Copyright Michael Karbo, Denmark, Europe.

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    Chapter 11. More about files and data

    In this and the following chapters I will give different small tips for the daily work with files, programs and data.

    First we will look at the use of hyperlinks, icons and the desktop. I will show different methods for clean-up, and I will show how you can open unknown file types.

    Make your own hyperlinks

    It can be practical to place hyperlinks different places in the Windows XP user interface. You can make hyperlinks to programs, but they can also go to folders and documents. Here I show a couple of examples:

    1.    Open Windows Explorer. Select folder x1, which you have created earlier.

    2.    Use the mouse to drag the folder; drag it down to the tool bar Quick start. You are not dragging the folder itself, but a hyperlink to it!

    3.    Release the hyperlink i the tool bar; you can se it as a vertical black beam:

    4.    Now you have a quick shortcut to open the folder. Click on the small folder button:

    5.    Voila, the the folder opens in Windows Explorer.

    6.    If you want another icon for the button, you need to right click on it and select Properties. Then clilck on the button Change icon, and choose from among the many options!

    Figure 52. Most icons – regardless of their placement – can be replaced.

    Hyperlinks on the desktop

    Many use Windows desktop as ”work area”. You can place all kinds of objects there including documents, but I do not recommend that. But it can be quite smart to have hyperlinks on the desktop.

    You now need to make a hyperlink to the spider game.

    1.    Minimize all windows with the keyboard shortcut Windows+d.

    2.    Then right click on the desktop. Select menu items New --> Shortcut. In this context Windows use the term ”shortcut” in stead of ”hyperlinks”, but it means the same:

    3.       Now you need to identify a path to the file or folder where the hyperlink has to go to. I show you where the game is, so just click on the button Review[n15] …:

    4.    Open My Computer.

    5.    Then find the folder Windows, which is surely on your C drive, and in the Windows folder you need to find the folder system32:

    6.    Open that. Far down in the list of files and sub ­folders you see the program ­file spider.exe. Select that:

    7.    Then click on OK. With that the name and path of the program file is shown in the field:

    8.    Click on the next button, enter the name of the hyperlink spider and finally click on the Finish button (or press Enter).

    9.    Now you have a hyperlink to the spider game on the desktop. You can doubleclick on the hyperlink and the spider game opens.

    10. Make yet another hyperlink on the desktop. It has to go to the document homepage.htm, which you produced earlier (see page 69).

    11. You now have two new hyperlinks on the desktop. Notice that both hyperlinks have the ”right” icons (the same as the files).

    12. Test them both by opening them!

    Figure 53. Two hyperlinks on the desktop. Notice the small black arrows by the icons. They tell that they are hyperlinks.

    Notice that the hyperlink is not synomomous with the file it points to. You can thus delete the hyperlink without deleting the file. But if you delete the file, then the hyperlink no longer works.

    On the other hand you can right click on the hyperlink to homepage.htm and select Edit to open the file in an editor; that works.

    Cleaning up the desktop

    The idea with the desktop is really that you should use it as a real dektop. Many people also do that; they place all kinds of files and folders, hyperlinks and even programs on the desktop.

    Then an occasional cleanup is a good idea. And Windows XP can figure that out by itself:

    1.    Right click on the desktop and select Properties. Click on the Desktop tab. Then click on the button Customize Desktop…:


    2.    Now can you see that Windows XP by default will clean the desktop every 60 days. But we don’t want to wait for that; so click on the button ”Clean Desktop Now”:


    3.    Then the Desktop Cleanup Wizard starts. Click on the button Next. You can now se, which shortcuts Windows suggests to remove from the desktop. If you want to ”save” some, you need remove to the checkmark by them (see Figure 54).

    4.    Click on the Next button and then on Finish. Click on OK twice to close the last dialog boxes.

    5.    Then your desktop is clean. But you might have to arrange the remaining icons; they are probably scattered all over the desktop.

    6.    Right click on the desktop and select Arrange Icons By --> Auto Arrange:

    7.    Then everything looks neat.

    Notice: Windows XP does not delete any hyper­links. They are placed in a folder on the desktop, from where you can always retrieve them:

    It is a good idea to maintain order on the desktop. Here like in similar situations it is impossible to keep track of too many icons. So keep the number below 20, and then use the Desktop Cleanup Wizard for that!

