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Author Topic: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows  (Read 3383 times)

questorfla

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This is an embarrassing question to ask as I am very sure the answer is right in front of me somewhere but I never seem to either have time or look in the right place.  I did find a utility to backup and restore the desktop icons but that won't quite get me what I am after.

Windows Desktop normal "Default" sort order arranges the Desktop Icons Alphabetic descending at the start but allows things to be added helter-skelter everywhere afterward.

Some users like to store a 100 icons on their desktop and when they ask me for help it takes forever to locate the ones i need.  Sorting back to alphabetic>descending takes two clicks on sort by name  instead of one.  If I could, I would lock there system icons (the ones supplied by windows) to always be where they start out.  Top Left.
 
So this ends up being two requests.  One for a way to lock the 5 default system icons to always be first starting at top left and second a way to make the sort by name always default to alphabetic descending on first click. 
Both of the answers are most likely out there and easy to find but they are never where i look . :(

PS:  An additional nice touch would be a way to lock any specific icon to a specific location on the desktop one by one.  Not in groups like "Stardock" does.  Just a simple "Lock it here" with right click option would be Great!

MilesAhead

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2015, 02:22:30 PM »
It seems like it should be easy.  But I've looked at quite a few desktop icon utilities since one of my first Shell Extensions was a position save/restore utility stolen from Jeffrey Richter's example in one of his books.

The trouble is the desktop is a ListView Control.  Manipulating it is very cumbersome.

From the description this $5 utility looks like one of the better ones:
http://alternativeto...luid-icon-organizer/

But I'm not sure even that one will have all the features you want.

The ones like Fences I haven't looked at in any detail.  I'm guessing the individual lock feature will be the one least likely to be found.  I wrote one program that uses a ListView and I wrote it in AHK just because the ListView manipulation in that language was better than that available in AutoIt3.  Generally speaking the control is a pita to program.

Plus there are so many icon save/restore freewares(many programmers read Richter's book I think)  :)  that nobody wants to pay for them.


TaoPhoenix

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2015, 02:48:11 PM »
...
Windows Desktop normal "Default" sort order arranges the Desktop Icons Alphabetic descending at the start but allows things to be added helter-skelter everywhere afterward.
...

I have no idea what this means because the whole point of icons on desktops to me was that you get to move them around! So basically the first thing I do setting up any system is to move the icons into a visual pattern by category!

....
Some users like to store a 100 icons on their desktop and when they ask me for help it takes forever to locate the ones i need.  Sorting back to alphabetic>descending takes two clicks on sort by name  instead of one.  If I could, I would lock there system icons (the ones supplied by windows) to always be where they start out.  Top Left.
 
So this ends up being two requests.  One for a way to lock the 5 default system icons to always be first starting at top left and second a way to make the sort by name always default to alphabetic descending on first click. 
Both of the answers are most likely out there and easy to find but they are never where i look . :(
...

I am certainly in that "Yay! Icons!" group! But once you get the first three system icons in the top left and the Recycle icon in the bottom left, I don't know why you'd "want to move them". The main time I lose them is when about every couple months I fiddle with my screen resolution and then Windows dumps them anywhere it wants to!


IainB

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2015, 11:08:14 PM »
If one is wanting an easily sortable order for the icons on the desktop, then the quickest way would seem to be to open the folder C:\Users\[UserID]\Desktop in Windows Explorer. (At any rate, that's what it is Win8.1, but it might differ in earlier versions of  Windows.)
The icons on the Desktop are .lnk files.
Groups of icons can be located in folders on the desktop, and I have used Fences to do that as well (looks nicer).
However, possibly the simplest control of the alphabetic display order can be by using appropriate link file names. For example giving one's browser link files names like:
  • Browser-Chrome
  • Browser-IE
  • Browser-Firefox
- will make the browser icons appear clustered together sequentially in the Quick Launch bar or Desktop. Thus link filenames beginning with "." or "A" will come first, "B" second, and so forth, through to "Z".

