Windows Weekly Tips and Software Picks

From The Official TWiT Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

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]
  • 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
  • Run Windows Live Messenger from the tray as God intended
    • Windows Live Messenger spews unnecessary buttons all over the Windows 7 taskbar. Fortunately, you can fix this behavior.[4]
    • Thanks to Rodrigo Gómez Morales
    • Note: Anyone who provides a tip that I use here and on the site will get a free, signed copy of "Windows 7 Secrets." And I've gotten so many tips that I will back-date tips for each week to the beginning of the year so I can get this thing rolling more quickly.

Thanks to Matt Reeves for the tip

  • Google Chrome 4.0 - Google's browser just upgraded as well. Now with full support for extensions, and the best performance of any browser.
  • Windows 7 Tip of the Week: Hide unwanted Windows Updates

Thanks to Steven Holden for the tip.

  • Firefox 3.6 - New: Personas, add-on update auto-checking, performance improvements, more HTML 5
  • Sync all of your address books with the cloud - Soocial - one hassle-free address book - Your phone, your computer and web applications will have the same address book. Automatic daily backups of your contacts, so you'll be prepared when disaster strikes.
  • Thanks to Rob Truman for the tip
  • Simple AdBlock for IE - A simple browser extension for Internet Explorer designed to make ad blocking easy. Simple Adblock blocks all kinds of advertising from websites including flash ads, banner ads, rich media, slide-ins and fly-ins."
  • Thanks to Mainuddin Ahmad Jonas for the tip.
  • Some New Year resolutions - things we can do better this year
    • Backup. Early and often. Locally and offsite (ideally to the cloud). Consider syncing critical data (documents, music, etc.) between PCs as well (or instead, depending on your needs).
    • It's time to say goodbye to "www" in URLs (we already stopped using http://). As a heads-up, Chrome does a superior job of URL prediction when typing.
    • Modernize and simplify. Doing more with less is more relevant than ever. Don't just "upgrade" your system/infrastructure. Do the right thing.
  • Win7 Library Tool - This is genius: It lets you add NAS locations to your Windows 7 Libraries.
  • Thanks to Lars-Eivind Bjørtvedt
  • Create multiple Explorer shortcuts on the Windows 7 taskbar
    • Create a shortcut to the desired folder, then go to its properties. In the target field, just add the word "explorer" (no quotes) before the folder path. The shortcut's icon will by default change to the Windows Explorer icon, but it can of course be changed to whatever the user wants. Then pin this shortcut to the taskbar. You can do this repeatedly.

Thanks to Keith Ropp for the tip.

  • Blurb and Booksmart Make your own photo book - the ultimate holiday gift. Or a book of any kind
  • Save money online with this awesome browser plug-in - Invisible Hand for Firefox and Chrome
    • Shows a very discreet notification when the product you're browsing can be bought for a lower price elsewhere. Absolutely priceless. (Pardon the pun.)
  • Power Plan Assistant for Windows 7 - Power Plan Assistant can be used with any 32-bit or 64-bit edition of Windows® 7. It allows a user to switch between the built-in and custom power plans (all the plans, not just 2 of them, as it is when operating via system Power icon), auto-switch a PC to 'High Performance' on plugging in, and much more.
  • Panda Cloud Antivirus 1.0 - Now with 64 bit support.
  • Get downloadable PC games from - Some excellent games for cheap: Far Cry 2 and Rainbow 6 Vegas are both $5 right now, for example. (Normally $20 each.) [5]

