Friday, July 21, 2006

Extra Windows

Have some extra for your Windows

By Ravishankar Shrivastava

Or, in plain and simple word, here is how to add some extra features in your Windows installation you had always wanted. You will realise that life indeed so far was little difficult without them.

Extra no. 1

Right context menu is great for performing various tasks and everybody is extensively using application specific right context menu. Right context menu are so productivity oriented that you always wanted to have some extra, for example, you wanted to launch an application from anywhere in Windows through right context menu. Simply install ShellToys XP, a small add on to your Windows.


This shareware application adds very useful 38 tools and utilities to the Windows shell, most of them available through right context menu. The application is easy to install, tightly integrates with Windows and barring some couple of known issues with some version of Windows, it works well. Using it is simple too. For example, right click on any folder or file and point to Shell Toys XP menu. You will be able to get 20+ available options for folder and 25+ available options for file to choose from. With available options, you can get information about folder size, set file / folder attributes, shred and split files, handle Zip / Jar / Cab archive files, browse and extract icons from *.exe and *.dll files and give 448 bit file encryption technology etc. Download this utility from http://www.cfisoftware.com/ShellToys.exe

Though you may find similar such tools for enhancing functionality of right click, Perfect Menu is worth mentioning here. Perfect Menu adds its own right context menu even on application specific right context menu. For example, when you right click on Notepad window, normally you get some simple Cut – Paste menus.


Once you install Perfect Menu, you will get numerous other menus as well, which are further configurable. Try this shareware utility from http://www.pitrinec.com .

Extra no. 2

Windows offer you to change some of its settings so that you can better use your system. Besides these, there are Extra settings hidden in your Windows installation which can be changed the way you want through Registry Editing. Editing registry is risky and time consuming job and you must acquire some expertise to do so. There is a freeware utility called pc Tuner that helps you change hundreds of extra Windows settings with simple menu and checkbox selections.


With pc Tuner, you can change Display, Network, System, Policies and Internet Settings etc., all from a single location with simple checkbox selections. Though pc Tuner is capable of changing nearly all kinds of Windows setting, it is great in helping you setting Policies. For example, with its Policies / Explorer settings, you can hide these: Desktop icons, Favorite, Find, and Log off, Recent, Run. Control Panel, Taskbar, Start Banner, Floppy, Context Menu, Printer etc. Download pc Tuner from http://flyrl.perm.ru/files/pctuner18b2.zip to know extra about it. However, for more system level tweaking, try Xteq Systems X-setup tool from http://www.xteq.com .

Extra no. 3

Command line tools are still found to be good options for some system administration need, and some of you may still love to work in command line mode. You can add extra such tools required for your daily need in your Windows installation. Poof! (http://www.kilowattsoftware.com/PoofSummary.htm ) is a commercial tool that has more than 135 Windows command line tools. Cmdline, a free collection of 11 nice windows command line tool is available to download at http://www.cmdtools.com/files/cmdline.zip .


Similarly, a shareware utility named Windy Tree CommandPack , having more than 25 useful commands can be downloaded from http://www.cmdtools.com/files/cmdpack.exe .


If you use Windows NT / 2K / XP, then it is recommended that you use Sysinternals PsTools suit, which has collection of 10 very useful command line tools. The command line tools included in the PsTools suite are:

PsExec – Lets you execute processes remotely without the need to install client software.

PsFile – This tool shows files opened remotely and allow you to close those file.

PsGetSid – It display the SID of a computer or a user and let you query, set SID and help eliminate duplicate SID.

PsInfo – It lists information about a system whether remote or local.

PsKill – This tool kill processes of local as well as remote system by name or process ID.

PsList – It can list detailed information about processes, memory, thread etc.

PsLoggedOn – It shows who's logged on locally and via resource sharing.

PsLogList - It dumps event log records .

PsService – It lets you to view and control services .

PsShutdown – This command shuts down and optionally reboots a computer and works on remote system too.

PsSuspend – As name suggest, it suspend and resume processes.

The command line tools available in Windows resources kit are also useful and you may use it. But the tools mentioned above are more specific and have advanced functionality and are therefore of immense help for system administrators. Get this tool from http://www.sysinternals.com .The ps Tool suit also comes with detailed help for better and full use of available commands.

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