Database, Programming, Software, SQL Server 2000, SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, Windows 2003, Windows 2008, Windows 7

Quick and Easy Windows Shortcuts to Common Server Applications

The other day I was working on a Windows 2003 SP2 server that was no longer displaying anything other than the Windows desktop. I could not bring up the start menu or even see the bottom menu bar.  This naturally was a problem because I wanted to set up a new Web site on the server.

In my experience this problem with Windows is most likely caused by Windows running for too long without a restart, so the standard fix is typically to restart the entire computer.

However, restarting the server was not an option since at that time it was being actively used by other developers for development and testing. So rather than cause trouble for everyone, I decided to look into setting up desktop shortcuts to the programs I wanted to work with.

The programs I wanted to use were:

  • IIS 6
  • Windows Task Manager
  • The DOS Command Prompt
  • Windows Explorer
  • The Windows Control Panel

So How Can One Add Shortcuts to the Desktop?

It was quite straightforward to create the shortcuts that I needed:

  1. First, right-click on the Windows desktop.
  2. Then in the popup window that appears, expand the New option
  3. In the New option, select Shortcut

Once you have clicked to create a new Shortcut you will see the Create Shortcut popup window where you are prompted to enter the path for your new shortcut.

Setting the Paths for Your New Windows Shortcuts

In the list below I have mapped the applications to be started with their respective shortcut paths on Windows Server 2003. I confirmed that these shortcut paths also work for Windows 7  and Windows Server 2008. The great thing about Windows Server 2008 is that you do not need to give the full path, you can just type in the name of the executable.

  • IIS 6 / ISS 7
    • %systemroot%\system32\inetsrv\iis.msc
  • Windows Task Manager
    • %windir%\system32\taskmgr.exe
  • The DOS Command Prompt
    • %windir%\system32\cmd.exe
  • Windows Explorer (to the c:drive)
    • C:\
  • The Windows Control Panel
    • %windir%\system32\Control.exe Panel
    • You can simply use Control.exe in Windows Server 2008

Please Note: Since these paths point to the System32 folder, the paths will not work for versions of Windows that do not include the system32 support.

How to Link to SQL Server

To call SQL Server Management Studio (for SQL Server 2005 and up) or SQL Server Enterprise Manager (for SQL Server 2000) you can use the following:

  • SQL Server Management Studio(SSMS) (for SQL Server 2005 and up)
    • SSMS.exe (confirmed to work in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008
  • SQL Server Enterprise Manager (for SQL Server 2000)
    • C:\WINDOWS\system32\mmc.exe /s “C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\80\Tools\BINN\SQL Server Enterprise Manager.MSC”

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