Most of these are mainly for XP users since Vista already has a lot of this functionality built-in.
For those who don't know, XP can download and use the Windows Desktop search engine. It constantly indexes all your files. I think the interface is way better than Google Desktop. However, I prefer using Index Your Files
since the user can decide at what time of day it scans your files to update itself. "IYF" keeps an index of file names but not the internal contents like Windows Search and Google Desktop do, so it's a smaller footprint, sometimes gigs worth. Just depends what you prefer and need. I don't care for Google Desktop at all though compared to the Windows one. Anyway...Windows Desktop Search
- indexes everything, bigger footprint. Big url, so just go to Microsoft for it.Index Your Files
- search with filename indexing, smaller footprint. http://www.indexyourfiles.com/WinFlip
- 3D alt-tabbing. http://tokyodownstairs.blogspot.com/...1/winflip.htmlVisual Task Tips
- thumbnail image of things in your taskbar. http://www.visualtasktips.com/Revo Uninstaller
- make sure those programs are uninstalled. http://www.revouninstaller.com/KatMouse
- scroll in whatever window has the cursor, not the one in focus. Also can sort of alt-tab using the middle button. http://ehiti.de/katmouse/
I don't think that KatMouse one is a "killer" program, but it's nice so I tossed it in.
These next two are so full of win for XP users, let me tell ya...Vista Start Menu
- turns your start menu into something actually useable. You know how your "start, program files" area is a mess and ugly? Yeah, get this. http://www.vistastartmenu.com/index.html
Even has a program search bar like Vista does. But, it's not that smart for misspellings and things, so you need the awesomeness that is...Find And Run Robot
. Press the hotkey to bring up the bar, type in some semblance of the shortcut or exe you're looking for, and there it is. Plugins also turn it into a dictionary and calculator and search engine and whatnot. Add shortcut icons to it if you want. With this, you maybe don't even need Vista Start Menu or other launchers. "Hmm, where'd I put the shortcut to that program I can only remember part of the name of?" Doesn't matter with FARR. http://www.donationcoder.com/Software/Mouser/findrun/
The only thing about FARR is it's "donationware." It doesn't require a donation, but if you don't donate you need to visit the forum after like six months to then get a lifetime key for it. Sounds fair to me.
Another similar but not quite as good one imo is Launchy
If you go with FARR, you may as well grab another of the author's great programs, ScreenshotCaptor
. It's the only free screenshot software I've seen that can do a one-button capture of dual displays. Other ones make you highlight what part(s) of the screen to capture first.
And if someone likes the normal start menu but would like tree menus/groups in the quicklaunch bar, just get Free Launch Bar http://www.freelaunchbar.com/
I see Objectdock is already in the list. The more popular one now is arguably http://rocketdock.com/
This gives you a Mac-like launch bar. Definitely some cool eyecandy if nothing else. Add KKmenu
to add trees/groups to it, or add Stack Docklet
to it to get the big popup menus.
Want just the Stack Docklet type of popup launch menu for the QuickLaunch bar or for a shortcut folder on your desktop but don't want Object or Rocketdock? Get Standalone Stack
And finally, I'll toss in Yahoo Widgets
Puts little things on your screen such as CPU meter, volume control, weather, clock with alarms, etc. I like these much better than Google Desktop Gadgets for a couple reasons other than many of them simply look better than the Google ones. Unlike Google Gadgets, you can move them anywhere, and you can reduce the transparency on them(!) so they aren't so obvious and blend in better. Check out "Gorgy Clock" for a cool clock/alarm and "Informer" for CPU/transfer speeds/memory usage/launch bar.