Monday, June 27, 2005

Windows XP PowerToys (Part 1)

Each version of the Windows operating system (OS) and some applications since Windows 95, has had a set of PowerToys. PowerToys are basically a set unsupported and unpolished (meaning that they don't have a slick looking user interface) utilities written by Microsoft. These utilities can perform different and specialized tasks, such as: modifying the OS, or adding new functionality.

As I stated earlier, these utilities are offered as-is, and there is no support for them. So if you use them and run into a problem with them, you're on your own.

There are eleven Windows PowerToys utilities all together, some of them more useful then the others. These utilities also perform a plethora of different functions, and don't really address any specific set of needs.

Everyday, I will feature two of these utilities for you to try out. So, today's featured utilities are:

Alt-Tab Replacement [Download]
Displays the application icon of the window you are switching to, and a preview of the page. This assists in finding the correct window when using multiple sessions of the same application. After you install the utility, just press the Alt-Tab keys to see the utility in action.

Update: Reader Neil T. ( pointed out another great program called TaskSwitchXP. "It's similar to the Alt+Tab Replacement powertoy but faster and with more options. It's also open source."

Webcam Timershot [Download]
Takes Webcam pictures at specified time intervals and saves them to a designated location. The pictures can be saved to a network share, an FTP share or an HTTP WebDAV share. To access the appliction, click the 'Start|All Programs|Windows PowerToys|Timer shot'. When the Timershot configuration window opens, under the Devices section select Webcam. Set the time intervals for taking pictures. Then select the location where you want to save the pictures. Press the 'Apply Settings' button when done.

No comments: