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Utilities

Windows in a Box (Discovery)

Windows XP has hundreds of settings scattered all over the place. Finding them can be a problem. Most can be reached through Control panel, but some are found in other places most people, including your writer, never can seem to remember when they are needed. Enter Windows in a Box, a freeware program designed to make all these XP setting easily available when you need to find them.

Eusing Free Registry Cleaner (Discovery)

If you ask me, the Windows Registry was one of the worst ideas Microsoft ever had. Collect all the settings for the Windows operating system and 99% of the the programs you have on your computer in one huge database file. If anything goes major wrong with the registry, chances are good you will need to reinstall Windows and all your software. The registry also collects all sorts of useless material left over from programs you've uninstalled or moved or looked at wrong. (Okay, the "looked at wrong" is probably a slight overstatement.)

Swept Away Program Auto-Minimizer (Discovery)

Swept Away is a small AutoHotKey-based utility that will automatically minimize applications that you are not currently using after a user-controlled length of time (except for applications you put on an exclusion list). This Windows program was inspired by the Mac program SpiritedAway.

Operating System: Windows
Price: Free
Web Site: http://lifehacker.com/software/downloads/lifehacker-code-swept-away-windows-255055.php

Pitaschio -- Windows Enhancement (Discovery)

Pitaschio is a small enhancement utility for Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Like those "utility knives" with can opens and scissors, Pitaschio combine a number of unrelated but sometimes useful windows enhancements into a single small program that run is the system tray. Among its many fetures are:

* Stick window to other windows when moving and resizing
* Restrict window position to inside of the screen
* Minimize window to system tray
* Use small icons in the desktop
* Disable Windows key, Insert key, Alt key etc.
* and many more

Wubi -- Install Ubuntu from Windows XP (Discovery)

If you have ever wanted to try Linux but did not want to have repartition your hard drive or run Linux in a (slower and graphically limited) virtual machine, you will want to look at Wubi. Wubi will install the current version of Ubuntu (one of the most popular Linux distributions) in large files on your current XP hard drive and add Ubuntu to the standard XP boot manager. This will allow you to select either Windows XP or Ubuntu when you boot the machine.

Command Line DDE

I'm posting about this tiny utility more so that I can find it again than out of any expectation that hundreds of thousands of readers are going to run out and get a copy, so if this utility seems useless to you -- I will not feel bad. I expect only one out of a hundred power users would have any use for it.

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Folder Guide -- Fast Access to Folders in Open/Save Dialogs

It happens to me almost every day. I want to save a file in my Data directory on my D: drive, but the program insists on starting the save dialog with the My Documents directory buried deep on my C: drive. I have to click and click and click to get to the directory I want. Folder Guide allows me to select my favorite directories for a "Folder Guide" submenu which is added to the right click menu of open and save dialogs.

Irfanview 4.00 Graphics Viewer Update Released

My favorite freeware graphics viewer, Irfanview, has just received its latest update, from version 3.99 to 4.00. According to the Irfanview web site, the following "major" changes were made in this new version:

* Improved Vista compatibility
* New display option: Center image in window (Menu: View->Display options)
* Toolbar skin option added (Properties->Toolbar)
   More Toolbar skins are available on the IrfanView homepage.
   => Users can send new Toolbar skins by email, Thanks guys!

Explorer XP (Discovery)

Ever wish that Windows Explorer -- the file manager in Widows -- had a bit more power? Explorer XP is a freeware replacement for Windows Explorer which adds many nice features to the familiar Windows Explorer interface:

* Tabbed interface - all your windows (open folders) will appear inside a single ExplorerXP application. The tab bar provides a quick access to all open windows
   
* Easy access to My Computer, Recycle Bin , My Documents & Desktop
   

Documeron -- Recent Documents Superpowered

Have you ever been able to remember working on a specific document on Tuesday or Wednesday three weeks ago -- but had no idea what you called the document or what directory it ended up in? And did you need that document right now because a client or your boss is breathing down your neck? Did you feel like a fool madly bring up directory after directory hoping one of the file names would ring a bell in your mind?

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by Dr. Radut