Sunday, November 11, 2007

3 tools to compensate for the Windows desktop

Windows Tools

Original photography by SXC member dannystock.

There's a lot of things I could complain about when refering to the Windows Desktop… Over the years I've learned to get over most of the lacks, but there are some annoyances that still drive me crazy sometimes. Here's some tools I've found to help a little. Note I'm still running Windows XP, and that's where I've tried these.

Taskbar Shuffle

Don't you just hate it when the apps you're running crash, or you accidentally close one and when you open it again the button is at the end of the taskbar? And after a few hours of work you're used to seeing it there and instead it's somewhere else!

Well, this nifty little tool sure helps. You can just drag and drop the taskbar buttons to the place you want on the taskbar, it's got nice UI feedback and after a while you won't even notice it. It's there, in the shadows working for you. It's funny it has a 8MB memory usage peak, but I got over it.

Taskbar Shuffle Homepage


You just got that new 22 inch LCD monitor and suddenly feel a lot of space. I mean like a lot. There's so much space, that when you maximize that workspace window you're just wondering if Eclipse got fat. So you start using the space more adequately… Organize windows, resize them to their own new carefully selected area of the screen. Some annoying windows, however, forget their last position and open just random the next time. Or you accidentally drag one off, or something bad just happens to Santa.

With GridMove you can now drag the window in a specific way to activate the Grid. Once you see the Grid, drag the Window to the hot spot you want, and… ta-daaa!
This was originally an AutoHotKey script, but it is now distributed as a compiled, standalone thing. It comes packed with some basic layouts, through which you can dynamically switch at runtime, but I recommend you build your own layouts to fit your exact needs.

GridMove Homepage


This one is a weirdo… And I'm a weirdo for using it aswell. Here are the only reasons I use it:

  • it makes the taskbar and taskbar buttons borderless,
  • I can put the day of week on the clock and also make it a slightly smaller font
  • I can see a quick calendar when I triple-click the clock (notice the madness?)
  • the date in my favorite format is copied to the clipboard when double-clicking with the middle button

Well, it can do a lot more things, and it's highly configurable. You're not hardcore if you don't give it a try.

The Unofficial Tclock2 homepage