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Re: V4.0 on NT4.0/SP3 does not update the Start/Documents List

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  • Subject: [mg20106] Re: [mg20074] V4.0 on NT4.0/SP3 does not update the Start/Documents List
  • From: John Fultz <jfultz at>
  • Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 02:43:15 -0400
  • Organization: Wolfram Research, Inc.
  • References: <>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Yes, I've seen this and I know what's going on.  I also know
why a number of people probably don't see this problem.
If you're *really* interested in what's going on, you'll
have to stick with me through a few details of how Windows
works.  If not, just skip to the ***.

When you right-click on a file which is associated with
an application in Windows, you'll note that there are
usually at least a couple of things you can do with
that file in the right-click menu, such as 'Open' and
'Print'.  The options may change depending upon the type
of file you've right-clicked on.  These options
correspond to what are called 'verbs' in Windows
(presumably because the word 'verb' implies action,
which would be taken on the file).

Each verb has an internal name which is *not* the one
that shows up on the right-click menu.  It's the name
that programmers use.  In anticipation of people wanting
to have several versions of Mathematica (or Mathematica-
related products, like Publicon) on their systems, we
began implementing these verbs using a numbering scheme.
So, the first version of Mathematica installed would
take 'verb1' and 'verb2', and the next would take
'verb3' and 'verb4' and so on.

What we did not realize, because there isn't much
documentation on this, is that Windows treats a
verb called 'open' specially.  One thing that happens
is that, if you double-click or perform a right-click
action on a file association with an 'open' verb,
it gets added to the Documents menu.  For reasons which
are not entirely clear to me, if a file association does
*not* have an 'open' verb, then the document doesn't
get added to the Documents menu.  Version 3, incidentally,
used the 'open' verb (we hadn't thought as much about
versioning at that point).

***So, this worked in version 3.  It *also* works if version
3 is simply installed on your machine, even if you're opening
the documents in version 4.  We're looking into a fix this
for future versions.

If all you have is version 4, then you can make this
work again by doing the following:

* Double-click 'My Computer', and choose the View->Options...
  menu item.
* Click on the File Types tab.
* Find 'Mathematica 4.0 Notebook' in the list box, click it,
  and press 'Edit...'
* Press 'New...', and type 'open' (without quotes) as the
* Click the 'Browse...' button and find the Mathematica
  executable (Mathematica.exe in the installation
* Click 'OK', then click 'Close', and click 'Close' again.

You should now find Mathematica notebooks being added
to the Documents menu when you double-click them.
Note that, should you ever want to uninstall Mathematica,
you may have to go and delete this by hand.


John Fultz
jfultz at
User Interface Group
Wolfram Research, Inc.

dkeith at wrote:
> Hello,
> Shortly after installing mathematica 4.0 on NT4.0/SP3, I noticed that
> Mathematica would not update the NT Start/Documents list with the
> recently accessed notebook filename on my system at home. It did work
> on my system at work. I believe at various times it has worked and not
> worked -- and in fact it no longer works on my system at work. (I
> installed and operate with admin privileges and other applications do
> this fine.)
> I turned this in at the time to Wolfram tech support and they could not
> reproduce the behavior. I inquired about it again a few days ago to see
> if they have learned anything further and was told that no one there
> has seen this behavior and no other users have reported it.
> Does anybody have any ideas?
> Thanks.
> Sent via
> Before you buy.

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