Using RunOnceEx

Last week we figured out how to run something once per user. This week, we will look at running something once on a computer. I'm sure that there are fifty different ways to do this. Personally I like this method, because of three features:

  1. Easily able to run multiple items
  2. Easily able to sequence items
  3. Shows progress with a GUI
RunOnceEx provides us with all of that. We'll start with the registry key.


Inside of that is a value name you will create called TITLE (REG_SZ). This will be the title displayed on the window showing the progress of our installation.

We then create keys under that. For convenience sake most people number them. This also will help to sequence installs. Inside each key, the default value will be the string that will be displayed when installing items in the key. You create values (REG_SZ), each will be ran in alphabetical/numeric order. The data can be pretty much anything. MSI, EXE, BAT, VBS. I'm not sure what else you'd need, but I think its covered.

Once you've populated this registry structure you can reboot/logoff. The next login that has rights to modify the RunOnceEx registry key will execute the keys in order. Alternatively you can execute the RunOnceEx Process anytime with the following command:

rundll32.exe iernonce.dll,RunOnceExProcess

Please note that the DLL used here is from Internet Explorer. At one point this command did not work when running IE7. I believe this issue may have been addressed. If not, the common workaround I've seen, is the use of the original IE6 dll and simply explicitly calling its path. Regardless, simply logging in will kick off the process.

Here is a sample of the registry for RunOnceEx. Simply copy this into a file and save with a .REG extension.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

"TITLE"="Installing Stuff"


@="Calculator x 2"

Here is what the above item will look like

What will happen with the above example is Notepad will run, followed by two calculator processes. Each process must end, before the next process begins.


No comments: