PaneKiller user manual
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Following is a brief description of each option in the Properties dialog, organized by
[Behavior] [Visuals] [Contents] [Access] [Advanced]
Controls how your menus act.
You get to choose whether to show icons for files and folders in menus, and if
so, when and how they are displayed. With icons off, menus display most quickly, but
they're prettier with icons on. If you enable "fetch icons in background",
there should be very little or no speed penalty for displaying the icons.
You can also use full-size icons instead of the default small icons. Finally, if you find
them visually cluttering, you can turn off the overlay arrow displayed for shortcut items.
You get to choose whether to alphabetize menus; if you don't, files appear in the
same order that they are listed in the folder. Since this ordering is overly
arbitrary, alphabetizing the files makes them easier to find. (Note: My Computer is
always sorted by drive letter, regardless of this setting.)
If you choose to sort the menus, you also get to choose where folders come: at the top of
the menu, at the bottom, or mixed in with the files where they alphabetically belong.
Submenu appearance delay
This option controls how quickly submenus appear when you hover over a menu item but
do not click. If you set it all the way to the right, menus will never appear until you
click on them.
Play menu sounds -- if this is checked, PaneKiller will play the Windows menu
sounds (which you can set in the "Sounds" Control Panel); if you don't select
this, PaneKiller will be silent.
Split long menus into multiple pages -- normally, if a menu is too long to fit
on one screen, PaneKiller adds scroll arrows to the top and bottom, and you scroll to
access the remaining items. If you don't like scrolling, you can select this option to
have PaneKiller divide the menu into several pages, each of which fits on one screen.
For best results, make sure that "sort menu items alphabetically" is
selected, and folders are sorted either first or last.
Disable splash screen on startup -- available only to registered users;
determines whether you see the PaneKiller logo as PaneKiller starts.
Controls how your menus look.
Animation effect for menu appearance
Purely cosmetic, so choose your transition: there are now too many to list and it's
easier to figure out what they look like by watching them than by reading about them, so
try them out! Set it to (random) for a few days to get a chance to see them all, then pick
your favorite -- or leave it on (random), which chooses between all possible effects.
Item backgrounds are:
determines whether the item under the mouse cursor is highlighted with:
Plain, like Windows: a solid color bar
Gradient: a smoothly blended fade (available only if your display supports more than 256
colors). There are several different styles available; try them all.
Gradients + images: allows you to specify individual background images for different areas
of the menus; wherever you don't specify a background, a gradient will be used.
Edit background image options:
For: choose the area of the menu that you want to customize (caption, background,
selection highlight, etc.)
Choose an image: choose one of several built-in images, transparent (which will use the
screen behind the menu as the background), or "Image file" to specify a .bmp
file of your own.
Brightness: lets you "fade out" an image that would otherwise not be easy to
read text over. The lower the brightness, the more the background image will be
adjusted toward the normal menu color, and the easier it will be to read the menu text.
Tile/stretch mode: determines what happens when the background image is not the same size
or shape as the area of the menu it's being used for. Tile modes repeat the
background to fill the space; strech modes, well, strech the background to fill the space.
Split keeps the image the same size, if possible, and if the space is wider than
the image, the middle of the image is replicated to fill the whole empty space.
Text color: lets you choose a color for the menu text other than the normal Windows menu
text color, in case there's a color that shows up better against your background image.
Lets you choose the appearance of the arrow used to denote that an item will expand
to display a submenu: you can choose between a 3D raised-looking arrow, a solid arrow
(same color as the menu text), or an .ico file of your choice.
Start Button appearance
If you are using PaneKiller to replace the Start button, you can customize its appearance
too. PaneKiller's "default" Start button looks like the normal one, with
the PaneKiller icon replacing the Windows one. Or, you can change the icon and/or
text displayed on the button (for the icon, you can use any .ico, .cur, or .ani file,
meaning you can even use an animated cursor and you can put custom animations on the Start
button!). Or, you can use any .bmp file, to make the Start button exactly how you
There are lots of options; experiment until you find an arrangement you like!
Controls what appears in your menus.
Items to display in root menu
Select the items that you want to appear in your PaneKiller menu. Keep in mind
that anything you select here is in addition to whatever you put in the PaneKiller Items
folder. The items that are available for selection are taken from a selection of
commonly used and important system folders, and things that appear in the normal Start
menu. Wherever possible, PaneKiller does the Start menu one better by displaying the
contents as a submenu (such as Control Panels and Printers, under Settings) -- keep in
mind that if you want to open the Explorer window associated with folders like this, as
the Start menu does, just double-click the item in question.
Show hidden or system files
Controls whether hidden files are shown in menus. You can have hidden files always
hidden or always displayed, or you can tell PaneKiller to mimic Explorer's settings.
Additionally (if you are using Windows 98 or Internet Explorer 4), you can display
hidden files with a faded ("ghosted") icon. Finally, by default hidden
files are not shown in the Start Menu and its descendants even if you elect to show them
elsewhere, but you can override this by deselecting the "always hide..."
