edmullen dot net

Windows Vista/7 Notification Area Missing Icons

In Windows Vist and Windows 7 the icons in the Notification Area (formerly the System Tray) will sometimes go missing. Here's a page that gives more than one way to get them back.


Ok, first, I admit it: there are various programs out there that will do this for you. But I like to tweak and this isn't that hard.

NOTE - Works in Windows 7

NOTE - June 2013 - Okay, this is weird. I did a complete re-installation of Windows 7. Re-implemented the DIRLIST Tweak. Windows Explorer started doing very weird things. Like clicking a sub-folder opened VLC Media Player! I backed out the Tweak. All was well. Re-installed it, all not well. I tried a variety of things to no avail. Finally, uninstalled VLC and all is well. I cannot confirm what was really going on but it is solved.

CRITICAL NOTES FOR WINDOWS XP AND WINDOWS 10 USERS!!! MAY ALSO APPLY TO WINDOWS 8 & 8.1!!! - Read this FIRST!!! (.rtf file) This also applies to the Make Multiple Folders batch command.

Ever want to get a DOS-like directory listing of a folder you're looking at in Windows Explorer? I do all the time. I've found a way to not only see such a Dir listing, but I've also made it easy by putting options on the Explorer context menus so I can right-click a folder or sub-folder in Explorer and then choose from various options on a menu. I can view the Dir listing, print it, or save it to a text file. I can perform the options on the clicked-on folder only or on that folder and all sub-folders.

You might use this to get a Dir listing of every file in your Audio Files folder and sub-folders showing you every mp3 file on your system, their folder locations, sizes, time and date stamps, and a summary of the number of files and disk space occupied, by folder and for the entire directory structure surveyed.

See this RTF file which describes how to add these functions to your system - 45Kb

Or download this ZIP file containing all documentation, batch, and .reg files for installing to a Windows XP system.

Here are some screen shots - (NOTE - 3 large image files may take some time to display)

Humorous Update - June 9, 2008. I read a "tips" article by Steve Bass of PC World Magazine which talked about printing folders. It included a link to a Microsoft page on the topic. After I read the page here's a note I sent to Steve:

I always like your tips and tricks articles, Steve, but the section on printing folders totally cracked me up when I went to the link to the Microsoft article online. It's basically the same thing that I have on my Web page: http://edmullen.net/utility.php (see the first section "DIRLIST TWEAK"). I wrote my version back in 1999 after seeing an article in the October 1998 edition of PC Computing magazine. I've had it online in one form or another since at least 1999. Nice to see MS is catching up! ;-)

MAKE MULTIPLE FOLDERS - Different versions for XP and W7

It's sometimes handy to be able to make several new sub-folders in a directory. This tip is from Scott Dunn in the February 2006 issue of PC World magazine. The original article was here but it won't work in Windows 7 (and probably not in Vista). I got a solution from "Mic" at alt.msdos.batch.nt.

The process is done by a batch (.cmd) file. I customized it a tiny bit with a slightly more descriptive prompt. You can download the updated version by right-clicking and saving the file.


Here is the batch file that works in both Windows 7 and XP:

@echo off
ECHO Make the target folder have focus!!!
ECHO Enter all folder names on one line separated by spaces
echo and then press ENTER
set /p folders="Type folder name(s) and press Enter: "
set "current=%~1" pushd "%current%
for %%a in (%folders%) do md "%~1\%%~a"


To add the Make Multiple Folders command to the right-click menu for folders:


Create a plain text file and copy/paste the following text into it, substituting the proper drive and path information for your system. In this example I have make_multi_folders.cmd in a folder named "batch" on my G:\ drive.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

@="Make Multiple Folders"

@="G:\\batch\\make_multi_folders.cmd \"%1\""

Save the file as "mmf_register.reg" on you system. Find the file and double-click it.

Once you have the batch file on your system and have registered it:


NOTE - Works fine in Windows 7

Windows XP's clock can automatically synchronize itself to an Internet time server. Double-click the clock in the System Tray, click the "Internet Time" tab, check the box "Automatically synchronize with an Internet time server."

The default interval is 7 days, however there are ways to change that.

If you're unsure of how to use regedit ... DO NOT PROCEED!

To change the interval that Windows XP updates the time using the Internet time servers via regedit, navigate to:

1. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services \W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClient

2. Select "SpecialPollInterval"

3. Change decimal value from 604800 to a different value in seconds. i.e.: 172800 (2 Days) or 86400 (1 Day) and so on.

If you don't like manually editing your registry, you can use this script instead:

It is safe to run on an XP system. Right-click the above link and save it to a folder on your hard disk, and then simply double-click the file. It will prompt you to enter the desired number of hours between XP's Internet time re-synchronization.

