Power Toys and Ultimate Extras for Windows 7 and Vista (XP Too) Part 3

The Power Toys for Windows XP were very popular to the point that Microsoft made you pay for the ones in Vista and called them Ultimate Extras, but unlike their XP counterparts they did not release a lot of the Ultimate Extras.

In Part 3 we will be looking at more utilities this time from Microsoft.

Utilities from Microsoft

1. Microsoft Security Essentials This is my new favorite antivirus software.  It is light weight, does not bog the system down and does a great job.  I highly suggest this for anyone’s home computer, non-profit, or small businesses.  It is available for Windows 7, Vista, and XP and you can learn more and download it here at http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 in Windows 7

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 in Windows 7

2. SyncToy   This actually started as a Power Toy for Windows XP and has been evolved over the years into what it is today.  This tool is for synchronizing files between two different areas, whether on the same drive, different ones, or different devices.  This is a quick way to keep files synced and ready to go.  It is available for Windows 7, Vista, and XP and you can check it out and download it here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=C26EFA36-98E0-4EE9-A7C5-98D0592D8C52&displaylang=en

SyncToy in Windows 7

SyncToy in Windows 7

 

3. Windows Mobile Device Center   This software is for syncing files and information for Windows Mobile smartphones.  It works with Windows Mobile 6.5 and earlier.  Windows Mobile Device Center is available for Windows 7 and Windows Vista and you can learn more and download the 32Bit version here at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/en-us/downloads/microsoft/device-center-download.mspx And get the 64-bit version here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyId=4F68EB56-7825-43B2-AC89-2030ED98ED95&displaylang=en

Windows Mobile Device Center in Windows 7

Windows Mobile Device Center in Windows 7

 

4. Microsoft ActiveSync     The Windows Mobile Device Center is not available for Windows XP and this is where ActiveSync comes in.  ActiveSync is the older version of Mobile Device Center and it again works with Windows Mobile devices to sync files and information.  You can check it out and download it at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/en-us/downloads/microsoft/activesync-download.mspx

Microsoft ActiveSync in Windows XP

Microsoft ActiveSync in Windows XP

 

5.  Windows Virtual PC   This is great software to run operating systems in a virtual environment.  This new version of Virtual PC integrates very well into the Windows environment.  I have used this recently and plan to write more articles about it.  The awesome thing about it, this is available for all versions of Windows 7.  You can check it out and download it here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=2B6D5C18-1441-47EA-8309-2545B08E11DD&displaylang=en

Once you have it installed there is an update to remove the Hardware Virtualization need you can get here for the 32Bit version and here for the 64-bit version.

Windows Virtual PC in Windows 7

Windows Virtual PC in Windows 7

6.  XP Mode   This is a great feature.  This feature is only available for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate.    Let’s say you have an older program that does not run in Windows 7.  Well if you install it in XP Mode you can have it run right off of the Windows 7 Start Menu.  Once you have XP Mode installed it runs out of Windows Virtual PC which you must have installed first.  Please note if you are going to set up XP Mode you need to install things in order, first Windows Virtual PC, then XP Mode then one of the updates above.    You can download XP Mode here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=FB633E9D-DDBC-4044-BB09-4F99E757064E&displaylang=en

XP Mode desktop In Windows 7 Ultimate

XP Mode desktop In Windows 7 Ultimate

7.  Virtual PC 2007   If you are using Windows Vista or XP and you want to run operating systems in a virtual environment then you can download Virtual PC 2007.  While it does not have all the features of Windows Virtual PC it still does the job well.  Also, Virtual PC 2007 supports running older operating systems.  If you want to check it out you can read more and download it from here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=28C97D22-6EB8-4A09-A7F7-F6C7A1F000B5&displaylang=en

Virtual PC 2007 in Windows Vista

Virtual PC 2007 in Windows Vista

8. Microsoft Mathematics    This program should have its own blog post.  This is the old Windows XP Power Toy Calculator on crack. You can do just about anything Math related on this thing.  Solve equations, convert units, graphing, trig, etc.  Best of all it is Free.  It uses the Tab and Ribbon interface from the Windows Live and Windows 7 programs.  You can install it in Windows 7, Vista, and XP (Please note that the .Net 3.5 framework must be installed for Vista and XP users).  You can learn more and download it from here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=9caca722-5235-401c-8d3f-9e242b794c3a

Microsoft Mathematics in Windows 7

Microsoft Mathematics in Windows 7

 

These are some great additions to Windows that add functionality and customization.

For Non-Microsoft Utilities check out Part 2.

For Communication and Games check out Part 1.

Power Toys and Ultimate Extras for Windows 7 and Vista (XP Too) Part 2

The Power Toys for Windows XP were very popular to the point that Microsoft made you pay for the ones in Vista and called them Ultimate Extras, but unlike their XP counterparts they did not release a lot of the Ultimate Extras.  In Windows 7 we really don’t see any Power Toys or Ultimate Extras… or do we?  I have a list of some great add-ons for Windows 7 that will bring functionality and fun to this great OS.

Now some of these are from Microsoft others from third-party developers, but all are tested and are very useful.  In Part 2 we will be looking at Utilities.

