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information-technology:2019-windows-7-setup

Windows 7 Setup

TrueLaunchBar

My article at Alternativeto.net

The Mac OS style of docks seems to be in. In those docks, are the program shortcuts individual files? Can you store those shortcuts, along with your portable software, to easily restore your launcher on another system?

I have like 800 programs, all portable, and the launcher shortcuts are categorized into menus. Reinstalling Windows and having access to these programs is just copying my programs, and the menu tree of shortcuts, and installing true launch bar. Usefulness will always be modern to me! I have no ties to the developer and receive no income from recommending his software.

True Launch Bar Screenshot

Reg File Editing

Download RegFileEdit.zip

I wanted to put this out there since maybe this program is valuable and hard to find. Someone made it available on MSFN many years ago, then quickly withdrew it.

RegFileEdit lets you edit hex(2) in plain english. It opens up the reg file as a temporary file, translated from hex in your default text editor. When you save and quit the text editor, RegFileEdit translates the temp file back to hex and updates the original reg file.

It's better than any of the options here. Install the program by merging the reg file (rename “regfileedit.reg.txt” → “regfileedit.reg”) or manually entering the lines using the windows registry editor “regedit.exe”. From then on, if you want to edit a reg file, right click on it and choose “open with” → RegFileEdit.

Windows Open With Dialog

Tested on Windows XP and Windows 7

This is the “Open With” Dialog in Windows. The normal behavior when you open an unknown file, is that the checkbox is checked. This is bad for newbies who will forget to untick the checkbox, and never have the option again to get this dialog and have awareness that you can use more than one program to open a file. Awareness of choice, freedom, is a good thing.

Open With Dialog

Below, the “@=none” keeps other associations from hijacking the open-with-dialog as default.

The “associate.cmd” makes the open-with-dialog checkbox unchecked, but grayed out.

Somehow, I found that if I put a single quotation mark in front of %1, the open with dialog would not be grayed out.

reg file:

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell]
@="none"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Unknown\shell\openas\command]
@=hex(2):cmd.exe /c d:\software\associate\associate.cmd "%1

associate.cmd file:

reg query HKCR\%~x1
if %errorlevel%==1 assoc %~x1=filetype%~x1
start rundll32.exe shell32.dll,OpenAs_RunDLL %1

The above reg file is hex(2), so it's a jumble. I use the tool in the previous section to encode it after I edit it.

Under these conditions, OpenAs_RunDLL seems to treat a multiple word filename (one with whitespace characters) as multiple files. The receiving program first gets the first word without a path. Curiously, it also gets the last word+extension WITH the path included. Or some kind of mess like that. A lot of “file not found” going on.

What's even more curious, is that this only happens on the first intent. Afterwards, the context menu now has an “open with” entry that works: a multi-word filename gets passed correctly to the receiving program.

So I have most of the behavior I want, of an “open with” dialog that defaults with an unchecked-checkbox that has the ability to be checked (not grayed out).

Filesystem Hidden Folders

Over time, you start to have too many files and folders, and it hampers your ability to organize, clutters your mind, etc.

Filesystems include the ability to have certain files and folders marked as hidden. The usefulness of this feature dawned on me, when I was trying to figure out how to archive old files, while still maintaining my own unified hierarchy of folders.

This way, I can hide the files and folders I want to archive. Even better, I can still keep them organized alongside the fresh new files and folders. Because, if I decide to reorganize the folder structure, the hidden folders get moved along with the visible.

I found a utility to quickly toggle the ability to view hidden files, which is appropriately named ToggleHiddenFiles.exe. It runs in the background, and when I need to change the state, I use the keyboard shortcut Winkey+H.

Such a simple solution, but it took me a while to get there.

Word Processor

Libre Office
Atlantis Word Processor

Libre Office is slow in loading, because it is cross-platform and therefore doesn't work with the native Windows API. In looking for an alternative, there is Abiword, but on alternativeto, many people state that it crashes a lot, and the windows version hasn't been worked on since 2010. I've used Atlantis in the past, and it looks like the best option. It is unfortunate that the developer has purposely made it impossible to be a truly portable program. It will only launch portable if it detects it is on a memory stick. Maybe portability makes it easier to be copied illegally?

I try to make every program portable, so given the constraints I found here, here, and here, I created a shortcut to the program with the following command line switches:
d:\software\_runable\atlantis\awp.exe -lsi -ssi -sfn d:\software\_runable\atlantis\atlantis.ini
My reference to _runable is that I was making software portable before the word portable started being used.

On my Windows OS, the path to “Personal” aka “My Documents” aka “Documents” is the root of drive D:\, which basically stores everything that is mine, that shouldn't be wiped out by reinstalling windows. Atlantis keeps putting a folder there I don't want. Since all my documents go in various subfolders, it doesn't bother me to create a *file* named “atlantis”, which keeps Atlantis from creating a folder by the same name.

Before accepting this solution, I tried the following ini settings. Neither of these worked, because Atlantis looks for the template in the wrong place:

Template_RTF=d:\software\_runable\atlantis\Templates\Normal.rtf
    looks for this: D:\Atlantis\Templates\d:\software\_runable\atlantis\Templates\Normal.rtf

The path d:\atlantis\templates seems to be hard coded into the executable. Or rather, the path present_working_drive:\atlantis. I tried searching for this path and for windows environmental variables with a hex editor, on the atlantis executable, but no luck.

Template_RTF=..\..\software\_runable\atlantis\Templates\Normal.rtf
    Now the error message is gone. I guess that worked? Not completely.

To try and make up for the lack of its folder, I further modified the ini file of Atlantis as follows:
    InitDir=d:\administrator\desktop\ ← this is the path when you select to open a file within atlantis
    BackupFolder=d:\software\_runable\atlantis\backup
    DocFolder=d:\administrator\desktop\

Unfortunately, I still have d:\atlantis\favorites missing, and “create from template” leads to an error message.

Looking into the executable with Resource Hacker, I find a dialog that does not show up in the user interface. The dialog caption is “Atlantis System Folders” and the label is:
“ You are changing the location of one of the system folders of Atlantis. '#13#13'Files present in the current Atlantis system folder can be either ignored, copied, or moved to the new folder. Please specify which action should be taken:”

Well, that's exactly what I want! I think. I decided to try and post on the atlantis user forum to see if I get some useful feedback. Nope, dead end.

If that doesn't work, I'm going to play a dirty hack. I'll use WiseFolderHider, to hide the folder from my sight, like I did for the Windows Recycle Bin. I needed the extra level of hidden that WiseFolderHider affords, because I use the normal filesystem feature to hide my own folders. I hide the folders I don't use frequently, but still want to have quickly accessible.

WiseFolderHider hack didn't work either. Atlantis complains it can't create its folders. I resign. I put a junction pointing to the Atlantis program folder. So all of Atlantis program files are in one place, but I still have a folder (junction) where I don't want one. I'll go back to using an older version of Atlantis that doesn't spread its working files across the system.

information-technology/2019-windows-7-setup.txt · Last modified: 2019/06/23 17:45 by marcos