed, I decided to do more with this daily used HTA. I added a drop down menu that would perform different tasks, such as open C$, open Computer Management, and start a Remote Desktop Connection to the listed computer.
It was a fun project and the HTA was actively used from 2007 to probably 2013, by myself and at least one other IT shop. In my 1.5 version (one previous to this 1.6 version), there was a drop down option that opened up an inventory system to the listed computer’s inventory webpage. The inventory system had been built using a .vbs start up script deployed via Group Policy. It would collect computer information (including the logged on user), and write it to an Access database back end (yes, Access). Classic ASP was used for the web front (yes, classic ASP). Good times. I can say this: learning VBS made learning classic ASP extremely easy.
You can download this HTA here:
LoggedOnUserv1.6 (264 downloads)
The second HTA I’ll share was an amazing test of my patience. I’d like to thank Tool’s 10,000 Days for getting me through it.
I called this one Remote Desktop Assistant and its purpose was to store computer descriptions and matching IP addresses, or computer names. Choosing a computer from the list would allow a user to start a Remote Desktop Connection. This first screen shot shows the HTA when there are no stored computers. Let’s add one.
This image below, is what it looks like when it’s storing a computer for us. It stores this information in a computers.txt file in the same location as the HTA. Move the HTA and not the text file, and no computers will be listed, and the HTA will create a new computers.txt file. Yes, it’s creates this file if it can’t find one. With a single computer entered, such as we have below, the text file would contain one line that reads: Server01;10.10.10.35. It’s two strings with a semi-colon delimiter.
The server (Server01), in the image above was added by entering a description in the “Computer Description” textbox, and a corresponding computer name or IP address in the “IP Address or Computer” text box. When a user clicks on the computer in the left, it populates the the two textboxes and changes the “Choose Computer” button to a “Launch Remote Desktop” button. Do you see all this fanciness!?
If you press “Launch Remote Desktop” then it will do just that. The three bottom buttons: About…, Notes, and Feedback, offer some additional information about the HTA. It’s nothing monumental, but I was pleased with my ability to resize the form and replace the text in the lower area. The Hide button closes the lower, informational panel. Take a look below to see what I mean.
Well, that was a fun trip down memory lane. Who knows, these might actually be helpful for someone. One of the things I did, which I may share in a future post, was rewrite the LoggedOnUser VBS/HTA using PowerShell. There’s no GUI, but it does everything that HTA does, way faster, and with much less code. As you check these out, please keep in mind I wrote these around 2005 – 2007, or 8. Cheers!
You can download this HTA here:
RDAssistantv2.1 (333 downloads)
Update: Use PowerShell and Active Directory to create your computers.txt file: http://tommymaynard.com/quick-learn-prep-computers-txt-file-for-hta/.