Internet Explorer 4 Resource Kit Chapter 12 - Start Menu and Taskbar

In This Chapter

Start Menu and Taskbar Overview

Configuring the Start, Favorites, and Programs Menus

Configuring the Taskbar and Toolbars

Importing Custom Toolbar Configurations for User Groups

Start Menu and Taskbar Overview

With Internet Explorer 4, the Windows Start menu and taskbar become Web savvy. They now contain many of the commands and functions that make sense in this more Web-centric world.

The Internet Explorer Favorites menu is now part of the Start menu, giving users easy access to their favorite URLs and channels.

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Just as users can rearrange the order of their favorites in the Favorites bar and Favorites menu inside the browser, they can do the same in the Favorites menu on the Start button. Internet Explorer 4 also adds this functionality to the Programs menu, allowing users to rearrange the order of their applications by dragging them where they prefer.

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Chapter 18, "Outlook Express," describes support for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directory services. Essentially, these services provide access to the Internet virtual white pages, which makes it easy to find anyone on corporate LDAP servers or on the Internet. In order to make finding e-mail addresses for individuals even easier, the Find command on the Start menu has a new People option, which enables users to perform LDAP searches directly from the Start button.

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On the Internet is another new addition to the Find command. The On the Internet option will launch the Web browser and connect to your default search engine page, which is normally Allinone.htm.

The Settings command has also been integrated with Internet Explorer 4, so it is now possible to control settings for folders and icons, as well as the Active Desktop, directly from the Start menu. The Active Desktop can be easily activated, turned off, or updated directly from the Start button.

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The Folder Options dialog box gives users a way to control how their local and network contents are displayed. In the Windows Desktop Update pane, users can choose to stay with the classic Windows 95 style of using their file system or have the computer look and act like the Web. For example, folders can now be displayed all in the same window or in multiple windows. Files can be launched with a Web-style single-click or remain with existing double-click action. Also, any custom combination of these settings can be applied. Changes are illustrated in the dialog box to provide a sample of the new user interface.

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In Windows 95, the taskbar was simply the place where users could find the Start button, taskbar buttons for their open applications, the clock, and other utilities. With Internet Explorer 4, the taskbar has become extensible to support expandable, dockable, layered browser toolbars. Plus, custom toolbars can contain any sort of content, including application shortcuts or Web pages and support for full dragging functionality.

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The new toolbars include:

  • Quick Launch toolbar A quick and easy place to launch commonly used applications and documents. Internet Explorer will provide a few default applications, but the Quick Launch toolbar can be customized simply by dragging any icon onto the toolbar. Also, any icon can be deleted by right-clicking the icon and choosing Delete. Notice the new Show Desktop button, which quickly hides everything so users can get instant access to the desktop. Pressing it again restores the applications to their previous state. 

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  • Address bar The address bar makes the Internet, intranet, and local network servers easily accessible at all times. Users can type in any URL before launching their Web browser, and Internet Explorer 4 will automatically take them to their desired location. It can even be used as a modified run command line as users enter UNC names or local content file names (C:\w indows) or URLs. 

  • Quick Links bar The same Quick Links bar that is viewed inside Internet Explorer 4 can also be displayed on the taskbar. This makes it easy to get to the places that users visit most often, without launching the Web browser first. 

  • Desktop bar This custom toolbar dynamically displays all icons that are present on the desktop. This way, if users have multiple applications open that are covering their desktop, they can still get access to those files or applications simply by clicking on the appropriate icon on the Desktop bar. 

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  • New Toolbar By using the New Toolbar command, users can generate their own custom toolbars simply by choosing a folder or entering a URL. If a folder is chosen, the contents of the folder will be displayed in the toolbar. If a URL is chosen, the toolbar will display the corresponding Web page. 

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Any of these toolbars can be set up with Always On Top or AutoHide turned on. This prevents toolbars from taking up available space on the desktop, while still providing quick access to them.

Administrators can import custom toolbar settings to users' machines using the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK). Users can configure each of these options by right-clicking the taskbar and selecting the appropriate menu option, unless access has been restricted by the administrator.

For information about troubleshooting the Start menu and taskbar, see Appendix D.

Configuring the Start, Favorites, and Programs Menus

The Internet Explorer 4 Windows Desktop Update simplifies the process of customizing the contents of Start, Favorites, and Programs menus. System administrators can pre-configure custom settings for these menus and import them to user groups. To create custom menus for user groups, first configure the menus on the computer with the IEAK, and the settings will be carried over to users when the IEAK Configuration Wizard is run. Take note, however, that these settings cannot be adjusted in the IEAK Profile Manager.

When customizing the Start, Favorites, and Programs menus, the following points should be considered:

  • Add the folders, documents, and applications that the workgroup uses most frequently to the Start menu. You also may want to add some of these items to the Windows taskbar, the Quick Launch toolbar, or to new toolbars that you create. 

  • Add all of the workgroup's custom program groups and applications to the Programs menu. Whenever a Windows 95–compatible program is installed on a computer, Windows creates a program group for that application on the Programs menu. However, you might want to create a program group called Inventory that contains only the inventory applications specific to the workgroup. 

  • If the workgroup accesses distributed applications that use the Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM), you might want to customize application shortcuts to point to the appropriate local component or to a component on a network server. 

The Start menu reads the folder location out of the following registry key and displays the contents on the Start menu:

HKEY_USERS.Default\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders 

If the folder specified in this registry entry is missing or corrupt, then the Favorites menu will be empty on the Start menu. The registry entry is tied to the Long File Name of the Favorites folder, so if this value does not match the registry, you lose the items on the Start menu.