Thanks to Corey Stamm for the tip

  • Get a free eBook about Microsoft Office 2010 [6]
  • Buy an Xbox 360 this holiday season, get some free games ... or answer the call of duty
    • The Xbox 360 Elite ($299) comes with LEGO Batman and PURE. There's also a Modern Warfare 2 Limited Edition Elite Console that costs $399 and includes a 250 GB hard drive, an exclusive design based on the game Modern Warfare 2, two wireless controllers (black), an Xbox 360 wired headset, an Ethernet cable, a composite AV cable, and a copy of the game Modern Warfare 2.
  • 7Stacks - "7stacks is an easy to use, free app that lets Windows 7 (and Vista and XP) users have "stacks" of icons in their Taskbar (in 7) or QuickLaunch Toolbar (in Vista and XP). By using stacks, users can reduce icon clutter, and combine a group of related icons into a single icon. For instance, if you use application suites such as Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, or Adobe CS4, you can have all the suite's icons combined into one icon! ... Windows 7 seemed to have one glaring omission of OSX: stacks. Now, with 7stacks, you get almost the same functionality as the OS X stacks, but with a more "Windows 7" appearance."
    • Thanks to Jason Wasser for the tip
  • Create ad-hoc wireless networks ... Yes, even with Windows 7 Starter
    • Windows 7, like Windows Vista, lets you create ad-hoc, peer-to-peer wireless networks for sharing purposes. But you can also use this to share a wired (or 3G) Internet connection between two computers. According to Microsoft, this feature isn't available to Windows 7 Starter. But that's not the case at all.

Office 2010 Home and Business Beta w/Click-2-Run

Use AlternativeTo to find free replacements for popular apps

  • Top 7 Ways to Enhance Your Windows 7 Experience
    • Some Windows 7 tips ... from Microsoft [7]
  • Get a free Windows Server 2008 R2 eBook [8]
  • Get the latest Zune HD games
    • First, download a minor Zune HD firmware update (v4.3)
    • Then get access to 5 new games and one other app
    • Some of the games are 3D
    • Nothing major, but a nice bonus for Zune HD users
  • SkyDrive Explorer - "SkyDrive Explorer is a free, easy-to-use, but very powerful extension for Windows Explorer. With SkyDrive Explorer you can make any every-day operations with your documents from Microsoft Live SkyDrive service using Windows Explorer, as if they were on your computer."
    • Sort of. At least 25 people recommended this tool this week
  • Connectify - Turn your Windows 7 laptop into a wireless hotspot. Enables a feature that was supposed to be included in Windows 7 but was dropped
    • Bad news: It doesn't work with all wireless hardware. Thanks to Steve Moore for the tip
  • Offisync Collaborate with others With one click, enable multiple people to view and make changes at the same time to your office document. Store your documents online Backup your files online and access your information from any computer. Publish and share your documents Publish information through your social networks and blogs. Integrated Google Search Search for web content or images and import them into your documents and presentations in one click. This was a tip from Leo.
  • Make the Windows 7 Upgrade media work every single time - Rundown of advice from Microsoft about installing with Upgrade media [9]
  • Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool - The Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool allows you to create a copy of your Windows 7 ISO file on a USB flash drive or a DVD. To create a bootable DVD or USB flash drive, download the ISO file and then run the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool. Once this is done, you can install Windows 7 directly from the USB flash drive or DVD.
NOTE: The Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool seems to have been pulled by Microsoft since it was discovered it was built using source code. Information regarding this discovery found here
  • Plus: Update on VLC vs. Media Player Classic Cinema
  • Leo's Pick - - The customizable application installer for Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Stay secure - People have misunderstood my advice about just using common sense to be secure online. Here's what you can do. Install good AV. Enable automatic updates in Windows. Keep up to date. Be smart online. It doesn't have to be difficult.
  • Media Player Classic Home Cinema - A continuation of the well-regarded Media Player Classic, Great for video watching, Supports H.264/VC-1, plays virtually anything, Minimal system footprint, Native 64-bit executable for Windows Vista/7 x64
  • Speed Up Zune Marketplace Searches - In IE, navigate to Tools, Internet Options, and then the Connection tab. Click the LAN settings button and then uncheck "Automatically detect settings. [10]
  • DisplayFusion - Multi-monitor enhancements for Windows (XP, Vista, 7). Primary reason: Different wallpaper on each screen, or one image that spans both screens. There's a free version and a paid version that does more
  • Going to Windows 7? It's time to adopt AAC, H.264 - Last year, I recommended MP3 over AAC for audio and tentatively recommended H.264 for video. But if you're moving to Windows 7, there's no reason to look back
  • Windows Live Movie Maker
    • Free for Windows Vista and 7 users
    • Excellent video editing
    • And yes, it can import from DV sources.
    • Output to HD, DVD, YouTube
  • Use Libraries and Homegroup in Windows 7 - Heck, use 'em together
    • Libraries: A way to aggregate content together from the same PC. You can make your own
    • Homegroup: A way to easily share Libraries (and printers) between PCs in your home
  • Movie - OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies
  • - Not so much a single piece of software, but rather a site that lists alternatives to popular software. For example: Alternatives to Photoshop include GIMP, Paint.NET, and so on.