Include .. (Parent Menu) item
Controls whether the .. (Parent Menu) item appears in menus: this command displays the
menu for the folder containing the current menu, and is largely useful only if this menu
is not already displayed. If you navigate to a menu through normal hierarchal
relationships, the parent folder will be the parent menu, and the .. command is not
needed, but if you navigate to a menu via a shortcut, you may jump "outside" the
normal hierarchy. Consider what happens if C:\ contains a shortcut to C:\Program
Files\MaDdoG\PaneKiller; then if you display the menu for C:\ and select this shortcut,
you will get the menu for the PaneKiller folder, and if you want to get to the MaDdoG
folder, the .. command will come in handy. The .. command is always available from
the context menu for the menu itself (right-click on the caption or border), but you can
elect whether it will appear in normal menus too: "In all menus" means always
show this command, regardless of its utility value; "When parent not visible"
means show it when PaneKiller deems it useful, as described above; "Only on caption
context menu" means never show it in the menus (but you can still access the command
from the caption context menu as described above).
Show PaneKiller About and Properties in all menus -- can be disabled only by
registered users, allows quick access to PaneKiller configuration and registration
information from any menu.
Menus have title area -- determines whether menus have their name imprinted at
the top (if you click on it, you open the corresponding Explorer folder). It is necessary
to enable this if you want to be able to tear off menus.
Controls how you access your menus.
Where do you want PaneKiller to appear?
Instead of the Start Button, as a replacement for the Start Menu -- causes PaneKiller to
appear instead of the normal Start button
On notification area of taskbar -- causes PaneKiller to show up in the tray notification
area, as a small icon next to the clock
Single-click mode -- menu appears when you click down, instead of waiting for you to click
and release on the taskbar notification icon. Then the menu will take action when
you release the mouse button over a menu item (or disappear if you release the mouse
button outside the menu).
Show in application area of taskbar -- causes PaneKiller to show up in the main area of
the taskbar like most programs do, in case the notification icon by the clock is too small
a target to click on (useful for those running at relatively high resolutions)
Icon to use on taskbar -- allows you to select from your choice of icons to
represent PaneKiller on the taskbar -- try them all and see which you prefer! Choose from
animated designs that double as an indicator that your system is multitasking smoothly, or
less distracting non-animated designs.
Shortcuts to invoke PaneKiller
Optionally, you can have the Windows key (or Ctrl+Esc for keyboards lacking a Windows key)
invoke PaneKiller, instead of the old Start menu. This is recommended when you are
using PaneKiller to replace the Start menu.
More shortcuts: you can also activate PaneKiller with a shortcut keypress, a mouse click,
or by moving the mouse to the edge of the screen.
Dismiss PaneKiller menus
Normally, all PaneKiller menus will disappear after you give a command (including
selecting an item, invoking a context menu command on an item, or dragging and dropping an
item), or when another application tries to activate itself to get your attention.
By changing these options you can configure PaneKiller to keep menus open after context
menu commands and drag&drop operations, and stay active until you give a command even
when other applications attempt to interfere.
Other options that didn't fit in the other categories, that you typically won't need to
change, at least until you become more familiar with PaneKiller
-- because querying Windows for the information necessary to display a menu takes a
relatively long time, PaneKiller keeps its own copy of this information for menus it has
already displayed once, which makes PaneKiller much faster. However, if you notice
problems such as menus not updating their contents when you update files on disk, you may
want to tweak some of these options. "Clear all menu caches now" will reset all
prebuilt menus and force them to be rebuilt the next time you display them; unchecking the
"enable cache" option essentially permanently clears the cache, so that menus
are always rebuilt when requested. Use of this option is recommended only if you have
recurring problems with menus not updating. Update problems are more likely in the desktop
and My Computer menus because of the way Windows handles these folders, so you can turn
off caching here with the "always rebuild" options but leave caching on for most
Clear Recent items / folders -- for privacy reasons or if you're just in the
mood to tidy things up, you can erase the contents of the Recent menus.
Refresh icons -- in case PaneKiller gets out of sync with Windows and starts
displaying the wrong icons.
Drag and drop
PaneKiller now supports both drag&drop and tearoff menus, useful for file
Menu items can be dragged and dropped from PaneKiller -- enables PaneKiller to
act as a source for drag operations; you can click and drag a menu item (or the folder
icon in the caption of a menu) to any valid drop target, i.e., an Explorer window or
another PaneKiller menu.
Accept files dropped onto PaneKiller's Start Button or menus -- enables
PaneKiller to act as a target for drag operations; you can drop files from any source on
any PaneKiller menu (hover over PaneKiller's Start Button to get the menu to pop up).
PaneKiller menus can be torn off by dragging caption -- allows you to make a menu
permanent, and position it anywhere on screen that you want. Useful if you need to
access several things from the same menu.
