Access Folders v2.1

Reviewed by: Howard Carson
Published by: Shelltoys Inc.
Requires: Windows 95 through XP or Vista, Pentium or faster computer, 16MB RAM

MSRP: $19.95

Access Folders is a Windows enhancement that keeps all of your directories and sub-directories within easy reach. If you have ever cursed the time it takes to laboriously and repeatedly search through folder after folder for the same set of files (becuase the program you're using won't remember the last path), then Access Folders may be the utility of your dreams. The program integrates into the standard Windows Save As and Open dialogs which are used by most programs.

Initial testing seems to show that Access Folders is fully compatible and stable with an enormous range of software. In fact, during three weeks of testing and review while using dozens of different programs, we did not encounter a single problem that caused a system slowdown, lockup or crash. There are some programs which just refuse to obey the Access Folders installation however, Outlook in particular, but even in that case Outlook wasn't affected — it just ignored Access Folders and forced us to prowl through files and folders to save attachments and so on.



Access Folders is a small, extemely stable and broadly compatible utility which runs in the background. It works simply and efficiently. After Access Folders has been installed, you can configure it to load at Windows startup. Thereafter, any time a Save As or Open dialog appears, right-click the question mark (?) help button found in the top-right corner of the dialog and a list of file and folder paths will pop up. Select a folder and the dialog will immediately jump to that location. This is almost too useful to describe.

First, it lets you directly save important files to folders on local or network drives without all of the seemingly endless and repetitive clicking. Second, it never lets you forget where these files are saved, especially those that have been downloaded from the Internet or edited in Office applications. You can add or remove file and folder paths from the list at any time and there doesn't appear to be any practical limit to the folder or path depth.

Access Folders also proved to be very easy to set up. You can open the program's options menu by right-clicking its icon in the system tray, or by clicking "Settings" from Access Folders' menu while in a Save As or Open dialog. It's a simple matter to add and remove folder or sub-folder paths. The program can also integrate into Windows Explorer's shell context menu, allowing you to quickly add folders with a right-click from within other programs too.

You can also define file filters which will be applied to your Open/Save dialogs, which allows you to access a particular folder but display only the items you prefer. Other options include the ability to have Access Folders loaded at every Windows startup, use the mouse wheel to access the menu, assign hotkeys to call the utility, and add or remove new paths at any time.

Cons: In Windows XP a notification bubble appears above the Access Folders system tray icon after every boot or reboot, letting you know it's there. This is annoying in the extreme. No other complaints. This is a cleanly written, stable utility.

Pros: Being able to go directly to a particular folder any time you want to, while using any piece of software, is wildly useful. Simple, functional utility which serves a broad need. Well worth the registration fee. I've been using a registered version of Access Folders for several months now and I can't figure out how I ever survived without it! Highly recommended.




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