Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Customize Windows Start Run Menu Entries - App Paths

I am a huge fan of keyboard shortcuts and am constantly trying to learn new ones. One of the ones I use most often is Start+R which opens the Run menu where I can enter many different things. Here are a few examples:
  • devenv - Visual Studio
  • inetcpl.cpl - Internet Explorer Options
  • mstsc - Remote Desktop
  • inetmgr - IIS
  • notepad - Notepad
  • regedit - Windows Registry

However, sometimes I want to customize my own entries with things like Paint.NET, Visual Source Safe, or Notepad++. Fortunately, I can do this using the Windows Registry. As always when you are working with Windows Registry, you want to make sure to create a backup before you make any changes. See the Microsoft Knowledge Base article below for more details. As far as adding custom Run entries, here are the steps:

  1. Open the Windows Registry.
  2. Create a backup. (See below for details)
  3. Open the following registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths
  4. Create a new key with the name of the shortcut you'd like to use. (For example, "VSS.exe")
  5. Double-click on the (Default) string that is created and enter the path to the application executable that you are adding the shortcut for. (For example, "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual SourceSafe\ssexp.exe")
  6. Close the registry. You will now be able to access the shortcut.

    How to back up and restore the registry in Windows XP and Windows Vista

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