Having just got a new Vista PC at both Work and Home I’m a bit dissapointed about the few key tools that Vista seems to be missing. If it had these 5 tools, I think it would be a very well rounded and functional OS. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving vista, but it’s just lacking in the following areas:
1. Path Copy
Yes, if you hold down shift then right click on the file you get a menu option called “Copy as Path”, but it has quotation marks around it. I love Ninotech Path Copy becuase it has many options and I often need UNC paths for linking files from sharepoint. Unfortunately I can’t work out how to install an .inf file so can’t install Ninotech at the moment.
UPDATE: not sure what I was doing but I was able to install Ninotech Path Copy. But I also found this one which is much simpler to use – I love Ninotech becuase of it’s flexibility but this one is better for it’s simplicity – ClipboardPath
2. Taskbar Shuffle
Why oh Why can’t you move taskbar items in Vista – surely this is a no-brainer! Fortunately we have Taskbar Shuffle which is a godsend for a tidy and ordered desktop.
3. Print Screen
The useless old print the whole screen or the current window options went out with the dark ages – I do a lot of help files and emails and always do screen shots of the bits they need to know about. Having used Snagit previously, now I just use Gadwin Print Screen because it’s free and works really well – My default setting is rectangular window to clipboard as a jpg and no confirmations – quick and easy.
UPDATE: Oops I forgot about the new Snipping tool in Vista… however the snipping tool only installs with all the other tablet tools, and since I don’t have a tablet and wanted a very clean install, I did not originally install the tablet tools… I still prefer Gadwin over Snipping any day.
4. File Renamer and 5. Copy Explorer Columns
I know you can re-name multiple files at once with 1, 2, 3 etc on the end, but I want MORE. I know you can copy Paths in explorer but again I want MORE. So as much as I tried hard to not install any add-ons and explorer replacements, and as GREAT as the new explorer is in windows it just doesn’t cut it and I’ve had to install xplorer2 again. There are probably many other products that do the same but I love the tabbed folder views that remember what folder I was looking at yesterday and its excellent file re-naming features are great also. The Copy Columns feature is great, as I often need an excel spreadsheet with the file name in one column and the folder in the next, xplorer2’s copy column feature does that for me.
So with these little gems of software added to my new Vista PC’s I feel that I’ve got the best of both worlds – a UI that is excellent and my tools to help me get the job done.
One final point that will help with productivity – if you have Vista and not Office 2007, Add your Links folder to the My Places Bar in word and Excel. The Links folder is great and replaces the need for “My Network Places” and adding it to My Places means that you can access your Links shortcuts from anywhere.