Why converting the settings file to Unicode?

From its beginning, Quick Access Popup is built with an Unicode architecture. This allows QAP to handle any type of characters and to be translated to any language.

However, last summer, thanks to a bug report from a Turkish user, I realized that the QuickAccessPopup.ini settings file was created using the ANSI encoding instead of Unicode. In his example, he found that a favorite folder including an “i without dot” like “D:\Yazılar\” was saved to the settings file as “D:\Yazilar\” with a dot on the “i”. The favorite was working well just after he created it. But as soon as the favorite was saved to settings and reloaded, the “ı” was converted to an “i” with a dot, making his favorite unusable.

“What makes Unicode so beneficial? Arguably that it, in essence, enables any character, letter or symbol to be represented using one single standard.”

To know more about Unicode, read this very good post: Unicode 101: An Introduction to the Unicode Standard. For a more technical reference, see this Wikipedia page.

QAP users are coming from everywhere around the world and Unicode encoding offers better support for international languages. This is why, starting with QAP v8.6, at startup, QAP prompts users of previous versions to convert the QuickAccessPopup.ini file to Unicode. This dialog box will be shown to the user only one time, and only if the QAP settings file is encoded with ANSI.

User can click:

  • Yes convert to Unicode to do the conversion;
  • No keep ANSI to keep its actual file encoding (a flag is added to the settings file to remember not to prompt the user again with this dialog box);
  • Ask me next time to prompt the user again at next QAP launch.

The only reason for choosing No would be if you encounter an issue after the conversion. From my tests, errors would occur only if you did some unusual manipulations of your settings file (see the note below). For the majority of users, the conversion should be done seamlessly.

If, after the Unicode conversion, you wish or need to return to the ANSI format, here is how to revert the conversion and return to the previous version:

  1. Make sure QAP is closed
  2. Go to the QAP working directory.
  3. Delete or rename the converted QuickAccessPopup.ini file.
  4. Rename QuickAccessPopup.ini-ANSI-BK to QuickAccessPopup.ini.
  5. Restart QAP and select No keep ANSI encoding.

Note: If your settings file was saved at some point using the UTF-8 No BOM encoding, this could cause issues (because this type of encoding cannot be distinguished from the ANSI encoding). But in normal use, Windows settings files (.ini) are always saved as ANSI or Unicode UTF-16 (Big Endian).