Files and folders are often in the most inconvenient places—particularly in Windows 2000 Pro, where many documents you might need are several levels down in the folder structure, or even on another computer.
Shortcuts are very small files that act as pointers to other icons; when you double-click the shortcut icon, the original disk, folder, file, or program opens (Figure 5-9). You can also set up a keystroke for a shortcut icon, so that, in effect, you can open any program or document just by pressing a certain key combination.
Figure 5-9. You can tell a desktop shortcut apart by the tiny arrow "badge" on its icon, shown here at the top left of its Properties dialog box. The Properties dialog box for a shortcut also tells you which actual file or folder this one "points" to. Inset: The Run drop-down menu lets you control how the window opens when you double-click the shortcut icon.
Shortcuts provide quick access to things you use a lot; because you can make as many shortcuts of a file as you want, and put them anywhere on your PC, you can effectively keep an important program or document in more than one folder. Just create a shortcut of each to leave on the desktop in plain sight. Or drag their icons onto the Start button or the Quick Launch toolbar (see Section 4.3.2), which also works by creating shortcuts. In fact, everything listed in the Start→Programs menu ...