    Figure 54. Windows XP keeps track of which of the desktop hyperlinks you only rarely use, and suggests to remove them.

    Cleanup in the All programs menu

    The start menu (see also pages 8 and 28) contains the important menu item All programs, which is a list of hyperlinks to the pc’s pro­gram­s.

    As time goes by, you will probably have a number of programs installed, and that can cause some minor problems. The list can soon become enormous and hard to survey, and then there is a need for cleanup.

    Start by checking the start menu on your pc.

    1.    Open the menu All programs.

    2.    Mine is impossible, the list occupies pages:

    3.    All these programs were installed on my hard disk, and that is ok.

    4.    But the All Pro­grams list becomes unsuable when there are so many hyperlinks to choose from. So I will reduce it. I right click on the Start button and select the menu item ”Explore All Users”:

    5.    That opens Windows Explorer with focus on the Start menu folder, where you find all the hyperlinks to the programs. I can now open the folder My Programs by clicking on it in the left window of Explorer:

    6.    Now I can remove the individual hyperlinks in the right window in this way: I select more than one at a time by holding the Control-key down while I click on the individual hyperlinks:

    7.    When the unwanted hyperlinks are selected, I can move them to a new folder (such as the folder Miscellaneous), which I create right away:

    8.    I select menu items New à Folder, name it Miscellaneous and press Enter.

    9.    Then I can drag the selected (and unwanted) hyperlinks into the new folder.

    After the cleanup the menu All programs is much easier to read. All the ”garbage” went down in the submenu Miscellaneous.

    Figure 55.Then the menu is cleaned up..

    Comments to the cleanup

    You need to be aware that the menu All programs is partly open for all users, and partly personal for your own user profile (read about users and user profiles on page 61).

    This means that you might also have to clean up in your personal version of the start menu.

    Fortunately it is very easy to find with the Explorer; you can see it in the ”tree” under your user name:

    Remember that you have four main areas, where there may be hyperlinks to objects like programs, files and folders:

  • In the menu All programs (which has jjust been reviewed).

  • On the desktop (see page 73).

  • In the left list in the start menu (page 7).

  • In the tool bar Quick Start (page 24 and 72).

    The trick is to distribute the hyperlinks you sometimes need, so there are not too many repeats. All four listed areas can easily be overfilled with icons, and that makes the system less usable. So clean up your hyperlinks regularly, and use the options for distribution in the four areas.

    Open with

    I have previously mentioned the registering of file types systems (see page 43). The idea is that Windows knows what to do with a certain file type when you doubleclick on it.

    It would be ideal if Windows knew all file types, but that is not the case. Anyone can create a file with any suffix you like. Then it is good that it is possible at to insert ”unknown” file types in the collection of registered file types. Let me show you an example:

    1.      Open Note pad, and enter this text:

    Lavender & Garlic … (someting has to be written there…)

    2.      Press Control+s to save, and select File type: All files, as you can see below. The save the file stinker.123 in folder x1:

    3.      Close Notepad. Open Windows Explorer and open folder x1.

    4.      Doubleclick on stinker.123:

    5.      Normally we can expect that ”someting happens”, that the file somehow is read into a program. In stead you here get a warning that this is not immediately possible.

    6.      Select the item ”Select the program from a list” like here, and click on OK:

    7.      The following dialog box is called Open with, and you can use that to name a program. Smartly enough Windows XP suggests Notepad as the ”mother-pro­gram” for our invented file type 123 (see Figure 56).

    8.      That is ok. Verify that there is a checkmark in the bottom field you see in Figure 56, and click on OK. Then Notepad opens and the document is read.

    9.      Then first close Notepad. Then check that the registering is in place:

    10.   Doubleclick on stinker.123 again. The document is opened in Notepad, and all future 123-files will be there.

    Registering of file types may be a technical detail, but it is important that you know and understand the registry system. At least you need to know the file types yoou work with and their associated programs.

    If you ever get to work with picture processing and with more than one graphics pro­gram simultaneously, it is very handy to be able to change the file type registry, so the files are opened with the right programs. That can be done as previously described here in the booklet (see page 71) but also with the dialog box Open with, as you have just seen.

    Figure 56. The dialog box ”Open with” can be used to change file type registries.

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