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Windows Home Server 2011 : Using the Local Group Policy Editor (part 2) - Customizing the Places Bar

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3. Customizing the Places Bar

Most file-based applications in Windows Home Server use the common Save As dialog box that’s employed to save a file in an application (usually by selecting File, Save or by pressing Ctrl+O for a new, unsaved file, or by selecting File, Save As for a saved file). The common Save As dialog box is a scaled-down version of Explorer, so it presents an easy and familiar interface.

However, many legacy applications use an older version of the Save As dialog box that looks like the one shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6. Many legacy applications display this older version of the Save As dialog box when you select the File, Save As command.

Note

The same Places Bar also appears in the older version of the common Open dialog box, which appears when you select File, Open or press Ctrl+O when using a legacy application.


Notice in Figure 20.6 that the left side of the common Save As dialog box contains a strip called the Places Bar, which contains icons for five shell folders: Recent Places, Desktop, Libraries, Computer, and Network. These icons are handy navigation tools, but only if you use the default folders.

Fortunately, if you have other folders that you use more frequently, you can use a group policy to customize the Places Bar icons. You can replace the existing Places Bar icons with up to five items, which can be any combination of the following:

  • A local folder path— For example, someone who writes a lot of scripts for Windows Home Server might set up a Scripts folder within My Documents. In that case, you could add %UserProfile%\My Documents\Scripts to the Places Bar. Note that in this case, only the name of the subfolder appears in the Places Bar. (That is, you don’t see the entire folder path.)

  • A UNC path to a shared network folder— For example, this would be ideal for accessing those Windows Home Server shares that you use most often. In this case, Windows Home Server displays the Places Bar icon with the name Share on Computer, where Share is the name of the shared folder and Computer is the name of the computer that’s sharing the folder. (The exception to this is when you add a subfolder of the share to the Places Bar. In that case, you see just the subfolder name.)

  • A Windows Home Server shell folder— The following table lists some of the common shell folders.

Shell FolderPath
CommonDocuments%Public%\Public Documents
CommonMusic%Public%\Public Music
CommonPictures%Public%\Public Pictures
Desktop%UserProfile%\Desktop
MyComputerComputer folder
MyDocuments%UserProfile%\My Documents
MyFavorites%UserProfile%\Favorites
MyMusic%UserProfile%\My Music
MyNetworkPlaces%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Network Shortcuts
MyPictures%UserProfile%\My Pictures
PrintersControl Panel, Printers
ProgramFilesC:\Program Files\
Recent%UserProfile%\Recent

Follow these steps to use a group policy to customize the Places Bar:

1.
Open the Local Group Policy Editor window.

2.
Navigate to the User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Windows Explorer, Common Open File Dialog branch.

3.
Double-click the Items Displayed in Places Bar policy.

4.
Activate the Enabled option.

5.
Use the text boxes in the Places to Display section to specify the local folders, network paths, or shell folders that you want to include in the Places Bar.

6.
Click OK.

Figure 7 shows the Items Displayed in Places Bar policy enabled and with some custom items added, and Figure 8 shows the resulting Places Bar in the legacy common Save As dialog box. (The same customized Places Bar also appears in the legacy common Open dialog box.)

Figure 7. Use the Items Displayed in Places Bar policy to customize the Places Bar.

Figure 8. The legacy common Save As dialog box showing the custom Places Bar items specified in Figure 7.

Note

If you don’t use the Places Bar at all, you might prefer to hide it to give yourself more room in the legacy Open and Save As dialog boxes. To do that, open the Local Group Policy Editor and navigate to the User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Windows Explorer, Common Open File Dialog branch. Double-click the Hide the Common Dialog Places Bar, click Enabled, and then click OK.

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