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Send-to tricks

Dealing with Flac and other compressed formats can be tricky. This article will cover the send-to mechanism that exists in Windows since Windows 95.

This is a way of getting those who know very little about the command-line into using command-line utilities from the GUI minus some of the complexity where it makes sense to do so.

Those of you who have messed around with the context menu in Windows explorer will have noticed a send-to option containing options such as desktop (create shortcut) and compressed zip file. We can add our own options to this menu if we have utilities that will take a file name and command-line parameters and do things with files.

There are plenty of articles on the web that show you how to do it like the one given below but I also document the procedure below.

First of all you need to find your send-to folder:

The easy method: put shell:sendto into the addressbar of windows explorer or into the run dialog.

Or if you want to do it manually:

  1. windows-r and put in a . and hit enter.
  2. go to appdata
  3. roaming
  4. microsoft
  5. then windows
  6. then finally, send-to

Next you make a shortcut to the utility you want to use for the send-to action. For the examples here it'll be lame.exe or flac.exe see below for details on both these. You can use the send-to method to make a shortcut on the desktop. Select your program in it's program files location, right click on the executable and select send-to desktop (create shortcut)

You will get a shortcut called programname-shortcut on the desktop. Press f2 on this shortcut and name it as you want the text to appear in the send-to menu. I have things like "Encode Flac v8" "Encode Flac v8 metadata" "Encode mp3 v5" etc.

Bring up the properties dialog on the shortcut by hitting alt-enter. at the end of the target field past the ending quotation mark on the program name you add the command-line options that the program needs to function. Make sure there is a space between the closing quotation mark and the parameter string. I'll list some of these below but you can look the rest up online.

Getting command-line utilities for audio:

You can get pre-compiled binaries of various utilities from


You can get the Lame binaries from

You need to put these in a program files folder in a lame folder, or just unpack them to c:\lame and make your shortcuts.

You can get a list of command-line arguments from lame itself by executing
lame --help|more
or an exhaustive list with

but here are a few to get you started:

  • -b bitrate sets the bitrate in KbPS default -b 128
  • -V5 encode with VBR 5. range is 0-9
  • --nohist get rid of the bitrate histogram when encoding VBR content.
  • -q0 set quality where 0 is highest and 9 is lowest.
  • --disptime 30 only update the encode progress every 30 seconds.
  • -S don't update progress display at all.
  • --quiet reduce screen output.
  • --silent print nothing except for fatal errors.


Below is a worked example for flac:

You can get the flac tools from

 however they are a little tricky to set up. 

Here is how to set up the flac tools if ever you want to get it done:

Grab the windows binaries from

 under the downloads link. 

You want the 1.3.1 windows zip. Unpack this into an empty folder.

If your OS is 64-bit copy the tools from win_64 to c:\program files\flac you should have a flac.exe and metaflac.exe

If you are 32-bit windows copy the binaries from the win_32 folder to c:\program files\flac

Now find flac.exe in c:\program files\flac right click on it and select send-to ->creat shortcut (desktop)

Find the shortcut on the desktop and hit f2 to rename it. I set mine to "encode flac v8" without the quotes.

Copy this shortcut to the following place.

  1. windows-r and put in a . and hit enter.
  2. go to appdata
  3. roaming
  4. microsoft
  5. then windows
  6. Finally, send-to

paste your shortcut in here. Once pasted hit alt-enter on the shortcut and hit end to go to the end of the line. Add the following string:
-8 --delete-input-file
Apply the change and now in your send-to menu you have encode flac v 8. pointing at a single wave file and using this shortcut will place a .flac file in place of the .wav

If the command-prompt is too noisy when you encode you can put -s before the final space in the shortcut properties so it now reads: <path to flac> -8 --delete-input-file -s

Copy your shortcut in the send-to folder and shange it to decode flac. alt-enter on the shortcut and at the end of the path to flac replace the existing -8... with the following: -d

This gives you a decode shortcut.

Now you have encode flac v8 and decode flac in your send-to menu.

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Page last modified on August 03, 2016, at 05:19 PM