Windows Weekly Tips and Software Picks

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The following are Windows Weekly "Tips of the Week" and "Software Picks of the Week".

Episode Software Pick Tip
  • Google Picasa 3.6 - Google's free photo editing and management software is excellent and good competition for Photo Gallery. But there's no reason not to use both, as they're both free. I happen to use Google's Picasaweb service as offsite backup for my photo collection, and Picasa is the perfect front-end for that.
  • RAMMap v1.0 - A new Sysinternals utility by Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell (!!!) "Have you ever wondered exactly how Windows is assigning physical memory, how much file data is cached in RAM, or how much RAM is used by the kernel and device drivers? RAMMap makes answering those questions easy. RAMMap is an advanced physical memory usage analysis utility for Windows Vista and higher. Use RAMMap to gain understanding of the way Windows manages memory, to analyze application memory usage, or to answer specific questions about how RAM is being allocated."
  • Thanks to Ed Bott for the tip.
  • Aqua Snap - An Aero Snap extension with some other interesting features too
  • Thanks to Victor Sacco for the tip!
  • Tiny Spell - "Occasionally you need to check spelling in an application that does not include a spelling checker and you don't want to launch your word processor just for that. This is when tinySpell becomes handy. It is a small utility that allows you to easily and quickly check and correct the spelling in any Windows application."
  • Thanks to Dan Gardner for the tip!
  • A number of readers have written in with tips about mapping SkyDrive folders to Windows Explorer without using Microsoft Office 2010. There's even a utility to make this easier. [1]
  • 7 Sidebar
  • Thanks to Eric Michaud for the tip
  • Windows Live Essentials includes a number of useful applications that every Windows 7 user should check out, but Windows Live Photo Gallery is particularly good, offering: panoramic photo stitching, simple sharing of local photos to online services (Windows Live Photos, Flickr, Facebook, SmugMug, Google PicasaWeb, and more), automatic people tagging, integrated photos from your friends via the Windows Live What's New feed, create movies or DVDs, post to blogs, and virtually all of the photo editing tools a typical consumer would need. Did I mention it was free?
  • Thanks to Monte Christopher Jeu for the tip.

