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Windows XP > Customizing Windows XP

• September 30, 2004 •

Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP

By: Arie Slob

Microsoft released a new version of their popular PowerToys for Windows XP. And no, you will not be able to install these Powertoys on any other Windows version.

Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP include the following tools:

CD Slide Show Generator [548 KB]

This enables you to view images burned to a CD as a slide show. A new task is presented in the wizard for generating the autorun for the slideshow. Now when you take this disc to another computer that isn't running Windows XP you can still view your images as a slide show.

ClearType Tuner PowerToy [2.47 MB]

This PowerToy lets you use ClearType technology to make it easier to read text on your screen, and installs in the Control Panel for easy access.

HTML Slide Show Wizard [416 KB]

This wizard helps you create a slide show of your digital pictures. When you're done, you can put your slide show on the Web so that your family and friends can view it. Follow the steps of the wizard to select and arrange your pictures, choose from a few simple options, and then save a Web-ready HTML slide show to a folder.

Image Resizer [521 KB]

Image Resizer

This PowerToy enables you to resize one or many image files. When resizing you can choose from one of four standard sizes or choose a size that you specify. You can also choose to resize the original image or create a new one. Right click any image(s) and select 'Resize Pictures' in the context menu.

Open Command Window Here [514 KB]

Adds Open Command Window Here context menu option on file system folders. This gives users a quick way to open a command window (cmd.exe) pointing at the selected folder. Right click on the folder you would like to have a quick launch command window for and select Open Command Window Here.

Power Calculator [624 KB]

This calculator has the support to graph and evaluate functions as well as performing many different types of conversions.

Taskbar Magnifier [515 KB]

Allows you to magnify part of the screen from the taskbar. This is very similar to Magnifier that can be found under the Accessories menu on the Start Menu except that this PowerToy remains in the taskbar and has a smaller viewing area. To enable, Right click on the Taskbar, select Toolbars, and then click Taskbar Magnifier.

Alt-Tab Replacement [534 KB]

Task Switcher

This PowerToy enhances the existing Alt + Tab application switching mechanism of Windows XP. It provides a thumbnail preview of windows in the task list and is compliant with the new Windows XP visual style. You use this just as you do the existing Alt + Tab mechanism. Press and hold the Alt key and then press the Tab key to cycle through the running applications. When the desired application is highlighted release the Alt key. It is also possible to click the desired application with your mouse (while holding down the Alt + Tab key).

Tweak UI [564 KB]

Tweak UI

Provides access to system settings that are not exposed in the Windows XP default user interface. There are many settings and options that you can only set from Tweak UI. You can setup your mouse to your liking by setting click speed, hover sensitivity, etc. You can also customize many Explorer settings, taskbar settings, My Computer settings, and a wide variety of other settings.

Note: Microsoft has released a new version of TweakUI, version 2.10 for Windows XP (SP1 and later), read more here.

Virtual Desktop Manager [ 550 KB]

Virtual Desktop Manager

Manage up to 4 desktops from the Windows taskbar. You can choose a different background for each desktop and run different applications on different desktops. Right click on the Taskbar, select Toolbars, and then click Desktop Manager.

Webcam Timershot [ 610 KB]

This PowerToy allows you to take pictures from one of the webcams connected to your computer at specified time intervals. When a picture is taken it is saved to a location and with a name that you specify. A simple save option allows you to save all the pictures or only the last picture taken. You can save the pictures to a network share, an ftp share, or an http webdav share.

When installed, you can access the main PowerToys (including Tweak UI) from Start > All Programs > Powertoys for Windows XP.

To add Tweak UI to your Control Panel, download this registry patch. Save it to your desktop, then just double-click to import the registry info in your registry.

Note: If you have the old PowerToys installed, you must uninstall them before installing the new ones.