Power Toys (Freebies from Microsoft)

Microsoft PowerToys Windows XP
have been around since late 2004 in their current incarnation but it seems that they are a well kept secret.

So what do they do? Well all sorts of things but before we continue on a pointer. Even though these programs are written by Microsoft (or for Microsoft) and hosted on the Micrtosoft website and all of them say property of Microsoft. They AREN”T supported in anyway by Microsoft, yes I know some of you will say whats changed but I tought you should know.

So lets have a look see at some of what’s available. We will start with my two favourites.

Tweak UI

This PowerToy gives you access to system settings that are not exposed in the Windows XP default user interface, including mouse settings, Explorer settings, taskbar settings, and more. This program is worth the price of admission.

and if you have an LCD monitor you need this one

ClearType Tuner (New)

This PowerToy lets you use ClearType technology to make it easier to read text on your screen, and installs in the Control Panel for easy access.

HTML Slide Show Wizard (Updated)

This wizard helps you create an HTML slide show of your digital pictures, ready to place on your Web site.

Open Command Window Here

This PowerToy adds an “Open Command Window Here” context menu option on file system folders, giving you a quick way to open a command window (cmd.exe) pointing at the selected folder.

Alt-Tab Replacement

With this PowerToy, in addition to seeing the icon of the application window you are switching to, you will also see a preview of the page. This helps particularly when multiple sessions of an application are open.

Power Calculator

With this PowerToy you can graph and evaluate functions as well as perform many different types of conversions.

Image Resizer

This PowerToy enables you to resize one or many image files with a right-click. (I use IIrfanview for this little job)

CD Slide Show Generator

With this PowerToy you can view images burned to a CD as a slide show. The Generator works downlevel on Windows 9x machines as well.

Virtual Desktop Manager

Manage up to four desktops from the Windows taskbar with this PowerToy. I should add here that the Dexpot program I mentioned last week does this job much better.

Taskbar Magnifier

Use this PowerToy to magnify part of the screen from the taskbar.

Webcam Timershot

This PowerToy lets you take pictures at specified time intervals from a Webcam connected to your computer and save them to a location that you designate.

So some are really really useful and some are just silly. Have a look and see what you think. The Clear Type one is a beaut.

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