Thanks to Jeff Jones for the tip.

  • Get the Xbox 360 Elite for $50 off - Just $250 with a $50 mail in rebate through October 3 in the US only. Nintendo is reducing price of Wii to $200 starting 9/27 too)
  • Zune 4 - Latest version of the Zune desktop software for windows
  • Chrome 3 - Latest version of Google's web browser
  • Select multiple pictures for your desktop wallpaper more easily (Win7) -- Instead of going through the Personalization UI to choose the wallpapers you want to rotate through, there's a pretty easy shortcut you can do instead. Simply open up the directory containing all the pictures you want to use in Explorer. Highlight the pictures you want (click-drag or ctrl/shift+click). Right-click, and choose "Set as desktop background". Thanks to Jordan Cohen
  • Access PC reliability data in Windows 7
    • They did move it, but it's still easy to find
    • And now there is better troubleshooting capabilities
  • WinToFlash - Automate the process of creating a bootable USB-based Windows install. Not just Windows 7: Works on XP, Vista too. Thanks to Steve G. for the tip
  • Use Windows 7 libraries for new "arrangement" views - From Windows 7 Secrets, Chapter 5: "You can arrange Library views in ways that aren’t possible with folders: While Libraries support the Sort by and Group by options utilized by folders, they also offer a unique visualization option called Arrange by that is not offered to traditional folders."
    • Unique to Libraries, not available in other folder views
    • Especially nice for rich media like photos: Uses stacks
  • VirtualBox 3 Why? It runs both 32-bit and 64-bit guests, unlike Windows VirtualPC. Also: Runs on Windows, OS X, Linux, and Solaris, supports virtualized Windows, Linux, Solaris
Slight correction: It was said in the podcast that Virtualbox doesn't have the equivalent of "Union" in Vmware fusion... If I understand correctly this is actually pretty much the same as the "seamless" mode offered in Virtualbox! So there you go, Virtualbox actually does have a similar feature. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
  • Another reason to skip Windows 7 Starter - I've verified that Windows 7 versions that support Aero, Windows 7 Home Premium and up, actually perform better on lower-end hardware than do versions of Windows 7 that don't (i.e. Starter). This is true both on an 800 Mhz Celeron UMPC test system and my kid's netbooks. Moral of this story? You may get Windows 7 Starter for free, but you're still going to want to upgrade.
  • TrueCrypt Free, open source file encryption tool.
  • Last Pass Free, cloud-based password management
  • Pick the right Windows 7 product edition (Redux)
    • Hint: It's almost certainly Windows 7 Home Premium.
  • Get a free Microsoft book about virtualization in PDF format [11]
    • "Understanding Microsoft Virtualization Solutions" By Mitch Tulloch with the Microsoft Virtualization Teams (ISBN: 9780735693371)
    • This guide will teach you about the benefits of the latest virtualization technologies and how to plan, implement, and manage virtual infrastructure solutions. The technologies covered include: Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5, Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization, and Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.
  • Check out Microsoft Springboard for some great in-depth Windows 7 feature walk-throughs and other information about the next Windows. Aimed at IT Pros, and includes some topics I have not examined yet, like VHD booting.
  • Password Safe - "Password Safe allows you to manage your old passwords and to easily and quickly generate, store, organize, retrieve, and use complex new passwords, using password policies that you control. Once stored, your user names and passwords are just a few clicks away."
  • Pick the right Windows 7 version - You really only have three viable choices, so relax. Check out my Windows 7 Product Editions comparison to help you decide, I will address some common misconceptions.
  • Foof for Firefox Ad blocker - Works with Windows, Mac, and Linux. Thanks to Peter Chase
  • PortableApps - Allows you to run loads of different applications directly from a USB key. Thanks to Jon West
  • Get ready for Windows 7 - Prepare a number of backups (including document/data backups as well a full system image backup if possible). Think about doing a clean install of the OS even if you have Vista and can upgrade. If you're installing on an existing PC, add a new drive or partition for the simplest install and the ability to dual boot with your old OS if something goes wrong. Be mindful of the tiered release schedule and try to get your hands on the OS as soon as you can, according to your abilities. Need to a new PC? You'd be better off waiting in my opinion.
  • Windows 7 notification area organization
  • Drag and drop to Explorer address bar in Windows 7 - Having trouble finding the tiny gap between icons and the underlying window? Windows 7 makes it easier.
  • Grab classic games for cheap at (Good Old Games) - Like Steam, but for last decade's best games
    • Ex: Duke Nukem 3D ($6), Fallout ($6), Unreal Tournament GOTY ($10)
    • No DRM, redownload purchased titles whenever you want
    • Excellent compatibility across XP, Vista (including x64)
    • After-purchase goodies, like wallpapers, PDF documentation, videos, more
  • Get a free 33 1/3 audiobook from Audible courtesy of! - Neil Young's Harvest "is one of those strange albums that has achieved lasting success without ever winning the full approval of rock critics or hardcore fans. Even Young himself has been equivocal, describing it in one breath as his "finest" album, dismissing it in the next as an aberration. Now, with Young’s archives finally available to the public, it’s a perfect moment to explore the circumstances of this iconic album's creation. Get the whole story from the acclaimed 33 1/3 series, free for a limited time at"

