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Author Topic: In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement  (Read 1002 times)

nkormanik

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In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement
« on: October 28, 2018, 10:20 PM »
On the desktop we already have a few good programs to save icon positions.  I use DesktopOK.  Another is Relcon.

Presently, however, there doesn't appear to be any program allowing one to backup/restore icon positions of some other folder.

I've written to the authors of both programs mentioned above to please "enhance" or extend their respective offerings.

The notion is to have additional desktops, just like the one you presently have:  Desktop#1, Desktop#2, Desktop#3, ....  Each one with icons, folders, files arranged exactly as you want.  Ability to save the arrangements.  And to instantly restore as needed.

My hunch is the job would take more work than you folks want to tackle.  But I thought I'd just throw out the idea.

Thoughts appreciated.

Nicholas Kormanik

« Last Edit: October 28, 2018, 10:26 PM by nkormanik »

wraith808

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Re: In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2018, 12:56 PM »
So you mean that when a folder is opened with icon chosen as display type, you want to freeze the positions of those icons?  Have you tried Stardock Fences?  I know it displays custom folders on your desktop and they retain the positions of the icons.  I don't know if you're going to close and open them individually if it will work for your purposes.

https://www.stardock...com/products/fences/

As far as the request itself, the problem is that Icon mode in Explorer (rather than the desktop) is only pseudo icon mode, i.e. it doesn't support drag and drop positioning like the desktop; it's always ordered in some fashion.

UPDATE: Looking at my installation of Fences, it uses the tile method of showing icons also, i.e. it will only allow you to sort the order, not the position.  Example follows:

Fences_Example.png

Notice that in that image, they're in an arbitrary order that I dragged and dropped them into.  Not sure if that's what you want.

Lintalist

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Re: In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2018, 01:22 PM »
Aren't you actually looking for multiple desktops? (where you can then used DesktopOK etc)

If you're using Windows 10 it should be built in - how to here https://www.howtogee...ktops-in-windows-10/

For other Windows you could try:

https://www.dexpot.de/index.php?lang=en
https://virtuawin.sourceforge.io/
and no doubt others.

( If you are into AutoHotkey there are various scripts for managing/creating multiple virtual desktops as well )

wraith808

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Re: In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2018, 04:26 PM »
Aren't you actually looking for multiple desktops? (where you can then used DesktopOK etc)

If you're using Windows 10 it should be built in - how to here https://www.howtogee...ktops-in-windows-10/

For other Windows you could try:

https://www.dexpot.de/index.php?lang=en
https://virtuawin.sourceforge.io/
and no doubt others.

( If you are into AutoHotkey there are various scripts for managing/creating multiple virtual desktops as well )



If that's what he's looking for I seriously misread the question...  :huh:

nkormanik

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Re: In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2018, 09:08 PM »
wraith808, Windows does indeed allow one to move icons around and place 'em in a folder.  And is supposed to remember such.  As long as the context menu... View, Auto-arrange... is unchecked.

Trouble is, in practice that's super spotty.  Even with Auto-arrange unchecked, often you close that folder and re-open only to find your icons lined up as you have described.  After you've spent countless amounts of time precisely arranging, with clarity and purpose.

Can't trust it at all.

So need a third-party solution.  One that specifically saves your icon arrangement in a particular folder, and can re-establish said arrangement.

Let's call the folder:  c:\Carefully_Arranged_Folder.

Perhaps a suitable approach would be to double-click a batch file, PowerShell file, .reg file... to save present precise arrangement.  And have another such file to re-establish arrangement.

Curious that nothing seems to exist that already does this.

Perplexing that no one else apparently perceives the usefulness.

As usual, go figure.


wraith808

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Re: In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2018, 10:30 PM »
wraith808, Windows does indeed allow one to move icons around and place 'em in a folder.  And is supposed to remember such.  As long as the context menu... View, Auto-arrange... is unchecked.

What version of Windows are you using?  I remember that being a feature at one point, but in Windows 10, it doesn't work in that way.  They are tiled in all of the icon view orientations.  Maybe it's a difference of OS?

nkormanik

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Re: In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2018, 12:43 AM »
wraith808, Windows 10 Pro.  There is still that feature, to arrange and place your icons as desired, within each folder.

