Step-by-Step: Installing and Configuring FireDaemon
April 28, 2002


FireDaemon is a very cool program that turns almost any program into a daemon or service.  A service is a program that runs in the background all the time, regardless if somebody is logged in or not.  This is very useful for certain programs that you would like running all the time. 

You may ask: What if I put a shortcut to the program I want in the startup folder of the start menu?  Won't that work?  Answer: Sort of.  If you put a program in the startup folder in the start menu, it will run when Windows is loaded.  However, if you setup Windows so that it requires you to login, then the program in the startup folder won't run until login is complete.  Also, it will only run if the proper person logs in.  A service runs all the time, regardless of who is or is not logged in.

FireDaemon will work with Windows NT v4.0 Workstation or Server with Service Pack 4 or later installed. It will also work with Windows 2000 Professional and Advanced Server with Service Pack 1 installed. It is not designed to work with Windows 95/98. 

Let's get started. 

Download FireDaemon from http://www.firedaemon.com  The version I downloaded is named "fd009c-fdui10R3.exe"

Double click on it to start installation.  You'll get a dialog box that asks if you would like to continue.  Click "Yes".

Setup has begin.  Click "Next".

More Information.  Click "Next".

Here you get to choose which directory FireDaemon is installed in.  The default directory is fine.  Click "Next".

Now you get to choose the program group name.  The default is fine.  Click "Next".  Wow you can see some of the programs I have installed on my computer here.  How embarrassing.

Now we're ready to install.  Click "Install".

Now we're done.  Click "Finish".

Now that we have FireDaemon installed, let's setup one of our favorite programs to run as a service.  We'll setup FREEping as a service.

There are two ways to setup FireDaemon, by command line or by graphical interface.  We'll go the command line method because it's so much funner.  So much more fun.  Whaterver.

Go: "Start" -> "Programs" -> "FireDaemon" -> "FireDaemon v0.09c"
You'll see this lovely window.

Now type in the service name at the prompt.  Like the prompt says, the name can have no spaces.  We'll go with "FREEping".  Hit Enter.

The easiest way to do the next few windows is to find the shortcut for the application you're trying to turn into a service and look at the properties.  Then you can simply cut and paste instead of typing and risking making mistakes.  Don't copy the parentheses marks.  The "" marks.  Here is the properties page of FREEping.

You now need to type in the Application Working Directory.  This is the directory in which FREEping is installed.  I'll enter: "C:\Program Files\FREEping"

Now enter the full path and name for the executable.  I'll enter: "C:\Program Files\FREEping\FREEping.exe"

Here you type in any options your application requires.  Since FREEping doesn't require any switches, just press "Enter".

Prompt 5 asks whether or not to automatically restart the application if for any reason it crashes or fails.  Type in "y".

For the processor affinity mask, just enter "0".  If you want more information about what this settings is for, you can read the documentation.  However, "0" is just fine.

The Process Priority allows you to determine how much time the Process Scheduler allocates to the subprocess. Again, you can safely type in "0".  Trust me :)

Now you get to choose whether or not the application will be able to interact with the desktop or not.  If you want it to run completely in the background, then type "n".  If you want to be able to still interact with the program, then type "y".  We can change this option later.  For now, let's say no.

Do we want the service to auto start?  Of course we do.  Type "y".

Hit enter and you should see this happy message. "Service successfully installed!"

Press Enter to continue and the window closes.  Now let's take a look to see if this thing really works.

Go to: "Start" -> "Settings" -> "Control Panel" -> "Administrative Tools" -> "Services".

You'll see a list of all the services running on your computer.

Find the one that is labeled "FireDaemon Service:.....".  Right click on the name and select "Properties".  As you can see, the service is currently stopped.  This is because we just created it.  Upon the next reboot of your computer, it will be running. 

To make it run now, simply press "Start".  You should see "Service status: Started".

Now let's go over a few things.  Remember how we made it so that the service does not interact with the desktop?  How do we change this?  Easy, go to the "Log On" tab and check the box labeled "Allow service to interact with desktop".  Simple.  Next time you start the service, the FREEping window will pop up.  Now try closing the window to FREEping.  What happens?  It keeps coming back up!  Why?  Remember that we set it so that if FREEping fails, it automatically restarts.  Pretty cool eh?

It would be best to uncheck the box that allows the service to interact with the desktop and let it run in the background.  You may ask: Well, if the program cannot interact with the desktop, how do I make changes to FREEping, like adding different IP addresses to ping?  Easy my friend.  All you have to do is open up FREEping from the start menu, make the changes you want and then close the program.  Next, go to your Services window and restart the "FireDaemon: FREEping" service.  When it finishes restarting, the service will be running with your new changes.

There you go.  As you can see, FireDaemon is a very handy program that will serve you well.  We used FREEping as the example here, but there are many other programs you could run as a service instead.

Good luck!

Brian
 



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