Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Ads by Google

windows enhancement toolsRunning Windows 7 for the last few years, and then installing and using the latest version of Office apps like Word and Excel, I’ve started to accept change a little more easily. I’ve realized that while change can be difficult sometimes, ultimately it can make accomplishing things a lot easier, and it can really boost productivity. The trick is finding those applications and windows enhancement tools that really do improve the experience rather than hindering what you really want to accomplish.

So, in the spirit of seeking out improvements for the Windows user experience, I decided to hunt down 5 applications that really are better than existing Windows resources or utilities.

Upgrading From File Explorer To SpeedRunner

Editor’s note : due to concerns over Speedrunner, and taking into account the comments made in the comments section, it has been decided to remove SpeedRunner from this article.  We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused if you installed this app on our recommendation and then subsequently experienced problems.

Quick Access To Favorite Apps On My Bar

My Bar is a very simple app, but really useful. It is basically a quick access bar that resides at the top of your desktop window, and it offers quick access for up to six apps that you use constantly. In “Manage Applications“, you set up the link to the six apps you use most often.

windows enhancements

Those six app icons, as well as an embedded media player, reside in the bar that gets docked at the very top of the screen.

Ads by Google

windows enhancements

You’ve got a list of color schemes/themes to choose from, and installing and setting up the tool couldn’t be easier. It really is the fastest way to keep those frequently-used apps right at your fingertips.

Power Saving Scheme

Another application that I see as a tremendous enhancement to Windows is SetPower. Saikat wrote about SetPower How to Save Power with SetPower (Computer Power Management Tool) How to Save Power with SetPower (Computer Power Management Tool) Read More in 2009, and it really bears repeating.

Don’t bother hunting around for all of the sleep/hibernate settings scattered throughout the control panel. Just install this app and add a scheduled power plan.

windows enhancements

You can choose from pre-made power-saving plans using the selections on the right, and configure the schedule for those power settings at the bottom of the screen where it says “Start Plan @“.

This is great if you have a web server that goes unused during the evening, or you tend to keep your computers turned on all day.

Measure Anything On The Screen With ScreenRuler

There is another little app that you may not realize you even needed until you start using it. It’s called the Screen Ruler. It is especially useful for programmers that need to find specific screen coordinates and sizes to design buttons and other GUI display objects, but it actually has a lot of other uses.

For example, if you want to quickly measure a distance “as the crow flies” on any mapping website or any map at all (even if it’s static), just measure the length of the map ruler by clicking on the two ends.

Then, you can click any two points on the map, divide by the ruler distance, and you’ll get the exact distance. Can you think of any other cool ways to use this screen measurement tool?

Get Rain Updates & Warnings With Rain Alarm

The last useful Windows app I wanted to cover is for all of you out there that find yourself constantly checking the weather for rain. Well, with the Rain Alarm Windows desktop widget, you can stop checking.

All you have to do, once you’ve installed and enabled the desktop gadget, is to click on the Options and type in the address that you want it to monitor for rain.

You can also configure sensitivity (how far away rain should be before an alert), how often it should check for weather updates, and notification options. What you’ll see on your desktop is a cool set of meters that show you cloud level, precipitation level and how far away the rainstorm is from your location.

windows enhancement tools

Notifications will actually warn you when a rain storm is a certain distance from the location you defined. It is a really cool way to automate checking the weather without wasting any time doing it yourself.

All of these apps improve the entire Windows experience in some way – but cutting down the time you waste and letting you focused on accomplishing your work at hand.

Do you like any of these Windows apps, or do you have any other cool ones to add to the list? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Image Credit : Shutterstock

  1. Kevin Ross
    November 17, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I'll put my support in for MUO, as I have found a lot of value in their articles and downloadable documents.  This is simply a "tap on the shoulder"... a reminder to do the due diligence before releasing recommendations... I support this site and will continue to follow with eager anticipation.
    Regards...

    • Ryan Dube
      November 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      Thanks Kevin - it's certainly a wake-up call to be extra diligent (as a writer/reviewer) about scanning the web for even the slightest sign that an app is trouble. Thanks for your support.

