Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Peek behind the GodMode curtains to reveal useful canonical names and GUIDs

In last week’s blog post, “Exert Your Control with GodMode Folders in Windows 7,” I discussed a few of the so-called “GodMode” folders in Windows 7. As I mentioned in that post, Windows 7’s GodMode folders are simply special folders that are hidden until you enter a special, secret code.

Well, it turns out that the latter part of that sentence is only half true. The special folders are indeed hidden until you enter a special code, but the codes aren’t really secret.

Apparently all Windows 7 and Windows Vista Control Panel items have what is called a canonical name and an associated GUID (the infamous “special codes”). In this context, Microsoft describes a canonical name as being a nonlocalized string that the Control Panel item declares in the registry. A GUID, or Globally Unique Identifier, is a special type of identifier that is unique in any context, which Microsoft uses to provide an internal access point to Control Panel items.

In this edition of the Windows Vista and Windows 7 Report, I’ll discuss the Control Panel canonical names in more detail and show you how to use them to create shortcuts to your favorite Control Panel items. I’ll then present the text file and script and show you how to use them. That way you can instantly create these canonical name shortcuts on your Windows 7 system and be able to easily conduct your own investigation to discern which of these shortcuts will be helpful to you and delete those that won’t. What could be easier