Daily Archives: 31 December 2013

A Nice Hack For Shortcuts

For my last post of the year, I am going to set out a pretty cool hack which greatly simplifies a user-flow that is hard to remember (especially for my Dad).

I recently migrated my Father’s data to a new laptop. I noticed that he had 2 Thunderbird profiles (one active and one from a previous migration). So, I wanted to give him the ability to quickly and easily start up Thunderbird with either of those 2 profiles.

To do this without my hack, you would need to open the Run command (windows key+R) and then type in ThunderBird.exe –ProfileManager
Now, my old man is never going to remember typing all that. But do you know what he will remember? One word. A simple one. For example, bird.

Here’s how to go about enabling that:

  1. create a folder somewhere on your hard drive. I’ve called mine Shortcuts (F:\Dave\Shortcuts).
  2. create a shortcut to the executable (in this case Thunderbird.exe) in that folder.
  3. rename the shortcut file bird (i.e. something really simple)
  4. add the parameter -ProfileManager to that shortcut. Do this by:
    • right-clicking on the shortcut and selecting Properties from the context menu; and
    • in the text box next to Target, append the required parameters after the path to the executable. Make sure they are not included inside the double-quotes.
  5. Add the directory which you created in step 1 above to the Path environmental variable.
  6. Add the following text to the PATHTEXT environmental variable .LNK

And that does it. You should now be able to open up the Run command and simply type in bird to load the Thunderbird Profile Manager.

You can repeat steps 2 to 4 for any other shortcuts which you want to shorten even further. The other steps are one-time setup only.

Happy new year! Don’t drink too much, hangovers hurt and it is a sucky way to start the year.