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Readers Questions. 


Q.  Can you tell me how I can add items to the left side (icons) of the "Look in" dialog box in XP? I use this for attaching files to an email and would like to have the most frequently used folders there instead of having to drill down.

A.  Customize The Places Bar In The Open Dialog Box In XP.

When you choose Open from the File menu within a XP application, the Open dialog box will appear. You should notice the Places Bar along the left hand side that contains icons for common folders where users store documents. The Places Bar should contain the following icons: Recent, Desktop, My Documents, My Computer and My Network Places. Clicking any of these icons takes directly to that location.

Users often create their own folders for storing documents and may want to have these folders listed in the Places Bar. You can modify the contents of the Places Bar by making a change to the Windows Registry as described below:

1. Click Start and click Run

2. Type regedit.exe and click OK.

3. Navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies.

4. With the key selected, click the Edit menu, point to New, and click Key.

5. Type in ComDlg32.

6. Select the key you just created. Repeat set four to create a second key.

7. Type in Placesbar.

8. Close the Registry Editor.

You can verify that the procedure above was successful by opening Notepad. Click Open from the File menu. The Places Bar should be empty.


Incorrectly editing the registry may severely damage your system. Before making changes to the registry, you should back up any valued data on your computer.

You can add up to five different icons to the Places Bar. This is done by adding the necessary entries to the key you created above, as described in the steps outlined below.

1. Click Start and click Run

2. Type regedit.exe and click OK.

3. Navigate to the following key:


4. From the Edit menu, point to New, and click String Value.

5. Type in Place0.

6. Double click the string value and type in the path to the folder. For example, C:\MyFolders\MyWork.

7. Click OK.

The folder you specified in the path will now appear in the Places Bar. Remember, you can add up to 5 places, using the String Values names Place0 (as you saw above) through to Place4. At some point you may decide that you want to restore the default icons to the Places Bar. All you have to do is delete the

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\ComDlg32 Registry key.

Let me know if you need anything else.

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