    • Me
      November 28, 2011 at 3:13 am

      Just came back here to read -woah, what? German trolls? Ok, now I am offended.
      What makes it so suspicious that also a few German people read this page (quite regularly even). your reaction is quite unprofessional. My German 2 cents.

    • Ryan Dube
      November 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      If you can't take it then don't dish it. It's one thing to be professional, but it's quite another to deal with harassment from trolls. You do not have a free pass to be a jerk. So if you can't handle being punched back, avoid throwing punches in the first place.

    • Ryan Dube
      November 29, 2011 at 11:25 pm

      I should elaborate for my German friends and readers - my comment in response to the troll below was a response to his reference to me as a "conspiracy theorist", somehow trying to discredit me by reading my profile. My reference to him as a German was only to show that learning about a person - like where they are from - isn't anything special.

      If any readers took the comment the wrong way, my apologies. I have a number of German friends and respect them a great deal - I would never speak disparagingly about any nationality, particularly Germans.

  2. Sparky Pine
    November 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I just wanted to chime in one last time.  I love this website, Makeuseof.com, it's one of my top 5 favorites.  This one simply slipped through the cracks and I think it's great that we have taken the time to point out a vulnerability.  I hope I didn't come across as hating on Ryan, it's absolutely not his fault.  Speedrunner actually looks like a great program...almost had me fooled and I've been around a while.  I think it's good we all point these things out...the malware perp's need to be outed and I think we did a good job of that...in spite of the snark and all. 

    • Ryan Dube
      November 17, 2011 at 5:01 pm

      Thanks Sparky Pine - I really appreciate that. And agree that reader feedback is a tremendous help. There will be a follow-up post about this, I believe going out today. Yes, there may be an apology from a particular author. :-)

  3. Wilhelm Steckling
    November 13, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    I just want to add to the list my own disappointment with the recommendation of SpeedRunner - Spy Bot gives a Trojan warning, no uninstall option, it does not even work on my Windows 7 32 bit.

  4. Andreas Beer
    November 6, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    "Ryan Dube is a freelance writer and Electrical Engineer with Search Engine Optimization expertise. His writing and research focuses primarily on conspiracy theory investigations utilizing science and technology at TopSecretWriters.com."
    now i've got a conspiracy theory, too...

    • Ryan Dube
      November 7, 2011 at 5:51 am

      For all the accusations being thrown around, it would be pretty sweet if I could actually receive some money from the phantom sponsorships that supposedly exist. Maybe Aibek is holding out on me and not sharing the dough. 

      How's this for a Conspiracy Theory Andreas - I didn't take enough time to fully research these, and wrote a crappy article. It happens every now and then. Get over it. No one is perfect....well, except for the German trolls, apparently.

    • Cindy
      November 17, 2011 at 8:28 am

      Then, Ryan, why not publish an apology on the original article?  Most real journalists will admit there mistakes.  in fact, real journalists have their mistakes published as addendums in the main press, often with an APOLOGY.

      MUO's reputation is going down pretty smartly.

  5. Andreas Beer
    November 6, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    this looks great... ...to nine year-olds. seriously, windows has so many awesome tools to offer for enhancing the desktop, you can do way better than a explorer substitution with shiny colors and ugly fonts. and my bar seems to be lightyears away from what you can do with ObjectDock, don't even get me started on the  design...

  6. Mera
    November 6, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Speedrunner: Register before download? I smell something fishy. And I *too* have the impression quite a few recommendations are sponsored.

  7. Andy Frame
    November 6, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Speedrunner didn't like UAC on 64 bit windows 7 and won't install. I'll stick with xplorer 2 lite.

  8. NajamQ
    November 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Thanks Ryan for the reply, I am still having hard time uninstalling it however I am no novice user so got rid most of it through manually removing entries. But there is no uninstall option that's for sure. And sorry I was a bit harsh in my previous comments.

  9. Ryan Dube
    November 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    I have good antivirus/antimalware software and it didn't complete. That, and I actually do like the software.

  10. NajamQ
    November 5, 2011 at 6:49 am

    I won't be installing anything Makeuseoff recommends. Almost every second recommended tool is pieace of junk. Looks like sponsered reviews and recommendations.

