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Desktop Enhancement

Autokey - An Autohotkey Substitute for Linux

Autohotkey is one of the best "macro programs" for automating Windows. I first mentioned it on this site back in 2006: AutoHotKey. Unfortunately, there has never been anything quite like it for Linux. Now these is: Autokey. Autokey is not a Linux clone of Autohotkey, but it how most of the power of Autohotkey in a Linux friendly format. Like Autohotkey, Autokey lets you manage a collection of scripts and phrases, and assign abbreviations and hotkeys to these.

Mr Weather -- Free Weather Tray Application

If you are looking for an easy-to-use, light on resources weather application for your Windows desktop, you'll want to consider Mr. Weather. It's amazing how heavy some desktop weather applications can get. Besides current conditions and a forecast, many weather applications are set up to display ads, weather maps, videos, etc., etc. That's great if you want all that, but its overkill if you just want to discover current conditions and the current forecast. Mr.

Moroshka File Manager -- Dual Pane File Manager for MacOS X

I haven't used any version Mac OS a lot, but one of the things I've never really liked is Finder. Like Explorer in Windows, it's a very basic file manager that probably serves most people well enough. However, I've never been "most people". In Windows I use Directory Opus and/or Xyplorer -- two commercial file manager replacements. The borrowed Mac I use to test software for Software Gadgets has a commercial replacement for Finder (Pathfinder), but it is a bit too "Finder-like" for me. I've discovered a (currently) free dual pane file manager for MacOS that seems nice: Moroshka File Manager.

Bins -- Taskbar Organizer for Windows 7

Bins is a low cost ($4.99!) desktop enhancement for Windows 7 that will help you make better use of the space in your taskbar. Bins was created by the same person who created Fences -- which helps organize icons on the desktop. I've never been a huge fan of Fences because I like a clean desktop with only a few icons, so there is nothing to organize. My taskbar is a different story. I like having a large number of program icons pinned to the taskbar so I can easily start my most used software and because if you pin the software it's easy to find when you want to switch to it from another running program. Unfortunately, even on my Widescreen monitor there's really not enough space to pin all the programs I would like to. Bins solves this problem is an intuitive and useful way.

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Take Command -- the Windows Command Line on Steroids

As I mentioned in my review of JP Software's freeware Take Command Console LE in February 2010, I used to use their old 4DOS program back in the days of DOS, Windows 3.1, and Windows 9x. 4DOS was the DOS Command Line on steroids: adding many features to the fairly primitive DOS command line.

Dexpot -- Virtual Desktops Done Right

Dexpot is a deceptively simple virtual desktop program with many powerful features "hidden" beneath its surface for power uses. At its most basic, it creates up to twenty virtual desktops and allows you to move open programs between them and switch between desktops. This lets you, say have work projects open on one desktop, email on another, and your web browser and instant messenger programs on a third and switch between them based on what you are doing at the moment (or whether your boss is in the room).

Jumplist Extender -- Add Functions to Windows7 Jumplists

Jumplists are one of the most useful new features in the Windows 7 taskbar. Programs with well designed jumplists allow you to do all sorts of useful things by right-clicking on the taskbar button. Unfortunately, older programs do not know about jumplists and even many new programs do not take full advantage of jumplists. Jumplist Extender is a free program that allows you to add new items to a program's jumplist -- even older program that are not aware of jumplists.

7Stacks -- Taskbar Stack/Menu

As I find the Windows Start Menu too crowded for easy use, I've been using True Launch Bar and Powerpro on Windows XP to modify the taskbar to start programs the way I like. Unfortunately, the Windows 7 task bar works much differently than in any other version of windows and my old reliables just don't work very well on my new Windows 7 box. After looking around, I found a freeware program that both looks nice and does the basic job I need done, even if it does not have all the bells and whistles I'm used to: 7stacks.

Lacuna Launcher -- Launch Multiple Programs from a Single Shortcut

If you are anything like me, you often need to launch multiple programs to do your work. For example, when I'm working on a web page I need my HTML editor, my browser, my photo editor, my text editor to use as a scratch pad, and I need to start my local web server and database server. It's a bit annoying to have to find each of these programs in my start menu (I don't do the hundreds of icons on my desktop bit) and start it.

Enter the freeware Lacuna Launcher.

SkyDrive Explorer - Use Windows Live Skydrive From Windows Explorer

It's hard to beat Windows Live Skydrive from Microsoft with its 25 gigs of free remote storage. This beats any other free storage service I know of. However, it can be a bit of a pain to use as you have to go to the Windows Live Skydrive site in your browser to upload or download files.


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by Dr. Radut