Customizing Windows

More Than 200 Hacks,Tweaks,Moods,and Customizations.

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Customizing The Start Panel - Chapter 7

Adding Web site links to your Start panel
Do you have a Web site that you visit frequently? How would you like to place a link to that Web site directly on your Start panel? With the help of a registry hack, it is possible to place a shortcut on the bottom-right side of your Start panel.

Adding a link to a Web site is a great way to get to your favorite Web site fast. Also, if you run your own Web site, you can make your own registry file that you can distribute to your visitors so they can add your site to their Start Menu. I will show you how to make a quick script from your registry once you have made the changes on your computer.

Now that I have told you the basics of this hack, let’s get started:

1. Click the Start Menu and select Run. Then type regedit to launch the Registry Editor.

2. When the Registry Editor has launched, you will want to expand the HKEY_CLASSES _ROOT folder and then the CLSID folder.

3. Next, you will want to scroll through the list of Class IDs until you find {2559a1f6- 21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0} and expand it as well.

4. Start your modifications by naming this class. Right-click the (default) entry within the {2559a1f6-21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0} folder and select modify.

5. Then type in the value data box and click OK to save your changes.

6. Now you are going to set up the icon that will be displayed on the Start panel next to the name.To do this, you will need to create a new folder. Select the {2559a1f6-21d7-11d4- bdaf-00c04f60b9f0} folder again and right-click it. Then select New and then Key. This will create a new subfolder that you should call DefaultIcon.

7. Right-click the DefaultIcon folder that you just created and create a new string value by expanding new and selecting string value. Name this new value (Default). The value of this string will be the location of the icon that you want to use.

8. I like using the system icons which are stored in the shell32.dll.To use these icons,
right-click the new (Default) string value that you created and select modify. Then type %SystemRoot%\\system32\\shell32.dll,-47 in the value box and click OK to save. The 47 in that line is the index of the icon that I wanted to use for my link to If you want to use a different icon, replace the 47 with the icon index number you want. You are free to use any icon that you want, including icons that are not in the shell32.dll file. If you want to use an icon that you downloaded or made, just enter the full path to that icon in place of the line mentioned above.

Caution: If you do not know what icons are in the shell32.dll file, take a look at a program called IconXpert created by Xpert-Design to browse through the system icons located inside the file.
This free application can be downloaded from their Web site, located at www.XpertDesign .de/English/. Once you have IconXpert installed and running, browse over to the Windows and then the System32 folders to find shell32.dll. Once you select Shell32.dll, you will be shown all of the icons stored within the file. If you want to use a specific icon, just note its index number and use that in place of the 47 in the (Default) entry that you created above.

9. Now that the shortcut is set up, specify what it is supposed to do.To do this, expand the Instance folder that is inside the {2559a1f6-21d7-11d4-bdaf 00c04f60b9f0} folder and then expand the InitPropertyBag folder.

10. Inside the InitPropertyBag folder, you will be making the last changes for this hack.To start off, you will want to create a new string value and call it Command. You can create this by right-clicking the InitPropertyBag folder and selecting New, and then String Value.

11. Right-click the new string value that you created and select modify. Key in in the value data box and click OK. This value will be the text that is displayed on the Start Panel.

12. Now you are almost finished. Create one more string value in the InitPropertyBag folder and name it Param1. Then right-click the string value, select Modify, type, and click OK to save.

You are now finished! Once you log off and log back on, the changes will be activated. If you wish to make a shortcut that points to a different Web site, just replace all of the’s to the name of the site that you want it to point to. Also you will have to modify the value of the Param1 string value to hold the address of the new Web site. Be sure to always include http:// in front of your URLs so that the shortcut works properly.

Also, as I mentioned before, if you own a Web site, creating a Start panel button would be a cool feature to give your visitors. You can create a registry file of your registry that you can distribute to other users. Then, all they have to do is double-click the file and click Yes on the import screen.To make a registry file, just select the {2559a1f6-21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0} folder and right-click it. Then select Export from the menu and save the file. The file should only be a few bytes, so it will be easy to distribute the file on the Web. Keep in mind that this registry file will only work on Windows XP machines, so be sure to relay that information to visitors of your Web site if you choose to offer your registry file up for download.

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