Running 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.
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.
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 [No Longer Available]. Saikat wrote about SetPower 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.
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.
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.
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Explore more about: Windows 7.