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Pseudo "Start Menu" using Autorun.inf


oligarchy314
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After reading through most if not all of the posts using the autorun. inf file I thought I should add my own usage for the autorun. inf.  My use of the autorun file is just my preferred way to quickly get at the apps on my drive.  Even though I don't use my usb drive as a hacking tool, but more as a portable workspace, anyone could use this on their drive for quick access to apps.

Here is a copy of the autorun I use on my drives.  I use this on both my 2Gb flash drive and on my 40Gb external drive.

[autorun]
label=<Fancy label of your choice>
icon=<path to icon>icon.ico

action=<Name of the action in the Autorun dialog box>
open=<path and command to run as default action>

shell01 = 7-Zip Portable
shell01command = Apps7-ZipPortable7-ZipPortable.exe

shell02 = FileZilla Portable
shell02command = AppsFileZillaPortablePortableFileZilla.exe

shell03 = Firefox Portable
shell03command = AppsFirefoxPortableFirefoxPortable.exe

shell04 = Pidgin Portable
shell04command = AppsPidginPortablePidginpidgin-portable.exe

shell05 = GIMP Portable
shell05command = AppsGIMPPortableGIMPPortable.exe

shell06 = OpenOffice Calc
shell06command = AppsOpenOfficePortableOpenOfficeCalcPortable.exe

shell07 = OpenOffice Impress
shell07command = AppsOpenOfficePortableOpenOfficeImpressPortable.exe

shell08 = OpenOffice Write
shell08command = AppsOpenOfficePortableOpenOfficeWriterPortable.exe

shell09 = Scintilla (SciTE)
shell09command = AppsScinti~1Scite.exe

shell10 = VideoLAN Portable
shell10command = AppsVLCPortableVLCPortable.exe

shell11 = N|vu Portable
shell11command = AppsNVUPortableNVUPortable.exe

shell12 = Foxit PDF Reader
shell12command = AppsFoxitReader.exe

shell13 = PuTTY (SSH Client)
shell13command = Appsputty.exe

shell14 = µTorrent
shell14command = Appsutorrent.exe

Instead of numbers you can use labels, but they get loaded in alphabetical order, so for me to put them in the order I want I just use numbers instead.  For any directory path that contains spaces I would recommend using the shortened DOS version of the path as I used with the path to the "Scintilla Text Editor" (shell09 = Scintilla . .  ). 

Now, the way to get the most use out of this is to create a shortcut on the desktop of the PC you're at and what this autorun. inf does is when the usb drive is inserted and autoruns you can now right click on the shortcut and you get a drop down menu of shortcuts to all the portable apps on your drive.  I like this better than all those start menu replacement programs, because this does not add a process, and thereby uses no ram or cpu cycles.  You can also right click on the icon for your drive inside of My Computer, I just prefer to have an icon on the desktop.

Here is a pic of what the menu looks like when I right click on my drive.

http://www.mdsc.info/images/autorun.menu.png

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Cool, thanks for sharing!

Another way to do this is to use PStart.exe, which I personally prefer, but to each his own. You can get PStart here.

From the site:

PStart is a simple tray tool to start user defined applications. Designed to run portable applications (like portable Firefox & Thunderbird), you can start anything runnable from USB key devices or removable disks.
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Another way to do this is to use PStart.exe, which I personally prefer, but to each his own.

Personally I use both, the main reason as pointed out by oligarchy314:

I like this better than all those start menu replacement programs, because this does not add a process, and thereby uses no ram or cpu cycles.

Although when you have a number of apps organization is a must and pstart is better for that.

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I like this better than all those start menu replacement programs, because this does not add a process, and thereby uses no ram or cpu cycles.

Oh. How did I not see this? Thanks for pointing that out, GonZor.

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I like this better than all those start menu replacement programs, because this does not add a process, and thereby uses no ram or CPU cycles.

Of course, that's right, but this will work only with a few items in the list. If there are many Items, may it's chaos in the list or -'d be worse- on a lower res, you wouldn't see all items.

BTW.: I think "modern" computers (from P2 with 128 MB RAM upwards) should be able to handle a process that "weight" 7.5 Megs of RAM.

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Because people keep recommending Pstart, I feel like I should explain my aversion. I used Pstart about 2 years ago, and at that point it was not using 7.5Mb, but more like 30Mb of ram on my system, it may very well have been something peculiar about my box, but as such I wasn't going to keep using it. I would hope that other's mileage would be better than mine as far as Pstart goes.

Nevertheless, I am going to give Pstart another go, hopefully it has been improved since my first usage. Also, I have had the opportunity to try out a U3 drive, and it's menuing app was using 20Mb. Now, I may only have 512Mb of ram, but 20-30Mb of ram isn't something to sneeze at; if I can avoid it being used up surreptitiously I will.

As for the low res question, I've used my config at 1024x768 and 800x600 and it works perfectly fine for me. The only time I see 640x480 any more is in a DOS window or at the console. Finally, I have 20+ apps on my drive I just keep the 14 most used in my autorun file. If you need something with shiny graphics, or you have every portable app there is, by all means use something with more organization.

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