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January 27, 1997

Thought you'd had enough fun? Here's more with resource IDs in Windows 95

In last week's column ("You can add your Internet-surfing history and cache to Start button,"), I described how you can place resource IDs for various objects in your Start menu folder. This results in a live, cascading submenu off the Start menu for such objects as the Control Panel, your Printers folder, and your Internet Explorer History folder.

These submenus are "live" in the sense that content changes are automatically reflected in the menu. When you add or delete items in the Control Panel, for example, the Control Panel submenu instantly shows the new list of contents.

There's another fun way to use this trick. It involves the Send To menu -- a little-known but powerful feature of Windows 95 that you would do well to exploit.

The Send To menu appears as an option when you right-click on a file name in the Windows Explorer. When you first install Win95, the menu displays only a few destinations that you can Send To, such as 3.5-inch Floppy (A:) and My Briefcase. But you can easily add almost any application or folder name to the Send To list. And by following the steps I describe below, you can use Send To to send a file to any printer that is attached to your PC or available on a network.

First, let's examine what Send To actually does. Send To is a powerful extension of the drag-and-drop metaphor. Applying the Send To command to send a file to an object works exactly like dragging and dropping that file onto an icon representing that object. By right-clicking the file, clicking Send To, and then clicking the destination, however, you completely eliminate the need to find the destination in the Explorer or have the source and destination both appear in a window simultaneously.

The extent to which Send To acts like dropping a file onto an icon is consistent with the behavior you would find in a real drag-and-drop situation. If you send a file from one drive letter to another -- for example, from C: to A: -- Windows makes a copy of the file. If you send a file to the same drive letter -- say, from one C: folder to another C: folder -- Windows moves the file.

(One anomaly in the way Win95 treats dragged files is worth mentioning before we go on. If you are dragging one or more files from one nonremovable drive to another, such as from C: to D:, and the files are all executable files, such as .EXE and .COM files, Win95 does not copy the files but instead creates shortcuts. This behavior seems to be a bug in the operating system that Microsoft has never corrected. If you use Send To to send a set of executable files to a different drive, Send To asks if you want to create shortcuts. This is more polite than the Explorer, which doesn't inform you of the problem at all.)

To add an application or folder to your Send To list, right-drag the application or folder icon into your C:\Windows\SendTo folder, then click Create Shortcut Here. Now, using Send To to send a file to an application works like dropping that file on that application's icon.

To add all possible printers to your Send To list, select the C:\Windows\SendTo folder in Explorer. Right-click an unoccupied space in Explorer's right pane. Click New, then Folder. Type the following ID -- including the period, the two curly braces, the four hyphens, and the hexadecimal codes -- and press Enter.

Printers.{2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-0800 2B30309D}

Yes, you can get somewhat the same effect by right-dragging all of your printer icons from your Printers folder to the Send To folder. But in that case, your Send To list will not automatically be updated when you add or delete printer drivers.

Thanks to reader Yaacov Fenster, who received a copy of the new Windows 95 Secrets Gold.

Brian Livingston is the co-author of Windows 95 Secrets Gold and four other Windows books (IDG Books). Send tips to or fax: (206) 282-1248.

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Copyright © 1997 by InfoWorld Publishing Company


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