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Can't get used to PStart

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lwc
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Can't get used to PStart

Until I found this site, I used to use AMenu. The problem is this abandonware's company is gone and left it with some limitations:
1) No menu can have over 10, well - 8, buttons (because 2 are reserved).
2) No submenus (but I fixed that by having many copies around and linking them via buttons).
3) No drag and drop, but the INF (a-la PStart's XML) file is very friendly in Notepad and besides, it's 8 buttoms at a time at most anyway.
4) Supporting parameters is about the only advanced feature. Not even a "working folder". Everything is ran from the AMenu's folder. I fixed this by creating a middleman VBS file (AMenu calls it and uses the actual program as a parameter), which not only handles "working folders" but has many features like supporting enviroment variables (a-la %programfiles%), minimizing/maximizing the launched programs, etc. (based on the parameters delivered to it).

The highlight though is that - if needed - it stays hidden in the background and deletes leftovers when the programs are stopped (good for artificially making a program registry free).

At this point you're probably asking how come I use this as an extender and not as the launcher itself. Well, because VBScript can only ask yes/no/cancel (at most) questions or input boxes and not presenting menus...

Anyway, AMenu does beat PStart hands down in 3 areas:
1) It has an individual "close/don't close the menu after launching a program".
Update: fixed in v2.07.
2) It doesn't waste resources / track you down! Did you know you can't launch PStart without it saving the XML file?! And all for what? So it can save how many times you've ran each program/Pstart itself. What for?! This is a major turn off for me!
3) The menus are small and 2D (even in "big icons" mode)! AMenu is so big, 3D and nice to read. When you have a lot of menus and you use them a lot, it's really important - to me, at least.

And even though it has more advanced features like "working folder", it only has very partial support for enivormental variables (until v2.1.0 it had no support at all) so I still have to use my middleman launcher to support those variables and to delete leftovers.

Overall, I'm still looking for the overall solution package. Those two are the best I've found. Like I said, if could do menus in VBScripts, I would have already had that perfect package (well, not perfect because I don't know how to use the tray - but I don't want a background program anyway).

Well, this whole post was just me thinking aloud, I guess.

So what do you think - especially about PStart's limitations?

Jacoby
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Look in PStarts Settings

Look in PStarts Settings under the Setup Menu > Settings > Items > Execution Frame. you can close it after running an app or just hide it. I know because I use it.

The XML is to save your menu. It is the structure of your menu and does NO tracking of how many times you use an app. All the XML does is customize your menu. Open it up in any text editor and LOOK at it.

The menu's I cant answer for. I can read them at high resolutions and have no problems. Maybe you need glasses?

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Bruce Pascoe
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Actually...

Actually, PStart does keep track of how many times you launch an app, as well as its last run time (for what reason I don't know--it doesn't show this info anywhere in the interface). Here's an excerpt from my PStart.xml...

<file name="Portable FileZilla">
  <path>Portable Applications\PortableFileZilla.exe</path>
  <directory>Portable Applications</directory>
  <runcount>3</runcount>
  <rundate>2006/04/25 04:31:30</rundate>
</file>

It also tracks how many times you've launched PStart as well as the total time using the menu... not that I'm about to get all upset about it. It's really not a huge deal. Once you get the menu set up the way you want it, just make the XML file read-only and it won't try to write to it ever again.

Also, what he meant was that he wanted a way to set the menu to close on starting an app PER APPLICATION, not just as a global setting.

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Jacoby
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Ah, I see. I just did a

Ah, I see. I just did a cursory glance at the XML. Didn't notice that. Thanks for the clarification. Many humble apologies. And yes, the menu does close globally for all apps. I know no way around this. Many apologies again. I thought that was all he needed. I have since re-read his post. I will be using the read only trick, now, though.

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lwc
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Bruce, do you want to be my

Bruce, do you want to be my personal assistant? Smile

Well, Jacoby, now you know the truth and knowing is half the battle.

As for the glasses, I use an LCD and those tend to have high resolutions. Even if one has a perfect vision I see no logical reason for them to stress their eyes all day just for the sake of it.

Actually, I forgot to mention the "read only" idea myself. The problem is I'm never truly finished with my menus. I want them editable on the spot whenever I feel like changing them.

Jacoby
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Heh, the glasses thing was

Heh, the glasses thing was kind of a joke. Sorry. doesn't come across well written. I in no way meant to be sarcastic though. I was in class when I read the Orig. post and was in a hurry. And it was a cursory glance at the XML file too.

And yeah, my menu changes kinda frequently too, and I dont want to be hassled with making it writable every time. It changes with what I use most. I feel ya there.

