Customizing the My Computer Screen

I was playing around with mapping network locations (network drives and whatnot) on Windows without a network (as if that was productive). When adding a network location, Windows places a shortcut to the location in the My Computer screen. When I was done, I deleted the shortcuts that Windows created through the context (right-click) menu on the My Computer screen. The standard “Are you sure you want to move this file to the Recycle Bin?” dialog appeared. That’s when I thought of it: if the shortcuts were moved to the Recycle Bin, that means that they must have existed in the filesystem, and that means that I might just be able to customize the My Computer screen!



I went to my Recycle Bin and saw that the original location of the shortcuts was %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Network Shortcuts. The deleted item was just a regular shortcut. If you follow the logic, this suggests that anything put into that folder will show up under the “Network Locations” section of “My Computer”.

That’s exactly what I did. I added shortcuts to the folder, and it showed up on the My Computer screen instantly! I added shortcuts to important paths and “Special” folders (Recycle Bin, Libraries, etc.), plus a redundant item for anyone who’s paying attention.

I ended up with this:

"Network Locations" on DustPuppy

Screenshot of “My Computer” on DustPuppy

Not only is it useful in Windows Explorer, but there’s a use for it in my file-manager Firefox profile:

"My Computer" on Firefox

“My Computer” through Mozilla Firefox set up as a file manager.

Finished with that, I decided to search the Web to see if anyone else has discovered this “hack”. Who am I kidding? Of course someone has already discovered and posted it! Notably, there’s a post on it at AskVG. He also had a registry hack to add to it. While I could have done it using special folder shortcuts, it was much easier to use the registry. Not wanting to elevate my privilege level, I tried adding the keys to HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MyComputer\NameSpace (which I had to add myself) instead of the key given in HKLM. “Lo and behold”, it worked!

Using a few more CLSID keys, I ended up with this:

Customized "My Computer" screen

“My Computer” on DustPuppy after registry hack.

I think I might have added more entries than is useful. At this point, it’s all “because I can”.

I’m sure this post has lent itself to many questions, such as my use of Windows Classic or Firefox as a file manager. Don’t worry, I plan to cover these in future posts; all in good time.
“Bonus points” for anyone who can tell me anything about my account on DustPuppy from the screenshots!


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