But, as said, as spotty as hell.  Pathetic.  Hit and miss.  Sometimes saved, mostly forgotten.

That's why a third-party solution is called for.  Microsoft engineers have other things requesting their attention.

By the way, icon arrangements appear to be held at the following registry location:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\

But not at all easy to understand.  Coded.  Take a peek.

Theoretically one might be able to 'Export' that branch of the registry tree in order to save folder icon positions.  Then 'Import' back in to re-establish.

Trouble is, nearly EVERYTHING in the entire system regarding icon positionings is included there.  Each and every folder.  On all hard disks.  Plus extra stuff for good measure.


KodeZwerg

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Re: In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2018, 01:53 AM »
Sorry if its wrong what I write, after reading and re-reading I still dont know whats the goal is.
To understand that I gave up.

But, maby this could work:
If i aint wrong, Windows stores that Information into a "Desktop.ini" file.
Most Windows have for Desktop two of them.
One you will find here: c:\Users\Public\Desktop\
There you find settings for all shared Icons on Desktop
Second you find here: c:\Users\YourLoginName\Desktop\
This is your personal folder, non-shared.

The Desktop.ini files have usual "Hidden plus System" attributes, so they might be invisible to you if you dont allow explorer to see "Hidden/System"
In some cases the Foldername itself is "Hidden or System".

If i am guessing right, you want to backup both folder contents and restore ?
Same rule for Folders, inside any folder where you arrange icons Widows will create that Desktop.ini file.

Please try out if this is what you asked for by backup, change anything and restore.

You even can set target "Desktop.ini" Read-Only, Windows cannot save to it anymore = what you see is what you get, later additions arent saved then of course.
sorry bad english and Delphi are my hobby ;)
politeness is not one of my strengths in writing, just because it sounds rough doesn't mean that I mean it rough.

nkormanik

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Re: In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2018, 03:25 AM »
KodeZwerg, worthy suggestion.  Appreciate it!

Unfortunately, desktop.ini seems to only contain a few lines, and nothing about icon placement on desktop (or folder).

The idea I'm after, to clarify, is to place icons within folder, exactly where I want them to be placed.  So that when you open that folder the icons are where they are supposed to be, because I strategically placed them there.

Icon Placement Critical.pngIn some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement

Please see above image.  Worth 1000 words.

KodeZwerg

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Re: In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2018, 04:18 AM »
I got on my own machine a slight problem. I can not do such things anymore.

To clarify: (i just copy pasted text in here since my english aint that good)
The desktop.ini file is a hidden file used to store information about the arrangement of a Windows folder. Essentially, if the layout or settings for a folder are changed, a desktop.ini file is automatically generated to save those changes.

So please try again and do it like i describe:
1. create any empty folder
2. throw in a few files
3. set up folder arrrangements like you want it and close folder (i dont know at wich point windows save that file, so close is for me = saved)
4. re-open folder to check if still all meets your arrangement, if so, continue next step if not i give up
5. (i hope you can do) add "Read-Only" attribute to Desktop.ini
6. close and open folder to check if still all is fine
7. rearrange Placements
8. press "F5" key, what happen? (theory: windows refresh and load your read-only layout)
9. close and open folder to check if still all is fine
10. if all steps succeed you now know what to do, backup that desktop.ini file anywhere and restore anytime
....do not forget to remove read-only attribute

I best hope that it work.

/edit
BTW if you have trouble setting attributes, here a small how-to
press WIN+R
type CMD +enter
type CD X:\This is\My Personal\Folder for\DonationCoderApps       <<-- replace name with yours  :D
type ATTRIB +R -S -H Desktop.ini
now that file is read-only
later to have original attributes back
ATTRIB -R +S +H Desktop.ini
type EXIT +enter
sorry bad english and Delphi are my hobby ;)
politeness is not one of my strengths in writing, just because it sounds rough doesn't mean that I mean it rough.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 04:36 AM by KodeZwerg »

wraith808

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Re: In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2018, 06:06 PM »
wraith808, Windows 10 Pro.  There is still that feature, to arrange and place your icons as desired, within each folder.

