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Retention: Quick Launch bar icon falls into chevron




10 years ago
10 years ago


(Reporter: jimm, Assigned: jimm)


Windows XP

Firefox Tracking Flags

(Not tracked)





10 years ago
On a fresh install, the firefox Quick Launch bar icon is positioned on the end of the list of applications, usually falling into the chevron. 

Desired: Position the icon to the left of the Internet Explorer icon (or to the right of the switch windows system icon) on initial install or when the browser is set to the default.

Comment 1

10 years ago
Initial research:

- The data that tracks the positioning of these icons is stored in the registry as a binary blob. 

- The information is read out of the registry by Explorer when a user logs in, and written out to the registry when the user logs off. Modifying existing binary data will have no effect. 

- Shortcuts are physically stored in the user's profile:
C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch
C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

Comment 2

10 years ago
A short blog post on why your desired solution should be WONTFIX:
by Raymond "What if everybody did that?" Chen.

Comment 3

10 years ago
Simon - my initial reaction to this is the same if for any reason we can't simply place the Firefox icon on the left of IE. It doesn't look like this is going to be possible without a lot of shell ugliness, possible corruption of the user’s quick launch icon order, etc.. Note though this bug is the result of a user retention initiative we've started - 


Comments on whether or not you feel this is appropriate are definitely welcome.

Comment 4

10 years ago
(In reply to comment #3)
> http://wiki.mozilla.org/Retention

There are several very good ideas on that list - but they all try to improve Firefox itself and don't just intend to shove it into people's face. ;-)

I guess the best places you can hope for are at the top of the start menu - when Firefox has become the default browser - and on the Desktop - where a more Web-like icon might help.

And should you indeed find (empirically) that (1) users do expect the Quick Launch icon (resp. just launch what they find there) and that (2) it indeed often gets lost in the chevron, then I'd rather recommend a helpful hint on the first-run page (or even already at the end of the installation process) for how to get that icon to where you'd like it to be. If you manage to get the user involved for that task, she might even better remember which icon to click...

Comment 5

10 years ago
One option thus far looks to be:

1) Decode the binary data in an effort to ascertain the order of the icons on the QL toolbar.
2) Copy all existing links in the physical directory to another folder.
3) Delete all links except "Show Desktop" and on Vista, "Switch between windows".
4) Create the Firefox shortcut in the QL folder.
5) Move all remaining shortcuts, one at a time, in the proper order, back into the QL folder.

- Explorer has a watcher on the QL folder, so any time you move something in or out, it will be reflected in the task bar. Removing and replace shortcuts will cause a brief visual change for the user.
- The data in the binary blob is most likely data written out via the QL deskband IPersistStream interface. It's format can be pretty much anything. I do see indexes and link names embedded in the it. There are probably multiple versions of the QL toolbar though, which means there may be different formats. Some testing on the data itself to see if indexes and link names can be reliably pulled out is needed.

Comment 6

10 years ago
One alternative to decoding the binary data might be to look at the quick launch folder and if the links present are links we recognize (e.g. the user has not customized QL content and it holds defaults) reorder in a pre-defined way. 

Another alternative is to limit our changes depending on the number of links contained in the folder. If say for example there are 4 or less, reording without decoding isn't going to be such a major deal even if we miss align some icons.

I'm also wondering if the nsis generated helper.exe can handle the decoding of we go that route.
Steps I recall using to control this many years ago.

1. read the binary reg value
2. parse out the order
3. remove all QuickLaunch shortcuts
4. add them one by one in the order you want and refresh the shell after each add

This was done for a corporate rollout so the desktop refresh which will repaint everything and the change of the order was acceptable. I personally agree with Simon for our case.


10 years ago
Summary: Firefox Quick Launch bar icon falls into chevron → Retention: Quick Launch bar icon falls into chevron


10 years ago

Comment 8

10 years ago
After a lot of testing, this wasn't possible due to explorer's behavior. On vista, the registry contents were read on login, written on logoff. I never found a way to force it write out mid session.
Last Resolved: 10 years ago
Resolution: --- → WONTFIX
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