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New Programs!

December 16th, 2008 · 13 Comments · Programming, Windows

First we have SoundSchemeManager (download), which aims to make it easier to make and share sound schemes online through standard .REG files.  Any changes made should take effect as soon as you click Save to Registry.

Next we have PathEnv (download), which is a similar tool but it allows you to manage your PATH environment string, which controls where Windows searches for apps when it can’t find the EXE name you typed.  It’s mostly useful for command prompt stuff.  You can reorder and add and remove folders from the list, as well as add user-specific folders that only apply to you.  Best part, the changes take effect immediately and will affect all new processes that run, no need to log off and back on.

Since these program both mess with system registry settings, even though I did a pretty thorough bug test I still recommend backing up the affected registry keys just in case (see the Projects page for the affected key names).]

I should probably upload AppCompactor soon since I found a nice icon in the Silk icon set for it, though the wizard banner and icon I made for it kinda suck so I dunno.

I also am working on another program, PortableTaskbar.  It functions just as the Taskbar and Start Menu do in Windows (Vista with some features taken from 7), but it’s completely portable.  Everything resides in two XML files on disk and it’s optimized for flash devices (icon loading for menus is done asyncronously).  This project arose out of my frustrations with menu programs which loaded icons syncronously.

I am quite proud of the feature set:


  • Taskbar uses the same rules as Windows Explorer for showing windows, but only shows programs running off your portable device.  You can click and right click buttons and they  will react the same.
  • Taskbar can be docked to any side of any screen.
  • Start Menu is based off of Vista/7 design with in-pane progam browsing.
  • Quick Launch feature on the taskbar.
  • Frequently used programs keeps track of how many times you launch each app.
  • Search feature can be used to quickly list a folder’s contents or to search the portable start menu.
  • Can use USB Disk Ejector to immediately close PortableTaskbar and eject  the disk.
  • Internet and E-mail links for your favorite portable apps.
  • Places pane to allow you to browse your portable documents, music, videos… or whatever you want.  You can even put program links there, technically.  But folders are cooler cause they will expand into menus. 🙂
  • Import and Export features for both PStart and ASuite XML databases.
  • All paths entered into PortableTaskbar are converted into portable, relative paths.
  • User Picture feature, like on the real Start Menu.
  • Optimized for portable devices.  Loads icons asyncronously.  Only writes settings to disk on shutdown (or on request).


It’s feature-complete but I have some more ideas I might decide to implement first:

  • Windows 7-like Quick Launch and taskbar
  • Need to fix an invalid index exception thrown sometimes when I run a program.  Doesn’t seem to break anything when I continue.
  • Might want to tweak some of the drag and drop stuff, there’s native drag and drop reordering I don’t use which I could enable (and which is probably nicer).
  • Sometimes it’s hard to find the right place to right click to get an empty space on the places bar or programs menu (so you get the “Add” menu item option’).  Might add an “Insert new after” option to the item right click list.
  • Figure out how to do visual style themeing.  The biggest problem is I don’t know how to draw the start icon or orb (help with that would be appreciated).  Might have to use P/Invoke to forcably extract the image resources from the theme DLL.
  • Make a skinning engine and make a theme.  It lends itself well to a taskbar (and there’s already a nice theme for the Start Menu in the Menu app).

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