Microsoft PowerToys

Microsoft PowerToys is a collection of unsupported extensions to the Windows operating system that most people will find useful. Certainly the price is right. Microsoft PowerToys can be downloaded for free from Microsoft's Web site.

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Some of the utilities like Tweak UI let you modify your interface, and fall into the category of fun. Others like Open Command Window Here let you open a command window by pointing and clicking at the folder that you want to be your current folder in a command session. There's an enhanced "cool switch" (Alt+Tab), and several others. Versions of PowerToys were released for Windows 2000, and this current version supports Windows XP. PowerToys contains the following utilities:

  • Open Command Window Here. This provides a context menu launch of the command window (cmd.exe).
  • Cool Switch Replacement. Adds a preview of pages in the Alt+Tab dialog box.
  • Tweak UI. Offers you additional mouse settings, taskbar, Explorer settings, and other customizations.
  • Virtual Desktop Manager. With VDM you can have up to four desktops accessible from the Windows taskbar.
  • Power Calculator. This adds an improved graphing and conversion calculator.
  • CD Slide Show Generator. This utility will run a slide show on your CD images, handy for those photo albums on CD that you get developed for you. The Generator is compatible for Windows 9x and later.
  • HTML Slide Show Wizard. This utility creates an HTML slide show from images that can be added to a Web site.
  • Webcam Timershot. If you have a Webcam connected, this utility will create a time lapsed set of images saved to disk.

Barrie Sosinsky is president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates (Medfield, Mass.). He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.

This was first published in September 2002

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