[Offtopic] ShellExView

Roland Gesthuizen rolandg at netspace.net.au
Sun Oct 23 20:42:14 EST 2005

screen grabMy laptop has been behaving odd for a few weeks. When I try 
to use right mouse function on folders or objects, it took a very long 
time to trigger a response. I had put up with it until today when I dug 
up some advice pages that matched my symptoms. The problem turned out to 
be caused by a corrupt or poorly coded context menu handler. Today I 
downloaded a free program called ShellExView 
<http://www.snapfiles.com/download/dlshellexview.html> to gradually work 
my way though the extensions listed, disabling and enabling several 
extensions at a time until I had narrowed down the culprit. Another 
happy laptop user. :-)

I have learned something else too.

Windows once stored information about configuration settings in INI 
files <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INI_file> that were scattered all 
over a computer system. This was generally superseded by a centralised 
Windows registry. Sadly, this has created a new problem of a central 
point of failure 
Damage to a registry file can sometimes be only fixed by a hard drive 
format and system reinstall.

Linux on the other hand manages this quite differently. Most system wide 
settings are stored in a single directory called |*/etc*|, while 
user-specific settings are stored in the user's home directory as hidden 
files. Nearly all the Linux settings are stored as text files that can 
be edited with any text editor. Macintosh systems do something similar.
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