Utilities Not From Microsoft

I do not use a lot of third-party applications but the ones I do use are very helpful, here are a few utilities I use a lot and suggest.

1. 7-Zip   7-Zip is a great program to work with compressed files.  It works with every major format including .rar   No more installing Winrar.    Best of all it is free.

7zip in Windows 7

7zip in Windows 7

I suggest changing the options though if you click on Tools and then Options you will see the following.

7Zip File Type Options

7Zip File Type Options

I select all but .zip .cab and .iso which I let Windows manage .cab and .zip and I let another app manage .iso which I will cover later.  It is available for Windows 7, Vista, and XP and you can get it at http://www.7-zip.org/

2. Ccleaner  Ccleaner is short for Crap Cleaner.  It is an awesome utility for removing temporary files and registry errors from Windows.  It is very customizable and supports many applications.  It is available for Windows 7, Vista, and XP and you can get it at http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download

Ccleaner 3 in Windows 7

Ccleaner 3 in Windows 7

3. Context Menu Editor   Is is an application for editing the right-click context menu in Windows.  You can put links to any application, Win32 Command, or website that you wish.  This tool is only available for Windows 7 and Vista and you can get more information and download it here at http://www.thewindowsclub.com/context-menu-editor-for-windows-7-vista-released

Context Menu Editor in Windows 7

Context Menu Editor in Windows 7

4. Right Click Extender If the Context Menu Editor is a little over your head check out the Right Click Extender.  It has many options that you can enable for Context Menus on the Desktop, My Computer, Files/Folders, and Drives.  It is easy to use just select the ones you want. It is available for Windows 7, Vista, and some features work in XP too.  You can learn more and download it at http://www.thewindowsclub.com/right-click-context-menu-extender-for-windows-7-released

Right Click Extender in Windows 7

Right Click Extender in Windows 7

For more check out

Communication and Games in Part 1

Utilities from Microsoft in Part 3

Power Toys and Ultimate Extras for Windows 7 and Windows Vista (XP Too) Part 1

The Power Toys for Windows XP were very popular to the point that Microsoft made you pay for the ones in Vista and called them Ultimate Extras, but unlike their XP counterparts they did not release a lot of the Ultimate Extras.  In Windows 7 we really don’t see any Power Toys or Ultimate Extras… or do we?  I have a list of some great add-ons for Windows 7 that will bring functionality and fun to this great OS.

Now some of these are from Microsoft others from third-party developers, but all are tested and are very useful.  I will be looking at them in sections starting with Communication and Games.

Communication

These first three programs all come from Windows Live Essentials which you can download here at http://www.windowslive.com/desktop   For XP users you can get the older version of Windows Live Essentials from here at http://explore.live.com/windows-live-essentials-xp

1. Windows Live Mail  With all the webmail there is today would it not be nice to manage them all from one program.  But no one wants to pay and configure Outlook to do that.  This is where Windows Live Mail comes in. It even looks like a small version of Outlook 2010.  It can easily manage all your e-mail accounts all in one place.  It works with many popular e-mail services like Hotmail and Gmail.   This easy to use program is available for Windows 7 and Vista.  You can learn more and get it here at http://windowslive.com/Desktop/Mail For XP users you can get the older version here at http://explore.live.com/windows-live-mail-xp

The New Windows Live Mail in Windows 7

The New Windows Live Mail in Windows 7

 

2. Windows Live Messenger   While instant messaging has started to decline with things like Facebook and Texting lets face it, it is still handy and still free.  Windows Live Messenger allows you to chat with your friends that have Hotmail, MSN, or Live e-mail accounts and even those friends on Yahoo.  This program is evolving into a social media hub for the PC in the newest version which is out now.  I have it configured with MySpace integration which shows you updates from your friends and even lets you chat with them, this also works with Facebook.  It again is available for Windows 7 and Vista.  You can learn more and download it at  http://windowslive.com/desktop/messenger  and get the older version for Windows XP from here at http://explore.live.com/windows-live-Messenger-XP

The New Windows Live Messenger in Windows 7

The New Windows Live Messenger in Windows 7

 

3. Windows Live Writer  This program I have been getting to know.  It is a tool used to write blogs and it does a great job.  It has almost any feature you can want in a small word processing program that is ready with the tools for modern blogging.  The new version picks up the Ribbon interface making it work like Word 2007 or 2010.  It works with most blogging sites including WordPress.  It is also available for Windows 7 and Vista and you can read more information and download it from here at http://explore.live.com/windows-live-writer and for XP users the older version is available here at http://explore.live.com/windows-live-writer-xp

The New Windows Live Writer in Windows 7

The New Windows Live Writer in Windows 7

Games

1. Carioca Rummy  This is a form of contact rummy that is addicting to play, very addicting.  It is from Chile and is very fun to play.  It is available for Windows 7, Vista, and XP.  You can get it from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=9F295184-A788-49D6-8C7A-966B72C014F7&displaylang=en

Carioca Rummy in Windows 7

Carioca Rummy in Windows 7

 

Come back for more Power Toys and Ultimate Extras soon.

For Non-Microsoft Utilities check out Part 2.

For Utilities from Microsoft check out Part 3.