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Windows XP Your Way: Some Useful Shortcuts
There are many shortcuts to help make using Windows faster and easier. Here are a few favorites.

On a previous page I discussed the mechanics of how to create new shortcuts. Here, I will give some specific examples. In addition to the obvious shortcuts to your favorite programs and folders, there are shortcuts for opening Windows functions and running other useful tasks. Some of these I have discussed in detail on other pages and I will just summarize these below without repeating all the details. Then I will give some of my other favorite time savers.

Where to find some useful shortcuts discussed on other pages

Control Panel shortcuts
Various functions found in the Control Panel can be close at hand with shortcuts. The page above discusses the details of many of them.
Rundll32.exe shortcuts
The file rundll32.exe can be used to carry out a whole panoply of Windows functions. Many of these can be made conveniently accessible with shortcuts. Details are given in the page cited above.
Windows Explorer shortcuts
With appropriate command line switches, shortcuts can be created to open Windows Explorer in a variety of starting folders and formats. Details of the switches and some useful examples are given on this page.

Some favorite shortcuts

In each case. these shortcuts are created by entering the appropriate command into the dialog box obtained from the "New" entry in the right-click context menu, The details are discussed on the previous page. The dialog box is shown below.

Shortcuts to shut down, log off or restart the system

Rather than take the several steps involved in going to Start-Turn Off Computer, some prefer to have a shortcut on the desktop to accomplish the task in one operation. In Windows 98/Me, this was done by using rundll32.exe. In Windows XP, there is a file specifically for shutdown. The file is Shutdown.exe and it is typically in C:\Windows\ System32\. (if your Windows directory is elsewhere than the C: drive, adjust accordingly.) Shortcuts to this file with appropriate switches can accomplish several tasks, including shutting down, restarting or logging off the current user. Shutting down or restarting has a default delay of 30 seconds. The delay time can be modified to nn seconds with the switch "t nn". Programs can be forced to shutdown without giving the usual warning by using the switch " f ". (Note that data may be lost in a forced shutdown.) The switches most likely to be used on a home PC are shown in the table below. A complete list can be obtained by opening a command prompt and entering "shutdown" (without quotes).

Switches for Shutdown.exe
Switch Function
-s Shutdown Windows
-r Restart Windows
-l Logoff current user
-t nn Change default delay to nn seconds
-f Force programs to shut down
-a Abort a shutdown or restart

The table below shows some command examples with corresponding switches. Enter the command into the line under "Type the location of the item" as shown in the figure above.

Examples of shortcuts for Shutdown.exe
Function Command
Shutdown (with 30 second default delay) C:\Windows\ system32\shutdown.exe -s
Logoff C:\Windows\ system32\shutdown.exe -l
Restart (with 30 second default delay) C:\Windows\ system32\shutdown.exe -r
Shutdown (with delay set to zero) C:\Windows\ system32\shutdown.exe -s -t 0
Restart (with delay set to zero) C:\Windows\ system32\shutdown.exe -r -t 0

(If you are familiar with environment variables, note that all possible locations of the Windows directory can be covered by writing the base command as %WINDIR%\system32\shutdown.exe)

An easier way to edit Internet Explorer favorites

Arranging and editing the Favorites in Internet Explorer (IE) is a big chore if you use the primitive Organize Favorites function that is in the IE Favorites menu. Since IE Favorite are just files stored in a Favorites folder, they can be moved, renamed, and deleted in the same way as any group of files. Also, new subfolders can be created for new categories. However, Favorites are buried in the folder C:\Documents and Settings\{current user}\Favorites, so accessing them requires several steps. If you edit your Favorites as often as I do, you can use a Windows Explorer shortcut with the methods at the reference mentioned above. Create a shortcut which will open the expanded Favorites folder at the top of a Windows Explorer display. It is then easy to delete or rename or move Favorites from one subfolder to another or to create new subfolders. The command (including the environment variable %USERPROFILE% for the current user) is:


Power management

If you are familiar with the power management features of your computer and Windows XP, there is a shortcut that may be useful. Depending on your system settings and capabilities, it may put your computer in "Standby" or in "Hibernate" mode. It is one of the Rundll32.exe shortcuts mentioned above.( I first found it in an article by Neil Rubenking.) The command is:

rundll32.exe PowrProf.dll,SetSuspendState

The part of the command following "rundll32.exe" is case-sensitive so be sure to use upper case where indicated.

Make a shortcut to System Restore

I try out a lot of system tweaks and new software and that means that I am frequently creating new System Restore points. Opening System Restore from the All Programs menu or from Control Panel is a bit tedious. So I prefer a shortcut. The command is


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