(Power)Toys for the Boys

Microsoft has made available on their web site a folder containing a series of "PowerToys -- UI" (UI stands for user interface, I presume).  These are enhancements for advanced Windows 95 users that can easily be installed. I don't consider myself an advanced user by any measure, and even I can install and use these tools. But they do require an understanding of basic Win95 structure and procedures to get the best out of them.

These enhancements were developed by members of the Microsoft Win95 team, and are now available to Win95 users at no cost. They are not part of any shipping retail product at this point in time, and therefore are not supported through any official support channels. Use "at your own risk" and read the accompanying disclaimer in the readme.txt file accompanying the series before you start using them.  If you download PowerToys you will want to read all about them before proceeding.  Here are some examples -


This lets you look into the cabinet files on the Win95 CD such as Mini.cab that resides in your windows\system directory. These files contain one or more compressed files. The cabfile viewer enables browsing right into a CAB file, seeing all of its contents, and performing normal shell operations on the files.


The icon for this sits in the system tray on the right end of the taskbar. Clicking it produces a panel that lists my entire desktop contents, permitting easy access without having to close or minimise active windows. It also allows minimising and unminimising all windows.


A right-click on any folder now offers an Explorer window that has the target folder as its root.


FlexiCD sits as an icon in the system tray. When an audio CD is inserted, FlexiCD gives single-click play/pause control, a tooltip that tells which track and time you're on, and a right-click menu that provides commands for starting, stopping, ejecting and moving around the tracks on your CD.


This provides the means to change screen resolution and colour depth without rebooting. QuickRes lives in the system tray -- just single-click (right OR left) on it to select your new display settings.


Adds the following new commands to your "Send To" menu:

- Send To Any Folder

- Send To Clipboard as Contents

- Send To Clipboard as Name

- Send To Command Line


This is undoubtedly the prime item in the series and I can do no better than quote the full paragraph from the readme file:

"TweakUI is the handy Control Panel for "Type A" personalities. With TweakUI, you can change:

- menu speed

- mouse sensitivity

- window animation and sound

- shortcut appearance and default names

- which icons appear on your desktop

- create new templates

- boot parameters including whether or not to start the graphic user interface

- and there's more!!!!!"

Many of these are straight forward preferences -- like mouse speed -- found in other setup areas, but some of the better ones would require editing the registry. This is fraught with danger for the uninitiated and Tweak UI removes that danger. Also one of the Explorer options removes those annoying little arrows from shortcut icons.

Desktop permits removal of icons that have no delete facility, and lets you determine what shows on your default desktop. Tweak UI alone makes Power Toys worth owning. And it costs nothing.

Enjoy your computing

Terry Bibo

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