The first two fall under "taskbar enchancements," and the last is a nifty new virtual desktop manager. One of my biggest pet peeves in Windows is the management of the taskbar. First, I should be able to reorder the items in the taskbar. Enter Taskbar Shuffle
, which allows you to simply drag-and-drop the items as you see fit. What a concept! Now even if I've got Photoshop lined up first (even though it was last, as it took longest to launch), I've still got IE with a dozen little windows minimized, crawling across the bottom of my screen, with no idea what's going on in each window. So I use Visual Task Tips
to show me a preview. It's a light shell enhancement that lets me mouse over an item in the taskbar, and it pops up a teensy preview window. That helps more than you may realize until you start using it. Finally, when the taskbar won't cut it, there's always shifting around to different desktops entirely. Dexpot
(sent in by Arun K.) is a great desktop manager in a field full of such beasts. Dexpot will manage up to 20 virtual desktops, and it does it quite well. Between these three tools I've significantly improved my workflow because I no longer have to hold things in my own brain as a sort of temporary RAM. Instead, I just dump everything into the computer in real-time, and let the computer manage the data. I can scan through what I'm working on faster as a result. All of these are free, although Dexpot requires a license if you use it in a business environment.
[Taskbar tools found on digg