Windows XP Powertools

So Microsoft calls its powertools ‘powertoys’, but they’re tools nonetheless. Toys? Some marketing genius needs to be fired.
The biggest question in my mind is, of course, why in the name of all that is geeky aren’t all these tools installed by default in Windows XP? Seriously. It would make life *so* much easier on the poor, already bedraggled Windows user.
Here’s a link: XP Powertoys
Not everything there is particularly useful, but most of them really are. The ClearType Tuner is an absolute must-have for absolutely *everyone* that has Windows XP. I can’t understand why it’s not part of the basic installation. The alt-tab task-switcher replacement is *exponentially* better than the original and much friendlier to use.
There’s a few other neato utilities, like the image-resizer and RAW viewer, that are must-haves for power users, and wouldn’t hurt to have available to the casual monkey.
The neatest tool here, though, has to be the desktop manager.
Now, it must be said that a desktop manager is not for everybody and it takes some getting used to. Linux users have had it since the dawn of time, and Apple users will soon have one that (from what I’ve heard) doesn’t suck (but Apple users don’t miss it thanks to that wonderful ‘hide’ functionality). Windows users haven’t really had an integrated solution for this until now, and it’s actually not half bad. Download it, install it, and remember to activate it by going to your ‘toolbars’ option (right-click on the taskbar) and activating the “Desktop Manager” toolbar. For those of you scratching your heads, what it does is effectively give you 4 virtual desktops. You can have different application open on each desktop, so you might have Photoshop on one, email on the other, and coding on another.
But what does it all mean, Basil? Easy: you can group your tasks into different desktops. Again, the concept isn’t particularly difficult, but it’ll take some getting used to for the neophyte. Especially by the hard-core uber-indoctrinated Windows crowd. It’s pretty well-implemented though, and seems stable enough, so I say go grab it.
Some of the tools are more useful than others, and some are very specific (like the RAW tool for photographers)… but why not include them all? It seems silly to leave some of these out in favor of the plain-vanilla crap that ships with XP. Meh.

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