Wednesday, 07 December, 2005
Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP
Microsoft's PowerToys for Windows XP has some interesting utilities. By far the most useful for me is the "Open Command Window Here" tool, which adds an entry to the popup menu for a directory in Windows Explorer. If I want to open a command window in a particular directory, I just right-click and select "Open Command Window Here." No more typing long path names.
Other toys in the collection:
- The SyncToy looks interesting and perhaps it can help me with consolidating seven gigabytes of archive CDs into a single backup set. The white paper is full of praise but short on detail, and I haven't taken the time yet to install the program and drive it around. It seems to be aimed primarily at digital photographers who want to keep their images synchronized, but the white paper indicates that it can be used for other types of files, too.
- When working with graphics, a magnifier tool is indispensable. The Taskbar Magnifier puts a little magnifying glass on the Windows taskbar, and will magnify the part of the screen under the mouse. It's interesting, but I still prefer the old ZoomIn tool that shipped with Visual Studio and as part of the Platform SDK many years ago. ZoomIn, by the way, isn't included with Visual Studio .NET. I suppose they decided that the Windows XP Magnifier was better. I disagree. If you don't like Taskbar Magnifier or Windows XP Magnifier, you can download a this version of ZoomIn, which is very similar to the original SDK tool.
- Some people like the Alt-Tab replacement tool. It drove me batshit. Tweak UI didn't do much for me, either.
- I haven't used any of the other tools, but I'm keeping them in mind. In particular, Image Resizer looks like it might come in handy. And the HTML Slide Show Wizard could be useful if it generates portable HTML that doesn't require any ActiveX or server side components. This Web site is running on a Linux box.