Tearoff options: You can choose whether tearoff menus stay on top above all other
windows, whether they appear on the taskbar, and whether they deactivate when you're
working with other windows. "Survive sessions" will cause any open tearoff
menus to be saved when you exit PaneKiller (or log off Windows), and these tearoffs will
return the next time you run PaneKiller.
In root menu, treat custom PaneKiller shortcuts as their targets -- causes
shortcuts you place in the "PaneKiller Items" folder to pretend they're not
shortcuts; useful if you prefer to think of the "PaneKiller Items" folder as a
wormhole that lets you collect stuff from different locations, instead of just a
collection of shortcuts. This mostly just changes the right-click behavior (you get
the context menu for the target, instead of the shortcut), but will also affect the icons
used for these items.
In Start menu, separate user and common items -- on systems with User Profiles
enabled, Windows 95 and NT 4 have separate program groups for just you and for "All
Users", which were originally separated in the Start menu and alphabetized
separately. As of Internet Explorer 4/Windows 98/NT 5, all program folders, private
or common, are shown together. PaneKiller lets you have it your way, whichever
version of Windows you use.
Hide icons on Windows desktop -- many people would like to see their desktop
less cluttered, now that they can access its contents from PaneKiller. If this applies to
you, hide the desktop icons with this option.
Double-click on folder invokes Explore instead of Open -- double-clicking a
folder in PaneKiller will always open that folder; by default, it opens a normal
single-pane folder window (like double-clicking on a folder on the desktop), but you can
set PaneKiller to open folders with the two-pane Explorer view instead.
All PaneKiller functions can be accessed from the keyboard, which in many cases is the
most efficient way to use it.
- On the Taskbar page of Properties, you can choose whether you want the Windows key to
bring up PaneKiller instead of the Start Menu. Or, clicking the "More
Shortcuts" button on that same properties page, you can set a different key
combination of your choice to invoke PaneKiller.
- The arrow keys will move around menus; up and down move you through the current menu,
right will open a submenu if available, and left will close a menu and return to its
- Enter will open a submenu or select an item, and Escape will close a menu and return to
- Page Up and Page Down will scroll through a menu too tall for the screen.
- Home and End will select the first or last item in a menu, respectively.
- Pressing the first letter of an item name, if it's unique, will activate that item (or
open its submenu). Some items in the Start Menu area have an underlined shortcut
letter, which is used instead of the first letter in the name.
- You can also type the first few letters of an item name to select it. Pressing Tab
will jump to the next item matching the same string of letters you've typed; pressing
Space will automatically complete the string to the next word boundary. So in the
Programs folder you could type "mic", then press Tab to cycle through the items
beginning with "Microsoft", or you could type "mic", then press Space,
then W, to select Microsoft Word.
- If you want to jump to an item by letters contained in the middle of its name, press the
/ (forward slash) key, then type a string of letters to search for. For example,
"/word" would select the first item containing "word" anywhere in its
name; at this point you can use Tab to cycle between all items with "word" in
- If you want to type an item name and avoid one-key activation on the first letter you
type, hold Shift while typing the first letter.
- Use Enter to activate the current item.
- Pressing the Menu key, or Shift+F10, displays a context menu for the current item.
- Shift+Enter will open a folder window, instead of a submenu, for a submenu item.
- Alt+Enter will give you an item's properties.
- Alt+Space displays options for the current menu and its associated folder.
- To display the context menu for a file or folder (the menu you would get if you
right-clicked on the file in Windows Explorer), right-click on the file or highlight it
and press the [Menu] key (or Shift+F10 on keyboards without a Menu key). From there, you
have access to all the options associated with that file type.
- To open a folder as a Windows folder instead of a submenu, double-click it.
- To open several files from the same menu, hold Ctrl as you click to select. The selected
document or application will open, but the menu will remain visible so you can select
- You can access PaneKiller completely from the keyboard -- use its Shortcut Key feature.
By default, the Shortcut Key is turned off, but you can change this in the Properties
dialog. After you set the shortcut key to your favorite keystroke, pressing this key at
any time will bring up the PaneKiller main menu, and you can use the arrow keys and Enter
to navigate the menus. Also see the keyboard interface
section for more shortcuts.
- The Desktop item in the main menu is more than just a gateway to the rest of your
computer -- by double-clicking or right-clicking it, you can also open your Desktop
folder, or access your display properties.
- PaneKiller can now run multiple copies of itself so you can get even quicker access to
stuff you need all the time, by putting more than one folder right on the taskbar. To
invoke PaneKiller in this manner, create a shortcut to PaneKill.exe with a
/root:[foldername] parameter on the command line: an example command line would be
"C:\Program Files\MaDdoG\PaneKiller\PaneKill.exe" /root:C:\My Documents\Important
if you want the C:\My Documents\Important folder to appear on directly on the taskbar.
(Note that you have to surround the pathname of panekill.exe, but not the name of the root
folder, in quotes.)
