ShellExecute and Your Default Browser
by Mr. Shellex
17 July 1998

> This is quite interesting. Never noticed it myself. Would you please
> write a small essay on this explaining CLEARLY and SIMPLY what's
> (probably) going on? This will set the ball rolling. If you add a
> (bogus made but working) web address you'll get quite a lot of input
> and even if your essay/solution/approach is not 100% correct we'll all
> quickly get things straight.
> awaiting your work.
> ==
> later
> reverser+

ShellExecute and Your Default Browser If you are a MSIE user please don't bother reading this article. It will have little interest for you. If you use one of the other browsers I have a little experiment for you to try: Open a DOS window. Type: "" -- without quotes of course ;-) Press Enter and wait. All computers with MSIE installed as the default browser will have their browser invoked and the page will be invoked -- provided it exists. Last time I checked there was no such active page. Most computers with an alternate browser (such as Netscape) installed as the default will have their browser invoked. However, and here is where the problem lies, not all computers with an alternate browser respond to this command. "So what's the big deal," you may ask. "How many times does one type '' at the dos prompt?" This is just a symptom. The registry entries and command shell being used to process the dos command appears to be the same as that used by most programs that try to link from within their code to the default browser. Many programs such as Pegasus have the user configure the browser link by hand. Other programs such as GameSpy (yes, I'm a quake player) rely upon the ShellExecute() command to call up the default browser. For most of my buddies they can just click on the "Upgrade to Latest Version" button and GameSpy automatically brings up the default browser pointed at the download page. "So what's the big deal," you may ask. "Why not just load the browser yourself and go to the download page? What's the matter: ya lazy or something?" I'm something. And that something is pissed. I have an attitude. A bad attitude. I don't like bullies. I don't like people that use their power, weight, position, wealth, or size in any measure to push around the weaker. That is exactly what Microsoft is doing. They have hidden the answer to my question: "How the hell do I make my default browser come up with ShellExecute()?" Those son-of-female-dogs have not seen fit to publish anywhere that I can find which registry keys are involved in this process. There is no wizard for making your Opera browser the fully functional totally integrated default browser. This means that if you want ALL features implemented you have to use MSIE. I have tried searching the registry for codes that need changing. I compared a "working" registry with one that wasn't. I exported from the good and imported into the bad (in case my typing was off). I have run around in circles trying to "fix" the non-MSIE computers to run seamlessly. I haven't as yet been able to make it work. I'm not the world's greatest Win95 programmer. But I do know may way around a bit. If there is anyone out there that knows the exact keys that need to be modified in a registry so that an alternate browser can be made into a fully functional totally integrated default browser please have the goodness of heart to send them to I will verify that they work and do my best to post the answer everywhere I can and back here. Or, maybe you can give me a clue on how to crack the ShellExecute() function so that I can follow what in that mythologically-ultra-hot-place is going on. It like totally rubs me the wrong way that Microsoft is giving themselves this edge over all other browsers by virtue of hidden and secret information. Please don't send me the url for Stuart Patterson's article. I've already found and used that article about as far as it will go. It does have a nice workaround for standalone applications. However there is the annoying problem of multiple invocations of the browser. Every function call will open a new instance of the browser. Not too satisfying. If you know how to modify his sample so that multiple instances of the program don't happen then that might help. In that case please send me the code sample. Be forwarned I will share this code with a friend that will share it with every third-party web program developer he can find. GameSpy, Pegasus, Opera, Mozilla.Org, etc., etc.. Anything to take about the edge that MicroSoft has. Or, if you are interested in taking down MicroSoft on notch. How about working with us to produce a Wizard that will scan the complete registry and make YOUR selected browser the default browser?. We can post this little utility as FreeWare on the net and let all the little Mom's and Pop's use it to slip out from under the domination of MSIE. Of course I fully intend to post the source code so that other third-party developers can take the program further as the environment changes. MicroSoft is trying to hold dominance of the computer world through selective release of information. The only way to combat this is through transparency, reversing studies and the free release of the information they are trying to withhold. I believe I have a right to know which keys in my registry are being used so that I can modify them. Thank you for any help you can give. **** The views/opinions expressed here are not **** necessarily my own. But I don't know whom **** else to blame. **** **** ****

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