Window Manager

SAN MATEO (04/18/2000) - Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 is gradually making inroads as companies upgrade from Windows NT or Windows 9x. If you're not using Windows 2000 yet, save this column in case you do upgrade.

Make your own special folders

Reader Greg Brewer has discovered a new feature of Windows 2000 that he finds convenient. It's called "Folder Shortcuts." Not to be confused with "Shortcuts to Folders," Folder Shortcuts allow you to create a folder that's always accessible in Windows Explorer.

Ordinarily, when you create a folder on the Windows 2000 desktop, that folder appears in the right-hand pane of Windows Explorer only when you've selected Desktop in the left pane.

As soon as you select a different object or folder, you can no longer see the Share folder anywhere in the Explorer window.

When you create a Folder Shortcut on the desktop, however, you can fix this because this folder constantly appears at the bottom of Explorer's left pane.

It's as though you had created a resource such as the Control Panel or Recycle Bin, with a place of honor that's always visible in Explorer. (The Folders button must be "on" in the Standard toolbar to see the left pane.)Having a resource such as this -- always one click away -- can be very handy.

It's a great place to drag things, to store documents that you're constantly using, and so forth.

Here's how to create a Folder Shortcut in Windows 2000:

Step 1. In Windows Explorer, locate in the left pane your NetHood folder. This should be located at c:\Documents and Settings\{username}\NetHood.

Step 2. Holding down your right mouse button, drag a folder from another part of Explorer and drop that folder onto the NetHood folder.

When a context menu appears, click Create Shortcut Here. You should see a new "Shortcut to Foldername" appear within the NetHood folder.

Step 3. Drag this new "Shortcut to Foldername" to your Desktop.

The folder will immediately appear at the bottom of the objects in the left pane of the Explorer. You can use it from there as you would any other object.

Save your hard-earned favorites

Reader Lindsay Notwell was concerned that all the Web pages he had painstakingly bookmarked in his Favorites folder might be lost if he ever had to reinstall his Windows operating system and hadn't recently backed up his disk.

(If you need to reinstall Windows 2000, for example, it erases your My Documents folder and everything else under the WinNT folder.)E-mail programs such as Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express allow you to move their message files to another location that is easier to back up, such as a different partition.

So Notwell figured that he could do this with Favorites, too.

The following method is for Microsoft Windows 95 and 98, with Internet Explorer installed:

Step 1. Make a backup of the Registry using ScanReg. In Windows 98, click Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Information.

Pull down the Tools menu, then click Registry Checker. Windows 98 keeps five backups of your Registry by default; when asked if you want to create another one, click OK. If something goes wrong, you can boot to DOS and run scanreg/restore to select a known, good Registry.

Step 2. Using the Windows Explorer, move your c:\Windows\Favorites folder to your preferred location, such as d:\.

Step 3. Click Start, Run, then type regedit and click OK. Select the key HKEY _CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders.

Make sure the key Favorites reflects the new location of your Favorites folder.

Close the Registry Editor.

The next time you open Internet Explorer, your Favorites will be retrieved from your new location.

A Microsoft representative said, "This approach works fine," and suggested another for Microsoft's other operating systems, Windows 2000 and NT 4.0.

For example, you can create a common Favorites folder that all users would be able to share.

This approach would be useful if you wanted to establish many common links for a workgroup. To do this, see support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q158/7/87.asp.

Readers Brewer and Notwell will receive a free copy of Windows 2000 Secrets for being the first to send a tip I printed.

Brian Livingston's most recent book is Windows 2000 Secrets (IDG Books). Send tips to brian_livingston@infoworld.com. He regrets that he cannot answer individual questions.

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