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My rendition of the "Browservice" project


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Some thing I have been work on in my very little free time.

You know "Browservice" project right? He made a software that pushes endless stream of JPEG images to the browser that contain a website rendered by Chromium engine. Complete with fake address bar and front end JavaScript to capture keyboard and mouse. The idea sounds so ridiculous, so crazy, but it actually works on almost every OS and almost every old browser. Problem of "Browservice" is it doesn't feel convincing. IE constantly downloading images and status bar goes crazy (it appears that the memory leak exists). Also very slow when website has a animating.

I did something similar but using RDP. Only for IE5 and IE6. Should work Win98/ME/2000/XP<SP3. I develop in XPSP2 IE6 and WinME IE 5.5 for now.

Since it's ActiveX control, I am inside of IEXPLORE.EXE and have full control (that's how drive-by downloads installed spyware and virus back in the days). I use the power to intercept the menu, toolbar, address bar, status bar, etc. IE becomes only a bit of GUI under my control. All commands are redirected to remote server running Chromium engine there. RDP has the feature "Virtual Channel" to send messages (WTSVirtualChannelOpen etc.)

My implementation so far browsing experience feels 99% like using real Internet Explorer because RDP protocol is much faster and get clipboard support, access to local hard drive, sound, video streaming, etc. for free by Microsoft.

Unfortunately still very early in development. Downloads not yet work. History not yet work. Popup window not yet work (very difficult).

But I hope that in a few months from now good old Win9x and Win2000 can join a modern Internet again.

Backend in C#. Frontend in Visual Basic 6 with OLEEXP and patched SSUBTMR (just to prove it can be done, but it is painful).


Maybe you will say that's the fake screenshot. Okay, you can do it. I don't have the argument at the moment. But soon I hope to show it running on real hardware. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some progress:

  • History recorded in local IE browser
  • Travel log working (menu inside back and forward button)
  • CSS cursors working
  • Flexible window resize without disconnecting/reconnecting RDP
  • SSL validation with IE-style dialog box
  • IE style error messages :)

But still so much to do:

  • JavaScript alert, input, prompt, onunload, etc. handlers
  • Download handler
  • Context menus
  • Find in page
  • Full screen mode
  • File uploads
  • Build in Ruffle, somehow
  • Adblock, hopefully at least a simple one via DistillNET library
  • Open in new window
  • JavaScript popups
  • Better error handling on crash of backend

I really hope I can share more than pictures very soon. But still there is too much missing and I think people will complain a lot.


Edited by Kiriko Takemura
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  • 3 weeks later...

My progress is really slow at the moment, but I do not give up (yet).

The to do list on the previous page of open thing is getting a little smaller.

I changed from Virtual Box to VMware for development. I can test in Windows ME now without having to use a real PC for it (Win9x on Virtual Box is terrible). But on shutdown the WinME VM hangs. :(

Working: JavaScript alert, input, prompt, onunload, etc. handlers natively on frontend
Working: File downloads in native IE downloader (goes via a small and super fast proxy that streams the download to IE while Chromium engine is still downloading it)
Working: Find in page in native classic Windows search box + Chrome style hiliting
Working: Basic/Digest authentication with encrypted password saving on local system

Fun fact: Modern browsers fail the ACID3 test.

Currently working on file uploads.





Edited by Kiriko Takemura
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I made this into its own thread but unsure what to call it. Since this is more of a member project, it deserves its own thread. Feel free to change the title to what your project is called. Thanks!

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I was thinking about setting up browservice last night (and still might for the sake of Wii etc), but now I wanna try this out when it's ready for the same reasons mentioned in OP. It looks good!


Also, I agree about VirtualBox being difficult with 98. I gave up on it a while ago but tried again recently, and I forgot how I did it, but somehow mine works now (though I had to install a patch for speed issues because of one of the computers I access it on).

Edited by beansmuggler
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  • 3 weeks later...

I might try this.  Thx for sharing.  I also looked for another solution same as you being unsatisfied and came to my own conclusion that Real VNC enterprise worked better than anything else I tired.  4.4 and I beleive 4.5 client is working on 98se.  The mirror Driver installed on the server it runs smooth like hot butter.  You get all the copy and paste functionality and I can just use whatever browser I want to on the server with zero compatibility issues.  It's quite a bit better than using RDP normally, though I realize your way of doing it is not.  All other ways of doing things, I lose a lot of modern functionality.

Edited by Destro
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