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[Feature Request]Changing Desktop My Documents folder to Portableapps.com Folder

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11mcmoseley
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[Feature Request]Changing Desktop My Documents folder to Portableapps.com Folder

It could be a good feature, changing your desktop my documents folder to your portableapps.com my documents folder, and back again after you are done.

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solanus
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This actually fits into the larger picture of

a portable whole desktop replacement.
I think changing the path to the My Documents icon on the Desktop is probably a lot of work, with the danger that if it does not revert to the original path, it would screw up the shortcut - bad if you are borrowing a computer.
Besides, there is a shortcut already in the PA menu - it's just one more click.

However, if there were a whole desktop overlay, that you could configure with your own shortcuts to the flash drive and PApps, it wouldn't necessarily have to interact with the current desktop.

Check this post:
https://portableapps.com/node/10001

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NathanJ79
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Wouldn't always clean up

A big problem I see with this is that if portable apps don't shut down just the way they like, they don't clean up after themselves right, and in some cases this is more of a disaster than others.

For example, if you have an alternate wallpaper and you just pull the drive out, the wallpaper remains, at least for the PAM mod over at PTC. geek.menu changes the Places bar to whatever you want, but it doesn't change it back when you close it (oops!).

So if you change the My Documents to go to the one on your flash drive, and for whatever stupid reason, it doesn't change the link back, you're going to have a heck of a time getting it right. I mainly use PortableApps at work, and I don't want to mess up their computers. (They use Dells, gotta be gentle with 'em.)

solanus
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That's why I like Toolbox's approach

It doesn't actually change the wallpaper, it is an overlay that is contained within the app.

Here's a simple approach that could let you set up your own desktop - it just needs an exe launcher:
Make an *.hta file (an html application). Simply create a web page, include all the links you want, which of course can work as relative paths, tweak the code a bit to remove toolbars, and change the extension from html to hta.
That way, you can link to the Documents folder, change the background, etc. You can even use CSS to change it at will.

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/scriptcenter/hubs/htas.mspx

EDIT:
I've been able to make a pretty straightforward desktop using HTA. I have added shortcuts to the Documents folder, the C drive, and the flash drive, and an iframe that displays a new folder I made on the flash as a "working desktop" space. I styled it with an external CSS file so I can change the background pretty easily. Finally, I made the world's simplest NSIS launcher to open it. Looks pretty cool; it runs maximized, doesn't interfere with the original desktop and leaves no traces as far as I know.

I've avoided putting shortcuts to the actual apps, because they bring up an IE warning about exe files, but who needs that when we have the PA menu?

There's actually a lot you can do with HTAs using VBA, java, etc, but that's more work than I want to put into it!

Anybody know more about HTA files, and whether or not they present issues for our purposes?

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incognite
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Microsoft moved away from

Microsoft moved away from standalone files on standalone file systems and just as well for the IT industry as a whole as "fake" jobs might save the economy.

Anyway, I will use PA Documents folder one day but why does it take so long to appear even when "start minimised" is selected?

solanus
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I don't understand how your first sentence relates

to the issue at hand. Are you saying that Microsoft will not be supporting HTA files in the future?

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incognite
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Hey

The original post asked:

It could be a good feature, changing your desktop my documents folder to your portableapps.com my documents folder, and back again after you are done.

I was explaining how no longer are things like .ini used any more and just as well because it may create new jobs if you know what I am saying.

Anyway, HTA files aren't they webserver stuff?

P.S. Maybe .ini are used still but if PAM could manage things a bit more easily even just show/hide menu in the system tray that would be a step forward I think.

solanus
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HTA aren't webserver stuff.

They are actually simple applications that are modified web pages, that run locally.

The very simplest ones are made by taking an HTML file and changing the extension to HTA.
Maybe this will help:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms536496(VS.85).aspx

If you want, I can post the code to make the HTA I described - just paste it into notepad, and save it with an *.hta extension.

There's also very simple CSS code that allows you to style it.

The only thing you would need to supply would be a background image.

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agdurrette
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please

please do. thats cool

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solanus
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I hope this is kosher to post

Here's a page that has links to the code for the hta and css files, and a DL for the launcher.
My PortableDesktop Source

I haven't posted the icons or the background, since I'm not sure about the license. The icons are Open Source from the Crystal Project; I converted them in GIMP to GIF files to get the transparency. (PNG won't work for the icons).
The background I used was from a trip to Berlin, any JPG will do.

If you want to use the gradient background, you need to go into the CSS file and "un-comment" the line that references the gradient filter (remove the /* and */ from the line). Also, you can change the direction of the gradient (GradientType=0 is vertical) and the start and end colors.

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agdurrette
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Thanks

thanks that realy cool with .hta

"It's just an online installer. It's not going to mug you.", JTH
"The shell is the key to unlock Linux's greatest advantages."

agdurrette
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hay

if you put BORDER="none" in the tag it will make it like a full desktop then you can make your own taskbar

"It's just an online installer. It's not going to mug you.", JTH
"The shell is the key to unlock Linux's greatest advantages."

solanus
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Fiddling around

I've put together a very simple, clean, Portable Desktop.
It's got links to the Portable Documents folder and the root of your USB Drive, and it also has links to the My Documents, My Computer, Printers, and Control Panel on the host system.
It's styled by CSS, and you can put your own background image, and icons pretty easily by just swapping out the JPG and GIF files.
You can also put a horizontal or vertical gradient background via CSS.
I used Open Source Icons (Crystal Project).
It works fine on W2K and XP, and doesn't seem to take a lot of resources, and it also doesn't leave anything in the registry or local settings.

If you are even a little skilled at HTML and/or VBS, you can customize it very easily.

In case anybody's curious, here's some screenshots:
Desktop with Image

Desktop with Gradient

CAVEAT: I am not a programmer, so it's not horribly sophisticated!

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bmguida
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Not really a solution but....

I don’t know if this is a solution but it seems to work well for me.

I have an 500G external drive as my primary drive on my home computer. I have installed PAM to run at system startup. Next I remapped the following windows folders to the corresponding portable app folders ( My Docs, My Music, My Pics, My Vids ) At this point you “My Docs” folder on you desktop is now linked to you PAM.

Secondly I have a 16G flash drive which I use to mirror the 500G using Tucan Portable. I only mirror what I feel I would like to carry around with me and can be altered on a daily basis. And depending on the need I can lug around the 500G drive (3x5)

Although I would like to take my desktop with me I have not been able to get the Portabledesktop working yet. Hopefully soon enough I will succeeded

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