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5 Valuable PC Tools to Make Your Life Easier

[My friend Jason from our IT department was kind enough to share this wisdom and he asked me to post it for him, so I did! Enjoy. -- Bubba]

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One of my favorite quotes is from Microsoft founder Bill Gates:

 “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

Not that I live my entire life by that principle, but as a tech geek I thrive on the latest and greatest to improve my daily computing grind.

Here are 5 PC tools that have impressed me lately:

1. Gadwin PrintScreen

gadwin printscreen

This program is cool. It hooks right into the PrintScreen button on your keyboard and allows you to select what you want to copy AND save it. Once you download and install it, I recommend these settings to help streamline your print screening:

  • To open the preferences, right click on the PrintScreen icon next to the clock and click Properties.
  • On the first tab, uncheck “Show splash on startup” and make sure “Run at Windows startup” is checked.
  • Under the Source tab, put a dot next to Rectangular Area.
  • Under the Destination tab, put a check next to “Copy captured area to clipboard.” This will allow you to Ctrl-V somewhere to paste the image.
  • For the Image tab, I recommend setting the image type to PNG, because that retains the capture’s original quality.

That should do it! Just press the Print Screen key on your keyboard, left click to highlight a capture area (you can move/reshape the highlighted area) and right click to capture.

2. Chrome Speed Dial 2

chrome speed dial 2

You can find this one in the Chrome Web Store and it’s so worth it. I use the bookmarks bar for most of my shortcuts, but Chrome Speed Dial 2 makes the “New Tab: page actually useful by showing my favorite websites. It has tons of customization options, like icon sizes, thumbnails, and backgrounds.

Finally, you can make the Chrome “New Tab” page truly yours!

3. Clover

clover

Clover is a Windows Explorer add-on that turns the menu bar into Chrome- style tabs (the bookmarks bar is not shown in the screenshot). This add-on offers several Chrome-inspired functions, such as exporting your bookmarks and themes, and there is even a setting to save the open tabs when you close Explorer.

Nothing more to say other than amazing.

4. LastPass

last pass

Advertised as the “last password you’ll have to remember,” LastPass is a password manager that allows you to — you guessed it — manage website passwords. I can’t function without it!

It’s not unusual to have a unique, randomly-generated, massive password for every different website you use, so this helps. I use the Chrome extensions, but LassPass works with seemingly every platform out there: as a program install, as a browser extension, or as a smartphone app. It does save all of your login data in the cloud, but having a strong master password is key. They’ll also give you friendly hints for keeping a secure environment.

5. AutoHotkey

auto hot key

AutoHotkey is really fun, but be warned… It’s for the more computer literate. I use it for one simple function: using the F (function) keys on the keyboard to auto-type stuff for me. It’s really easy to set up, and the website has simple instructions.

Here is an example of a script I use time and time again:

F1::

FormatTime, T, %A_Now%, M-d-yy

Send %T%

Follow the Quick Start Tutorial to create a new script and add that to the end of it. Then, save it and load it using the instructions in the tutorial. What does that script do? It pastes the current date to the screen when you press the F1 key. Simple, but powerful! You can use it for hundreds of functions, like opening programs and controlling windows, all with keyboard or mouse combinations.

Some of these tools seem more intimidating than others, but if they weren’t easy then I wouldn’t have bothered to use them myself. All 5 have made my daily computing lazier so I can focus on other computer areas, like productivity. Hopefully they do the same for you!

Have you ever used any of these PC tools? Got more recommendations? Leave us a comment!

Expand Your Brand!

Image credit to Juergen Kurlvink on Flickr.

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Bubba

Bubba is the Quality Logo Products mascot. He may have started out as "just a stress ball," but he's come a long way since the company's launch in 2003. Bubba has been immortalized in numerous vector artwork designs for internal and external promotions, and you can see him change outfits on the Quality Logo Products homepage whenever a holiday rolls around. Oh, and he thinks pants are for the birds. You can connect with Bubba on

Comments

  1. Tim Leach

    I love Auto Hotkey too! My favorite function is Control+Shift+V, types out the text on my clipboard, so that it A) gets no extra formatting, B) allows me to “paste” into command prompts, RDC windows, or any application that usually don’t support typical clipboard actions.

    Easy as:
    $^+v::
    Send %clipboard% ;
    Return

  2. Julie Mussared

    I love Gadwin! (I keep wanting to call it Glad-win.. maybe because it makes me so happy and I feel like I’m winning?)
    I use it at home and it is so nice to not have to paste your entire screen into paint to crop :)

  3. Bret Bonnet

    I LOVE Clover, but in my experience, when doing a copy and paste that involves LOTS of files, for whatever reason, it never actually copies and pastes all the files from the source to the destination. If they could fix this, Windows should by the company and make tabbed Windows Explorer views the NEW norm because this is such a user friendly addition to the Windows stack.

  4. Jeff Porretto

    LastPass is the shiznit! If that ever gets discontinued there’s going to be problems. I think I have usernames and passwords saved from 5 email addresses ago!

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