Sam's Blog

02 Nov

Root folders revisited

When I know I’m going to be working in a particular folder for a long time, I find it really convenient to open that folder in a rooted explorer window while I work. I added a command to the explorer context menu to open a subfolder in a rooted window. It’s nothing spectacular but very convenient at times. Here’s the registry tweak and a screenshot:

Root Folder Here

11 Oct

Multi-processor building in Visual Studio 2005

Today I learned about a very interesting (undocumented) compiler flag in Visual Studio 2005. With the simple addition of /MP to the C++ Additional Options for your project, the compiler will take advantage of multiple processors. Obviously you need a multi-processor machine for this to work.

So how much difference are we talking? The project I’m currently working on took 5:00 to build on my FX-70 machine at work. Adding this flag dropped the number to 1:53. Continue Reading »

30 Mar

Building a simple Launchy clone in WPF (Part 3/3: Tying things together)

This part is all about some finishing touches. At this point I’ll assume you’ve finished Part 1 and Part 2, so we’ll go ahead and dive right in! :) Continue Reading »

30 Mar

Building a simple Launchy clone in WPF (Part 2/3: Visual Studio)

This is the second part of my tutorial on making a minimalistic clone of Launchy. I’ll assume you’ve finished Part 1. If you haven’t you might want to check it out since this part builds on it. :) Continue Reading »

30 Mar

Building a simple Launchy clone in WPF (Part 1/3: Blend)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m quite a fan of Launchy. For fun, I set out to create a simple clone of Launchy in C#/.NET 3.0. In this article, I’ll show what it takes to create a minimal but functional Launchy clone in about 2 hours. After working through this lab, it wouldn’t be too difficult to make the resulting program as functional as Launchy. But that’s outside of what I’m trying to accomplish here, so I’ll leave that to the tinkerers. :)

You will need several tools to build this application according to the tutorial. I will also assume you are familiar with the basic concepts of using them. Among the tools are:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2005
  • Microsoft Expression Blend Release Candidate 1

For more information about this software and others needed to get started developing WPF applications today, visit

If you just want to see the result in action, you can download the whole 18.6kb archive here. The file is compressed with 7-zip, one of the greatest FOSS projects of all time IMO. :) Remember this program runs without a window by design. To use it after you run it, press WinKey+Space. To exit, press WinKey+Space, then right click the dialog. Here is a screenshot:

Launchy Clone in action

Continue Reading »

15 Mar

Your Start menu is too slow

Every once in a while I run across a new piece of software and think to myself “Why have I never seen this before??” Today was one of those days.

This is by far the most efficient program launching method for Windows I’ve ever used (spare the alternate OS comments kthx)!

After you install it, press Alt+Spacebar to bring up the launcher, and all of your start menu items/IE favorites/Firefox bookmarks are just a few keystrokes away.

Launchy Homepage

Launchy screenshot

24 Feb

Browse your documents faster and easier with a Root Folder

A Windows Explorer “root folder” shortcut allows you to open a folder as if it’s the only thing on your computer, so to say. When I’m working on schoolwork, I open the shortcut for my school documents folder so I’m not hassled by one of my work folders, etc, etc.

These folders are also very fast, often much faster than just browsing via the My Computer or My Documents links (ESPECIALLY if you have any mapped network drives!!).

You can try one yourself in just 2 minutes to see if you like it. This 62 second video shows step-by-step directions for setting one up for use.

Windows Explorer root folder view

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