The result of a blogging accident

Disabling Utility Manager and profiting at the same time

There’s this accessibility utility in Windows called Utility Manager that has been around for ages, and can be activated at any time during logon by pressing Win+U. I noticed in Windows 7 there’s no easy way to actually disable this program (in fact, in most versions of Windows this is the case). After a certain person decided it’d be a good idea to turn on FilterKeys (meaning I’d have to press each key for about 3 seconds to register) and high-contrast theming and have that waiting for when I logged in, I decided to fight back (and discovered how few people set Open Firmware passwords to prevent starting Mac OS X up in single-user mode to be able to get root on it).

There are other programs that either disable it or give a gentle notification about it. I felt the need to be a bit more tactless about it, so I wrote this program that gives a nice subtle hint about how I feel when you play with my computer, inspired by a popular wallpaper. Here’s a totally NSFW screenshot of it.

Of course, in a professional scenario, this probably isn’t appropriate. Seeing as the only people playing around with it are trying to be sneaky, responding this way sends the message home.


Installation Instructions

This software has been tested on x86\_32 and x86\_64 versions of Windows XP, Vista and 7. It’ll probably also work on the server versions (2003 and 2008) too.

On Windows XP and 2003, you’ll need to also install the .NET Framework, v2.0 or later. You can download this from Microsoft’s .NET Framework website. Windows Vista, 2008 and 7 come with an appropriate version of .NET out of the box.

You’ll need to boot into another operating system that can write to your Windows folder. You cannot have the Windows install you’re applying this to running while you install it. You can do this with another installation of Windows on the same computer, plugging your hard drive into another computer in an external enclosure, or by using a Linux LiveCD that has the NTFS-3G driver installed in it (such as recent versions of Knoppix and Ubuntu).

Rename utilman.exe in /Windows/System32 to Utilman.exe.old. In case something goes wrong, you can use this to restore the backup.

Copy utilman.exe from the archive into your /Windows/System32 folder.

In Windows XP and 2003, you’ll also need to do the same to the version of utilman.exe in the hidden folder, /Windows/System32/dllcache, otherwise Windows File Protection will restore the original version.