Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
using a nice little program for several months now ;
Active Tray by Divcom Software is a utility that deploys
cascading menus of items like MY DOCUMENTS, CONTROL PANEL
and MY COMPUTER from an icon in the System Tray. It comes
pre-configured with common items, but you can easily
change that and add other folders, individual files or
documents, programs or internet links. The program is
basically a one-stop shortcut depot.
When I first installed
Active Tray, it was under Windows 98SE which, as an OS,
offered just a couple of cascading menus in the Start
menu. It didn't cascade the all important MY DOCUMENTS,
nor CONTROL PANEL. Before Active Tray, I used a program
that cascaded menus of my choice from the top portion of
the Start menu (above the separator). That route was long
compared to Actrive Tray which sits in the bottom right
corner of your screen (already near your pointer) while
the Start button is w-a-a-a-y over in the left corner.
Another item I like to
have cascaded is the CONTROL PANEL. By default,
Active Tray positions the CONTROL PANEL as a sub-item of
MY FOLDERS, but I was glad when I could move it up in
rank. Another item I promoted is MY COMPUTER. I then
gladly removed MY FOLDERS from the tray list and was left
with three cascading menus: MY DOCUMENTS, MY COMPUTER and
CONTROL PANEL. I then added a few individual files and
programs I access regularly.
Since last November, I
have been using Active Tray under Windows XP Home
Edition. Although WinXP comes with more features than
Win98 and cascades menus and items of your choice from
the Start button, I still use Active Tray. It's lean and
contains only what I want. The Start button already has
many other items and functions.
These are some of Active
Tray's many features:
- Support of any type
of object (programs, documents, folders, internet
- Import of tray
objects from Windows shortcuts.
- Flexible settings
for each tray icon, menu and its items.
keyboard shortcuts for quick opening objects from
- Popup menu for easy
access to main functions.
- Customizable style
of program and user tray menus.
- Friendly and
- Multilingual user
- Security option for
locking change of settings by a password.
- Introduction tour
The Active Tray keyboard
shortcuts are more flexible than those in Windows. It
will let you choose a single letter (or digit) as a
shortcut, but I don't recommend this as every press of
the letter will launch the item across your screen.
You can combine any letter or digit with the standard
Ctrl+Alt that is used in all Windows keyboard
shortcuts. But if you are running out of sensible
keys using this combination (as I am), Active Tray allows
you to use the Ctrl or Alt key alone with a letter or
digit, but beware of using a combination that Windows
uses such as Ctrl+P which launches the Print applet in
If I could have one wish
for this program, it is that folders could be opened as a
whole. As it is, only items within a folder can be
opened. Sometimes, I have to work with many files. This
is the case when I am assembling the OPCUG newsletter. I
rarely use the Newsletter shortcut listed in Active Tray
because I invariably have to open the entire folder which
holds dozens of newsletter files.
Active Tray is an award
winning program that includes a comprehensive help file,
user tips, and an introductory tour. From the main window
are links to Divcom's e-mail and web support, program
upgrades and online help. Such attention to detail gives
Active Tray a very polished finish.
This is what Active Tray more or less
looks like when you first install it (depending on
programs and files present on your system). The
varied items on display show the program's
versatility. Items can be removed or others added
by accessing the Main Window (see bottom screen shot).
Active Tray displaying some common items before
customization (screen shot taken from Divcom's website).
At right, I have removed many of the
default items shown above. What remains is a
functional list of items that I access on a regular
basis. There are many other items that I chose not
to add because I already use Windows standard keyboard
shortcuts for these (e.g. Notepad: Crtl+Alt+N).
A rather lean Active Tray after
This is the Main Window where items can easily be added
or removed. Items with green checkmarks will be
displayed. Those without checkmarks will not, but
remain available for easy re-selection. All checked
items here are displayed in the screenshot above. Items
can also be deleted.
Active Tray 1.1
from Divcom Software
Web site: http://www.divcomsoft.com/atray/
Copyright and Usage
Computer Users Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street,
Ottawa, ON K2G 1S6
opinions expressed in these reviews may not necessarily
represent the views
of the OPCUG or its members