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How do I create a shortcut to Vista Games Explorer for use in a application launcher?

Posted on 2009-05-05
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Last Modified: 2013-12-26
I use a program that is similar to the Mac OS's launch bar at the bottom of the screen on my Windows Vista laptop for launching folders and programs etc by providing shortcuts or locations to files/folders to launch. This works fine for standard programs where I just point to the .exe file or folders where I just supply the location in the file system.

The problem is that I want to have a link to vista's game's folder so I can consolidate all the individual game icons into a single icon that opens the games folder. I've tried searching for a way but everything I've found just refers to adding games to the folder that aren't already there, I can't seem to find a way to create a link to open the games explorer.

Is there a way to create a link/shortcut to the vista games explorer or are we limited to the link in the start menu?
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Question by:phantom001
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13 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:FrankB715
ID: 24313801
That would depend on the program you are using. If it's Objectdock or something similar here is a link to solve the problem you are having.
http://forums.wincustomize.com/345314
In any case I think the place to find a solution to this would be to check out the software's suppport page or forums.
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Author Comment

by:phantom001
ID: 24315808
Well I'm using XWindowsDock which allows links to folders or files etc which is great and I don't have issues with.

The problem is that the Games Explorer isn't an actual folder in the file system for me to create a shortcut to from my understanding which means I need some other way to create a link to it.

And I've tried scouring the support pages for the dock itself but nobody else has apparently tried to do this and its not an issue with the dock itself, but an issue creating a link to the vista game explorer.
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Expert Comment

by:FrankB715
ID: 24316047
By 'Games Explorer' do you mean Start > Programs > Games ?
I'm doing some guess-work here because I'm not currently on my Vista box.

Try right-clicking on 'Games Explorer' icon and select Properties to find the location of the folder.
You should be able create the link in the launch bar with that. I had no problem doing this with ObjectDock which is available for free here.
http://www.stardock.com/products/objectdock/
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Author Comment

by:phantom001
ID: 24316130
By games explorer I mean the Vista only window that shows all the registered games on your system. I've attached a marked screenshot to clarify.
gameexplorer.png
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Expert Comment

by:FrankB715
ID: 24316343
Gotcha! I don't have that showing on my machine. The link does show up when I click Start > All Programs > Games. There IS a folder on your drive containg the icons for your games. I believe it is called Virtual Store or something similar. Try doing a windows search for that. It's under the Users folder. Wish I could be more exact, but not on Vista right now. It does exist though. I've had to add or remove icons from it.
If that does not work you could create a new folder on the desktop or somwhere on your drive and add shortcuts to all your games to it. You could then add that to your launch bar. You would have to search your Program files folder for your games and creat shortcuts to all the exe's.
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Expert Comment

by:FrankB715
ID: 24316414
Look here:
C:\Users\Your User Name\AppData\Local\VirtualStore
May have to enable hidden files to see this.
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Author Comment

by:phantom001
ID: 24318422
Well I checked that location and while there was a sub folder with program files it was just a few random program's folders with settings inside.

I did search around though and found:

C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\GameExplorer

Which has a hex-named folders (shown below) and another folder containing icons to my games. All the hex-named folders correspond to my games and even have shortcuts inside them but the format makes it worthless to create a link to.

 It looks like I'm going to create a separate folder on the hard drive myself and manually copy over the shortcuts which is what I was hoping to avoid. Manually maintaining the links means every time I add or delete a game, which I do more than I should, will mean a separate act of adding or deleting the shortcut.

I feel like there should be an easier way, some executable somewhere which when given the proper parameters would open the folder or something that is built into Windows or otherwise but I guess for the time being I'll have to just do it the hard way.
gameexplorer2.png
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Expert Comment

by:FrankB715
ID: 24319151
On my machine When I go to Start > All Programs > Games and right-click and select Properties as suggested in previous post, it shows this as the location. This is where the game icons should be located. Should be a Games folder here.
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
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Author Comment

by:phantom001
ID: 24319243
The games folder there only contains the simple games that come preloaded with Vista (Solitaire, Freecell, Hearts, Minesweeper etc...)

There happens to also be a link to the Games Explorer in that folder too, but upon checking the properties I was disappointed to see that the link doesn't actually point anywhere as shown below.
gameexplorer3.png
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Expert Comment

by:FrankB715
ID: 24319391
Try linking your Launcher folder to the folder you found here.
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Games
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Author Comment

by:phantom001
ID: 24319622
It just brought up the Windows Games shortcuts in a folder as shown below.
gameexplorer4.png
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Accepted Solution

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FrankB715 earned 20 total points
ID: 24320753
Okay, back on my Vista box now and I have the solution.

In C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Games you have an icon that is a shortcut to the Games Explorer as your image above shows.

Create a link in your launcher bar to this shortcut. When you click on it in the launcher it will open the Games Explorer window and will show all the icons of your games just as if you had clicked on Games Explorer from your desktop.

Anything you install in the future that installs to the Games Explorer (not all games do) will come up automatically from your launcher link.
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Author Comment

by:phantom001
ID: 24322210
Well I tried object dock since XWindowsDock is no longer in development anyway and was able to do as you said above and created the link by just dragging the icon onto the bar. Seems annoying that there isn't a manual way to create the link that would work with the other dock but at least this way works. Although I did prefer the skin and effects on the other dock more I'm sure I'll find or create my own that will make up for it. Thanks for your help.
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