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.
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
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
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
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
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.