Windows 7 Tip of the Week: Use Office 2010 to map a drive letter to SkyDrive

  • FixIt Center Beta - Fix it Center finds and fixes many common PC and device problems automatically. It also helps prevent new problems by proactively checking for known issues and installing updates. Fix it Center helps to consolidate the many steps of diagnosing and repairing a problem into an automated tool that does the work for you.
  • Bonus: XP, Vista users get some troubleshooting tools that were previously 7-only
  • Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7
  • The Windows 7 address bar in Explorer windows simplifies the path, but you can find the path if you need it. Better yet, you can use its breadcrumb feature to find your way through the file system hierarchy.
  • Thanks to Paul Minshall for the tip (who Leo should know)
  • Windows 7 has an offline files feature that can be used to sync network-based files and folders to a PC for roaming access. This works OK, but there are better options for home users.
    • Live Mesh and Windows Live Sync for PC-to-PC folder sync. (Mesh adds remote PC access and web folder).
    • SyncToy 2 for keeping a running backup of a folder on one PC on another (can be one-way or two-way). This can be useful even with WHS.
    • Carbonite and many others for PC-to-cloud sync/auto backup.
  • There's a lot more that could be discussed around sync ... Bookmarks/favorites sync and so on
  • Some follow-ups to last week's tip:
    • Individuals can save 25 percent on TechNet Plus subscriptions too. Here's how.
    • Very small businesses (10 or fewer employees) can get free* copies of Windows Web Server Edition and SQL Server Web Edition through WebSiteSpark
    • Startups can get an amazing range of free* Microsoft software as well as support through BizSpark - Development tools (Visual Studio/Expression Studio), platforms (Windows Server, SQL Server, Office SharePoint Server, System Center servers, more), and production licenses
  • Thanks to Ola Johansson for the tip on those last two
  • Bonus tip: Free Starbucks coffee today only
    • "On Thursday, April 15, the company will reward customers who bring a reusable tumbler into participating stores with a complimentary brewed coffee."
  • Thanks to Jeff S. for the tip.
  • iTunes Export - Ideal for people wishing to interoperate between iTunes and Zune (or WMP)
  • 3RVX - Replicate the Mac OS X volume overlay in Windows
  • Thanks to Daniel Namahoe
  • Cheapest subscription is $349 - You get full versions of Windows 7, Vista and XP, Windows Server 2008/R2 and 2003, Microsoft Office and standalone Office apps, and more. It's not for commercial use. But that shouldn't stop an individual for using it for personal use.
  • Thanks to Jeff Sprouse for the tip.
  • FixWin - Freeware portable application to repair & fix common Windows annoyances & issues. FixWin detects whether you have Windows 7 or Windows Vista installed and accordingly offers you the relevant fixes only.
  • These guys also make FixIE, FixWMP, and other tools.
  • Windows behaves in certain ways when copying/moving files to other locations. But you can override the default behavior, and drag and drop a shortcut if you want.
    • Drag + CTRL = Copy
    • Drag + CTRL + SHIFT = Create shortcut
    • Drag with right mouse button = Menu to choose between Copy, Move, Create shortcut
  • Thanks to Nick Shoust for the tip
  • Plus: A simpler right-click shortcut
  • Microsoft Image Composite Editor - "Microsoft Image Composite Editor is an advanced panoramic image stitcher. Given a set of overlapping photographs of a scene shot from a single camera location, the application creates a high-resolution panorama that seamlessly combines the original images. The stitched panorama can be shared with friends and viewed in 3D by uploading it to the Photosynth web site. Or the panorama can be saved in a wide variety of image formats, from common formats like JPEG and TIFF to the multiresolution tiled format used by Silverlight's Deep Zoom and by the HD View and HD View SL panorama viewers."
  • Thanks to Matt Reeves for the tip
  • RichCopy 4.0 - Supposed to be even better than RoboCopy ... a multithreaded copying tool that can open multiple threads simultaneously, allowing many files to be copied in parallel and cutting the total time required to complete the operation several times over. You can also pause and resume file copy operations, so if you lose network connectivity at any point, you can just pick up where you left off.
  • TeraCopy - TeraCopy is a compact program designed to copy and move files at the maximum possible speed, providing the user with a lot of features...
  • Thanks to Dwayne Bullock and Joe Brady
  • Free Tip Remove Window Shadows: Select Control Panel -> System and Security -> System -> Advanced system settings -> Advanced Tab -> Performance Settings button -> Show shadows under Windows check box
  • Enable it through Folder Options -> View tab, scroll down and near the bottom is a checkbox named "Use checkboxes to select items". This gives everything on the Desktop and in Windows explorer a little selection checkbox. Using those boxes to toggle selection is often easier than Ctrl-selecting each item, and it doesn't interfere with shift-select.
  • Thanks to Rudy Raab for the tip!
  • Add a Bookmarks button to Chrome
    • The tip involves going into Chrome's Properties and adding "--bookmark-menu" (no quotes) to the end of the Target.
  • Thanks to Sterling for the tip.
  • Turbo Risk 2.0 - It's a computer version of the classic board game Risk. What sets this version apart is that it has an IDE for developing your own AI players. Therefore there is a great diversity of AI players to play against.
  • Fix PDF Thumbnails and Previews in Windows 7 x64
    • Yep, they're broken. This fixes them. [2]
  • Thanks to Jim Clarke
  • TuneSync - Wireless music sync software for Android devices by Brian Rex
    • It requires a small .Net app running on the Windows computer. It will allow you to sync all your playlists including the smart playlists from iTunes. Similiar to the Zune, it does the sync over the Wi-Fi connection and does not require you connecting it to the usb on the computer. You can find it on by searching on Android Market for TuneSync or iTunes.
  • SDExplorer - Formally SkyDrive Explorer
  • Thanks to Phil Worthington

Save money on travel with new integrated services. Not really Windows related, but these are new and interesting

  • Visual Studio 2010 RC - Latest pre-release version of Microsoft's development environment I use it to develop web sites. Killer text editor
  • Speccy - Advanced system information tool for Windows
    • Thanks to Brent for the tip.
  • Search the Internet from the Start Menu
    • Normally, Start Menu Search can only be used to search for programs and files. But with a simple change, you can use it to trigger Internet searches using your default browser and search engine.

Thanks to L. Valenta for the tip

  • Get "Windows 7 Secrets" for 47 percent off at Amazon for a limited time [3]
    • The bad news: It's US only