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Table Of Contents  CertiGuide to A+ (A+ 4 Real)
 9  Chapter 1: What are Operating Systems and How Do They Work?
      9  Operating System Features
           9  “What's This?” Explained

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Context Sensitive Menus
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The Properties of “My Computer”
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How to Create a Shortcut
(Page 1 of 2)

One particularly useful option in the ‘My Computer’ context menu is “Create Shortcut”. This option appears in many context menus, and provides a convenient method of accessing an item (for example, an application or file) that is usually awkward to navigate to. A common use of this feature is to create icons on the desktop to allow immediate access to commonly used applications. You can recognize a shortcut by the small arrow on a white background in the bottom left of the icon:

Figure 29: Example of a Shortcut

 


To create a shortcut, right click on the desktop, move the mouse over the “New” item and select the “Create Shortcut” item (Windows 95, 98 and NT users will find a “Create Shortcut” item directly in the top of the context menu). The “Create Shortcut” wizards will pop-up.

Figure 30: Shortcut Wizard, Step 1

 


Click the Browse button, and locate the item, e.g. a folder or a program you wish to create a shortcut to. Click Next, and you will be prompted to name the shortcut.

Figure 31: Shortcut Wizard, Step 2

 


Click Finish, and the newly created shortcut will be placed on the desktop.

It is important to note that a shortcut is not the actual item itself, but rather a virtual pointer to the item. You can safely delete the shortcut without affecting the item it points to.

Shortcuts and Special Folders

An interesting fact about shortcuts! There are actually 2 types of shortcut, the “user” type virtual pointer shortcut we created above, and the CLSID (“special folder”) shortcut. Windows allows for the creation of special items by their CLSID to add extra features to aid in navigation. As an example, the “My Computer” icon on the desktop is not actually a shortcut – it does not have a small arrow, and it has its own distinct options in the context menu when you right click on it (compared to normal shortcuts, which all have identical options in the context menu). So what is this CLSID? A CLSID is a unique identifier for a special part of the operating system that Windows understands it should treat differently. In this case, the “My Computer” shortcut relates to a CLSID that tells Windows to open the “My Computer” window, and to provide different context menu options when right clicked. As a practical demonstration, right click on the desktop, move to the “New” menu and select “Folder” (Windows 95, 98 and NT users can just select “New Folder” from the top-level menu). Name the folder as follows:

System Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}

Note the single space between “System” and “Panel”, and the full stop between “Panel” and the left brace. Press return, and your folder will be created. It is a folder with an interesting difference though – double click it and you will end up in Control Panel!



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The Properties of “My Computer”
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Version 1.0 - Version Date: March 29, 2005

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