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  1. #1
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    Indirect folder links (via Start menu) (Home SP1)

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by TimOz on 27-Jun-03 13:01. Added info about ".lnk" files & cmd line dir view)</P>I may have discovered a useful feature (bug?) in the Start Menu. <img src=/S/sneaky.gif border=0 alt=sneaky width=15 height=15> When you right-drag-n-drop a folder to the Start Menu (or a sub-folder) and select "Create a Shortcut", it creates an indirect link or reference, instead of a normal shortcut!

    So what? <img src=/S/yawn.gif border=0 alt=yawn width=15 height=15>

    Well, the indirect link cascades its contents, including sub-folders, as if it were in the Start Menu hierarchy. A normal folder shortcut opens in a new explorer window, and only when you click it. The best part? If you move or copy the indirect link from the Start Menu it retains the same functionality! <img src=/S/cool.gif border=0 alt=cool width=15 height=15>

    A couple of uses so far:
    -> indirect links to both Program Files and Windows in the Start Menu, to browse for programs directly, if needed.
    -> an indirect link to a Shared Favorites folder (created in All Users) in everyone's Favorites, to share links to news, weather, fuel prices, etc. (Simpler maintenance with just one place to update.)

    There could be some technical implications behind it, so take care if you're going try this at home boys & girls. <img src=/S/crossfingers.gif border=0 alt=crossfingers width=17 height=16>

    <img src=/S/scratch.gif border=0 alt=scratch width=25 height=29> I can't explain how or why it works and haven't found anything relevant via Google or MSKB. What I do know is that:
    -> A normal shortcut is created as a "Shortcut" file type, has the arrow superimposed on its icon, an "lnk" extension, and is listed as file by the CMD line DIR command.
    -> A normal folder is a "File Folder" file type, and is listed as a directory ("<DIR>") by the DIR command.
    -> The indirect link is a "Folder" with an unmodified icon, and unlike the other two has very limited Properties, with just a General tab. The only information on the tab is its name (editable), type, target folder, and date created. (My system is set to use the little arrow, and to not prefix "Shortcut to".) The DIR command lists the link as a directory, containing the file "target.lnk". So maybe this file, unseen in Windows, does the smoke and mirrors trick?

    I have played with it for a couple of days <img src=/S/compute.gif border=0 alt=compute width=40 height=20>, to try and break it, and so far it seems robust. All system functions seem to work with the indirect links, as do file open, save as, and other "browse" type dialogs in both windows and 3rd party programs. The one variation is that some "browse" dialogs superimpose the arrow on the indirect link, and change to the linked folder when selected, rather than treating it as part of the local folder hierarchy as explorer does.
    <font face="Comic Sans MS" color="blue">TimOz</font>
    <img src=/S/flags/Finland.gif border=0 alt=Finland width=30 height=18> <img src=/S/flags/Australia.gif border=0 alt=Australia width=30 height=18>

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    Re: Indirect folder links (via Start menu) (Home SP1)

    Hi Tim:
    I tested this in Win 98 & it appears to work exactly in reverse. If you drag 'n drop a folder on the start menu or sub menu:
    1. Choosing "Create a shortcut" creates a shortcut without subfolders, if any; i.e. nothing cascades
    2. Choosing "Copy" creates a shortcut to the folder & all it's subfolders & it does cascade.

    When looking at the start menu, the former has a folder icon, the latter has the start menu icon.
    When looking in Explorer, the former has a folder icon with the arrow overlay, the latter still has the start menu icon.
    Properties & <DIR> command are similarly reversed.

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    Re: Indirect folder links (via Start menu) (Home SP1)

    Tim, I tried this and indeed it does as you say on Windows XP Pro, except when you copy the indirect link say to the desktop. Then it creates a normal folder that opens an explorer window. Also, try simply dropping the original onto the big START button (Left drag & Drop). That puts a copy on the frequently used list. Now Right drag and copy to the Programs list. This creates the normal "modified" folder icon....

    .. Robbie

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    Re: Indirect folder links (via Start menu) (Home SP1)

    Phil,
    <img src=/S/bummer.gif border=0 alt=bummer width=15 height=15> The different behavior in w98 makes it sound more like a bug than a feature.

    I've found found it too useful to ignore though, since it lets me set up shared favorites, sendto, etc, which are otherwise unavailable. But I will avoid building up too much dependency on it unless I find confirmation that it is intended functionality.

    Robbie,
    Yes, there are some "places" like the desktop where a link can't cascade, regardless of type.

    I think the reason for the normal icon is that you end up with copy, rather than a link. When you change the contents of a folder created this way, the contents of the original remain unchanged (& vice versa).

    It is interesting though that the your first step (move?) creates a link, but the second step (copy?) creates a copy of the link target instead of a copy of the link (I think that was in english <img src=/S/dizzy.gif border=0 alt=dizzy width=15 height=15>).
    <font face="Comic Sans MS" color="blue">TimOz</font>
    <img src=/S/flags/Finland.gif border=0 alt=Finland width=30 height=18> <img src=/S/flags/Australia.gif border=0 alt=Australia width=30 height=18>

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