Computers > Windows > Shareware > Desktop Utils > Power User & Tweaking
Windows Power User & Tweaking Utilities
Last Update: July, 2003

Virtual Desktops:
  1. VirtuaWin - 2-9 desktops (open source, 400K)
  2. BossKey - freeware, 4K
    • Create a whole new 2nd desktop (like having a 2nd monitor), flip between the 2 screens with just a keypress (or quickly hide your "main" screen from prying eyes).
  3. enable Virtual Desktop - Demo, 1.5M, bloatware
    • turns your screen into a scrollable window. Tip: don't disable the "'SysTray" icon.
Editors (for text & code):
  1. VIM - 510K, Open Source
  2. emacs - 9M, Open Source
    • The standard against which others are compared, daunting even to the brave; see also XEmacs
    • Works with Windows (see Cygwin), BSD, Linux
  3. PSPad - 2.88M, freeware
    • very well laid out editor, configurable
  4. EditPlus - 900K, shareware
    • syntax highlighting, spellchecker
  5. CodeWright - Demo
    • highly configurable
  6. See also:
Menu & Program Launch Bars - Program start-up menus
  1. RUNit - freeware, 67K, hides in Systray, <1% resources
    • Right-click on the edge of the screen, and there's your program list. Very handy!
    • Tip: leave at least 1 item checkmarked in Options/RUNit-Setup.
    • If Lex's page is unavailable; you might try to download directly:, old link
  2. PBar - 586K, freeware
    • Auto-hiding task bar, instead of just a Start menu.
  3. ToolPal - 2.3M, freeware, bloatware
    • Weird do-it-all desktop toy.
  4. MS Office Shortcut Bar - 10%+ Resources
    • The menu-bar that comes with the MS Office Suite. Warning: when editing your buttons just uncheckmark it; don't delete a program since this deletes the program file! (at least that's what happened on the version I used).
Desktop Utils
  1. Samurize
Folder Creator:
  1. MDFolder - freeware, 11K, 0% resources
    • Right-Click New Folder in Windows Explorer, saves wading through Explorer's slow menus (homepage link appears permanently broken)
Keyboard Utilities:
Password Utilities:
  1. PassKeeper - freeware, 85K
    • Convenient way to keep an encrypted list of your login (user name) and passwords.
  2. 123 Password Recovery - 170K, freeware
    • If you've forgotten an asterisk-hidden (*****) password
  3. Offline NT password & registry editor
    • Boot disk, FAQ, and source
  4. NewSID - changes a computer's SID
    • for Windows NT 4, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows .NET Server
Process Viewers:
  1. PrcView - freeware, 70K, hides in SysTray
    • System Monitor; view Processes (memory, threads, modules used), DLL paths & versions.
  2. SpyGuru - 620K, freeware
    • Software, DLL, Process viewer; also a hex/registry editor
Startup utilities
  1. Startup Monitor - freeware, 60K
    • Displays programs that notifies you when a program tries to install itself at startup (think adware, spyware, and such).
  2. Startup CPL - selective disable most applications that start automatically
System Diagnostics:
  1. AIDA32
    • Detailed info on what hardware and software is installed on your machine or network
  2. Belarc advisor - lists your hardware & software
  3. Hijack This
    • Have spyware, adware, or other browser-related problems? This program helps you find and edit Browser and Registry items that have hijacked your browser
  4. FileMon - monitor file access
  5. Diagnostics Directory
  6. Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live Windows 2K/XP CD/DVD
  7. Lost your Product Key?
System Resource Monitors:
  1. Quick Resource - freeware, 9K, hides in SysTray
    • Displays 3 small moving bar graphs that indicate your remaining System, User, and GDI resources. It will also give a warning when resources drop below a certain (configurable) percentage.
  2. Tiny Res Meter - displays CPU, remaining resources (GDI, SYS, User), many other system functions
  3. Free Meter - CPU and resource meter
Registry Editors & Utilities:
  1. RegEdit+ - freeware, 657K
    • Makes editing the registry a little safer (since it offers an Undo feature), and lots easier, than RegEdit.
    • Tip: Before editing your registry, make a backup first.
  2. FineTune (844K, shareware)
  3. Tweaki (3.67M, freeware, bloatware)
  4. TweakUI - 209K, freeware
    • Configure a variety of Windows settings
    • Versions: Win95, Win2K
  5. Crap Cleaner - removes excess registry entries and temporary files, freeware, 471K
  6. RegMon - display registry accesses and changes
  7. X-Setup - 2.76M, freeware, bloatware
Utility Collections:
  1. Rix2K - freeware, 85K
    • An old collection of 60+ "extreme power tools." Newer versions are available commercially; from the reliable programmers at Radsoft.
  2. Sandra - 2.25M, crippleware
    • Hardware info, diagnosis and tips.
Thumb-drive applications:
  1. Sleepy - 232K, freeware
    • Windows shutdown timer. Kind of like telling your computer to do a Start/Shutdown at a specific time. May be good for offices (to disable computers during off hours), or for those of us unable to resist being on the 'net (no, not me, I'm no addict, really!). Can be configured in a way that's difficult to disable.
System Tray Utils:
  1. WatchCat : freeware (147K, hides in system tray)
    • Move program(s) to System Tray,
    • Free up space on your taskbar by placing almost any minimized program into the System Tray, or hides them completely, accessible only through a hotkey.
  2. TraySaver : 240K, freeware
    • Put many/most/all your tray icons into 1 clickable tray icon (beta10 works ok for me on win98)
CPU Utils:
  1. WCPUID : CPU Info, freeware (166K)
    • CPU/System/Bus speeds, cache size, video card info (on their homepage, click on 'Downloads').
  3. CPU Coolers
    • Rain - freeware, 123K, hides in SysTray, <1%
      • CPU Cooler. Excessive heat harms CPU's (this program cools off most CPU's 5-15° F), but then so does warming (expanding) and cooling (contracting). Check out the comparison charts, but Rain is easy to install/use, and works about as well as the others
    • CpuIdle
    • FiringSquad has the basics on component cooling.
  4. Radiate - CPU temperature calculator
  1. Monitor Calibration Wizard - test patterns to calibrate monitor settings (freeware, 772K, alternate download site)
  1. Windows Explorer - 180K, 3% resources
  2. Win9x-, ~15% resources
    • Starting with a hypothetical Resources Available of 100%, typical Win95/98 resources free after Windows finishes loading (depending on the programs loaded in your {StartUp} folder, etc.) is around 85%.
See also:
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