    • Ryan Dube
      November 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm

      Every tool is tested and evaluated before recommending. And I never accept sponsorship for any reviews that I write. We are sometimes made such offers, but we refuse. MUO reviews are unbiased, tested and recommended in full faith of the author. If you don't agree with the reviews, don't install and move on. Not everyone has the same opinion, and that's fine.

    • Tina
      November 6, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      Najam,

      I second Ryan. We make the best efforts to thoroughly test software before we recommend it and we do not write sponsored reviews unless otherwise stated.

      However, I appreciate your feedback and I am sorry if you feel that the tools we recommend are junk.

  11. orpheus
    November 5, 2011 at 3:33 am

    SpeedRunner turned out to be an awful program pretty much everywhere but aesthetically,  it does not have any way to uninstall that is found easily... has anyone figured out how to get this load of crap off of your computer?
    MUO is usually spot-on... I'm going to be very hesitant taking recommendations from here from now on

    • Ryan Dube
      November 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm

      Thanks for the feedback. Not sure why folks are having problems uninstalling, I found it in add/remove just fine. Are you using Windows 7 or an older operating system?

    • orpheus
      November 5, 2011 at 5:53 pm

      i am using win7, i sorted my add/remove programs list by date and it is definitely not on there... i actually cant even find where the thing installed on my computer

    • Aibek
      November 17, 2011 at 9:31 am

      Hi Orpheus,

      Try using revo Uninstaller to get it removed.
      http://www.makeuseof.com/pages/best-windows-software#uninstallers

    • orpheus
      November 17, 2011 at 5:57 pm

      thanks a whole lot jackass, now i have two malware-esqe programs (speedrunner and sweetIM) on my computer... i will not be on this site again

    • Aibek
      November 17, 2011 at 7:10 pm

      why did you install sweetIM?

    • orpheus
      November 18, 2011 at 12:12 am

      I didn't, i unchecked all boxes regarding sweetIM, it still installed and its all over chrome even though I uninstalled it using the windows uninstaller

    • Aibek
      November 18, 2011 at 8:53 am

      Looking into it now. Thanks for heads up.
      Probably the buttons on the Softonic's installer are confusing.
      Will be changing the page today to link to developers' sites directly.

    • Sparky Pine
      November 7, 2011 at 8:29 pm

      There's no uninstaller because it's consider Malware by Spybot (why would malware easily allow itself to be uninstalled?):

      http://forums.spybot.info/showthread.php?t=40604

  12. NajamQ
    November 4, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    How to uninstall the damn speedrunner, What a waste of time. Why didn't makeuseof tested it before recommendation. Now it doesn't even have an uninstall option.

    • Ryan Dube
      November 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm

      Maybe you're not looking for the right name, whenever I test an app I install, test it and reinstall. By the way - the screenshot is "Makeuseof testing it". That's not some stock photo, that's the screen during an actual test.

    • Risa
      November 9, 2011 at 6:23 am

      It doesn't appear in my programs list :( I'm using Windows 7. Should I delete its folder?

    • Ryan Dube
      November 9, 2011 at 11:37 pm

      Yes, but also search the registry and, if other user's experiences are accurate, you may consider running SpyBot to see if you get the same results they are, and it'll help you remove it.

  13. Risa
    November 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Excuse me. May I ask how to uninstall SpeedRunner? It's slow, I don't like it >.<

    • Ryan Dube
      November 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm

      Add/Remove programs.

  14. Nullbox
    November 4, 2011 at 6:13 am

    Seems like Sparky Pine really stupid :D

    • Sparky Pine
      November 7, 2011 at 8:30 pm

      Enjoy your malware!

  15. treetey
    November 3, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Sparky Pine,
    Are you crazy? SpeedRunner is new file manager. And you just confusing by some old mailware app (rofl)

  16. Anonymous
    November 3, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    m? b?st fri?nd's brother is making $ 83 per h?ur working
    from home. h? was ?ut ?f his j?b f?r eight m?nths but this october his salary w?s
    $ 8100 only by w?rking ?n th? c?mputer f?r ? f?w h?urs a day.

    for more info go to ? ? S H S H ? R ? . ? ? ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *