Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Installing new program under "start menu\Programs"

In the past, I seem to remember that most programs would open up their newly created "Start Menu\Programs\xxxxx" folder to show you the new icons just created.  It would leave this folder open even after the setup program went away.  In some ways this was convenient, because then you could copy the icon(s) to your desktop or start menu if you wished.

Lately, I've noticed that most programs don't do this anymore.  And I've noticed that starting in Windows 98, newly installed "Start Menu\Programs" folders would show up on the bottom of the list.  And I've noticed that starting in Windows XP, newly installed programs will be highlighted.

In Windows 95, it wasn't as easy to copy icons from the "Start Menu\Programs" since you couldn't right-click on the icons and copy/paste.  Starting in Windows 98 you could more easily copy an icon and paste it elsewhere.

So is this whole business of leaving the explorer window open a legacy issue from Windows 95 (or even earlier).  Is this something that should be done on earlier OSes but not on later ones?

Troy
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Never thought of it as a feature. I always thought that it was just another Installshield bug.

Jan Derk
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I always thought of that as a minor annoyance. 

I'm what you'd call a "Power User" and I know how to get the icon shortcut on my desktop (in whatever OS) *IF* I want one.

So I guess the answer is a question:  Who is your product for?  If it's for power users, I say forget the explorer window.

Wayne
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

It's definitely NOT for power users.  (But then again neither is Office, necessarily, and Office doesn't open this explorer window either.  Atleast I haven't experienced it with Office when install on Windows 2000+.)

Troy
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Your concerns are valid.  If you're software is NOT for power users then it must be USEABLE for them to buy it.

We show the user the name of the start menu folder where thier icons will be:


You can run FooBar by clicking on it's icon :
Start / Program Files / FooFolder/


We use Wise Install (old 1999 version) and I it pops up the FooFolder in Windows XP (I just tried it).

May just be a bug in your install script/program.

Entrepreneur
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

To show a folder as old style installations used to: just spawn explorer.exe with the path name of the "Program Files" folder you just created as its command line argument.

The new (post-Windows 98) style is "terse" but it's often useful to see "where" things are sitting. You can be so terse that the user may have no idea where the hell anything is...

Bored Bystander
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I think this is all a hangover from old setup APIs. Some setup groups still use the old Program Manager progman.ini and *.grp files and then call some API to convert them to Start Menu shortcuts -- can't remember, but grpconv.exe does a similar thing. I think it was this which popped up the explorer window showing the new "Program Group."

BTW progman.exe is still there in XP...

Duncan Smart
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

"Some setup groups..." shoud say "Some setup programs..."

Duncan Smart
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Doh! "should"

Duncan Smart
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Thanks for all the input.  I've decided that for Windows 95 and NT4, I'm going to open any newly created "Start Menu\Programs" folder in an Explorer window.  But for any newer version of Windows I'm not.

(I suppose I should really check for the actual version of the shell in case someone installed IE4 w/ the desktop shell enhancements to Win95/NT4.)

As of Windows 98 and newer it's easy to see which folders were recently added, and it's easy to copy/paste icons elsewhere.  Also, I haven't seen too many modern programs do this lately.

Troy
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

One las thing. Offer the guy a choice of what folder to create the shortcuts in, and to create a new folder or put them within an existing folder.

The new user can do it after the install, but then they won't uninstall. A pet peeve of mine.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, November 20, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home