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  1. Windows XP PowerToys Ever since the release of Windows 95, Microsoft has supplied a set of PowerToys for each of the major Windows operating-system. PowerToys are small applications that enhance the operating system's functions in a number of ways, enabling users to boost productivity, configure the system UI in various ways and, generally, to expand the operating system's capabilities. Since the initial release, PowerToys has become a favorite of most users, and the popularity is understandable. It is easy to understand why users began asking whether PowerToys would be included in Windows XP when the operating system was still under development. Microsoft didn't disappoint. You can download PowerToys for Windows XP from either http://www.microsoft.com/downloads or http://downloads-zdnet.com.com. Note Windows XP PowerToys are mainly intended for Windows XP workstations. However, most of them also run on Windows Server 2003. Further, while they were not intended for network servers, there are some PowerToys that are useful even when installed on computers running Windows Server 2003. Particularly worth mentioning are Open Command Window Here, and Tweak UI. Open Command Window Here Open Command Window Here is one of the most valuable PowerToys, allowing you easily to drop to the command prompt from any Windows Explorer folder. This is a PowerToy that should be installed even on network servers. After it is installed, the Open Command Window Here menu item will be available in the right-click menu in any Windows Explorer folder. Just right-click on a folder, choose Open Command Window Here, and a command prompt session (with the selected folder as the default directory) will open. Additionally, if you right-click on a folder icon in a Windows Explorer window, will also have the Open Command Window Here command available in the resulting menu. If you like to work at a command prompt, this toy is a must-have. Tweak UI for Windows XP The Windows XP version of Tweak UI is the most valuable of all PowerToys included in the current release. It provides a safe and convenient way of customizing various system settings, which are not available in the default Windows XP/Windows Server 2003 user interface. To achieve the same result without Tweak UI, you would need to edit the system registry. As was mentioned in Chapter 1, this tool provides alternative methods for editing the Registry, which are usually safer than those using Regedit.exe.
  2. In contrast to all of the previous releases of Tweak UI, which were included as Control Panel applets, Tweak UI for Windows XP is a standalone executable file. You can place this EXE file in any folder and start it from there, since it doesn't have to be installed prior to use. Tweak UI for Windows XP displays a hierarchical tree of available options in the left pane. After you select an option in the left pane, the right pane will display the available configuration settings (Fig. 14.1). Figure 14.1: Tweak UI for Windows XP Note Before you install Windows XP PowerToys and start playing with this version of TweakUl, make sure that you have deleted any older copies of TweakUl. The new Tweak UI enables you to do carry out practically any kind of customization, including a number of difficult tasks, such as configuring various UI visual effects, error beeps, cursor shadow, etc.; and configuring the taskbar, shell folders, etc. As was already mentioned in this chapter, to produce the same result without Tweak UI, would have to edit the system registry. For example, the Colors category provides you with an easy way of customizing the colors used by Windows Explorer to display compressed and encrypted files (Fig. 14.2). As you may recall, the method for achieving the same effect through editing the system registry was covered in Chapter 4. In addition to changing the color for compressed and encrypted objects, TweakUI provides the Hot-tracking option, which enables Windows to display names in a different color when you point to them with the mouse (provided that you have enabled the single-click user interface). In contrast to customization of the colors used to display compressed and encrypted objects, which, as you should remember, modify the AltColor and AltEncryptionColor REG_BINARY values under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer registry key, the Hot-tracking option modifies the HotTrackingColor string value under HKCU\Control Panel\Colors registry key.
  3. Figure 14.2: The Colors subcategory of the Explorer category in TweakUI In concluding our discussion of PowerToys for Windows XP, you should understand that installing these tools is your choice. Furthermore, we didn't cover all of the Toys included in this collection in this chapter. Instead, we paid particular attention to the tools that seem to be the most useful and convenient. If you like the new Windows XP user interface, you will probably like many of the other Toys not covered here.
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