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Desktop Enhancement

XPLinux -- Running Linux on Windows with VMWare and Xming

As most people reading this blog probably know, I've decided not to upgrade to Vista. I would need a new computer and really have no need for one, other than to run Vista. I have, however, upgraded to 1 gig of RAM over the weekend and this has finally allowed me to run Windows and Linux together on one desktop.

IcoFX -- Powerful Freeware Icon Editor

About a year ago, I reviewed SnIco Edit here at Software Gadgets. It was a nice little icon editor, however, its web site has disappeared and I've recently found an icon editor I like much better: IcoFX.

From the IcoFX web site:

IcoFX is an award winning freeware icon editor. It is an all-in-one solution for icon creation, extraction and editing. It is designed to work with Windows XP and Windows Vista icons supporting transparency.

HandyFind -- Finds Words As You Type (Discovery)

Bringing up a find dialog box can be a pain in some peograms -- and other programs don't even offer a search feature. HandyFind makes searching text easy in most Windows programs. Type the hot key (control-space is the default) and start typing your search term. The highlight will jump to the first match. Use the arrow keys to find the next or previous match. Esc or a mouse click exits search mode. It's simple, fast, and works in most Windows programs -- a nifty and useful program.

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

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.

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

My Pictures 3D Screensaver (Discovery)

My wife reformatted her Windows XP box yesterday due to various registry problems it had picked up over time. While downloading new copies of various freeware programs she uses, she stumbled across this nifty screensaver. My Pictures 3D Screensaver takes a directory of pictures on your hard drive and displays them on the walls of a 3D gallery. When the screensaver activates, it walks through the gallery displaying your pictures in a nifty 3D setting. It comes with two galleries and you can download others (although my wife has yet to figure out how to make downloaded galleries work).

SideSlide -- Dockable Desktop Extender [Discovery]

SideSlide looks interesting. It is like an extra desktop that you dock to the side of your screen that can hold shortcuts, notes, etc. that stay out of your ways until you need them.

SmartStartMenu -- A Start Menu Replacement For Keyboarders

If you prefer the keyboard to the mouse or dislike the apparently random nature of the Start Menu, SmartStartMenu may be for you. It's an "address bar" like area for your taskbar (or desktop) that lets you start programs and other items in your start menu by typing their name (or even a few letters of their name if you set things up that way). You can even have it scan other folders if you don't keep everything in your start menu. It is a replacement for both the start menu and the run box.


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by Dr. Radut