Great utilities site

I recently refreshed my utilities by browsing through Scott’s great site strongly recommened.  These are the ones I use:

  • Notepad2 (Scite also uses the codebase) – A great text editor. First class CR/LF support, ANSI to Unicode switching, whitespace and line ending graphics and Mouse Wheel Zooming. A must. Here’s how to completely replace notepad.exe. Personally I renamed Notepad2.exe to “n.exe” which saves me a few dozen “otepad”s a day. Here’s how to have Notepad2 be your View Source Editor. Here’s how to add Notepad2 to the Explorer context menu.
  • Windows Desktop Search – The betas were rough and tended to lock up, but the free final edition is tight. I can finally bring up a file almost as fast as I can think about it. One important note that sets it apart from Google Desktop Search is that the items appearing in the result window are first-class Explorer Items. Right click on them and you’ll not only have all your context menu extensions, but also Open Containing Folder.
  • TaskSwitchXP and/or TopDesk – Two better ways to ALT-Tab and Task Switch in Windows. Don’t confuse TaskSwitchXP with the old PowerToy. This one is fast and powerful. If you envy the Mac’s Expose, then use TopDesk. Personally, I use both and set a cursor hotspot in the lower-right corner to tile my windows. Be sure to have DirectX9 installed.
  • Magnifixer – My ZoomIn tool du jour. Be sure that you have SOME kind of ZoomIn tool installed. I like this one because it automatically follows your cursor and your typing and saves settings without asking. It also has a nice eye-dropper for the RGB in you. Learn how to use this tool if you present at all.
  • SysInternals – I showed specifically ProcExp and AutoRuns, but anything these guys do is pure gold. ProcExp is a great Taskman replacement and includes the invaluable “Find DLL” feature. It can also highlight any .NET proceses. AutoRuns is an amazing aggregated view of any and all things that run at startup on your box.
  • WinDirStat – There’s a lot of Disk Visualization Tools out there, but this one just seems to tell me exactly what I need to know and it can be run without installation.
  • BlogJet – I freaking love this little guy. Works great with DasBlog, supports spellcheck, file upload, makes clean HTML, and includes Music Detection support as well as posting of Audio to your blog.
  • BootDisks.com and the Ultimate Boot CD and the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows – I’ve downloaded and saved everything from BootDisks.com, including Win95 and Win98 boot disks and a DOS 6.22 disk. The boot CDs are life-savers and should be taken to all family gatherings where the relatives KNOW you’re a computer person. They’ll expect you to save their machines before the turkey is served.
  • FileMon – Displays file system activity in REAL TIME.  Just who is that writing to the disk right now?
  • Process Explorer – The ultimate replacement for TaskManager. Includes the amazing Find DLL feature to find out what processes have your DLL in memory.
  • TinyUrl.com – Makes big urls tiny. For when you’re emailing a long URL to someone and you KNOW they will freakout it if wraps.
  • Del.icio.us – A social distributed bookmarks manager. It took me a bit to get into it, but their Bookmarklets that you drag into your Links toolbar won me over. All my bookmarks are here now and I can always find what I need, wherever I am. Very RESTful.
  • Google Maps
  • Ultramon – Why this kind of functionality isn’t built in, I don’t know. But it’ll keep the guy at RealTimeSoftware in business! Ultramon is the ultimate utility for Multiple Monitor systems. It’s most significant features, IMHO, is the addition of TaskBars that are monitor specific, and the addition of buttons NEXT to Minimize and Maximize to move open windows over to other monitors. Great if you’ve got 2 monitors, but a MUST if you’ve got more than 2!
  • SlickRun, Windows Search and/or Dave’s Search Bar – Pick one, and love it. Why there isn’t a floating or docked command-line in Windows I do not know. Probably so my mom wouldn’t freak out.
  • RoboCopy – When COPY and XCOPY just won’t cut it, try the “Robust Copy”
  • BgInfo from SysInternals – If you log into a lot of boxes remotely and always wonder, where the hell is this? This wallpaper tool creates custom wallpapers with all the information you’d need, like IP Address, Box Name, Disk Space, and it’s totally configurable.
  • AutoRuns – I always am suspicious that someone is running something automatically on my system.  AutoRuns (from SysInternals) checks EVERYWHERE that could be running something, the registry, win.ini (remember those?), the Startup Group, etc… 
  • Paint.NET – The Paint Program that Microsoft forgot, written in .NET.
  • Junction Icon Overlay – If you’re digging Junctions (NTFS Reparse Points/Symbolic Links) like I am, then you’re lamenting the fact that Windows Explorer is CLUELESS about them. Well, no longer, thanks to Travis and his Junction Overlay for Explorer.

 

 

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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