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I love tiny, single-purpose utilities that are designed to help you deal with something that's very commonplace and annoying; one of those pet peeves that all administrators have.

One of my biggest headaches is copying, pasting and reassembling a long, non-linked URL from a Web page or text document that's broken across several lines. Granted, there are Web tools such as TinyURL.com that are designed to take a lot of the grief out of something like this, but they work best for one URL at a time, a URL that you plan to share with others. If it's just you and your browser, they're not much help.

Programmer Peter Bromberg has probably spent at least as much time as I have wrestling with this annoyance. The difference is he's gone out and done something about it: creating the utility URLKicker.

After you've installed it, URLKicker sits in the System Tray and waits for you to copy something to the clipboard. If you have selected text that doesn't begin with http:// or ftp://, you can right-click on the icon and go to a bunch of common search sites and use the selected text as a search term. If you've selected a URL that breaks over multiple lines, select any of the search sites and you'll get a new browser window that will be launched from an unwrapped version of the URL. This is a lot handier than copying and pasting a long URL into a Notepad window, or the browser's own address bar, and cuts down the chances of mistakes.

URLKicker will always launch whatever browser you have selected as the default for your system. For instance, if you have Firefox selected as your default, it won't launch an IE process.

Also, the source code is included, in case you want to modify the program, such as getting rid of or changing the search terms.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter. Check it out for the latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators. He is also the author of the book Windows Server Undocumented Solutions.

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This was first published in June 2006

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