Monday, June 13, 2005

Seven habits of highly effective explorer.exe

I'm very annoyed that there's no way for me to have a consistent set of basic shell settings on all machines I'm logged into. This is what roaming profiles are supposed to do, and they worked in the CS lab at UNL, but for some reason or another they aren't used here... perhaps they don't work so well for developers and people who have admin rights on dozens of different boxes and regularly need to flush out their user profiles or replace OS components or silly things like that. It still greatly annoys me. I think that there's a lot of room for Microsoft to improve in this area. Just for Explorer changes, every time I log into a new computer I have to (1) switch to List mode, (2) turn on the status bar, (3) turn off the horrid Common Tasks pane, (4) turn off file extensions, (5) turn off showing the full path in the title bar, (6) turn off small icons, and (7) arrange the toolbars to waste less space. I've got those things down to a science by now, I guess, but I'd still love to not have to do them. It's better than dealing with defaults. I guess the challenge for dealing with the kind of configuration I'm working under is knowing which settings to roam and which ones to keep constant. In an ideal world, I could even have access to programs not installed with Windows like Winamp, Firefox, and Metapad/EmEditor, but having those things installed automatically just for me is a bit further down the road from just remembering my damned Explorer settings.


Derrick Stolee said...

turn off small icons? i love small icons. i hate wasted space with big icons...

Travis said...

That's one I have somewhat mixed feelings about. It's a difference of 8 vertical pixels for the benefit of icons that are easier to click. I have sort of a strange thing where I don't like applications having more or fewer than two rows of menus and toolbars, and the toolbar is the thing that takes the most vertical space anyway, so it gets to be by itself.

Right now, at home, I'm trying out IE just with a Back button, menu bar, and address bar in one row, and Explorer in a similar configuration, which is different from my normal style.

Kerjo said...

It definitely all needs to be in one row, and I use large icons to ease clicking.

You don't like detail view or file extensions? While we're past the point that file extensions should really matter, they still do, and I like being able to change them on a whim.

Do you leave the full path in the address bar? I hope so.

Travis said...

I change file extensions so infrequently that it's not a hassle at all to open a command prompt and change them with a rename command. On the other hand, I rename files a lot, and not having to retype the file extension or highlight the portion of the name before the extension saves me a lot of time and hassle.

I only use details view in that rare case when I need that extra information for sorting (like, finding the biggest or oldest files). I like list view because I can fit many more files in the window at once. I'm quite annoyed that list view seems to be gone from Longhorn.

I leave the full path in the address bar.