Here is a utility from Microsoft which is termed as the ultimate user interface (UI) tweaker for XP. This utility will let you twist and manipulate, and sometime even override, the way your Windows interface should look. An indispensable tool that offers multiple UI tweaks under a single interface.
DoubleKiller: URL: www.bigbangenterprises.de/en/doublekiller
A cluttered hard disk can really slow down your PC, and what adds to the clutter the most is duplicate files that hog space for no reason. This utility, as the name implies, brings you help on this front. It locates duplicate files on your computer and kills one, leaving you with just a single file.
FreeCommander: URL: www.freecommander.com
This is an easy-to-use alternative to the standard Windows file manager. Here you can find all the necessary functions to manage your data stock. The best part is that you can put this utility on a USB key—even a floppy disk if you can find one—and take it with you to control files on any PC.
Taskbar Shuffle 2.2: URL:www.freewebs.com/nerdcave/taskbarshuffle.htm
So you think the Windows taskbar controls you? Here is one utility that will let you turn the tables. It lets you move the buttons for open applications anywhere you want on the taskbar, or group open documents together. And yes, it works with Windows versions all the way back to Windows 95.
Pitaschio: URL: pitaschio.ara3.net
This is another utility that could come in handy to mould Windows to match your style of working. This background utility minimizes windows to the tray, snaps them together as you drag, and disables specific keys (such as the numlock key) if you like. It also provides stats on how much you use your keyboard.
Defraggler: URL: www.defraggler.com
Fragmentation of the disk is another big culprit that can slow down your computer. This utility is a handy one that will help you clean up the mess. It not only defragments your hard disk but also claims to defragment individual files. If you’re not sure what needs defragging, it also provides a list of files that need it. And yes, this one is tiny enough to go on a USB drive too.
WinDirStat: URL: www.windirstat.info
If your hard disk seems bloated and you have no idea what exactly is taking up all that much space, here is something you should look at. Short for Windows Directory Statistics, this programme presents your hard drive’s directory in multiple views, some resembling Windows Explorer—files represented by 3D boxes in full colour. One look and you’d soon know what’s taking up space.
WinPatrol 2007: URL: winpatrol.com
You might not even notice but there are umpteen number of useless programs that come pre-installed with your Windows, which end up eating plenty of CPU cycles. Put Scotty, the WinPatrol mascot, to work keeping an eye on your system. Scotty will come up with warnings about new programs that plan to run at start-up and detection of other system changes, trusted or not. It will also delay the start of programs to improve boot-up speed in any version.
Absolute Uninstaller: URL: www.glarysoft.com
You might have uninstalled a particular program, but unfortunately it still leaves a lot of junk in its wake. One way to be sure that a program is all gone is the absolute uninstaller. This replaces the default Add/Remove Programs control panel in Windows, checks for extra stuff to delete after an uninstall (such as Start menu entries and useless Registry keys), and, best of all, does batch removal of multiple programmes at one time.
Eraser: URL: www.heidi.ie/eraser
With more and more sophisticated recovery tools, it can be disastrous to get rid of an old computer without making sure the hard drive is wiped clean. This doesn’t mean just reformatting it, but actually annihilating all data by overwriting disk sectors multiple times. Open-source Eraser that fits a USB drive is a great candidate for the job.
Google Desktop 5: URL: desktop.google.com
Finally if you think searching files on your computer takes an eternity, Google desktop can come to the rescue. This software does more than just search. Google Desktop indexes all of your data files—including email and instant messages—so you can find it fast. The interface includes multiple search-box configurations and an advanced search option. You can search and find your own files along with your internet search results.