I normally do not have to create a lot of thumbnails, maybe one or two per day for my articles but that is it. I use GIMP for the purpose, definitely not the best choice because of the long loading times but good enough for the few that I have to create. Sometimes however I'm in the position to create thumbnails of hundreds of images and there is no way to create them with GIMP because it would take a very long time.
Optimizing a computer to improve performance while keeping everything stable is something that I really like to do. The first thing that I do when I get a new computer is to get rid of useless softwares and take a look at system settings to find ways to improve them.
After a few months of using Launchy and Rocket Dock I realized that I actually did not use the startmenu of my Windows operating system at all. I either use these great apps that give me more flexibility and speed or use icons on my desktop for certain tasks.
Another reason why I'm not using the startmenu anymore is that it really looks and feels messy after a while because every new application adds it's own folder to it. The question that came up for me is whether I needed the startmenu at all.
I'm using a sweet little freeware for some time now on Windows XP that tabs normal windows giving my desktop a clean look most of the time while still giving me access to all the folders that I need to work with at that time. I got used to it pretty quickly and thought that it would be a great way to expand this behavior to applications as well.
I think every Windows user experienced an error message like "Could not find xxx.dll" before and wondered what the hell happened with that dll. One reason could be that you used to uninstall a program that asked specifically whether you would like to remove the xxx.dll as well because it could still be needed by other applications.
Windows has a feature that groups similar windows, for example seven explorer windows, in one taskbar button which is great if you like your taskbar as clean as possible. There is however no direct way to change the amount of windows that are needed before Windows starts grouping them.
The MAC address is an identifier for most network adapters. Although several Internet websites and manufacturers claim that it is not possible to change the MAC address. SMAC leaves the hardware MAC address alone but offers a software based way to change it which remains changed even after rebooting the computer.
The default temporary directory in Windows is located on the same hard drive and partition as the operating system itself. This is not really optimized and you could speed up your operating system by moving the temporary folder from the default location to another hard drive.
Driver Grabber is a small application for Microsoft Windows operating systems which grabs all device drivers except drivers from Microsoft and saves them in the same directory where Drive Grabber was executed from. This can be extremely useful but the application is mainly geared towards techies and not casual users.
I thought it was not possible to to improve CoolSwitch but I was obviously wrong. Xilokit.com came out with another interesting concept that brings an interesting concept to Windows. It's a freeware application called Deskloops which offers an refreshing idea on how to handle windows in Windows.
The defragmentation tool that ships with Windows is pretty basic and does not offer features that are needed for instance if you have more than one partition or hard drive. Some users would like to defrag all of their hard drives at once while they go to work or sleep.
Messenger Plus Live is an add-on for the Windows Live Messenger which adds a multitude of new features to the main program. Messenger Plus Live works with Windows Live Messenger 8 and 8.5 and can be used on Windows XP and Windows Vista.
I always thought that it would be pretty nice to be able to add the most used folders and applications to My Computer. I personally use My Computer to achieve two goals. First I use it to access my DVD and virtual drives to start applications for instance. The second use is that I access folders that I tend to use very often. Folders like my mp3 collection, profile folders and several applications fall under this category as well.
I mentioned three days ago in my blog that the Autopatcher team released the June 2007 patches for Windows Vista and just now they announced that the updates for XP can be downloaded as well from their sites. In case you missed the last post here is what Autopatcher does.
The default clock that is shown on every Windows operating system in the lower left corner was always a thorn in my eyes. It displayed the time but the current date was always a click away. I always wanted to change this and customize the way the clock was displayed in the system tray leaving the boundaries of the Microsoft clock.
Windows XP offers a function that is hidden deep inside the user account menu. It is possible to create a so called password reset disk that can be used to reset the password of the account is has been created for. You simply pop in the disk if you have forgotten your password and use it to create a new one.
There is normally no way to store the components of the password reset disk on an usb device because Windows XP is unable to access it during logon. It is not a problem to store the files on an USB device but you will face troubles when trying to access it if you lost your password.
Autopatcher is an ongoing project that creates a monthly executable that contains all patches for Microsoft operating systems that have been released in that month. It is then possible to execute this program and apply all patches that have been released by Microsoft at once without connecting to the Microsoft server at all.
I had the chance to test hundreds of freeware and open-source softwares in the last months and would like to list 20 of them that I would recommend. I'm actually using half of them on my Windows XP computer right now and I'm glad that I made the change from some respected popular programs to lesser known but better alternatives.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.