Thanks to Jason More for the tip.

  • Game Booster - "Designed to help optimize your PC for smoother, more responsive game play in the latest PC games with the touch of a button, Game Booster helps achieve the performance edge previously only available to highly technical enthusiasts. It works by temporarily shutting down background processes, cleaning RAM, and intensifying processor performance. That means you can keep all the features of Windows Vista and XP ready for when you need them, but turn them off when you are ready to get down to serious business – gaming."

Thanks to Robert Martinez

  • Living la Vida 7 means living like you have Mac OS X - Sometimes "going all in" requires a bit of rethinking. In this case, pre-populating the Windows 7 taskbar with all the shortcuts you regularly use and forgoing the Start Menu almost entirely.
  • Winfox Adds jump list, multi-tab preview support to Firefox in Windows 7

Thanks to Robert Benson for the tip.

  • Create custom jump list items for Explorer locations
    • Create a shortcut on the desktop to the target folder
    • Rename the shortcut to the desired name (Getting rid of the "- Shortcut" text)
    • Pin that to the Explorer icon, so it gets added to the jump list
    • Delete the shortcut from the desktop - The item remains on the jump list even after the shortcut has been deleted.

Thanks to Mark Osborn for the tip.

  • Installpad - "InstallPad takes a list of your favorite programs and will download and install the ones you pick. It doesn't need to ask any questions, so you can go do more important things ... InstallPad can help you get a machine set up with service packs, applications or development tools without the need for CDs or running lots of scripts. With it you can quickly install a host of programs silently, pass arguments to the installers, and run post-installation scripts."
  • I get a lot of questions about using Windows Live SkyDrive via Windows Explorer. Microsoft offers no solution for this, and we've previously discussed Gladinet as a workaround. But there are other alternatives: Live Mesh (excellent for PC-to-PC-to-web sync) and third party tools like DropBox (, which let you do true drag and drop file sync, treating remote locations like normal shell folders in Windows. Live Mesh is so good we used it for the book.
  • Visual Studio 2010 Professional Beta 1 (and .NET Framework 4 Beta 1) - Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4 are the next generation of Microsoft development tools. They work together to accelerate the process of turning vision into reality for the developer. Visual Studio 2010 Professional has been engineered to support the development of applications for Windows, the Web, and Office.
  • Customize the Windows 7 taskbar with a new toolbar
    • Why? Because you can add things to the toolbar that won't got on the stock taskbar, like shortcuts to the Recycle Bin and individual documents. This works in other versions of Windows too, but is more relevant on Windows 7 because of the new pinning behavior, which is limited in some weird ways.
  • Pidgin and Digsby - IM/Communication clients
