by February 10, 2005 0 comments

PowerToys add value and fun to the built-in features of Win XP. You can download them separately from 
ds/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx. Or you can find them on this month’s PCQXtreme CD. Copy and unzip all the power toys zip files to your desktop. Then double click and install each of them. Now let’s see what each of them does. 

Virtual Windows Manager 
This is a very useful tool that lets you manage four desktops from your Windows taskbar. You can open different applications on different desktops and manage them seamlessly. For example, on one desktop you can run a Word application and on the other an Excel file. You just have to select the desktop you want to work on. To enable the Virtual Windows Manager, simply right click on the taskbar and select Toolbar> Desktop Manager. 

Direct Hit!
Applies to: Windows users wanting to run Mac applications
USP: Learn to use the Pear PC emulator to run Mac OS on Windows
On PCQXtreme CD:, 

Task switcher 
To switch between applications, you generally use Alt+Tab buttons. However, after installing this PowerToy, you can see the running applications as thumbnails, while switching between them using the Alt+Tab buttons. 

HTML slide show wizard 
This wizard helps you create a slide show of your digital photos in HTML. To use it, click on Start>Programs>Windows PowerToys>’Slide Show Wizard’. This brings up a wizard on your screen. Click on Next. On the screen shown, select the digital pictures that you want on the HTML page. Click on ‘Add Images’ button to add files individually. Alternatively, you can click on ‘Add folder’ button to add a folder, which contains many pictures. Click again on Next to continue. On the screen that shows, give a name to the slide show and also give the path where you want to save the auto-generated HTML Web page. Now click on Next and then on Finish. Now you can use this HTML file on your website, and run a slide show. However, you need to upload the folder, the wizard creates, to your website.

CD slide show generator
This PowerToy is much like the HTML slide show wizard, except that it creates slide shows directly on the CD-R. To use this, you need a CD-writer. It enables you to view the slide show of the images burnt on a CD-ROM. To create a picture slide show on CD-ROM, add only images to the CD-ROM using Explorer and then write these files to the disc. A new task is now presented for generating the autorun file, so that the show is automatically launched when you insert the CD-ROM.

Webcam timershot
This allows you to take pictures from a Webcam connected to your computer at specified time intervals. A picture is taken and then saved to a location with a name that you specify. You can even save the pictures to a network share, an FTP share or an HTTP WebDAV share. To use it, click on Start>Programs>Windows PowerToys>’Timer shot’.This will open a Timershot configuration window. Here, under the devices section, select Webcam. Then in the same window, set the time intervals for taking pictures. Also set the location where you want to save the pictures. Then, click on ‘Apply Settings’ to save the settings. 

Command here
This is another useful PowerToy that adds an ‘Open Command Window Here’ context menu option to file system folders. Now you can quickly open a command window by just right clicking on the folder. Else you will have to type ‘cmd.exe’ from Start>Run to launch a command window and then ‘cd’ to that folder. 

You can use four virtual desktops simultaneously with Virtual Windows Manager 

Image resizer
It resizes digital images without using an editing software. You can resize one or many image files in one go. For this, right click on the picture files and from its context menu select ‘Resize Pictures’. On the window you get, select what you want to resize.

Tweak UI
You can explore system setting of your Win XP machine with this toy. You can configure Explorer settings, taskbar settings, My Computer settings, and many others, without going to the control panel.

To use this toy, click on Tweak UI from Start>Programs>Windows Power Toys. Here, you will get an interface consisting of object on the left and its setting on the right window panel. For example, if you want to set (click speed, hover sensitivity, etc) your mouse to your liking, select mouse object from the Tweak UI interface and set its speed and sensitivity according to your ease. 

Taskbar magnifier
This one allows you to magnify a part of the screen on the taskbar. You will see the magnified part of the area, which is pointed by the mouse.
To activate it, right click on the taskbar and then click on the toolbar. Finally click on ‘Taskbar Magnifier’.

Sanjay Majumder

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