- To set the screen location where the menu pops up when invoked from the hotkey, use
regedit to view the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\MaDdoG\PaneKiller section of the registry,
and edit the values for Keyboard Popup Location (x and y). To return to the default
behavior (menu pops up where the mouse cursor is), delete these two values.
- If you want another application (for example, a macro program) to be able to invoke
PaneKiller's main menu, you can either have it pretend to press PaneKiller's shortcut key,
or you can use the /displaymenu command line option: have it execute the program
panekill.exe (wherever you installed PaneKiller) followed by /displaymenu. If invoked this
way, the menu will also appear at the keyboard popup location, if set.
- If you really don't want PaneKiller to take up any space on your screen, you can set the
hotkey to access it from the keyboard, then go to the Taskbar page of options, hold down
Shift, and disable all three of the "where should PaneKiller appear" checkboxes.
Again, make sure you've set the hotkey before this and test it to make sure it
works, or you won't be able to get to PaneKiller at all. (If you don't hold down
Shift, PaneKiller won't let you make it invisible.)
- If PaneKiller is responsible for the Start Button, you can manipulate the position via
the registry. Go to the PaneKiller registry key, and look for the value named
"Start Button visual offset". There are two possible formats of this
- x,y or optionally x,y,w,h where x and y are position offsets (measured in pixels) and w
and h, if specified, are offsets applied to the width and height. Be careful with
this option, because the rest of the taskbar will not flow around or even be aware of the
position of the Start Button, but if you're careful, you can move or enlarge your
PaneKiller Start button, or even have both PaneKiller and normal Start buttons available.
Examples: 0,0 is the default. 0,-20 moves the button down 20 pixels.
20,0,-20,0 leaves the icon on the original Start button peeking out from behind
PaneKiller's Start button. 0,0,20,0 just widens the button.
- bN, where b is the letter b and N is a number, will position PaneKiller's Start button
at its normal size N pixels below the normal Start button; useful if you have a 2-row
taskbar and there's free space under the Start button. Example: b3 puts PaneKiller's
Start button 3 pixels below the normal button.
- /displaymenu can be followed by a path, indicating the menu to display.
If you want to put PaneKiller on context menus for folders, run regedit and add the
Files\MaDdoG\PaneKiller\panekill.exe" /displaymenu /mousepos %1
Of course, only do this if you feel comfortable editing the registry. A more
automated and flexible way to do this will come in a future PaneKiller version.
- /displaymenu and /root normally take a directory name as the argument, but you can also
use the name of a shortcut, and the shortcut's target will be used. This lets you
refer to things (like My Computer) that don't have filenames; just create a shortcut to
them, and use this shortcut on the command line. You can even set the PaneKiller
Items folder to be a shortcut to the folder you really want to use.
- Version 1.45 (4/5/01)
- Version 1.44 (2/25/01)
- Version 1.43 (1/23/01)
- Version 1.42 (10/17/99)
- Version 1.41 (10/8/99)
- Version 1.40 (8/26/99)
- Version 1.32 (2/22/99)
- Version 1.31 (1/17/99)
- Version 1.30 (12/14/98)
- Version 1.27 (10/3/98)
- Version 1.26 (9/21/98)
- Version 1.25 (6/27/98)
- Version 1.24 (5/16/98)
- Version 1.23 (5/3/98)
- Version 1.22 (4/27/98)
- Version 1.21 (4/17/98)
- Version 1.20 (4/13/98)
- Version 1.10 (12/29/97)
- Version 1.01 (3/29/97)
- Version 1.00 (3/21/97)
What's new in version 1.45
Release date: 4/5/2001
- More fixes for compatibility with DesktopX or other programs which modify
the system taskbar
- Minor consistency fixes for Win2K: location of Dial-Up Networking folder,
name of Search menu
- Save and restore minimized tearoff menus correctly
What's new in version 1.44
Release date: 2/25/2001
- Support for multiple-monitor systems (Windows 98, ME and 2000 support
- Was unable to take over Start button when other programs have modified the
system taskbar (examples of programs that do this: MacVision, DesktopX)
- Main menu was not sorted properly if you select "none" for
PaneKiller Items folder location
- Crash involving certain items in "Find" menu on Win9x
- Clean install did not find Items folder on first run, and displayed error
What's new in version 1.43
Release date: 1/23/2001
- Custom captions on main menu, including time/date/username and other
automatics generated from placeholders
- Custom captions also work for Start button and tooltip
- Right-click menu on any folder in Explorer has option to invoke PaneKiller,
- Tooltip for main start button with customizable text
- Tooltip support for menu items that have extra information (requires
Windows 98 or newer)
- Tearoffs can be resized vertically
- Keyboard UI enhancements -- support shift-tab, spacebar-completion works
better, backslash opens submenu, F2 renames
- Fancy registry info for Windows 2000 Add/Remove Programs control panel
- Better handling of Items folder location (both at Setup time and while
running PaneKiller, easier to customize)
- Recent menus less confusing: Anything that's a folder is always
saved in "Recent Folders", and anything that's not is always
saved in "Recent Items".
