-[ Tips and tricks for PC users ]-







Quote: Tony. "Steve is the king of PC customisations"
So here are a few of my gems.
All these products are free downloads, and I haven't yet had any problems with any of them.
The underlying theme here, is that Microsoft provide a set of common tools with Windows, and most people are happy. BUT you can find much more advanced tools scattered all over the Internet. These are the ones I use.


Litestep site Dump that gawky Windows interface.
Litestep is a way of remoulding your GUI. Lose the Task bar. Put the clock where you want it. Radically customise the way you interact with Windows, check out a theme I made here - [ 233kB ].

PowerDesk Explorer

PowerDesk site A File Explorer that lets you actually acheive file organisation.
Screen Shot - [ 102 kB ]
View two directories side by side. Zip file contents viewable 'on-the-fly', easy access to your favourite folders/directories.


Scrows Icons Manage all your icons. Spiffy up those little fella's.
Screen Shot - [ 128 kB ]
Scrow's is a good place to start to collect some more interesting icon sets. And Iconphile is ULTRA-handy for controlling them.
Some EXCELLENT icons also come from LINEstudio. Note: This may be a Japanese site, but you can get around without downloading Japanese support for your browser.


NeoPlanet Site Skinnable Web browser. Mmm Tasty, surf the web in style.
Neoplanet uses part of M$ Internet Explorer, so you will need that installed, and up to date. For those who don't know, a skin is a way of changing the way an application appears on screen. An easy example would be Winamp.


Mozilla site Open Source Web browser for the masses
Screen Shot - [ 99 kB ]
Mozilla is the Web browser upon which Netscape 6 was based. If you've seen Netscape 6, you've probably coveted it's flashy looking 'Modern' interface/skin. With the release of Mozilla version 0.9.3 (and later), it has come of age with full support for Java, JavaScript and other common Internet Technologies. More importantly Mozilla is 100% standards compliant, and always will be. Mozilla is also blessed with it's associated 'Bugzilla' Bug tracking system, which enables end users to help the developers continually improve Mozilla in line with users problems and demands. Also check out the 'window tab' functionality, if you habitually have more than one browser window open.
From now on I'll be recomending Mozilla over NeoPlanet. Or try Netscape 6.1 since it was Netscape's money which funded some of the development of Mozilla. Steer clear of Netscape 6.0 though, it was a bit buggy.


98Lite Site Trim the Fat off your bloated Windows installation. Junk that Useless Mail Application.
98Lite is a little application which allows you to disengage / uninstall the Internet Explorer parts of your Windows installation. And get rid of the worlds best virus spreader "Outlook Express". This is relatively involved, maybe should be in the advanced users. Definately voids any warranty you had with Micro$oft.


ViM Site Flagellate yourself like only a good editor can make you do. Notepad on steroids, for the keyboard friendly.
Screen Shot - [ 142 kB ]
Vim is an editor from the Unix / Linux family. Good use does require comitting to memory some arcane keyboard shortcuts, but if you edit lots of text files (programming source code, web pages and the like) then the Syntax highlighting feature is gonna change your life.
You can find a handy reference of the VIM Commands in a PDF file here.
If the thought of Vim scares you, look out for some other editors like NoteTab or Programmer's File Editor.

Winamp Control

Crystal Reality Site One touch control of your MP3 player.
Screen Shot - [ 91 kB ]
I love this little program! If you can't run Litestep, this allows you to assign hotkeys to Play/Pause/Next etc etc in Winamp. No need to make Winamp the active program, then pause it. Hit the Windows Key and 'c' simultaneously, and bang! It pauses.. Great for when you're under the headphones at work..
Winamp Control seems to have gone missing from the net, but I found this great replacement. Winamp HotKey

FreeMem Standard

Freemem Site Keep a track of the edge of your envelope.
FreeMem is a very handy program which keeps a track of how much memory Windows is using. You can free memory up by requesting a certain amount. The freemem program requests this memory from Windows, then gives it straight back, essentially freeing it for use.
Alternatively, you can use Microsoft System Monitor (Start->Programs-> Accessories->System) and this script to do the same thing. Save the script to your desktop, as a .vbs file and do the following to make it run when you double click it.
  1. Right click the icon and choose the 'Properties' item.
  2. Check that there are two tabs: 'General' and 'Script'
  3. 'Ok' any changes you make.
If you do not have the 'Script' tab, then you may not have 'WScript' which is the standard Microsoft Windows Scripting Host. This little script is a one-line Visual Basic script, which does no harm to your system (read it if you don't belive me, it's just a text file), and frees memory by requesting it from Windows, then giving it back when the script ends. If you get a Visual Basic error 'Not enough Allocation space', don't worry, it just couldn't free all 20 Mb that the script asks for.

Last Modified: January 16, 2003, 8:55 pm
Layout Copyright © 2001 Dan Hersam - All Rights Reserved
Remixed by Capn-K