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nm35
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So...

Have a PStart entry that locks/unlocks the XML file (might be possible in NSIS).

~nm35 {blog} {site}
Mark Smith | PortableApps.com Developer

lwc
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How about having a an option

How about having an option of "don't spy after me without permission"?

lwc
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v2.07 is out and fixed

v2.07 is out and fixed limitation #1 (as updated above).

There's also a new setting called "backup", but it seems to do nothing. Too bad, because at first I thought selecting "None" would fix limitation #2.

And finally, the "what's new" list says "Very large icon support". At first I thought it's a semi fix for limitation #3 (semi because I still want it to be 3D), but again it seems to do nothing. Maybe the author meant it supports big ICO files for specific programs, I don't know.

Torpedro
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changes

This is new:
Multi language support (English and German)
Autorun.inf file creation
Backup file restoration
Very large icon support
Exit PStart via command line (parameter -exit)
Run applications on exit
More item properties (like website)
Smaller modifications
Bugfixes
-System info
-Run and exit application

I really like the following (which i requested):
Exit PStart via command line (parameter -exit)
Run applications on exit
-Run and exit application
This allows to automatically unmount the drive when closing Pstart or cleanly exit pstart when calling an unmount script.

What i don't like on the new version (maybe i overlooked it) is that it always starts with the search tab open.
And that my other request for support of Environment variables (like %WinDir%) is not yet in.

nm35
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2.0.7

Hm. I just installed the newest PStart, which has improved a fair amount (from a cursory overview). Nice!

~nm35 {blog} {site}
Mark Smith | PortableApps.com Developer

Torpedro
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Backup and no Writing

"Create Permanent Backup" creates a pstart.bak
"Create Backup while saving" is a feature i requested. When no space is free on disk, the pstart-xml would get corrupted. So this should first renamethe pstart.xml to something else and create a new pstart.xml. If saving is not successful the backup is still intact.

You can still set pstart.xml to "Read Only", then no changes can be made. The settings is even Disabled Wink unfortunately pstart has no menu for this, but it's really easy 8-)

Very Large Icon and 3D: What do you mean with 3d icons? This button type style used in old win9x? As far as i see astart does NOT support icons! Where Icons are of course much easier to recognise than text, so this is something i would consider much better in PStart. The Text font is from the system.

Cool feature: The "System Information even displays the current CPU speed in real time.

lwc
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I've noticed the search bug

I've noticed the search bug too. Fortunately, after a couple of fights I won and it somehow agreed to stay on the "Items"' tag.

We've already covered the "read only" angle.

Not that I understand why does it try to rename the XML first, but where does it save that backup? Because I've enabled it and saw no BAK file anywhere.

Just run AMenu and you'll see what I mean. It surrounds the text with squares. When you mouseover, they turn 3D. It's nothing fancy. But along with having big size text, it's very eye friendly.

Torpedro
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pstart.bak

It seems to have problems when updating the xml from 2.06, i got a "division by 0" the first few times when switching to list view.

That backup is saved where the PStart.exe and .xml are.

Finally found the search/list saving:
<panel>
...
<pageindex>0</pageindex>

Well, did you ever encounter data loss because of a full disk?
Lets assume:
You copy 100MB of data to a full partition/disk where the free space is 50 MB. Then you have a program (lets assume it's PStart, i had the progblem with [e]mule) that tries to overwrite a already existing file. What happens? The file cannot be written! Means you lose all your data in the file.

I saw the screemshot of astart and really dislike it. I still think that Icons are much easier to recognize that just text, regardless of the text size. and the "3D effect" is just a self-programmed visual style of old windows9x. Pstart uses the default windows style (which i like very much, since you can change it easily with Themes and keeps the App small).

Still missing Environment vars a lot!

Deuce
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I also had this problem....

When I talked with The PSTART support people, they stated that it had to do with the none tag in the xml file. The problem is that in 206, they used the word none between the tags as above, but in the 207 version they just use nothing like . This settings is there just to set the background, if you have none it should be blank in 207, but in 206 it should say none. After deleting that line and saving the file, it worked again and on shutdown saved the file correctly. So if you get the error, try the above option first, if it doesn't work,then write to support and copy them you xml file and they will probably have the same answer for some of the other settings.

It was maybe just a programming change decision they forgot would cause problems who knows.

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Torpedro
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PStart 2.08

PStart 2.08 is out with many fixes.
Unfortunately the Evnironment variables are planned for a Pro Version Sad
I Try to talk Pstart Developers out of this and unse real pro features for a pro version, not rudimentary env.var. support.
http://www.pegtop.net/start/history.htm

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