For whatever reason, many Windows XP users are obsessed with making their desktop look like a Mac. It's not a new phenomenon, but the enterprising people over at FlyakiteOSX created a really easy way to transform your desktop into an OS X look & feel without a lot of trouble.
Whether you are taking screenshots of a portion of your desktop or just prefer to have two apps you are using sitting next to each other on the taskbar, it can be really frustrating that you can't move the taskbar buttons around. There's a small utility called Taskbar Shuffle that gives us this power and more.
One of the features that regular users seem to love in Windows Vista is the sidebar's analog clock. Every time I glance at somebody's desktop in a coffee shop they are using one. Windows XP users are not left out in the cold with the ClocX desktop clock that works similarly.
The last time I was too lazy to write anything turned out to be extremely popular, so I decided to do it again since I'm enjoying a cup of coffee a few thousand miles away.
If you are having issues with your computer it's often necessary to check the versions of drivers that you have installed on your system, especially when the problem is with a display driver, which always seem to have the most issues.
Anybody that works in a multiple server environment knows that it can be annoying to have half a dozen remote desktop windows open at any given point. Thankfully there's a slick application called Terminals that gives you tabbed remote desktop capabilities.
Nobody is really sure why Microsoft decided that explorer windows shouldn't have a title anymore, but that's the way things are. You can still look in the address bar to see what folder you are looking at, but there's another option.
So you just bought a training video and popped it into your computer. You click on the menu in the autoplay dialog and it opens up Firefox, your default browser. Now you are staring at a blank screen. What now?
As a computer field tech, I use the remote desktop program UltraVNC quite often. I utilize it mostly to connect to offsite computers so I can run diagnostics and repair remotely, if needed.
I spend an enormous amount of time browsing the web looking for new ideas to write about, so one of the biggest problems for me is tagging articles for more careful reading later. Also, I'm sure any moment I'm going to reach a page that says "You've reached the end of the internet, now go outside".
Anybody who has ever tried to change the theme in Windows will already know that you have to hack the uxtheme file in order to install themes into XP that aren't digitally signed by Microsoft. If you would rather not or are unable to patch your system you might be interested in these unofficial themes created by Microsoft.
How many times have you been watching a long video on your computer and had the screensaver come on? Then you play the game of trying to jiggle the mouse every certain number of minutes to make sure it doesn't happen again... seems like it would be easier to have a really quick way to disable the screensaver.
We've all gotten the call from some family member asking why their computer isn't working properly. After an hour of troubleshooting over the phone with them or trying to get remote assistance to work we've decided we're skipping the next family reunion to avoid being asked to help... there has to be a better way...
One of the nice little features in Windows Vista that you don't think about is the graph of drive space for your drive icons, so you can visually see at a glance how much space is used. There's no reason to upgrade for this feature, especially since some programmers created a small utility for XP that gives you the same functionality.
If you use the excellent Synergy application to share your keyboard and mouse between computers, you've probably noticed some weird behaviors in Windows Vista... especially when running any application that requires administrator permissions.
Have you ever wanted to just "stick" your Outlook calendar to the desktop? For those of us with multiple monitors it makes even more sense... just having your calendar open on the second monitor at all times would be a great productivity boost.
Windows Vista has built-in handling for zip files - you can create, extract, or even browse right down into them as if they were a folder. But if you have very big zip files sitting on your hard drive, bad things can happen unless you disable the zip handler.
I recently decided to update the FavIcon for this site (the little icon in the address bar). The old one was something I'd hacked together myself in visual studio, and just didn't seem friendly enough for me.
I've decided to use my laziness as an excuse to promote some of the good stuff that the bloggers on the How-To Geek Blogs have come up with over the last week or two.
My good friend Tim asked me the other day: "How do I take a screenshot of an entire web page... am I supposed to just piece two images together?" Thankfully for Tim he has a geek friend to explain a simple way to accomplish this.
Hidden away in the Windows directory is a separate utility that can be used to perform certain user administration functions not provided in the normal interface. Instead of typing "control userpasswords2" into the run box, you can just add it as an icon in your Control Panel.
Scott pointed me in the direction of an interesting utility for Windows XP that will let you "skin" your icons by replacing the built-in folder icons with custom icons, and even assign a different color for different folders.
We've all been at our computer when the Windows Update dialog pops up and tells us to reboot our computer. I've become convinced that this dialog has been designed to detect when we are most busy and only prompt us at that moment.