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WinXP Tweaking: From Relax to Righteous

By: Koroush Ghazi | Guides | Posted: Feb 8, 2003 5:00 am

Windows Explorer


Everyone uses Windows Explorer (Explorer for short) for basic everyday tasks such as copying, moving, renaming and deleting files on their PC. The following tweaks make using Explorer much quicker and easier. For starters if you want to open Explorer, the fastest way is to press the Windows Key (typically between ALT and CTRL on your keyboard) at the same time as the E key (WINDOWS + E).



Set Explorer's default startup folder


Tool: Explorer


If you open Explorer from an icon, this tweak allows you to set which directory it will display by default upon opening:


1. Right click on the icon you use to launch Explorer and select Properties.


2. In the Target box of Properties type (or replace the existing text with) the following (without quotes):


"%SystemRoot%\Explorer.exe /e, path"


Where in place of path above you should enter the actual path to the directory you want open by default. For example C:\Windows, or C:\Documents and Settings, etc. The path also doesn't require quotes around it.


3. Click OK.


Note that there are several other switches and options you can use to customize Explorer's default view. These are detailed in this: Microsoft Article.


Rename multiple files at once


Tool: Explorer


If you have a large number of files you want to rename, you can do it rapidly by doing the following:


1. Highlight the group of files you want to rename. You can do this two ways. The first way is to hold down the SHIFT key and click on the first file in the group, then still holding down shift click on the last file in the group and everything in between will be highlighted. The second way is to hold down the CTRL key and click on individual files you want to select until all the files you want are highlighted.


2. Right-click on the first file you want to rename, and select Rename.


3. Enter a name for the file and press ENTER.


Now all the remaining highlighted files will be renamed as well with the same name and a number in brackets after it. For example, if I rename the first in a series of files "Screen.jpg" using this method, the remaining highlighted files will be renamed "Screen (1).jpg", "Screen (2).jpg" and so forth.


Remove unwanted entries from context menus


Tool: Regedit



One of my biggest pet peeves is programs which insist on becoming a part of my context menus. A context menu is the little menu which pops up when you right click on objects, files, folders or icons. For example, right click on a desktop icon and if you have Norton Antivirus installed it will have 'Scan with Norton Antivirus' as a choice. I'm sure there are a lot of virused icons out there, thanks for the option guys.


The first step to getting rid of these entries involves opening the programs in question and looking through their options to see if you can unselect any 'integration' or 'context menu' options they have. If that fails, and the program absolutely insists on being an intimate part of your Windows, you can edit the registry as follows:


1. Before we make any changes in the registry, and even though you should have a full System Restore and/or Registry backup already, back up the registry keys which will be affected in this tweak:










2. Do this by opening Regedit, find the relevant sub-folder, right-click on it and select Export. Make sure the "Selected Branch" option is selected under Export Range, then enter a descriptive name and save it somewhere safe. Do that for each one of the four sub-folders above. If anything goes wrong, instead of firing up System Restore or restoring the entire registry you can double-click on these files and everything is quickly fixed.


3. Now, go to the following sub-folders and delete references to programs you know have set up offending context menu entries. For example, in my system under [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers] I found the key Symantec.Norton.Antivirus.IEContextMenu which I deleted. The first volley in the war against the invasion of my menus by Symantec. Here are all the places you should look in:


















4. As you're removing all the unwanted program entries, you should see the effects immediately - no reboot required. Remove an entry from the [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers] subfolder for example and open Explorer, then right click on your hard drive name and you should see the corresponding program you removed in the registry is gone from the context menu too. When you're done, you should see the default context menus devoid of the added rubbish.



If any of the programs whose context menu entries you've removed start displaying strange behaviour, restore the registry entries you backed up previously, or just reinstall the program. As long as you only delete program entries and none of the default Windows entries, all the normal context menu items will still remain.


Folder views not being saved


Tool: Regedit


Sometimes you'll change a folder view, its position, or one of the folder's display options and upon rebooting the changes haven't been saved. The first thing to do is go to Control Panel>Folder Options and under the View tab make sure that 'Remember each folder's view settings' is ticked.


However even with this setting ticked you'll wind up with unsaved settings - I know from personal experience. Before using this tweak, every time I opened Control Panel it would show Details view and not Icons view, no matter how many times I changed it back to Icon view. The way to fix this problem is to open Regedit and go to the following sub-folders:






Right-click on each one (i.e. BagMRU and Bags) and select Delete to get rid of both of them. Reboot your PC and set up each of your folders as you like it. These settings should now be saved and restored on the next reboot. By deleting the registry entries above Windows is forced to recreate them and in doing so get rid of corruption and bad entries, typically caused by third-party programs.


How much to upgrade to x64 Edition?


Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition (ZAT00008) for PC


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