WRITING AND SOFTWARE BY IAN SHARPE
WARNING: YourCPL is old software due for retirement or a rewrite. It is incompatible with Windows 8. Sort of works with Windows 7 and probably Vista too. Plays nicely with golden oldies like XP and earlier. I do not know if it has a future – see note at bottom of page.
Some programs belong in Control Panel, being configuration tools, but are not supplied in the special format required to be Control Panel applets.
Applets are a special type of DLL written in a way that Windows recognises and interacts with and lists in the Control Panel folder.
YourCPL is a Control Panel applet designed to extract information from normal programs and a configuration file, and present it to Windows. The combination of ordinary program and generic applet enables anything that can be put on a command line to be represented in Control Panel.
In the above screen shot you can see that I have added Regedit.exe in Windows XP.
Copy YourCPL.cpl and YourCPLconfig.txt to the Windows system folder:
\Windows\System on most Win9x and ME systems
\WinNT\System32 on NT/2000
\Windows\System32 on XP
Edit YourCPLconfig.txt with Notepad. Lines that start with a semicolon are ignored:
; This is a comment
Note that the ; must be the first character on the line.
Other lines specify one program each, in the following format. This is one long line wrapped round:
Path to program[press Tab key] Icon caption (31 characters max.)[press Tab key] Descriptive text (63 characters max.)[press Tab key] Command line arguments
So that will be one line when you type it in. Command line arguments are optional. All other fields are obligatory.
Examples are given in the text files in the download package along with further comments, troubleshooting tips and special notes for Windows 7.
I wrote YourCPL for an old version of Windows in which Control Panel looked different. Control Panel applets had to be created in a particular way and YourCPL does exactly that.
Things have changed. Control Panel is structured differently and the old way of building applets has been superseded by one that looks simpler and more sensible. The old method can be made to work, certainly up to Windows 7, but it's a dead end and may be incompatible with Windows 8.
YourCPL is therefore obsolete for modern versions of Windows. If it is to survive in some form, it will have to be re-thought, re-written and gain a user interface.
I don't know if I will get round to it. If I do, this is a note to myself: the current documentation on implementing Control Panel items is at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/cc144185(v=vs.85).aspx.
Well if you are desperate but cannot find an alternative and do not want to hire someone, Google finds pages that tell how to put a standard executable file in Control Panel by means of registry edits. I haven't tested this so I am not providing links. However, the approach seems to agree with Microsoft's current Control Panel documentation.
Version 1.2, June 2005
Compatibility Win 98, Me, 2K, XP, Vista, 7. Not Windows 8
Description / note Windows 7 with caveats. See the instructions.
I offer professional services in software development, databases, data manipulation and writing. Find out more at IanSharpe.com.
IanSharpe.com and other sites I manage are hosted at DigitalOcean. I am happy to recommend this company for Linux VPS hosting.
I get a commission if you open an account through this link and stay a while. DigitalOcean will credit $10 when you add a payment method. That gets you a generous slab of Linux-based VPS hosting for nothing and helps support this site.
This is the personal web site of Ian Sharpe, a software developer and writer based in Bath, United Kingdom.
Before taking up software development full-time I had a career in computer magazine publishing. A hobbyist obsession with programming diverted me into magazines from an even earlier career in railway civil engineering. That was in 1986 and for the next 16 years I was a writer and editor on high-profile titles. Some visitors may remember me from publications of yore such as PC Plus, PC Answers, PC Today and CPC Computing.
Much of the material on this site originates from that period and was written to fill column inches to short dealines. I created the software as an adjunct to the writing so not a lot time was spent on it!
There used to be a lot more (I reckon I wrote over a million words over my magazine career) but I drop items that become too outdated. The remainder survives while it stays popular, which remarkably it does.
And so the articles do not represent current interests or recent experience although I occasionally refresh them with new material.
There is no binding theme, just whatever came into my head to publish. Hence '@random'. That said, several pages deal with aspects of randomness. I don't know how that came about and it certainly wasn't a plan.
Some of my publishing experiences were exceptionally satisfying and many were great fun. But the world changed and the tide turned against the big-circulation magazines of the eighties and nineties. The gravy train was running out of juice and it was time to disembark, re-invent and move on.
I had an ambition to write software professionally. I also had some ability, always having done it as a sideshow to my writing. I got my first magazine job partly on the strength of my ability to crank out publishable code in Z80 assembly language and Basic. Over the years I edited reams of programming tutorials in a variety of languages written by some very capable people.
So I switched career once more and spent five years as a developer at a busy digital printing outfit.
Now I work freelance, dividing my time between projects at local technical software/electronics company Dot Software and whatever else I am engaged in. My professional services site is www.iansharpe.com.
Because my personal site is mostly old material, writing emails about it is not my favourite activity. Even 'quick' questions can take longer to answer than you might expect. It feels rude not to reply and sometimes I will respond, but forgive me if I do not.
If there is a real problem (or opportunity!) my address is email@example.com.
The download is in progress and should be visible soon.