Get Vista Explorer Style Full Row Selection and Checkboxes in Windows XP

By Lowell Heddings on December 19th, 2008

If you are still using Windows XP and are jealous of the optional but really useful checkboxes feature in Vista, or the full row selection in details mode, there’s a new solution for you that one of our readers wrote in about yesterday.

The solution comes in the form of a small executable application requiring the .NET 3.5 framework, and weighing in at about 13mb of memory usage in my testing, which plugs into Explorer and adds full row selection and checkboxes, although the checkboxes are a little odd (more below on that).

I’m not sure that I’d keep it running all the time… I’d probably just turn it on whenever I needed to use checkboxes to more easily select a bunch of files, and then turn it off when I was done. (Actually I’d just upgrade to Vista, but that’s beside the point)

Using TrayProdder

The application is simple, contained in a single executable file that doesn’t require installation. Just save it somewhere useful, and then once you launch the application you’ll see a new icon sitting in the system tray.

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The application window has a bunch of buttons, most of which you can ignore at first, since you’ll want to check the two boxes for “Checkboxes” and “Full row select”, depending on which ones you want to use.

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This will give you a new checkbox column, and you’ll notice that when you click on a file or folder it selects the whole row (best used in Details view).

 

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The checkboxes are a little strange though… once you check the boxes you need to use the “Select all checked” button to actually check them…

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And then you’ll notice that those two checkboxes from above are now selected, and you can use regular Windows file functions on them (like copy or move).

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Since you’ll really want to use Details view if you are using this application, you might want to open up Tools \ Folder Options and choose “Apply to All Folders” to apply the details view across the board.

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If you don’t like the details view, well I’m not really sure this utility is for you in the first place.

Set TrayProdder to Run at Startup

If you want the application to run at startup, you’ll need to create a shortcut, and you’ll probably want to use one of the command line parameters in the shortcut, since the options don’t save anywhere.

-f = fullrowselect on (default: off)
-c = checkboxes on (default: off)
-h = hide main form at start (default: show form at start)
-x = minimize to system tray at Close (default: ask whether to quit)

For instance, if you wanted to make the application start hidden with both features enabled, and minimize to the tray, you’d use something similar to this:

trayprodder.exe -f -c -h -x

Open up an explorer window and type in shell:startup into the address bar, and then create a shortcut to the TrayProdder executable in this folder.

 

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Open up the properties, and add the parameters from above so that it looks similar to this:

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The first time you run the shortcut you’ll be prompted with a security warning, which you can remove by unchecking “Always ask before opening this file”.

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This will cause the application to load up every time you login to your computer.

 

 

 

Download TrayProdder from everator.com

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/19/08
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