If Desktop icons have been shuffled about using drag-and-drop (same as can be done in Quick Launch bar icons), so that they are now in a confusing order/arrangement, they can be quickly reset into alphabetic order (or other WinExplorer column order) and then manually shuffled about afresh into the desired state.

However, it is probably more efficient/effective to avoid manually shuffling things and use the filename method (above) to determine and set the icon groups and order, as, if that becomes disarranged by manual  drag-and-drop, then it can always be quickly re-sorted back into the alphabetic sequence you had previously created by your file-naming.

Sorry, done in haste.
Hope that makes sense or is of use.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2015, 11:45:53 PM by IainB, Reason: Minor edits. »

Curt

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2015, 01:17:19 AM »
... control of the alphabetic display order can be by using appropriate link file names. For example giving one's browser link files names like:
  • Browser-Chrome
  • Browser-IE
  • Browser-Firefox
- will make the browser icons appear clustered together sequentially in the Quick Launch bar or Desktop. Thus link filenames beginning with "." or "A" will come first, "B" second, and so forth, through to "Z".

-this is exactly the way I organized my icons in True Launch Bar (my desktop shows no icons, except bin); it is so much faster when you are searching for a type of program, rather than for a name (especially when the name turns out to begin with "Launch ")!

But of course, questorfla wanted something to help him work on other people's computers, so forgive  that I spoke!  :-[

MilesAhead

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2015, 06:50:57 AM »
But of course, questorfla wanted something to help him work on other people's computers,

For finding the 5 system icons in the mess it may be simpler to open the control that lists the system folders to show on desktop and enable/disable them so that they "blink."  Then you could create a folder and stick them in there until you give the customer the machine back.

Might sound dumb but if there really are 200 icons on the desktop I could see that search slowing things down.

anandcoral

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2015, 07:00:54 AM »
How about using DesktopOK, http://www.softwareo...e=Freeware/DesktopOK

From the website:
Save and restore the positions of icons.
DesktopOK is a small but effective solution for user that have to change the screen resolution often.

I have used it long time back, in Win98 days.

questorfla, see if it solves your problem.

Regards,

Anand

MilesAhead

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2015, 07:46:55 AM »
How about using DesktopOK, http://www.softwareo...e=Freeware/DesktopOK

From the website:
Save and restore the positions of icons.
DesktopOK is a small but effective solution for user that have to change the screen resolution often.

I have used it long time back, in Win98 days.

questorfla, see if it solves your problem.

Regards,

Anand


Save and restore is not the problem.  There are dozens of those. I even wrote one that would still work on 32 bit systems.  But if I read the OP correctly, the problem is the customer's machines are a mess.  Trying to find the relevant shortcut in the mess is the slowdown.

Maybe an easier solution that would require some memorization is to use Winkey r and just type in the command instead of using the shortcuts.  At least for system stuff it should speed things up.

questorfla

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2015, 10:34:18 AM »
Wow!  Thanks everyone.  Hit the jackpot on this question. :)
Best of all, I always treat every reply as a "seed" to find things I did not even know I wanted.
One of the replies (Milesahead I think) mentioned something interesting but I cannot find more on how to achieve this effect.  Getting specific Icons to Blink.
Other effects would work and might be less annoying to some people such as slowly changing from one background color to another or any other effect to make it eye catching.  Once located, I can deal with the rest.  But a quick scan of How To found more on how to STOP the blinking of certain things.  
By the way, all of this is on Windows 8.1  An "Apple fix" wont be of much use . :(

To be honest, this would be of as much use to Me as to having it available to use while working on another's systems!

Currently I have been doing something similar to Desktop-OK (I am going to look at that program now to see what else it can do).  I believ its name is  desktop restore.  Very small and takes a snapshot of the desktop.  Allows saving more than one layout.

I make a backup of their desktop before starting anything then sort them to get the system icons to where they are by default.  When I am done with whatever I was help doing I just restore them to the way they were before I started.   People are very touchy about "moving their cheese" so to speak :)

Actually, i would love to hear about any programs apps or methods of modifying Windows desktops as far as Font's and backgrounds as long as they are reversible and the more focused the effect, the better. "Fences" for instance was overkill for most people but being able to simply group a few icons into an invisible box would be great.

