Thursday, July 17, 2008

Extras for Windows

On my systems, I prefer to run very few third-party applications/utilities at startup.

These are in addition to the usual security applications or dual-monitor helpers that I use.

My current systems contain the following:

|MG| Motherboard Monitor 5.3.7.0 Update 2 – monitor cpu and system temperatures,

Process Lasso – keeps CPU cycles down under control,

allSnap – snaps windows to edges of screen,

MemStat XP – provides view of how much free memory the system has,

RocketDock – the best dock-launcher for Windows, ever, and

Rainlendar – a handy desktop-merged calendar.

Other than that, I rarely use any other utilities or tools at launch.

Except I re-found a new one.

Windows File/Copy/Move Alternatives

SuperCopier - (freeware) – I have posted before about this and several other great Windows file/copy managers.  In the past I have just ran it on demand. (See alternative link also at SourceForge.net: Supercopier).

For most of may daily work, the default Windows copy/paste function worked great. However it is limited in some of its options and the other day I was copying several ISO files to a storage drive and the default copy-time was around seven minutes per ISO file.

Mucking around I found that if I booted a system with one of my custom WinPE 2.0 boot disks I was getting copy-times in the just over 2-minute range.  I launched SuperCopier on my main laptop system at work and found it also was able to take a seven-minute file copy time down to just under three minutes.  Good stuff.  So I decided to flick the switch to launch it at boot on my XP systems.

That worked great but only for file/copy actions in the Windows Explorer shell.  I do 90% of my file-management using FreeCommander.

Turns out SuperCopier has a configuration option so I can associate it to handle copy/paste actions in FreeCommander (or any other application) if I so choose. Nice!  Now I can have it work in both worlds.

Other great Windows file copy managers:

  • TeraCopy - (free for personal use) – Very nice, fast and tiny.

  • Copy Handler - (freeware) – Dependable and fast file-copy activity. Updated periodically.

  • Roadkil.Net's Unstoppable Copier - (freeware) – Special-use tool to get copy files that are “damaged" like off optical media or that give other programs copy-errors.

  • FastCopy - (freeware) - New to me that some claim is the fastest file-copier tool out-there today.

For Consideration

Here are some additional applications and items I have come across this week.  I'm still out on a final decision.

Firefly plugin turns Firefox into an advanced file manager - Download Squad - This Add-on extension for Firefox (get the Firefox 3.0 compatible version here at Firefly website) looks like it might be a helpful tool.  It gives users the ability to launch a Windows Explorer-like tab in Firefox to do file-management tasks. It does allow multiple views to be used (dual-multi-pane). I couldn't figure out how to change the found style and size and on my work system it came up in a large-font Times New Roman. Ugly!  Besides, a dedicated file-management tool like FreeCommander is all I really need and has loads-more features.  However, it's a great and clever effort and might be worthwhile to keep an eye on.

Taskbar Shuffle - (freeware) - tiny little app that lets you drag-drop rearrange the items in your Windows taskbar.  I confess there have been times when I have had like ten or fifteen items open and wanted to reorganize them. This would let me do it.  The big question is, how often and is it worth installing to run on startup?  Major plus points: now compatible with UltraMon multi-monitor management software.  For a bit more: Taskbar Shuffle Tweaks Your Windows Taskbar - Download Squad.

Taskix - (freeware) - An alternative choice to Taskbar Shuffle. Run on demand or register DLL to run at startup.  Doesn't seem to have as many options, but how many options do you really need to rearrange taskbar items?

Miscellaneous (test to see who reads down this far in a post)

AutoRuns for Windows - (freeware) - This utility was updated to version 9.3 and now "..adds support for several additional shell extension points, including copy hook, property sheet, and drag and drop handlers, fixes a bug in the Vista gadget parsing code and better handles malformed paths."

Vista, Word and Google Desktop circumvent TrueCrypt function - News - heise Security UK - For you forensics and security geeks.  Turns out that even though TrueCrypt is able to afford some folks under certain configurations and usage "plausible deniability" for hidden and encrypted material, some points of attack exist to discover the presence.  Security guru Bruce Schneier has co-authored a paper looking into this that is a fascinating read: Defeating Encrypted and Deniable File Systems: TrueCrypt v5.1a and the Case of the Tattling OS and Applications (PDF), paper by A. Czeskis, D. J. St. Hilaire, K. Koscher, S. D. Gribble, T. Kohno and B. Schneier.

5 Jokes That Will Get'Em Giggling | Geekdad from Wired.com - Funny and family friendly jokes for laughs.  The comments are filled with more user submissions.

Goodness knows, we all need more laughter in the world!

Cheers!

--Claus

2 comments:

DougCuk said...

I found an interesting solution to running an old custom written DOS Network Database application on XP recently. And it was free!

The main problem I had to solve was how to allow the application direct access to LPT1 - but the solution should work for any system port. The solution was a custom I/O device driver called PortTalk. Worth a look if you have not seen it before.
See http://www.beyondlogic.org/porttalk/porttalk.htm

DougCuk said...

OOps that comment was supposed to be for your "Windows CPU throttling techniques" post - sorry. Still the PortTalk driver does run at startup if you want - so not totally wrong.