Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tips: Favorites & FlashFolder

One of the annoying things about Windows 7 is that it does not currently run many of my favorite utilities. Perhaps in time it will. Consequently, I still spend a lot of time using Windows XP. One of the utilities I miss when using Windows 7 is FlashFolder. FlashFolder puts a small toolbar on top of open/save dialog windows which allows me to quickly navigate to my desired folders/directories.

The FlashFolder toolbar has drop down menus which show me 1) a history of folders I went to recently in the open/save window, 2) folders that I’ve added as my favorites, and 3) folders I currently have open in Windows Explorer, i.e. the directories/folders I have open on the desktop.

The standard Favorites menu on the Windows XP Explorer menu bar is useful for storing favorite folders and files, but it is not accessible in most open/save dialog windows. Consequently, we often must navigate through a maze of folders when we need to open or save a file.

One thing about the Favorites menu that annoys me is that Internet Explorer will sometimes store its favorites/bookmarks on it, which I then have to manually remove.

Windows 7 does not have an Explorer window Favorites menu like Windows XP. Instead, it has a Favorites directory on its new Explorer window sidebar. You can simply drag and drop your favorite folders and files there, similar to how the Macintosh Finder sidebar works. In addition, Windows 7 allows you access those favorites from many (albeit not all) open/save dialog windows. There is also Recent Places item on the Win 7 Favorites sidebar directory that shows some folder history, but it doesn’t store currently open desktop windows, as FlashFolder does. I often use the current folders option of FlashFolder when I’m in an application to open files I recently found in my folders.

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