If you create files on your hard disk on a daily basis, consider using date-based folder names to help you keep your data organized. While manually creating folders with the current date as the name really isn't much of a hassle, wouldn't it be cool if you could automate the procedure? Well you can by changing the short date format and adding a special command to Windows XP's context menu.
Here's how to change the date format:
- Open the Control Panel and double-click Regional And Language Options. and access the Regional And Language dialog box.
- In the Regional And Language Options dialog box, click the Customize button on the Regional Options tab.
- In the Customize Regional Options dialog box, select the Date tab.
- In the Short Date panel, take note of the current Short Date Format setting in case you want to change it back.
- Select the Date Separator drop-down field and select a dash (-) because Windows doesn't allow slashes in file and folder names.
- Click the Apply button.
- Click OK twice to close both the Customize Regional Options and Regional And Language Options dialog boxes.
You can actually use any of the settings on the Short Date Format drop-down menu or a custom format as long as you use a dash as the separator. Keep in mind that any change you make to the Short Date Format setting will affect the way the date is displayed throughout the entire operating system.
Here's how to create the special command on the context menu:
- Launch Windows Explorer and select Tools | Folder Options.
- In the Folder Options dialog box, select the File Types tab.
- In the Registered File Types list, select Folder, and click the Advanced button.
- In the Edit File Type dialog box, click the New button.
- In the New Action dialog box, type New Date-Based Folder in the Action text box and CMD.EXE /C MD "%1\%%DATE%%" in the Application Used To Perform Action text box.
- Click OK twice. Click Close to close the three dialog boxes.
Now, whenever you want to create a new date-based folder name in Windows Explorer, simply right-click on the folder in which you want to create the folder and select the New Date-Based Folder command from the context menu. Keep in mind that on any given day you won't be able to create two identical date-based folder names within the same folder.
Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.
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Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.