One last thing. You can add additional Internet time servers to Windows XP list. You can create your own list of favorite servers or use the following file to install them automatically:


Again, download and run as per the above instructions. Here's what's in the .reg file:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

I have used all of these methods on my systems, they work fine, and are benign. However, all of these involve changes to your Windows registry so set a Restore Point AND back up your registry before making the changes. And don't call me if something goes wrong! grin


I have a custom toolbar on my taskbar that houses shortcuts to an audio mute utility as well as a volume setting utility. It's wonderful for when you're browsing and don't want to wake the better half with accidental sounds blasting when you land on some silly web page. I've used both of these programs on Windows 98 and Windows XP.

For Windows after XP you need to run these in compatibility mode. Check this page for how to configure them. It also details another way to get the same functionality that does work just fine in Vista and W7.

MUTE and SETVOL are two FREE utilities by Christian Klukas (who used to have a web site but it seems to have slipped away into the Internet Beyond).

DOWNLOAD LINKS at edmullen.net

Download MUTE.EXE


DOWNLOAD LINKS at PC World Magazine

Info and downloads for MUTE

Info and downloads for SETVOL


By itself, Mute simply turns the system sound on and off. If you put it in your Quick Launch toolbar (or any toolbar), it's a faster way to mute or unmute sound than waiting for the volume control to appear when you click the Volume icon in the tray.

If you add command-line switches, it can do more. For example,

mute.exe on - always mutes.

mute.exe off - always unmutes.

If you add the "-delay" switch

mute.exe on -delay - Mute will stay quietly in memory until you logoff or shutdown Windows; it will then mute the sound at that time.


If you have multiple users using the same computer, this application can be used to adjust the volume level automatically every time a user logs on. SetVol lets you make custom shortcuts for setting the volume of the sounds your computer makes.

Running the program with no command line switches simply gets you a pop-up window of explanation. The real power of this little thing comes from customized shortcuts. If you use + or -, you can create shortcuts that increase or decrease volume in increments of 10%. For example, this shortcut makes the volume 10 percent louder:

Setvol.exe +10

On the other hand, you can also omit the + or - to set the volume at an absolute level. For example, the command line:

Setvol.exe 100 would turn the volume up to the max, while the command line:

Setvol.exe 25 would set the volume to 25% of max.

Here are examples of what I did on my systems.

100% (the shortcut's "Target" value would then be: "C:\Program Files\Set Vol\setvol.exe" 100)
075% (the shortcut's "Target" value would then be: "C:\Program Files\Set Vol\setvol.exe" 75)
050% (the shortcut's "Target" value would then be: "C:\Program Files\Set Vol\setvol.exe" 50)
025% (the shortcut's "Target" value would then be: "C:\Program Files\Set Vol\setvol.exe" 25)
000% (the shortcut's "Target" value would then be: "C:\Program Files\Set Vol\setvol.exe" 0)

If you use three-digit names for the shortcuts (as above) they will properly sort in the toolbar view I describe below. You can then set the volume by double-clicking on one of those shortcuts.

To make it easy to access the shortcuts you can do a couple of things. One is to put a copy of the Setvol folder on your Desktop and/or Start menu. Another (which I use) is to create a toolbar in the Windows Quick Launch bar. Right-click in the Quick Launch bar, click Toolbars, click New Toolbar, navigate to the Setvol folder (C:\Program Files\Setvol\) and click OK. Windows will normally show the name of the folder with a double arrow you can click on to reveal the contents of the folder. When I want to set the volume it is simply two clicks: one to open the folder and one to click the appropriate shortcut.

CONVERT 'EM - Excel workbook that converts many common measurements.

I first did this back in 1997 when I needed to convert some measurements and copy/paste them into a spreadsheet. Let me know if you find any errors in it. Download CNVRTEM.XLS


NOTE - Works fine in Windows 7

I use an old IBM heavy-duty keyboard on my main system. I love the feel of the thing, much better than any modern keyboard. But, it has no Windows Logo key so until I found KeyTweak I couldn't use some of the nifty Windows key shortcuts.

The program provides an easy-to-use User Interface to remap your keyboard. I used it to remap the 'Tilde' key to be the 'Left Windows' key and the F12 key to the 'Right Windows' key. Presto! Now I can enjoy my old keyboard AND use some neat shortcuts.

This is also really useful for laptops that don't have a Windows Key.

TIP: If all you use the Windows Key for is to bring up the Start Menu, use CTRL+ESC on a system wthout a Windows Key.

Keytweak is a free utility and is available for download from various reputable sites. Here's a Google search for Keytweak.


In Windows 7 you can implement something called "God Mode." It is a folder in Windows Explorer. Actually, there are many such special folders. I've collected some information on the various God Modes in these plain-text files:

God Mode - 1

God Mode - 2

God Mode - 3

This page last changed: September 20, 2015 - 01:37 PM USA Eastern Time

Copyright Ed Mullen | Contact Ed

click for home page