- Menu did not always get keyboard focus after you press Windows key on
- Many items in Find menu didn't work on Windows 2000
- (To my knowledge, this completes the list of things that worked differently
or poorly in Windows 2000!)
- "Hide Desktop" was breaking right-click on desktop context menu
- Access->Click on desktop only didn't work with Active Desktop
- Recent menus used to overflow screen in some situations; now number of
items remembered is based on screen size
- Large Icons mode (in Display Properties/Effects tab) caused menu items to
overlap each other
- Crash on startup if certain menus were torn off the last time you exited
and you had "Save tearoffs between sessions" enabled
- Refresh of tearoff menu made it move downward on screen
- Apparent hang on Windows Millenium Edition (Windows ME), if you have an
autohide taskbar, set PaneKiller to use an animated icon, and tell
PaneKiller to appear both over the Start button and in the taskbar
notification area. Bug is mostly fixed but WinME still seems flaky in this
situation; if you use WinME, I recommend not using an animated PaneKiller
What's new in version 1.42
Release date: 10/17/99
- Can customize action taken when you double-click a folder item, i.e. to run your
favorite Explorer replacement
- Double-click did not open folder if submenu was not already displayed
- Certain 3rd-party context menu commands broken on Windows 98
- Drag&drop crash when dragging items from a PaneKiller menu
- If "Double-click on folder invokes Explore instead of Open" was selected, Open
and Explore were backwards
What's new in version 1.41
Release date: 10/8/99
Bug fixes (mostly for Windows 2000):
- Shift+Windows key did not work on Windows NT
- Menu did not get focus after pressing Windows key on Windows 2000 (improved; still not
- Certain menus and file types had incorrect icons on Windows 2000
- Scheduled Tasks menu was empty on Windows 2000
- Item spacing was incorrect if you changed drawing size for large icons
- Startup shortcut was created incorrectly on Windows 2000
What's new in version 1.40
Release date: 8/26/99
Major new features (more access shortcuts, more keyboard features):
- Use Windows key (or Ctrl+Esc) to access PaneKiller
- Other new shortcuts to access PaneKiller: by a mouse click on any window, or by moving
mouse to edge or corner of screen
- Keyboard interface: single-key shortcuts where appropriate, search (with / key), and
visible highlighting for the search string. See the keyboard
interface section for more details.
- Tearoff menus can be saved and restored between sessions
- Rename feature on right-click context menus
- Works with Windows 2000
Smaller new features:
- Optional 3rd graphic for Start button replacement, for when mouse is over button
- Option (via registry edit) to always keep PaneKiller menu open after selecting command
from right-click context menu
- Backgrounds don't scroll when the menus do (old behavior can be re-selected via registry
- Optionally, menu won't dismiss if it loses focus (this was the 1.2x behavior)
- Menu dismissal is also optional after context menu commands or drag&drop operations
- Shortcut processing tweaked to make it faster
- Cache behavior tweaked to make it faster
- If you're using Windows NT, you can now install to any drive. On Windows 9x,
you're still restricted to the drive containing your Program Files folder, because the
Windows 9x setup engine is brain-dead.
- New file secrets.txt (in your PaneKiller directory) describes features that can only be
enabled or customized by editing the registry.
- Menus invoked with /displaymenu not dismissing after click outside
- Log off command text corrected when Windows logon was skipped (no one is logged on)
- Occasional crash after entering registration code
- Original Start button would sometimes come back and cover up PaneKiller start button
- For WinNT4+IE4 shell: shortcut arrows now appear on icons
- For (WinNT4 or Win95)+IE4 shell: title bar corruption when gradients turned off, fixed
- "Remove item from Recent menu" command fixed
- "Don't trust Explorer to know what's a folder" setting is off by default (even
if you had it on before) since it crippled performance
- Crash after refreshing menu
- "Hide desktop icons" feature no longer interferes with autorun of CD-ROM discs
What's new in version 1.32
Release date: 2/22/99
New features (keyboard use, more visual tweakability):
- PaneKiller respects customized Start Menu icons
- Type-to-select: you can select an item from the keyboard by typing its name, not just
the first letter
- Access to caption commands from keyboard (press Alt+Space)
- Lots of new options on border context menu (same as Alt+Space menu)
- "Tearoff minimized" option that makes tearoffs sit minimized on the taskbar;
clicking its taskbar button invokes that menu as if it were the root, minimizing again
after you select a command
- Option to intersperse user/common items in Start Menu
- Icons can be large in root menu and small elsewhere
- New and improved options for customizing Start Button appearance, including separate
bitmaps for pressed/not pressed
- Can customize submenu arrows
- New menu transition effects: Spiral Square, more options for Interlocking Gates
- Can detect things (such as Internet Explorer) that Windows claims are folders, but
- /root and /displaymenu switches can take a shortcut (.lnk file) as their argument.
