Tips and Tricks to Make Full Use of Favorite Links


Using favorite links, or shortcuts to folders, saves your time in looking for your frequently used files and folders in the file system.

New File DialogIn actual fact, it's rather easy to organize your favorite links or shortcuts in one place, available on the Favorites section in the left pane of Windows Explorer in Windows 7 or Vista, or via the "Favorites" menu item of Windows Explorer in XP and 2000.

After you've organized them, the favorite links are not only directly accessible from Windows Explorer, they also show up in a file dialog when you open or save a file with a program, such as Notepad in Windows 7 or Vista. It then allows you to open or save a file directly to your frequently used folder, quick and fast, without the need to navigate through the file system.

File dialog with no favorite linksBut not all applications are doing the same. Some applications are using a file dialog without displaying favorite links irrespective of the operating system running on your computer, just like the screenshot on the left.

These tips and tricks are helpful for adding favorite links into this legacy type of file dialog, or even running third-party software which gives you one more place to add favorite links in a file dialog for ease of accessing files and folders.

Tips and Tricks to Make Full Use of Favorite Links in a File Dialog

Add Favorite Links in Legacy File Dialog

A legacy file dialog has five link buttons in the left pane called "Places Bar". By default it doesn't include favorite links which are more useful to users.Melloware PlacesBar Editor

You can easily edit Places Bar buttons using a Places Bar editor such as Melloware PlacesBar Editor. (Note)

Under the Windows tab, the Editor allows you to select system folders from the drop-down list or choose your own folders.

For Windows 7 and Vista:

  • Tick "Custom" and enter shell:Links into the box, or browse to C:/Users/*your user name*/Links.

Favorite Links added to Legacy File DialogFor Windows XP and 2000:

  • Select "Favorites" from the drop-down System Folders list. (Note)

Save the above settings and bring up the legacy file dialog again, it shows the favorite links as the first button in the Places Bar and allows you to directly access your files from the folders you want.


Add Favorite Links in FileBox eXtender

Some applications use a file dialog without a Places Bar or simply with no side pane for direct access to the favorite links. In this case, certain useful add-ons such as FileBox eXtender can be used as a good way to access the favorite links to your folders for opening or saving a file.

I've installed FileBox eXtender (Version 2.00.04) and used it without a problem. That said, I notice that FileBox eXtender sets the Favorites section of Windows Explorer in Windows 7 as a shortcut to System32 (C:) in the drop-down list.

The above shortcut is not helpful, but you can easily create a new item with FileBox eXtender and manually add a shell folder as a target shortcut to the favorite links depending on the systems below.

For Windows 7 and Vista:

  • Enter shell:Links as a target shortcut to favorite links, or browse to C:/Users/*your user name*/Links.

For Windows XP and 2000:

  • Enter shell:Favorites as a target shortcut to favorite links, or browse to C:/Documents and Settings/*your user name*/Favorites. (Note)

Favorite Links added to FileBox eXtenderAfter adding the shortcut, you will see the favorite links available on the drop-down list from FileBox eXtender's favorite icon.

On the right is an illustration of FileBox eXtender running in Windows 7.


This article is applicable to: Windows 2000 / XP / Vista / 7.


1.   Add, remove or delete a favorite link in Windows Explorer

You can easily add favorites links in Windows Explorer—just browse to a frequently used folder, drag and drop it to the "Favorites" section in the left pane of Windows Explorer in Windows 7 or Vista, or drop inside the drop-down list of the "Favorites" menu item of Windows Explorer in XP and 2000. In any of the systems, you can also right-click a favorite link to rename or remove it.


2.   Location of Favorite Links in Windows 7, Vista, XP and 2000

In Windows 7 or Vista, favorite links you added in Windows Explorer are located at %userprofile%/Links, separated from Internet Explorer's Favorites located at %userprofile%/Favorites, but in XP or 2000, favorite links you added in Windows Explorer are shared with the bookmarks you saved in Internet Explorer, located at %userprofile%/Favorites.

Windows Explorer in XPIn my XP machine, I kept bookmarks in other browsers so the Favorites folder contained links to file folders only.

Besides, I dragged the Favorites folder from C:/Documents and Settings/*user name*/ to the Desktop. This makes the Favorites folder also visible in the left pane upon opening Windows Explorer, while the Favorites folder's new location is automatically updated in the system.


3.   Using Group Policy Editor to edit Places Bar buttons

Other than Melloware PlacesBar Editor, the Local Group Policy Editor included in higher editions of Windows 7 and Vista can also be used to edit Places Bar buttons following the steps below.

Press Win+R, enter gpedit.msc to bring up Local Group Policy Editor, then browse to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Explorer > Common Open File Dialog. In the right pane, double click Items displayed in Places Bar and edit the items for the buttons.

Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:


favorite links, favorites, windows explorer, internet explorer, common file dialog, file dialog box, open and save as file dialog, file open and save dialog, local group policy editor, places bar, placesbar editor, filebox extender.

Please rate this article: 

Your rating: None
Average: 3.6 (26 votes)