Skip to main content

Network Connections in Vista

For those who have used previous versions of Windows (up to XP), you may have grown accustomed to being able to quickly open the Network Connections folder. It's the folder that displays all your dial-up connections, Local Area connections, 1394 connections and Wireless connections.

Someone in the Windows Vista development team was smart enough to decide to bury this folder, thinking the new Windows users won't need to have immediate access to this folder because of the new "Connect To" wizard and the "Network and Sharing Center."

How wrong of them! I definitely prefer to see things in the Network Connections folder and hate it that I have to open the "Connect To" wizard, then the "Network and Sharing Center" and finally the "Network Connections" folder. If you're like me, you'd want to create a shortcut somewhere. Here are four methods:

  • If you just want a quick and dirty solution, simply create a shortcut to "ncpa.cpl" or "C:\Windows\system32\ncpa.cpl". Beauty Tip: Change the icon to the first icon of netshell.dll.
     
  • You can create a "clone" of the actual Network Connections folder. Clone means it's not a simple shortcut but functions like a real folder. That means if you see it in any menu (e.g. Quick Launch menu), you can point to it to display your connections in a sub-menu.
    1. Open Network Connections folder.
    2. Right-click the address bar and select "Copy Address" (not Copy Address as Text).
    3. Open the folder where you want the clone to appear. (e.g. Quick Launch)
    4. Right-click an empty area and select "Paste Shortcut." You may need to refresh (F5) to see the icon.
     
  • The following method is for advanced users only. If you want to create a real shortcut to Network Connections (not to ncpa.cpl but to the actual Network Connections in Control Panel), do the below.
    1. First of all, create the clone as mentioned above.
    2. Open the cloned folder in Command Prompt and issue the "dir" command. You will see "target.lnk".
    3. Copy this file "target.lnk" using the "copy" command to a folder where you want the real shortcut to appear.
    4. Open the folder in Explorer and rename the copied shortcut to "Network Connections."
    If you right-click the shortcut and select Properties, you will see the difference.
     
  • The following method requires editing of Windows registry. Incorrect modification of registry may cause irreversible damage to Windows.
    To enable Network Connections in the Control Panel menu (Classic View), open Registry Editor (regedit) and browse to
    "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Control Panel\don't load"
    Delete or rename the value called "ncpa.cpl"
    Additional Tip: Delete or rename "desk.cpl" to enable the "Display Settings" icon in Control Panel.
    Close Registry Editor and refresh Control Panel.

Comments

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated, and are usually posted within 24 hours if approved. You must have a minimum of OpenID to post comments.

Popular posts from this blog

Disable auto save in JetBrains IDE software (IntelliJ IDEA, PyCharm, PhpStorm)

JetBrains provides the following IDE software:
IntelliJ IDEAPhpStormPyCharmRubyMineWebStormAppCodeCLion Google also provides Android Studio which is powered by the IntelliJ platform.

If you come from a different IDE such as Eclipse, you will be unpleasantly surprised to find that JetBrains-branded IDEs automatically save everything the moment you look away. The proponents argue that as you work on your project, you should not have to worry about saving files. But to others, this auto-save behavior which is enabled by default is a curse that catches them by surprise, and a shocking departure from the workflow they are very much used to.

You can change the behavior by altering some settings.

Stop having to click Unblock on every downloaded file

CAUTION: The blocking of downloaded files in Windows is a security and safety feature to help prevent your computer from being infected by viruses and other malware. Only disable this feature if you know what you're doing.

I had been plagued by this annoyance since the days of Windows Vista. Any downloaded file, no matter what browser I use, gets tagged as "blocked" by Windows. You can open downloaded documents even though they are blocked, but when you run a downloaded application (such as a setup file) you're presented with a "Security Warning" before you're allowed to run it. It's worse if you extract a downloaded ZIP file with the Windows' built-in ZIP management. Every extracted file is blocked by default.

Being a geek who finds unnecessary "security" prompts annoying, the first thing I do in Windows is to disable the User Account Control (UAC). But I couldn't quite figure out how to disable blocking of downloaded files until …

Install Windows 10 Tech Preview when setup says media driver missing

Skip to the end for instructions.
I had been trying to install Windows 10 Pro Technical Preview onto a VHD, as I have Windows 7 Ultimate and can run an operating system from VHD (this feature is apparently limited to Enterprise and Ultimate editions).

While I had successfully managed to install it on a virtual machine in Oracle VirtualBox, I was dissatisfied with the sluggish performance of a VM. At the same time, I also did not want to dedicate a real hard disk partition for the sole purpose of installing Windows 10 TP.

Hence the decision to install into a VHD, which is a very neat solution that lets me keep Windows 10 TP separate from my real hard disk partitions and still enjoy the full native speeds of my real hardware. I had previously installed Windows 8 RC successfully into a VHD so I knew what I was up against.

Or so I thought. As soon as I booted up the setup disk (the ISO I had downloaded) and clicked on Install Now, I received this very unhelpful error asking for device dri…