This lets you refer to things that don't have filenames, like My Computer: create a
shortcut to My Computer, and save it anywhere you want; then, you can run panekill
/displaymenu [path to shortcut] to display the My Computer menu.
- Choice between Open and Explore as default action when you double-click a folder item
- Suspend command as option in Start menu
- Position of Start Menu can be tweaked via registry
- Font sizes (items and captions) can be tweaked
- Caption text alignment can be tweaked
- Size of "large" icons can be tweaked
- Incompatibility with Funduc Software's Search and Replace (a Find menu extension)
- Occasional blocking of screen saver activation, fixed
- Use of panekill /displaymenu no longer reveals desktop icons if set to hidden
- Menu key did not work on NT
- Icon for common program groups (those under "All Users") corrected
- Transparent menus update their backgrounds if you move them
- Context menu commands not working reliably
- Checkboxes on Properties/Contents tab display properly (some video drivers had problems
with the way it was done in 1.30 and 1.31)
What's new in version 1.31
Release date: 1/17/99
- Ability to customize Start Button visuals
- New "Menu for container" command on right-click context menu for shortcuts
- New "Menu for parent" command on menus that don't descend from their parents,
and on right-click context menu for caption/border of tearoffs
- Can drag menu borders to tear off or move menu, so tearoffs can be used without menu
captions (right-click menu and choose Dismiss to close it)
- Can close all tearoffs, by holding Shift key while closing any tearoff
- Can re-read Properties settings from registry (so you can make manual changes with
regedit or another editor), by holding down Shift while choosing the Properties command
- Position of Start Button can be manipulated via registry (see above under Advanced
- New appearance animation: Interlocking gates
- Menu won't appear over Start Button even if taskbar is autohide
- "3D outlined" highlight style fixes: custom text colors work; background draws
properly for first item even if invoked from keyboard
- Context-menu commands are executed in a separate thread, in case they result in a modal
- Incompatibility with certain Find menu extensions (such as CleanSweep) fixed
- If PaneKiller Items folder is empty, don't add "(empty)" to the root menu
What's new in version 1.30
Release date: 12/14/98
Major new features:
- PaneKiller can now replace the Start Menu. (This is an experimental option,
disabled by default, and not for the faint of heart -- but it's potentially cool!)
Once enabled, you will see the Start button change to reflect that PaneKiller is
controlling it, and clicking it (or dragging or dropping files over it) will invoke
PaneKiller. Note that, even if you enable this option, the Windows key (or
Ctrl+Escape) will bring up the real Start Menu
- PaneKiller supports drag&drop as either a source or a target. (To use it as a
drop target, you have to enable the "Replace Start Menu" option and drag files
over PaneKiller's Start button and hold the mouse there until PaneKiller pops up, or tear
off menus and drop files on the tearoffs -- because areas of the taskbar other than the
Start button can't receive dropped files.)
- Visual customizations are now possible -- backgrounds and selections can be customized
by bitmaps (either from a choice of built-in options, or from any .bmp file), or by one of
a choice of gradient highlight styles. Menu backgrounds can even be transparent
- You can "tear off" the menus -- by dragging a menu's caption, you change it
from a menu into a normal window, which you can position anywhere on the screen and which
stays around until you close it. This is useful if you need to access several things from
the same menu, or if you'd just rather use PaneKiller menus instead of shell folders for
file management (especially now that PaneKiller supports drag&drop)
- Almost anything that could go in the real Start Menu (like Find Files, Run, Shut Down,
etc) is now available in PaneKiller -- look at the Menus tab of PaneKiller's Properties
- For systems with multiple user directories (all NT users, and 9x users who've enabled
User Profiles), the appropriate menus (Desktop, Start Menu, Programs) show your own files
and common files from All Users
Smaller new features:
- New "Run..." command, with history displayed as a submenu, available in root
- PaneKiller can play the Windows menu sounds (set them with the Sounds control panel;
turn them on and off in the Menus tab of PaneKiller's properties)
- Right-click context menu in Recent Folders and Recent Items menus has new options to
remove single item from menu, or clear entire menu
- Long menus scroll automatically when you move the mouse over the scroll arrows, with no
need to click
- Shift+right click on any shortcut gives you the context menu for the shortcut's target
instead of the shortcut itself
- If you enable "split long menus into multiple pages," space permitting,
folders and non-folders will be listed in separate pages
- Shortcut items display overlay arrows
- Properties are reorganized -- hopefully in a more logical and navigable fashion
- Improved speed of menu creation and destruction
- Improved menu captions: better appearance, and they respond to right-clicks the way the
folder itself should
- Name of Desktop should be correct on non-English versions of Windows
- Setup places shortcut in correct Startup folder on non-English Windows (if the Startup
folder is not named Startup)
- There were still a few rare cases where a menu might get "stuck" and refuse to
go away gracefully... but no more
- The cache would not always refresh itself when the menu in question was onscreen (for
example, if you right-click a file and choose Delete, then re-display that menu, that file
may still have appeared in the menu until you manually clicked Refresh)
- Single-click option caused system to become confused as to state of mouse buttons (up or
down) in some cases
- Sliding transition effects go in correct direction when taskbar is not at bottom of
- Pressing alphanumeric keys while the caption is selected ("Open this folder"
area) could cause a crash or hang
- /displaymenu switch will ignore garbage parameters that follow it (which is relevant
because if you use the Windows "Folder Options" dialog to add PaneKiller to the
context menu for various file types, Windows tacks on a hidden parameter)
What's new in version 1.27
Release date: 10/3/98
- Hide/show hidden and system files "same as Explorer" setting now works with
Windows 98 and the Internet Explorer 4.0 shell
- Hidden files can appear whited out (ghosted)
- Improved gradient title bars on Windows 98/Internet Explorer 4.0 systems
- New special Windows folders, so you can have automatically created shortcuts to Dial-Up
Networking, the Network Neighborhood, and Windows' own list of recently used documents
(what the Start Menu calls Documents)
- Copy and Cut on right-click context menus now work!