Thanks to all for the great ideas. :Thmbsup:
« Last Edit: April 29, 2015, 10:39:15 AM by questorfla, Reason: add link »

MilesAhead

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2015, 10:42:25 AM »
By "blink" I only meant when you disable the system icon, like recycle bin or whatever, it will vanish from the desktop.  When you enable it, it will appear.  That might attract your eye.  Funny but I was just reading something where a programmer was trying to get some animation on the desktop and/or change background colors of icons.  Unfortunately the desktop does not react until it is refreshed.  It would be lame animation if you had to keep hitting F5.  :)

It may be easier to have a few command lines in a text file you can paste into Winkey r command line.

JavaJones

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2015, 12:23:54 PM »
There are a couple of other approaches that *might* help.

One thing I use quite often, both on the desktop and in regular file lists, is pressing the first letter of what I'm looking for to quickly cycle through items that start with that letter. So let's say they have 100 icons. As long as they haven't renamed "Computer" or their username folder or Recycle, etc., then just pressing "c" (if looking for Computer) should find it more quickly than a random search. Pressing it repeatedly will cycle through whatever items they have on their desktop that start with C. Sounds slow, but it actually works reasonably well in many situations.

It also sounds like you're able to install software on your user's computers, so while something like Listary is probably overkill, it may be something you can teach them to take advantage of too. What it will let you do is just click on the desktop and start typing a filename and find it quickly. It pops up a results list contextually and lets you type full names rather than just cycling through start-letters as above. Listary is free for individual use:
http://www.listary.com/

- Oshyan

anandcoral

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2015, 05:26:46 AM »
Hmm.. so the requirement is,
to sort desktop icons of a customer,
quickly search for an icon (file),
do the job,
restore back the icons as they were.

My solution :
do not touch the desktop,
open File Explorer,
select desktop,
type in 'Search Desktop' for quick search,
or right-click to sort icons,
do the job,
the desktop icons remain as they were.

2015-04-30_154521.png

2015-04-30_154617.png

2015-04-30_154734.png


Regards,

Anand

IainB

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2015, 10:46:14 PM »
^^ +1 for what @anandcoral says above. It's just another way of putting what I was politely trying to suggest in my comment - i.e., that you don't need to go near the Desktop icons, you just bypass them - they are effectively a distraction from the object of getting a job done as easily/efficiently as possible.
However, I do recognise that if one is accustomed to (say) always using the Desktop icons because that is the only way one knows or has learned to do whatever needs to be done, then it could/might be very difficult to accept that one needs to change one's approach.

CleverCat

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2015, 02:30:42 AM »
I use Stardock Fences to sort icons and keep them 'invisible' when not needed!  :up: I have Pro version.

It can be as 'overkill' or 'underkill' as you want!  ;D





« Last Edit: May 02, 2015, 02:38:15 AM by CleverCat »

CleverCat

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2015, 02:32:23 AM »
You can choose to have a fence visible at all times if you wish and have a Folder Portal..

anandcoral

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2015, 06:53:57 AM »
No need to install run any 3rd party program at customer machine.

File Explorer is the Win 8 'explorer exe'. All Win 8 customer will have it.

Regards,

Anand


Innuendo

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2015, 07:31:01 AM »
If you know the name of the icon, just start typing the name while on the Desktop. The highlight will jump to the icon's whose name matches what you type in. You don't even have to open a file manager.

MilesAhead

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2015, 07:33:23 AM »
If you know the name of the icon, just start typing the name while on the Desktop. The highlight will jump to the icon's whose name matches what you type in. You don't even have to open a file manager.

Learn something new every day.  That makes it too easy.  :)

IainB

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Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2015, 07:53:48 AM »
^^ You can Tab and type and move <- and -> (backwards and forwards) your way all over the Desktop, Windows Start Menu, Quick Launch bar, Systray, etc. They are just visual representations of Folders (Systray is a bit different though, I think).
However, if someone has (say) changed the icon file names, the outcome might not be what you expected.