Ankit Ahuja

Top 10 Applications That Deserve a Place in Your Windows Taskbar

I personally don’t like Windows too much. And there is no one reason for it. The registry hiccups, the memory leaks, the startup jams, etc. I don’t think the list will ever end if I sat down to make a list of things I don’t like about Windows. But this is not what this post is about.

It’s about the applications that give us a quaint little feeling that somehow using Windows is after all justified ;) These applications range from web apps to utilities and tools for windows. They don’t occupy much of the memory and prove to be very useful many times.

Its important that you choose which applications are more useful to you for 2 reasons:

  1. You don’t want to be clogging up your task bar with a no. of icons which not only eat up space but also take up memory (unless you have a widescreen 19” monitor and 2 gig memory like me. And even then I have to be careful.)

  2. As if the startup in windows wasn’t already slow enough, they can make it even more painful for you, that is, if you don’t keep them under a check.

Here is my list of my favorite 10 apps that I can’t live without :

  1. Instant EyeDropper

    This is especially useful if you are a designer of some sort, whether a web designer or graphic designer. I used to find it exceptionally painful to copy hexadecimal color codes from any website on the internet to use in my own design. And this really helps out. I use Adobe Kuler. And there are more websites out there which help you make your own color schemes. All you have to do is click on its icon in the taskbar and then just drag your mouse pointer to any element whose color code you want to copy to the clipboard. As simple as that.

  2. WordWeb

    One of the most useful applications which I think everyone should have. Whenever you come across a difficult word, all you have to do is select it and press ‘Ctrl+Alt+W’. You can also assign your own shortcut. Its window crops up and instantly gives you the meaning along with a list of synonyms and also the word’s pronunciation. I personally have never even required to consult the ‘Web References’, since its quite sufficient on its own.

  3. Wakoopa

    So are you crazy about sharing everything and anything you do ? This is a great web app that tells you what applications you have been using and for how long. This has a social aspect to it, as you can find people who are using the same applications as you are.

  4. RescueTime

    This does the same job as Wakoopa but has entirely different utility. It provides you with an insight into how you have been spending your time on your computer. It has nice graphs and you can see data for the day, week, month or year.

  5. Zscreen

    I recently discovered this opensource application. Great for bloggers as you can easily assign a shortcut key to take the screenshot of the current application, entire desktop or a specific part of the screen. It automatically saves the screenshot in your chosen directory in any format you please (png, jpeg, etc.). It also gels well with image editing applications like Paint.NET or Adobe Photoshop.

  6. NetMeter

    Though one might argue that it doesn’t have that much of utility, but still I think it provides a nice little nifty look into your broadband upload and download. It also provides a nice total of all your download and upload. So sometimes it provides this overwhelming feeling that you have already downloaded 10 gigs of data this month :D

  7. FlashGet

    Best download utility ever. It easily downloads torrents as well as any other file. You can pause and resume and it definitely provides the best speeds. Better than utorrent and others for me.

  8. Last.fm

    Another social app which scrobbles the music that you hear whether in any of your media players or its own client. It comes with plugins for practically all popular media players including Windows Media Player, foobar2000, Winamp, etc. In its client, you just enter an artist or song you love, and it plays you similar music seamlessly.

  9. AutoHotKey

    Great for those who love scripting. I personally haven’t played with it a lot but I feel it has scope to do a lot in a jiffy. You can assign any combination of keys or clicks to do practically anything you want. Go here to find some cool ways to work with it.

  10. AVG

    Everybody keeps screaming about antiviruses so I feel its better to have one. Though I hardly update it or anything. But still the free edition of AVG is nice, it doesn’t consume much of your memory and works quietly in the background.

Well, that about sums it up. If you want to share your fav. taskbar apps, feel free to share them in the comments. It would be great to know what other little nifty apps are out there (And I am sure that there are many many more…).

After all, they do make us feel more optimistic about Windows.