There's no doubt Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 7, is an improvement on its predecessor, Windows Vista. However, it may not totally suit your tastes or requirements. If that's the case, here's five free downloads to help you change the OS to suit you.
SMART Utility 2.0
Disabling unnecessary Windows 7 services can help improve your PCs boot time, free up system resources and make you more secure. But which services can you turn off? It's important to choose carefully, because disabling the wrong one can cripple your PC to the point where it won't even reboot.
The SMART (Service Management And RealEasy Tweaking) Utility for Windows 7 helps you make better decisions by providing more details on services, and four pre-selected service profiles that you can choose at the click of a button.
7plus is an amazing tool that can extend Windows with a host of useful extra features. (And despite the name, many features work with XP and Vista, as well as Windows 7.)
The program allows you to upload files, screengrabs and clipboard content to an FTP server, for instance, with a single keypress.
It enhances Explorer with an IE-like Favourites bar (on Vista or Windows 7), so you can return to commonly-used folders with a click.
If you're one of the many people who like to customise your desktop, you'll feel somewhat naked when you sit in front of this vanilla version of Windows, like when you first purchase or use a PC at work. To be fair, Windows 7 offers a fair better visual experience than previous editions.
Just about every element of the desktop can be configured, other than the usual components such as the wallpaper, fonts and size of your icons. WindowBlinds 7 goes much further than downloading a theme. It puts you in full control over your own customisation. On a basic level, you can just download a theme and install. There are hundreds of pre-designed themes which might suit your requirements. Alternatively, download a theme and customise this to your requirements. You can also create a theme from scratch if you know what you are doing.
Windows 7 Folder Background Changer 1.1
The Windows 7 Folder Background Changer is a simple tool that will quickly set a background image for the Explorer folder that you specify. (And don't be fooled by its name. The program works with both Vista and Windows 7.)
Windows 7 Little Tweaker is a tiny tool that gives easy access to some useful Windows 7 (32-bit only) settings. In a couple of clicks you may add "Copy To" or "Move To" options to the right-click menu for files and folders, for instance, simplifying file management tasks.
Another option allows Windows to automatically end processes that have locked up.