But, as said, as spotty as hell.  Pathetic.  Hit and miss.  Sometimes saved, mostly forgotten.

That's why a third-party solution is called for.  Microsoft engineers have other things requesting their attention.

By the way, icon arrangements appear to be held at the following registry location:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\

But not at all easy to understand.  Coded.  Take a peek.

Theoretically one might be able to 'Export' that branch of the registry tree in order to save folder icon positions.  Then 'Import' back in to re-establish.

Trouble is, nearly EVERYTHING in the entire system regarding icon positionings is included there.  Each and every folder.  On all hard disks.  Plus extra stuff for good measure.




How are you doing it?  I don't see that option.

explorer.pngIn some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement

UPDATE: Ok, so I see that it has been gone since Windows 7.  There is a way to enable it with a registry file.  That's probably the reason that it's buggy - it's not meant to be used.

https://answers.micr...be-9ad2-6fb29e2168c1

http://www.unawave.d...arrange.html?lang=EN

https://answers.micr...-23ab277cfcc3?auth=1

I thought I was going crazy for a sec.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 06:12 PM by wraith808 »

nkormanik

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Re: In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2018, 08:43 PM »
Best approach for now regarding the objective of providing more 'desktop-like' working space in which to carefully arrange icons, etc., is to create additional desktops.

Windows directly allows this.  Google for instructions to change desktop folder.

In order to change desktops one has to log-off and back on.  New desktop will then be in effect.

After one finishes working on new desktop, one can use the same procedure to go back to original desktop.

DesktopOK works with whatever the current desktop is.  So just save icon positioning within each as wanted.


Skwire, another one done.


wraith808

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Re: In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2018, 09:42 PM »
Best approach for now regarding the objective of providing more 'desktop-like' working space in which to carefully arrange icons, etc., is to create additional desktops.

Windows directly allows this.  Google for instructions to change desktop folder.

In order to change desktops one has to log-off and back on.  New desktop will then be in effect.

After one finishes working on new desktop, one can use the same procedure to go back to original desktop.

DesktopOK works with whatever the current desktop is.  So just save icon positioning within each as wanted.


Skwire, another one done.



You don't even have to do that.  If you're going to go to that extreme, see Lintalist's answer above.  Virtual desktops would do it for you without having to log off.

nkormanik

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Re: In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2018, 01:53 AM »
Virtual desktops seem not to provide new 'canvases' on which to work and organize your projects.  Virtual desktops appear to be mostly for separating open windows and running programs.

Unless I missed something.

If anyone knows of a program that provides new clear desktops or folders, on which one can carefully place icons, etc., and re-establish as desired, please let me know.

As said before, strikes me as absurd that such doesn't already exist.


wraith808

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Re: In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2018, 10:25 AM »
Virtual desktops seem not to provide new 'canvases' on which to work and organize your projects.  Virtual desktops appear to be mostly for separating open windows and running programs.

Unless I missed something.

If anyone knows of a program that provides new clear desktops or folders, on which one can carefully place icons, etc., and re-establish as desired, please let me know.

As said before, strikes me as absurd that such doesn't already exist.




https://docs.microso...s/downloads/desktops

This does exactly what you want.  And it's free.

nkormanik

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Re: In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2018, 02:38 PM »
Nice find, wraith808.  I'll try it out and see how it compares.

Fences, by the way, offered some benefits, but had shortfalls.  Not exactly what I was asking for.


wraith808

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Re: In some folder other than desktop, freeze icon placement
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2018, 04:10 PM »
Yeah... I get that now.  Hopefully, this is better for you.  There are some idiosyncracies to it also though, so be forewarned.  That's the reason I use something else instead, no matter how cool it is.

I think most of the downsides are described on that page, though it's missing that if something saves its place in a certain way (haven't been able to narrow it down), then when you try to open it on the alternate screen, it will instead open on the original screen.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2018, 04:17 PM by wraith808 »