Processes that increase Windows Rot?

February 16, 2011 at 10:24:07
Specs: Windows XP
What's up guys. Without going into too much extraneous detail-- I'm working on a combination batch/python script (.py called within script to handle functionality beyond the scope of MSDOS) that artificially "ages" a relatively new XP installation (working on Vista/7 portability but that's not the highest priority). I'm trying to create a testing environment as closely similar to the real-world environment in which a larger software deployment will take place... but, part of being thorough in testing is to make sure I have these test machines "feel" like they've been in the wild for a while. I need to simulate a lot of every day wear and tear in a shortened timeframe.

There are a lot of other ideas in the list that have not yet been implemented in the script, but currently it does the following:

* Installs then uninstalls any number of MSI packages in it's current working directory
* Installs .NET frameworks
* Enumerates the registry at HKLM, then adds X (user-defined) number of randomly generated keys throughout the registry, starting from the top and working down recursively -- also removing said key when it's done.
* Adds/Removes X (user-defined) number of user accounts, then removes them (not even really worth while IMHO but whatever... it works, doesn't put me further from my goal anyway)
* Installs a large number of fonts to the working Font directory (maybe left behind by graphics editing applications, installed by users in the past, etc)
* Creates a file with a random name and a string of random data-- to every directory and sub directory throughout the filesystem, then deleted them.
* Creates an Alternate Data Stream (not sure if this has any impact either, just implemented for s---s) in every directory/subdirectory in the filesystem then nullifies them.
* Creates an archive (with 7zip), one file at a time, appending the archive with another file until all files listed have been appended to the archive totaling ~500MB, then removes one item at a time from the same archive and deletes it upon completion.
* Calls a python script that fragments targeted areas of the operating system (namely Windows Prefetch, registry files, and the pagefile) by appending random data to them lots of times. Also generates heavily fragmented files in the windows TEMP directory to increase overall fragmentation.

There has been some results, but not nearly the ones I am reaching for. I did notice a slight decrease in overall performance after a few runs of this script, and an increase of total disk fragmentation of about 3-4% each pass, but I need to SLOW THESE BOXES DOWN!

Sounds counter-intuitive I know.... but.... I guess my question is, does anyone have any ideas of things I could implement to simulate user wear/system again/windows rot in a more impactful or noticeable way? I'm doing a lot of file I/O, registry modifications, targeted and random fragmentation, etc etc..... but I cant make these machines feel sluggish enough.

I don't want to intentionally break things just to slow things down --- I could modify pagefile settings or something to slow things down but my goal isn't to break things and say "there, now it's slow....cause I broke it" ... I want to achieve this in a way a real user might over a long time.

HELP! All ideas welcome.... Just running out of ideas myself

Thank you thank you thank you

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February 16, 2011 at 11:16:20
Sounds like a peculiar strategy, one that is not likely to achieve "real rot"...
• add, then remove
• write, then delete
• do, then undo

At some point, you have to quit some of the cleaning up -- it is counter-productive. "Rot" is not a result of reverting to the first state.

Fragmentation is just about the only effect your strategy is designed to do.

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February 16, 2011 at 11:37:06
That's true..... I guess I figured these un/installations may leave residual artifacts... writing/removing from registry may fragment it, that sort of thing.

I want to avoid just throwing a bunch of random software and random registry values all over the place just to weigh things down.... I know achieving what I'm trying to do seems far fetched... I'm not even sure it's possible on the level I'm trying to shoot for....but....still looking for ideas

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