- Some true-color displays (32-bit color depth) were incorrectly recognized as not
supporting gradient selection highlights and title bars
- Changes to the hide/show status of hidden files now refreshes the cache automatically,
so affected menus are drawn correctly
What's new in version 1.26
Release date: 9/21/98
- /displaymenu command line option which causes an existing PaneKiller to display its root
menu. This way, if you have a macro or timer program and want to have it activate
PaneKiller, or you want to create a shortcut that will activate the main PaneKiller menu,
you can create a shortcut to "panekill.exe /displaymenu".
- If Explorer (responsible for the desktop and taskbar) exits and restarts, PaneKiller
will reappear on the taskbar
- Recent Items, Recent Folders, and properties settings are now always saved when you shut
down or log off from Windows. (Previously, PaneKiller would sometimes get
"amnesia" unless you explicitly exited first..)
- Double-clicking on PaneKiller's automatically created shortcuts to a special Windows
folder (i.e. My Documents) now opens that folder
What's new in version 1.25
Release date: 6/27/98
- Cached menus know to refresh if they're on removable media that gets removed
- Can set fixed location for menu to appear at when invoked from keyboard shortcut (edit
the registry values "Keyboard popup location (X)" and "Keyboard popup
- Menu caption has Open icon, to make it obvious that it's clickable
- Crash when entering registration code if code ends with a period
- Using Ctrl+Enter to launch a file but keep PaneKiller active didn't always work well
because the new app would take over the keyboard
- Sometimes you had to click on scroll arrows to get a menu to scroll; sometimes not
- Menus could be arbitrarily wide if you had really long filenames
- Incompatibility with Shove-It software
What's new in version 1.24
Release date: 5/16/98
- In single-click mode, the menu would sometimes not disappear when it should, and any
interaction with this menu that should have disappeared (clicking on it, mousing over it
to display submenus, etc.) would cause a crash (this bug only affected PaneKiller v1.23)
What's new in version 1.23
Release date: 5/3/98
- Access "Hide desktop icons" feature quickly from the menu that results from
right-clicking PaneKiller's icon on the taskbar
- Menu creation and animation is more responsive to user input, so menu navigation should
- More menu transition effects: Zooming Pieces, Comet Trails, and Merging Blocks.
- New website! http://www.maddogsw.com/ is now the
place to go.
- Keyboard navigation of menus was broken in 1.22
- Fix Alt+Enter (shortcut to get item's properties) for items that lack a context menu
- Possible crash viewing Desktop menu when using the new (Internet Explorer 4 / Windows
- PaneKiller Items folder may not have been created properly if it was not set to the
- Doesn't wait to resolve broken shortcuts (which was causing long delays while creating
What's new in version 1.22
Release date: 4/27/98
- Option to split long menus into multiple pages, instead of scrolling
- More menu transitions -- look for them in Appearance Properties (it's now a drop-down
list, because there are too many to fit on the screen otherwise)
- Once again, faster! Menus fill faster, transitions happen faster and get out of the way
sooner if you're just browsing around and flipping through menus
- Improved single-click -- it's now the default
- New keyboard shortcuts to open a submenu as a folder (Shift + Enter) and to get
properties for an item (Alt + Enter)
- Changed default icon on taskbar to half-animated one
- Improved what happens when you right-click the Desktop menu item and say "Open as
folder" (now you get My Computer, etc. icons in the Desktop folder window)
- Better error messages when PaneKiller is unable to open a file
- Setup has option to change the location of the PaneKiller Items folder
- Fixed working directory so certain apps (mostly older ones) work properly when launched
- Fixed setup under Windows NT
- Warning messages if a problem occurs accessing the PaneKiller Items folder
What's new in version 1.21
Release date: 4/17/98
- Single-click setting makes PaneKiller act more like normal menus -- the menu appears as
soon as you click PaneKiller's taskbar icon, and PaneKiller disappears when you release
the button, whether you've selected anything or not. Look in the Taskbar property page for
- Option to refresh a cached menu (right-click the menu's title bar)
- Options to cache menus that can't be automatically refreshed when the contents change
(these menus will be marked with a "Cached menu may need refresh" item at top;
select this item to rebuild the menu)
- Icon for Clear Recent Folders/Items menu option
- Cache code could cause PaneKiller to crash after viewing certain menus repeatedly
- Animated icon code was redrawing the taskbar icon even if it didn't change, wasting CPU
time, and using the My Computer icon in this way would eventually cause the computer to
- Trying to access a password-protected resource (for example, on a network) would result
in way too many copies of the password dialog
- The names of some folders could not be displayed properly as a menu title
- Icons are now cached with cached menus
- You can access menus while the Properties dialog is open
What's new in version 1.2
Release date: 4/13/98
Menus are now cached once used for quick access the next time. PaneKiller navigation
should "feel" much faster.
