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Adding Applications to Internet Explorer 4.0's Quick Launch Toolbar

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Inside Microsoft Windows 95

A publication of The Cobb Group

Published March 1998

If you've installed Internet Explorer 4.0, you've probably noticed the new Quick Launch toolbar sitting between the Start button and the taskbar, as shown in Figure A. The icons on this handy toolbar make it very easy to launch some of Internet Explorer's applications. Once you get in the habit of using the Quick Launch toolbar, you'll quickly appreciate its convenience and efficiency. If you're like most Windows 95 users, you'll soon be wondering if you can customize the Quick Launch toolbar by adding your favorite applications to it. Fortunately, doing so is easy.

In this article, we'll explain the procedure in detail. As we do, we'll provide you with several important tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of the Quick Launch toolbar.

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Figure A: The new Quick Launch toolbar sits between the Start button and the taskbar.

What is the Quick Launch toolbar?

The Quick Launch toolbar is really an extension of the Start menu. It allows you to quickly and easily launch applications and specialized utilities right from the taskbar just by clicking an icon. By default, the Internet Explorer 4.0 installation procedure places icons on the Quick Launch toolbar that let you launch Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. In addition, the toolbar contains icons for accessing the desktop and launching the new Internet Explorer 4.0 Channel Viewer. The Internet Explorer and Outlook Express icons are simply traditional Windows 95 shortcuts while the other two icons are actually specialized utilities, which we'll discuss in more detail in a moment.

Adding items to the toolbar

Since the Quick Launch toolbar works with traditional Windows 95 shortcuts, adding items to it is as easy as drag and drop. However, before you start, you should carefully consider which applications you really need quick access to and then narrow your choices to two or three applications. You don't want to add too many icons to the Quick Launch toolbar because it shares the bottom of the desktop with the taskbar. The larger you make the Quick Launch toolbar, the smaller the taskbar becomes.

The easiest way to place an application shortcut on the toolbar is to copy the shortcut from the Start menu. Fortunately, Internet Explorer 4.0 enhances the Start menu so that you can now manipulate items directly on the Start menu.

For example, suppose you spend the majority of your time using Excel and performing file management operations. Therefore, you decide you want to add Excel and My Computer to the Quick Launch toolbar.

To begin, open the Start menu and locate the Excel shortcut. Then, right-click the shortcut and hold down the right mouse button as you drag the shortcut to the right edge of the Quick Launch toolbar. When you drop it, a shortcut menu will appear. Select the Copy Here command, as shown in Figure B, and Windows 95 will add the Excel icon to the Quick Launch toolbar.

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Figure B: Select the Copy Here command to copy a shortcut from the Start menu to the Quick Launch toolbar.

To add My Computer to the Quick Launch toolbar, click the Show Desktop utility on the Quick Launch toolbar to minimize all your open windows and access the desktop. Next, right-click the My Computer icon, drag it to the right edge of the Quick Launch toolbar, and release your mouse button. From the resulting shortcut menu, select the Create Shortcut(s) Here command. When you do, Windows 95 will add a My Computer icon to the Quick Launch toolbar.

Now, you'll need to resize the Quick Launch toolbar to accommodate the additional icons. To do so, place your cursor over the vertical bar just to the right of the Quick Launch toolbar. When your cursor changes into a double-headed arrow, you can drag to the right to enlarge the toolbar. When you do, your Quick Launch toolbar will look like the one shown in Figure C.

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Figure C: After you add shortcuts and resize it, your Quick Launch toolbar will look like this.

Removing items from the toolbar

If you add a shortcut to the Quick Launch toolbar and then later decide you don't want it there anymore, you can remove it. Simply right-click the icon, select Delete from the shortcut menu, and click Yes in the Confirm File Delete message box.

Repositioning the toolbar

If you'd prefer to have the Quick Launch toolbar on the right side of the taskbar, next to the system tray, you can move it easily. To do so, place your cursor over the vertical bar just to the left of the Quick Launch toolbar. When the cursor changes to a double-headed arrow, drag it to the right. You can then adjust the size of the toolbar to your liking.

The specialized utilities

As we mentioned earlier, the default items on the Quick Launch toolbar consist of two traditional Windows 95 shortcuts and two specialized utilities. These two utilities, Show Desktop and View Channels utilities, are linked to the files Show Desktop.scf and View Channels.scf, respectively. The Internet Explorer 4.0 installation procedure actually installs two copies of each of these utilities on your hard disk. One copy resides in the C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch folder, which, as the location implies, is actually the source of the items that appear on the Quick Launch toolbar. You can find the other copy of these utilities in the C:\Windows\System folder.

We mention these locations because if you ever delete the Show Desktop or View Channels icon from the Quick Launch toolbar, Windows 95 deletes the file stored in the source folder, as you'd expect. If you later decide you want to restore the Show Desktop or View Channels icon, simply copy the file from the C:\Windows\System folder to the Quick Launch folder.

Conclusion

If you've installed Internet Explorer 4.0 and are using the Quick Launch toolbar, you're probably interested in adding your favorite applications to it. In this article, we've explained how the Quick Launch toolbar works and demonstrated how to add applications to it.

The article entitled "Adding applications to Internet Explorer 4.0's Quick Launch Toolbar" was originally published in Inside Microsoft Windows 95, March 1998. Copyright © 1988, The Cobb Group, 9420 Bunson Parkway, Louisville, KY 40220. All rights reserved. For subscription information, call the Cobb Group at 1-800-223-8720.

We at Microsoft Corporation hope that the information in this work is valuable to you. Your use of the information contained in this work, however, is at your sole risk. All information in this work is provided "as is," without any warranty, whether express or implied, of its accuracy, completeness, fitness for a particular purpose, title or non-infringement , and none of the third-party products or information mentioned in the work are authored, recommended, supported or guaranteed by Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft Corporation shall not be liable for any damages you may sustain by using this information, whether direct, indirect, special, incidental or consequential, even if it has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

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