The Windows operating systems already come with a useful collection of pre-installed programs and utilites. Usually the default utilities that come shipped do the basic jobs fine. I’ll here mention few better alternatives to the basic Windows utilities. Needless to mention these power tools are worthy replacements and do the job a lot better than their default counterparts.
NotePad and WordPad. All Windows systems these two text editors. Notepad is a plain text editor while WordPad is a rich text editor. Both files are capable of opening plain text, however WordPad can open Windows Write files (an earlier version of WordPad) as well as rich text files. WordPad can also save documents as plain text, rich text, and MS Word documents. So with WordPad having the ability to read and create rich text; embed objects (sound, pictures, and video); and manipulate fonts, we have to wonder if other word processors, which do the same thing, are really necessary.
Alternatives:- Metapad if you don’t need tabbed interface. Metapad is a small, fast, freeware text editor for Windows 9x/NT/XP/Vista with similar features to Microsoft Notepad but with many extra features. It was designed to completely replace Notepad since it includes all of Notepad’s features and much, much more.
Notepad++ : A great text editor with tabbed browsing and multi document interface. Truckloads of features makes notepad look limpy. It stands nowhere before notepad++. If you use text editors extensively and need a reliable companion to do the job, this one is for you.
Alternative to Wordpad
Abiword: – AbiWord is an award winning, small, fast, and cross-platform word processor. Get your copy today to experience the state of the art in word processing. It is more featured rich than wordpad and can compete against it in all accounts.
Address Book. There are hoards of advanced contact database programs floating around the Internet and on store shelves, but Windows provides a completely competent contact database of its own simply known as “Address Book.” This small compact utility allows users to organize contacts by name, location, group, or number and it give users ample space to fully describe each. Compared to Microsoft’s Access database program, its user-friendly Address Book is a Godsend to new computer users.
Alternative – OpenContacts
Open Contacts is an advanced address book program for managing contact info of individuals and organizations with relationships. Distributed as freeware, the program was designed for people who need more beyond ordinary address book programs in order to improve dynamic interactions with contacts. In addition, with SyncML for Open Contacts, you may synchronize contact info with smart phone, PDA and Web address books etc.
Calculator. Calculator has been a Windows accessory even from its first debut in Windows 1.0. It is usually sufficient for most of the the tasts or calculations for that matter. However, if you’re still satisfied with it you can install Power calculator comes with microsoft powertoys for windows.
Alternative – Powercalculator power toy
Power Calculator is pure to complete existed calc function. In this calculator provides graphic and evaluate function. Besides, it has a conversion function, start from heavy conversion, long one, and ad still many others. Make your PC smarter, by using this application.
Download Powercalc here:- http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx
Paint. Windows’ Paint program allows users to make changes to existing graphics, or create brand new ones at no additional cost. Interestingly, we can count at least ten different graphics packages that are more popular and widely used than this free one. While it doesn’t offer as many editing tools, it does provide the essentials and it can open/save graphics in .bmp, .gif, and.jpg format (the latter two being the most commonly format used for Internet eye candy).
Alternative – Paint.net
Gives you the ability to open multiple images in one window, edit image layers, red eye correcton and multiple undoable actions. Freeware of course. A powerful replacement indeed & small size in comparison to other graphics processing heavyweights. Requires Dot net framework to be installed.
Media Player. Windows Media Player has of course evovled much since the mplayer2 that came shipped with Windows 98. Also free and pre-installed, does a fine job of fetching streaming sound and video. You can easily listen to .wav files, .midi files, and even tune into a little Internet radio if you like. The glitch is it is still poor at playing back a number of codecs, specially the latest ones. Moreover I don’t like the interface and it performance pathetically at the shortcut keys front as well.
Alternative – KMplayer
KMplayer or K-Multimedia player is the ideal media player you can have with a number of customization options. An all in one solution for most of your multimedia needs. It can playback almost anything without requring any download. Shortcut keys can be changed per tastes. The skins are great and give you an aesthetically pleasing interface.
Windows Explorer: Our good old file manager that we can’t live without. It has almost everything we need to control our pc, open files, folders and do much more. The task pane is displayed on the left-hand side of the window instead of the traditional folder tree view. It presents the user with a list of common actions and destinations that are relevant to the current directory or file(s) selected. Replacing it with a featured rich file manager was tough.
Alternative – UltraExplorer
UltraExplorer is a very good free alternative for Windows explorer. It is one of the best I have found and is designed to be the ultimate file manager and replacement to Windows Explorer. It sports many additional features such as a customizable user interface, favorites window, filter window, history window and even comes with the option to run the command line window from the current directory.
The fact is that the programs pre-installed with windows are good tools for a beginner computer user for basic usage. At some point down the road, usage will dictate a need for more powerful applications. We may need a word processor that can convert a document into an HTML page or PDF document. We may need a calculator that solves geometric problems. Or we may need a multimedia tool that lets us create our own videos as well as watch them. Moreover, power users are just not happy with the features built in tools provide. Well, we have so many options to choose now.