Hak5 923 – Our favorite free tools to unsuckify Windows

This time on the show, Windows. You love it. You hate it. Maybe you’re stuck with it. Today, we’ll unsuckify it. Oh, and Kerby has a nifty DOS script for ya. 😉

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Window Management that doesn’t suck

You don’t often hear me ranting and raving about a Windows app, but today, I’m in love. And that’s because one of my biggest complains for all GUIs has been solved: Window Management.

Maybe it’s because I’m oldschool and prefer keyboards to mice, but moving and resizing windows all day long harshes on my vibe hardcore.

Microsoft made an effort 7 to unsuckify window management with Windows 7 and, in my opinion, failed.

Holding Windows Key and pressing the Left or Right arrow keys will snap the active window to the left half or right half of the screen. This is completely useless. In this segment I explain why as well as demo the perfect window manager — GridMove.

GridMove, which is sadly only for Windows, will allow you to quickly and easily snap windows to a grid on your deaktop. These grids are user defined with a simple script file. There are multiple options for snapping windows into these predefined grids, including draging the title bar with left or middle click or my personal favorite — customized hotkeys.

What are your thoughts? Do you know of a similar utility for Linux? No, not screen.

Desktops that don’t suck

I’ve always liked programs that give me simplicity and added value to my netbook, making my daily work and play much easier. One of these such programs is a tool called Rainmeter. It’s an application that lets you place ‘skins’ on you desktop that can measure and display tons of information.
Some things you can tinker with and enjoy are: System information, launchers and docks, music players, RSS feeds and a gmail inbox, weather apps, and others.

The skins are fully customizable and are merely .ini text files that you can change or alter to meet your specs.
Rainmeter is open source and was made by geeks, for geeks. It runs on all versions of Windows including 64 bit and also has a portable version available for download.

My favorite part about Rainmeter is the ability to customize the skins. If you don’t read Lifehacker, you don’t have to keep that in the RSS feed illustro app. You can choose to edit it or delete it. I went into ‘Edit Skin’, browsed down to where the link to Lifehacker was, and changed it to the Hak5 feed at hak5.wpengine.com/feed. Now, I’ll immediately see every time we have a new episode come out. I also was able to change the clock.ini skin, so the date and time is formatted to my specifications, and I messed around with the color a little bit.
Once you get the feel of the .ini files and how to edit them, you can start creating your own.

Now, I haven’t started creating my own personal skin, I’ve just customized some available themes. Have you tried it? Interested in seeing a skin that doesn’t exist yet? Email me at [email protected] to check it out!”

If you’re into Hak5 you’ll love our new show by hosts Darren Kitchen and Shannon Morse. Check out HakTip!

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, HakTip is essential viewing for current and aspiring hackers, computer enthusiasts, and IT professionals. With a how-to approach to all things Information Technology, HakTip breaks down the core concepts, tools, and techniques of Linux, Wireless Networks, Systems Administration, and more

And let’s not forget to mention that you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook, Subscribe to the show and get all your Hak5 goodies, including the infamous WiFi Pineapple over at HakShop.com. If you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

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If you need to host your dot TV website, don’t forget about Domain.com’s web hosting plans. They’re less than six bucks a month and have everything you need to build, maintain, and promote your site.
Remember – when you think domain names, think domain.com.
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  • evr

    If you’re looking for the same functionality as gridmove in linux, all you need to try is one of the many tiling window managers out there.

    I use awesome, but there’s also xmonad, ratpoison, musca, dwm, ion3, and many others. And they’re highly configurable so you can customize them to however you want. It’s the only way to go for a complete mouseless experience in linux.

  • Leke

    Is there some bias towards Windows only platform? I can understand linux but come, on throw in some MacOSX equivalent applications.

  • clhodapp

    Have you tried Compiz’s grid plugin? It’s not as configurable, but it’s pretty useful. You hit ctrl+alt+numpad number (results are intuitive after you play around with it). Note that you can keep pressing the number keys and the sizes change (again, try it and you’ll see what I mean).

  • edge

    In response to the similar Window Managers on linux. I’ve used a few. ratpoison you’ve probably heard about, It’s decent but seemed very minimal in my opinion. quarkWM is a little less known and seems very similar to what you might want http://sourceforge.net/projects/quarkwm/ It’s one of my favourite keyboard based window managers. There is also a java based window manager, puppet. It’s part of the escher library http://sourceforge.net/projects/escher/ , I liked it but quarkWM is probably more you’re type.

  • RSS

    You can also use xmonad on top of Gnome(or KDE), remplacing Mutter/Metacity.
    In KDE, KWin has support for full tiling since 4.5 .

  • Techguy71

    BLEGH!!! Itunes is horrible. I would much rather Zune!

    Speaking of Zune, what portable media player do you use Darren?

  • me

    hello again, parasites. Here’s a question for you: If you were on a desert island, who would be the most useful person…

    The guy who knew about what plants where poisonous or not? The person who could build a shelter out of whatever was lying on the island? Or…. the guy who known alot about computers? I’ll give you a clue… the last one would be the first person we fucking killed and calved up for food.

    Lets face it, everyone in I.T is just another parasite looking for an easy life… Compare yourself to people who spend their lives down mine shafts: These people have to actually wok for a living, while you lot just spend your lives sucking up to your fucking stupid bosses and spouting bullshit jargon no one wants to hear!

    We have survived 1000′s of years without computers, we do not need any of you! You really should man-up and find some proper work!

    Americans did not invent the internet.. The fucking British did! The only thing Americans are good for is killing innocent people (Indians, Afgans, etc) who cannot defend themselves, and steal their natural resources!

  • heatgap

    @Darren Dude! Is that an ASUS N53S series laptop I see there?! OMFGBBQ! I just bought the exact same laptop from TD like four months ago! Oh dude it looks exactly like mine with the Bang & Olufsen styled tell-tail speaker bar! SANDYBRIDGE 2630QM FTW!!!

    How do you like yours? How much RAM did you up it too? Are you using an SSD yet inside?

    I have mine maxed to 16gb DDR3 with a 256gb Crucial SSD and this thing friggin RIPS now!

    Please respond!

  • Alurent Serum

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    Please let me know where you got your theme.

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