  • Securable - To correctly identify Intel and AMD processors that support hardware virtualization (and thus Windows Virtual PC and XP Mode)
  • Use the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor Beta to check hardware/software compatibility with Windows 7 [12]
  • Windows Virtual PC Beta and Windows XP Mode Beta
    • If you have Windows 7 RC, you can get a free, licensed copy of Windows XP w/ SP3 too (XP Mode) - right now, it works in all Windows 7 versions, but the final will be for Windows 7 Pro, Enterprise and Ultimate only. New to this version: integrated application mode for XP, Vista, and 7, and USB support.
  • Using Open With in Windows 7 RC
    • If you drag a file onto the taskbar, Windows 7 wants to pin it. But to open with an app that is on the taskbar, drag with SHIFT
  • Run built-in XP Mode applications side by side with Windows 7 apps
    • When you install new apps in XP mode, they appear on the Windows 7 Start Menu. But what about the built-in XP apps? (Like IE 6.) Here's how to get them running in Windows 7 too. [13]
  • Slipstream Office 2007 SP2 [14]
  • Real Player Lets you download FLV files from youtube and other sites in its HD form.
  • Jaunty Jackalope Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope ships today
  • If you buy 4,000 Xbox live points on the Amazon Store before May 1st you will get a $10 credit [15]
  • Switcher Expose type window switcher for Windows Vista and higher.
  • Holding down shift when right clicking on a file/folder gives you expanded functionality in Windows
  • In Windows 7 right clicking on a folder allows you to include it in a library
  • Twhirl Adobe air based Twitter application
  • Twitteron Another adobe air based application with an interesting UI
  • Xbox 360 Users: Amazon launched an Xbox Live store which lets you buy downloadable codes for points and arcade games [16]
  • IE8 Users: InPrivate filtering lets you block ads by importing an xml file [17]
  • DOSBox
    • x86 emulator with DOS, lets you run DOS games in Windows XP/Vista/7
    • Like Wolfenstein 3D, mentioned last week, also Duke Nukem, etc.
  • Speed up IE 8! See Bigfoot while you're at it
  • WMWiFiRouter
    • Use your Windows Mobile phone and its 3G connection as a high-speed modem for your PC. Requires a WM 5.x or 6.x phone with both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. Will be testing this soon,(Not free: Costs 19.99 Euro.)
    • Recommended by a number of people, most recently of Derek J. Nolan of and the 2old2type Radio Podcast - aimed at the discriminating older gentlemen. :)
  • Wolfenstein 3D Classic for the iPhone, DOS-based 3D shooter comes to the iPhone, DOOM is next

Check out a few of IE 8's least understood new features:

  • Web slices are Microsoft's latest attempt at "at your fingertips info access" (a la the Sidebar in Windows Vista). and then Web Slices on the left Some obvious ones: Weather, eBay, Traffic, ESPN Sports

  • Visual search suggestions ... and multiple search providers

IE 8 is the most search engine-friendly browser there is Load it up with Google, Live Search, Yahoo!,, NYTimes, whatever Run the same search against multiple searches Web-based searches auto-populate the search box

