Thursday, August 17, 2006

Some useful XP PowerToys

Periodically, Microsoft releases some new PowerToys for Windows XP that either tweak your system, or add some functionality to it. They're shortcuts to little bits of additional functionality that can make life easier. Here are a couple relatively new PowerToys that I've found useful, along with an old one that I can't live without:

  • RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer: If you've been reading Neologies lately, you have already noticed my recent interest in photography. This PowerToy lets you view your RAW camera images in Windows Explorer. You can view thumbnails, as well as view those images in the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer (which can be used for slideshows). It comes in pretty handy when you're trying to manage your RAW images in Explorer, which I generally prefer.

  • SyncToy (version 1.2): This is a pretty robust, yet compact way to synchronize files between a number of different devices and drives. It offers several different methods to do this, including the basic synchronization (both ways), echo (one-way), subscriptions (one-way if files exist), contribution (updates only one-way), and combine (files are updated and copied both ways). If you're not sure which method you'd like to use, it also offers a way to preview what will happen before any changes are made. That said, it would sure be nice if it included a mechanism for scheduling the synchronization of some folders.

  • Image Resizer: This is a tiny utility that embeds itself as a Windows Explorer extension (it's a command added to the right-click menu) for image files. It allows you to resize any number of selected files to a preset resolution. If the presets aren't to your liking, you can plug in your own. I use this all the time when uploading images to the web or sending pictures via email. It's great when sending a full resolution photo isn't appropriate.

There are a couple other PowerToys available that may be worth a look as well, but these are the ones that I can't live without. Enjoy!

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