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Customize the Favorite Links in Windows Vista common dialogs

Tags: SharePoint, Microsoft Office, Windows Vista

Microsoft Windows Vista contains new common dialogs, such as the Save As and Open dialogs, which have a new sidebar navigation to the left. The navigation can show the folder tree or your Favorite Links. Windows XP had a similar concept, but not as customizable as in Windows Vista.

If you are like me and like to have your files organized and have easy access to them you can customize the Favorite Links really easy. All the links in the Favorite Links sidebar is plain old shortcuts (.lnk files) which are located in the Links folder of the Users directory, to be precise: %USERPROFILE%\Links\, for example c:\Users\wictor\Links\.

In this Links folder you can place any shortcut to any folder you like. You can have a shortcut to your temporary download folder, a link to a SharePoint site or a network location. Since the links are all shortcut files you can change the icon on them to get just the look and feel that you like.

If you watch the Favorite Links part of the screenshot below, taken from notepad, you can see that I have added a shortcut to my Temp directory and to a custom folder and a SharePoint site (the one called Projects on Portal).

Screenshot of the Windows Vista Save As dialog

In this screenshot, taken from Microsoft Office Word 2007, you see the Open file dialog and the Favorite Links.

Microsoft Office Word Open dialog

No Comments

  • Trackback said

    Microsoft Windows Vista has a whole lot of new and exciting stuff and some things that may be disturbing (at least when you're starting with Vista), like the new structure of the folders; X:\Document...

  • Wictor said

    Hello sameer, I would start trying to restore it by copying the Links folder from another account under c:\Users\ to the account from which the Links folder was deleted. Then make sure that it inherites the security from the parent folder.

  • Tom Groves said

    Hi Wictor, Everything seems fine with this, until I add a shortcut to our sharepoint site. In our case, the url is http://gb-gsy2-sp01 The shortcut exists in the Links folder, as an "Internet Shortcut". However, it doesn't appear in "Favorite Links"! Any ideas? Thanks!

  • Julian said

    Thanks Wictor, I've been wanting to do this for ages. May I add something to make the instructions clearer: When in the Links folder, right-click and select New > Shortcut. I first went to the Microsoft Knowledge base, and this article: seems to be saying the same thing but in a manner I couldn't understand. Microsoft is so annoying...

  • Julian said

    By the way, I just found out you can also just drag and drop into the Favorites area (from here:

  • Scott said

    It is also possible to create a SharePoint link to sites that you can only access via URL, but it is a 2 step process. 1a. Open a folder to 'Computer' from the Start button. 1b. Right click anywhere in Computer and select 'Add a Network Location'. 1c. Select 'Choose a custom network location'. 1d. Paste in the url to your SharePoint folder (minus the default.aspx). e.g. 1e. Give it a name. 2. Drag the created link and drop it in your Links pane. 3. There is no step 3.

  • Don said

    Wow, great post. I had trouble getting my Sharepoint url to work (formatted like http://...). Scott's follow up posted titled "SharePoint" solved it. Thanks so much to both of you.

  • Trackback said

    Windows XP Vosten SP3 PRO 2010 released now! this windows combining the beauty of appearance and the advanced performance, The System has been updated completely with the latest updates and hotfixes from Microsoft to maintain the highest level of security againstes, spyware, Achieve stability with speed your work will be very easy.. .. Internet Explorer 8 has been integrated with XP Vosten SP3 PRO 2010 and some of full Programs such:

  • emily said

    question: why do different programs show different links in the favourite links bar? eg, i've only left two links in my c:\users\username\Links folder, which are the ones that show up when opening windows explorer. but, when using word or firefox, eg, I get a different list of links (including ones that no longer exist in my \Links folder). where do these links come from???

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About Wictor...

Wictor Wilén is the Nordic Digital Workplace Lead working at Avanade. Wictor has achieved the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) - SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) - SharePoint  and Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) - SharePoint 2010 certifications. He has also been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for seven consecutive years.

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