To edit the contents of the Start and Programs menus

  1. Click the Start button, point to Settings, and then click Taskbar & Start Menu

    In the Taskbar Properties dialog box, click the Start Menu Programs tab.

    • Click Add or Remove to edit the contents of the Start menu. 

    • Click Advanced to bring up the Start and Programs menus in Windows Explorer. 

To edit the contents of the Favorites menu

The contents of the Favorites folder can be edited from within Internet Explorer or from within the folder itself.

To reorder items on the Favorites and Programs menus

  1. Click the Start button, and then point to the folder you want to change. 

  2. On the folder's submenu, click the item you want to move, and drag it to the new location. 

The location information is only saved at exit time, so you have to close Windows and log on again for changes to be written to the registry. If a crash occurs during a session, you may lose the location data.

The arrangement data is stored in the registry at:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERS \Software \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Explorer \StartMenu \Menu 

Configuring the Taskbar and Toolbars

You can configure the taskbar to simplify a user's or workgroup's access to files, applications, and URLs. There are four ways to do this:

  • Customize the Quick Launch toolbar. You can customize the default Quick Launch toolbar by adding files, folders, applications, and URLs. 

  • Customize the default Windows taskbar. You can customize the Windows taskbar by adding files, folders, applications, and URLs. 

  • Creating new toolbars. You can create new toolbars containing files, folders, applications, and URLs, and then add them to the Windows taskbar or the Active Desktop. 

  • Add toolbars as windows on the Active Desktop. You can add toolbars directly to the Active Desktop as toolbar windows that list the contents of the toolbar in a menu. 

When customizing the Quick Launch toolbar, Windows taskbar, or creating new custom toolbars, an administrator should consider the following:

  • Decide which files, folders, applications, and URLs the workgroup uses most frequently. 

  • Determine the best method of presentation for the workgroup. For example, if the workgroup consists of writers working on a specific Microsoft® Word document, you might want to create a shortcut to Microsoft Word or to that document on the Quick Launch toolbar. If the workgroup regularly accesses a folder of related files, applications, or URLs, you might want to create a toolbar containing the contents of that folder and place it on the Windows taskbar or as a floating toolbar on the Active Desktop. 

  • If you want to create new toolbars, group the files, applications, and URLs that the workgroup uses most frequently into one or more appropriately named folders. A new toolbar consists of the contents of a folder on a local or network drive, and the name of the toolbar will be the same as the name of the folder. 

To customize the Quick Launch toolbar

  • Drag a file, folder, application, or URL from My Computer or Windows Explorer to the Quick Launch toolbar, or add files directly to the Quick Launch folder in: <windir>\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch. 

To add the Address toolbar

  1. Right-click the taskbar, and select Toolbars, then Address

    The Address toolbar will appear in the taskbar. 

  2. You can drag the Address toolbar to another location on the desktop and resize it, as necessary. 

To add and customize the Quick Links toolbar

  1. Right-click the taskbar, and select Toolbars, then Links

    The Links toolbar will appear in the taskbar. 

  2. You can drag the Links toolbar to another location on the desktop and resize it, as necessary. Items can be added and removed by dragging them in and out of the toolbar. 

To add and customize the Desktop toolbar

  1. Right-click the taskbar, and select Toolbars, then Desktop

    The Desktop toolbar will appear in the taskbar. 

  2. You can drag the Desktop toolbar to another location on the desktop and resize it, as necessary. Items can be added and removed by dragging them in and out of the Desktop toolbar or the desktop itself. 

To create a custom toolbar

To create a toolbar from the contents of a file folder 

  1. Right-click the taskbar, and select Toolbars, then New Toolbar

    The New Toolbar dialog box will appear, showing a hierarchical display of the files on your machine. 

  2. Create a file folder, and add the files, folders, and shortcuts you want its toolbar to contain. 

  3. Select the folder, and click OK

To create a toolbar from the contents of a Web page 

  1. Right-click the taskbar, and select Toolbars, then New Toolbar

    The New Toolbar dialog box will appear, showing a hierarchical display of the files on your machine. 

  2. Enter the URL in the text box, and click OK

    The custom toolbar will appear in the taskbar. You can drag the new toolbar to another location on the desktop and resize it, as necessary. Items can be added and removed by dragging them in and out of the toolbar, or by changing the contents of the folder itself. 

Importing Custom Toolbar Configurations for User Groups

System administrators can use the IEAK Configuration Wizard to import custom packages with pre-configured toolbar configurations for user groups. (For more information, see "Building Custom Packages" in Chapter 36. Administrators can also restrict users from changing custom toolbars.

To add custom toolbar settings to user group configuration
  • At the Customize Desktop Toolbars page of the IEAK Configuration Wizard, select Import the current desktop Toolbar settings

    Your current desktop settings will be applied to the installation. 

To lock down custom toolbars

In the IEAK Configuration Wizard 

  1. At the System Policies & Restrictions page, expand the Active Desktop item. 

  2. Scroll down to Desktop Toolbar Settings, and select the desired options. Check boxes will offer the option to Disable dragging, dropping, and closing of ALL toolbars and Disable resizing of ALL toolbars

In the IEAK Profile Manager 

  1. In the left pane, in the System Policies and Restrictions hierarchy, select Web Desktop, and then click Desktop

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    Note The IEAK Profile Manager is shown here, but the IEAK Configuration Wizard works similarly. 

  2. In the right pane, under Desktop Toolbars Settings, select the desired options. Check boxes will offer the option to Disable dragging, dropping and closing of ALL toolbars and Disable resizing of ALL toolbars

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