Menu transition animations are much faster.
- All-new visuals
Animated icon on taskbar, new splash screen and logo
Gradient-color highlights for the selected menu item
Menus have titles with "Open this menu" possibility
Much-enhanced Properties interface with tabbed property sheets
- Recent Items/Folders improvements
Recent Items/Folders are saved between sessions
Recent Items/Folders can be cleared, either by their "Clear this menu"
selection, or by a button in the Advanced properties
- Navigation enhancements
You can add Start Menu, Control Panels, My Computer, etc. -- lots of special Windows
folders -- to the PaneKiller main menu, automatically -- look in the "Menus" tab
of PaneKiller's properties
PaneKiller properties can be accessed from any menu or right-click context menu, for easy
- User requests:
Can hide icons in Windows desktop
Can appear in application area of Taskbar, like normal programs, if you think that the
icon on the taskbar is too small a target
Can run multiple copies of PaneKiller with different home folders, so that you get access
to as many different folders as you want right from the taskbar (invoked via the command
line, ie PaneKill /root:x:\)
- Improved Setup
- Registration and shareware improvements
Registration codes are now calculated based on your name, instead of a PaneKiller serial
Fewer nag screens in the shareware version (I really want to make the trial version of
PaneKiller a more pleasant experience without nagging you! But if you like it, please
don't take advantage of my kindness; register it!)
- Keypresses over the menu scroll arrows were causing PaneKiller to hang
What's new in version 1.1
Release date: 12/29/97
PaneKiller 1.1 includes nearly every fix and enhancement requested by users of version
1.0, plus many more.
- Send To (on the right-click context menu) works
- PaneKiller now uses the same menu font as Windows.
- You can navigate long menus more quickly by using the Page Up, Page Down, Home, and End
keys, or by typing the first letter of a menu item's name.
- Support for the mouse wheel in scrolling menus
- You can double-click to open a folder as a folder instead of a submenu.
- Recent Items and Recent Folders track things you've worked with recently, for easy
- Option to disable the automatic "hover select" with the mouse, so submenus
won't pop up unless you click on them.
- Feedback to show the current position in a long scrolling menu, and you'll no longer
accidentally select the first or last item in the menu after scrolling when you release
the mouse button.
- Using a context menu hides any visible submenus, to avoid clutter.
- An improved installer that allows you to choose the installation directory.
- Miscellaneous tweaks to drawing and menu tracking behavior, making everything just a
little bit easier to use.
- Word 95 or 97 hang when you quit it after launching it via PaneKiller
- Menus refusing to be dismissed after you've used a context menu
- Shortcut Key feature didn't respond to the correct key combination
What's new in version 1.01
Release date: 3/29/97
- The Properties dialog did not look right on some systems not using Large Fonts display
Release date: 3/21/97
- I think most of what PaneKiller does is self-explanatory -- the goal is for you not to
even realize you're using a new program; PaneKiller should act just like the menus you've
already mastered. But if I've left information out that you'd like to know, send me
mail and ask -- whether it's a new feature you'd like to see, or you're curious about how
to access existing features.
- I'd like to thank Jacques Bensimon for his incredible wealth of feedback and suggestions
for improvement, making PaneKiller v1.1 a much more useful and polished product, then
holding me to an even higher standard of quality for version 1.3.
- The original idea for PaneKiller is due to Adam York, a Macintosh refugee, who
said, "Macs can do this... why not my Windows machine?" Adam has also been
essential in uncovering last-minute bugs.
- Rachel Flowers came up with the name and gave me advice on the PaneKiller look and feel.
- Todd Carson and J.R.C. Guimaraes were incredibly helpful in providing feedback on, and
testing fixes for, the bug in version 1.23. Todd's sharp eyes are also responsible for
finding several of the other bugs fixed in versions 1.22 and 1.23.
- Everyone else who's suggested features and provided positive feedback (or constructive
PaneKiller is ©1997-99 Matt Ginzton, MaDdoG Software and
is distributed as shareware. PaneKiller is supplied as-is, with no warranties
expressed or implied. For licensing information, run Register.EXE from the
PaneKiller directory, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.