By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 1998, The Syracuse Newspapers
Last week I explained how anyone who uses Windows 95 or Windows 98 has everything needed to create a multi-program launcher. Please see that first article (at http://www.dreamscape.com/afasoldt/texts/bit0531.html for the initial steps.
Now you're ready to create the batch file that runs everything. You can write a batch file using a word processor, but please don't do it that way. Unless you are careful, word processors put hidden codes in their stored documents, and these codes will ruin a batch file. Use a text editor instead. Windows comes with one, called Notepad. Use it, or use any of the many replacements I've recommended for Notepad. (Click Start, then Run, type "Notepad" and hit Enter.)
The batch file you will be creating can be called MULTIRUN.BAT. That means when you save it (using the File menu and choosing Save), you should type the name MULTIRUN.BAT. (It doesn't matter where it's stored. The Windows folder is best if you know how to choose a location.)
(If you are reading this on the Web, don't bother typing in the commands I am going to list here. Just copy them and paste them into your batch file. To copy from your browser, click and hold down the left mouse button while dragging across the text, then press Ctrl-C. Use Ctrl-V to paste the text into the text editor. You must copy the Web version if you want to use the delay function that uses the CHOICE command, because the printed version cannot show the correct characters.)
:: MULTIRUN.BAT 5-07-98
:: Runs many programs at once after connecting to the Net.
:: NOTE: Double colons are non-executing remarks.
:: NOTE: The ".lnk" names in this batch file are spelled ".LNK," not ".INK"!
choice /c:ÿ /t:ÿ,20 /n
:: 20-second delay to allow dialer to connect. Make it longer or shorter if you want.
:: You MUST copy and paste the choice line.
:: If you don't see two double-dotted Y characters in that line, the command won't work.
:: Customize the lines below with the correct names of your shortcut links.
:: End of batch file
To run this batch file, finish saving it and close your text editor. Click Start, choose Find and type the word MULTIRUN, then hit Enter. You should see the batch file icon in a window. Click it once with your right mouse button and drag it to the Desktop. Let go and choose Create Shortcut(s) Here. Press F2 and type a better nameó"Multiple Program Launcher" or something sexier.
Right click the new icon and choose Properties. Click the Program tab in the window that opens, check the Close on exit box and choose Minimized in the Run box. Click OK.
You can store the new icon on the Desktop or move it to any folder. You can also put it on the Start Menu. The simple way to do that is to drag it to the Start button and let it go.