korg legacy collection
tascam XS8 mixer
revox b77 mk2 4spur tapemachine
Kjaerhus Classic Reverb
tascam fw1082 controller
Electronic Music other: windows more user friendly
Written February 07 2009
edit; apparently, it was a rough week. Although I really need to sort this windows thing out, I could of worded it differently.
But I find the clutter on my home pc unnecessary as well, Im tired of it.
I am in no way a efficiency geek, or 'lifehacker' if you will, and I dont want to "tune" my computer into kitsch heaven.
But I would like to customize my windows.
I dont (really) care how it looks, but how it feels. .
I dont need to go the way of ultra minimalist shells like LiteStep XP and the like.
What I would like to do is change a few bits here and there.
How would you go about changing rightclick menus for instance? I would like them context specific.
When I right-click on a goddamn url, I dont want to see;
<<delete, rename, add to archive, add to "document.rar", compress and email, compress "document.rar" and email>>. I can rename wery well by clicking on the name thank you very much.
This is just one example. I could find a better one I guess. There are "properties" all over the place, but nowhere to customize how long your menus get.
Or how you need to play yoyo with your mouse, to make a new folder. What genius of userdesign devised that? This might seem strange to people using windows all their life, but it just annoys the crap out of me.
Now don't tell me to go back to mac, because there are equal or exceeding annoyances there. (the mouse behaviour and the impossibly broad menus are just a few.)
Does anyone have tips, similar stories, urls with great pointers...
So usually I start by uninstalling anything I don't need (esp all the oem crap). There is a program from sysinternals called autoruns which you can use to get rid of lots of TSR stuff. This goes a long ways towards making the machine feel a lot more responsive and stable. After that as far as customization goes the best i've ever seen is the objectdesktop stuff from stardock link they have a reputation for making solid stuff and you don't have to run a million different weird customization products to get the same effect.
On my music PC I don't do anything except music so it's easy to create a stable environment that I can trust. Don't install new drivers or anything unless you need to .. once you have a known stable config you shouldn't need to do anything fancy.. i still have a 10+ yr old machine running win98se and cubase that is stable and fast
Here's a list of Windows Explorer Alternatives. I've used Directory Opus in the past and it's stupidly powerful. I can't remember, but I think you can even customize right click menus. Cubic Explorer is smaller and free. I actually find that Windows Explorer is the fastest and most responsive out of any I've tried, though not very customizable.
If you're a command prompt user, there's a couple of programs you should check out. Console is a tabbed command prompt environment, and open source. If you're willing to deal with a STEEP learning curve Microsoft offers as a free download Powershell, which I never got too into, but it takes up about 25mb of RAM compared to command prompt's 3~4mb. Microsoft claims it's more powerful that bash since it's object oriented. The manual is enormous.
I think I also read about one command prompt alternative that has no display, it's just a single line of input. Basically, you set up your batch files and execute them by typing the command into the little text box. Crazy! I never gave it a shot, I'm pretty happy with how I've got Windows set up.
Another customization I like is to go into your windows registry using regedit in WINDOWS/system32, search for your desktop directory and change it to the root of a separate hard drive. Then it's easy to access through a command prompt. Also, you can keep all your archives directly on your desktop so you can format your system drive very fast. You can do a clean install then in as long as it takes the XP installer to work.
There are all kinds of regedit tricks out there if you look.
my curiosity is piqued
in addition to eyesnine's shell suggestions, I'd have to add cygwin if you are familiar with linux or osx's shell. Its oftentimes much easier than windows explorer (batch renaming files and complex searching being two that immediately spring to mind). The learning curve is through the roof tho. you mention a lot of mouse stuff so perhaps these are not for you.
by the way, if you are rightclicking on the url, what is it you are wanting to see?
so apparently Im not the only one.
Maybe Im asking too much;
I want customization, without going to lengths to achieve it.
Ill look up what has come up above.
Dach; I want to see less clutter.
I remember when I was on my previous machine, I had a lot of plugins for mozilla.
But even then, you could adjust the menus to have only the stuff you relly need.
Tired of scrolling through a list, and still finally clicking ont the wrong item.
If only everything behaved like moz.
edit; to me, dumping functions all together in a menu, pane, window whatever is the epitome of user unfriendliness, and I must admit it's more prevalent on windows. Whenever I access a web app, database, company web server whatever, and I see a lot of icons/ functions all lumped together without any graphical distinction or indication from the layout that they are grouped, I groan. I call it the ms mentality. I even see it in traffic, when signage is borked. Maybe I am an efficiency nerd after all. Maybe its just my graphic training.
cheers eyesnine, for that list.
will have to read reviews
object desktop looks like it can do enough. I dont care about the look of it - if it can change the feel of xp for 50$.
Any users here?
There's one little program I've been using called TrayIt that I quite like.
Basically, it allows you to create an icon for any running program in the system tray. Then, you can minimize anything to the system tray. It's great if you multitask a lot and often have an overcrowded taskbar. It's easy to use too, since to activate it you just right click on the minimize button in the upper right corner of the application window and select place in system tray. Plus, it remembers which programs you've enabled tray minimization for, so next time you load up the program it just goes straight into the tray.
I moved the command prompt, UltraEdit and Firefox into the startup menu, used TrayIt to configure these programs to start up minimized, When I boot up windows I have firefox, ultraedit and the command prompt loaded up in the system tray ready for use without taking up hardly any space on my taskbar. Sweet!
Windows is more configurable than you might think, you just have to search around for the right software. The problem with Windows vs Linux is that a lot of the software is proprietary. So, sometimes you find just what you're looking for but it costs way too much. Many proprietary software packages suffer from feature bloat, so if you want a little program that does something simple, you're likely to find the wanted functionality as a feature in a larger package to justify the cost.
eyesnine said: "Windows is more configurable than you might think, you just have to search around for the right software. The problem with Windows vs Linux is that a lot of the software is proprietary. So, sometimes you find just what you're looking for but it costs way too much. Many proprietary software packages suffer from feature bloat, so if you want a little program that does something simple, you're likely to find the wanted functionality as a feature in a larger package to justify the cost."
cheers! I knew it could be done, just didnt want to take it to the extreme with whole new shells like liteXp.
Knowing me, it'll take just too long to tweak, which defeats the purpose imo
Will look at TrayIt. Cheap?
nearly everything in windows is editable through the registry including right-click menus.
id advise on getting a great registry book and learning where the options are that you want to change.
proj - looking into autoruns as well. cheers
This PowerToy gives you access to system settings that are not exposed in the Windows XP default user interface, including mouse settings, Explorer settings, taskbar settings, and more.
have a look at this bb01
Signup to comment