Apps of the Month – The XP Enhancements Marathon

posted by on 31st August 2007, at 10:55pm

Get your tech brains ready, this month has sixteen applications for you to chew your way through. Welcome to the XP Enhancements Marathon!

Programmers Notepad

Featured before on Apps of the month, I felt it was only right to feature it again, as it is a rather awesome app which I tended to use pretty much every single day on my Windows machine. This notepad is a lot more powerful than Windows notepad, with syntax highlighting, tabs, and many other incredibly useful features for both programmers and normal users alike. It is possible to make it completely replace Windows notepad on XP – PM me (MattVortex) on the forums if you’re interested in knowing how.

Taskbar Shuffle

This was mentioned in R!Update 114. It is a very nifty app which allows you greater control over the taskbar in Windows XP (and possibly Vista) – allowing you to rearrange the items there as you see fit. The most recent version also allows rearranging of system tray icons, too.

Process Explorer

This allows much more power over controlling and monitoring processes than Windows XP’s default task manager. Mostly recommended for more advanced users.


Like Programmers Notepad, this has also been previously featured in my Apps of the Month. This useful little application allows you to control the speed of your processor, changing modes for performance or powersaving. Intended for laptop users to get the maximum battery life when roaming around and get the maximum performance when plugged in.


Again, this has been featured before, and was mentioned on RSBandBUpdate! Episode 114. It is a dock application which can serve as a quicklaunch bar or act like the Mac OS X dock, with Window minimisation etc.

QT Toolbar, Tabbar and Addressbar

These three applications add functionality to Explorer which greatly improves its power – the Tab bar giving the window tabs, Address bar breaking up the address in the address bar to allow quick access to higher folders, and the toolbar adding a little toolbar for quick searches. One of them (to be honest, I’m not sure which. I installed them all at the same time) also adds some neat functionality for folders, allowing you to click a small icon next to a folder to access the contents programs-menu style, while also giving mouse over previews of images and text documents.

uxtheme Patcher

The uxtheme patcher replaces a system file within Windows to allow you to use third-party themes within Windows XP. By default, the only themes you can use are Microsoft-made themes, although this patcher allows you to use both Microsoft-made and themes from other sources like DeviantART.


Synctoy is a backup utility made by Microsoft for Windows. With it, you have a folder pair with a left and right side, and you can perform different actions with these sides. You would, for example, make a left side your documents and the right side a folder on your backup hard drive, then set the mode to Echo, which duplicates all changes that happen on the left on the right, including deletions, creations and modifications. It is an exceptionally useful program for backup, and certainly beats the default copy function in Windows.


Again, featured previously in the Informer, and in Update 114. This application is a media player designed to be able to play everything. It is the only media player you will ever need, almost – capable of playing various formats, as well as DVDs of any region or protection scheme.


A compression/decompression program and algorithm for Windows, this allows you to compress and decompress a multitude of formats. It can decompress gz, tgz, tar, bz2, tbz, cpio, rpm, deb, rar, 7z, zip, z, arj, cab, and lzh, and compress into tar, gz, bz2 7z and zip. Far better than the built-in zipping of Windows.


TaskswitchXP is an Alt+Tab replacement for Windows XP. There are various options which make it both more aesthetically pleasing than the standard alt+tab as wel as more powerful and user friendly. The alt+tab window that appears can be skinned, and can be sticky so instead of giving yourself RSI pressing alt+tab a hundred times, you can move your mouse and select a window. There is also an option for window previews within the alt+tab window.


Unlocker is an application which helps with deletion of (apparently) un-deletable files. I have certainly had annoying files which have refused to delete before, and unlocker identifies the reason they won’t delete, and overrides it, allowing it to be deleted.


Quickmonth is a tiny calendar program, like that within the standard Gnome desktop of many Linuxes – just hover over the time, and you get a small calendar appear – exceptionally useful for quickly looking at the date (I am certainly one who keeps forgetting the date :$ )


Teracopy is a utility which increases the power of the default Windows explorer copy function. Windows explorer copy is frankly terrible – coughing up if a file is unreadable, whining at you about executable or system files – teracopy simply copies. If a file is unreadable, instead of canceling the entire operation, it will just skip and continue, without running away to hide in a corner if something goes wrong.

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