  • Get After the Software Wars for free
    • You can buy the paper version of the book at Amazon now
    • Or download the PDF free from Lulu
    • Message: Open source, not proprietary software, is the future.
  • Still more wallpaper
    • Check out for even more high-quality wallpaper
    • Some of the imagery is absolutely stunning
    • They also sell a wallpaper app for iPhone called Backdrops which works pretty well
    • Thanks to Mike Bam of Melbourne, Australia for the tip
  • MSN Wallpapers Free application that comes with high quality wallpapers with the ability to customize and rotate between them
  • Turn off Windows shadows for a cleaner look
    • Now possible in Windows 7: In Windows Vista, you could only remove shadows on menus and the mouse cursor
    • Go to Advance Settings -> Performance
  • 7-Zip Free open source file archiver for windows
  • Bitlocker To Go in the Windows 7 Beta
    • Lets you encrypt portable devices such as external hard drives and flash drives
    • It's not tied to one computer, you can unlock the drive on any Windows 7 system
    • Glary Utilities - Nice replacement for Software Explorer, which is being removed from the Windows 7 version of Windows Defender. (Startup Manager)
    • But it also does a lot more:
    • "It allows you to clean common system junk files, as well as invalid registry entries and Internet traces. You can manage and delete browser add-ons, analyze disk space usage and find duplicate files. You can also view and manage installed shell extensions, encrypt your files from unauthorized access and use, split large files into smaller manageable files and then rejoin them. Furthermore, Glary Utilities includes the options to optimize memory, find, fix, or remove broken Windows shortcuts, manage the programs that start at Windows startup and uninstall software. Other features include secure file deletion, an Empty Folder finder and more."
    • Recommended by Stephen Hoos via email. Wonderful program.
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify
    • In keeping with the Less is More philosophy
    • One email client - aggregate accounts in a single place (I use Gmail)
    • One calendar - subscribe to things that are important (I use Google Calendar)
    • One point of entry into your digital life/digital persona - how many of us have blogs, IM, twitter, Facebook, etc.? It's time to consolidate. (I can't do this, but Paul is defining how he uses each of these things.)
  • Foxmarks Syncs browser bookmarks/favorites between PCs/Macs, Works with IE/Firefox (Windows) and Firefox/Safari (Mac), Bonus: Includes Web site password sync (Firefox only)
  • Skype 4 for windows now available
  • Gladinet Many readers have recommended this: It lets you access SkyDrive from Windows Explorer (and other things).
  • Unlocker overcomes annoying "cannot delete file" dialogs in Vista/XP. This software is donationware. Thanks to Troy Haskin for the tip via email.
  • This weeks tip is about using Windows 7 Styles and Themes. I've put up a Washington D.C. theme -- will soon post themes for London, Paris, Ireland, and Coffee. You can use the desktop backgrounds in XP, Vista, Mac of course themepack files can be opened by ZIP programs. Find them on the Supersite.


  • Excellent disk usage viewer for Windows - surprised I haven't had this one in here before.
  • Thanks to Greg Martin for the tip
  • See the discussion page for other similar free programs.
  • An amazing list of Windows 7 tips published by a Microsoft engineer.
  • Free Battlestar Galactica Webisodes on Zune Marketplace In Season 0: A 10-part episode, Face of the Enemy, that bridges the gap between the last season and the next, plus two specials, "Recap" and "Catch the Frak Up"
  • Use Windows 7 Play To … to send content around the house.
  • Windows 7 users: Make the new taskbar work properly
  • Make Flip3D useful with the SmartFlip utility
  • Get Office Student and Teacher cheap: $90 at
  • Prepare for Windows Live Wave 3, coming next week
  • Zune 3.1 - Excellent even if you don't have a device
  • Virtualization on the desktop
  • Don't forget that Virtual PC and Virtual Server are still free. VMware workstartion 6.5 just shipped, too.
  • Shrink and expand partitions with Disk Management (in Computer Management)
  • Rip CDs intelligently

Picks for episodes prior to Windows Weekly 80 can be found at