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AquaSnap Lets You Snap Windows Around

Free utility AquaSnap brings Windows 7’s advanced window management hotkeys to older systems, and then some.

If you’re still using Windows XP or Windows Vista, you may have seen friends or coworkers snapping windows around with Windows 7’s newfangled hotkeys, and longed for the same functionality for your aging system. AquaSnap (free) delivers this, and more.

AquaSnap essentially lets you snap windows into place either by dragging them around, or by using predefined hotkeys. When you use it with the mouse, you need only drag a window to one of the screen edges or corners. A large icon then appears, showing what would happen to the window once you let go of the mouse. Much like Aero Snap, touching the window against the screens left or right edges would make the window resize to occupy that half of the screen. But if you touch one of the corners, AquaSnap will resize the window to occupy that quarter of the screen--something Aero Snap doesn’t do.

If accurate window snapping is all you need, you may want to try out another free utility called WinSplit Revolution. WSR supports fine-grained control over the position and size of each of your windows, as well as the hotkeys used to place them.

AquaSnap has a few more tricks up its sleeves, such as a feature called “AquaShake,” which is supposed to be an improved version of the Windows 7 Aero Shake. Aero Shake lets you grab a window’s title bar and “shake” it so that all other windows are minimized. AquaShake lets you do the same, but you can also use it to make the window semi-transparent and pin it so it stays always on top. In its default configuration, AquaShake was a bit too enthusiastic: I was innocently trying to move a window somewhere on my screen, when it decided I was “shaking” it and made it transparent. This may vary according to your input device and caffeine consumption. Fortunately, the sensitivity can be customized, to reduce the number of false positives.

One drawback is that while AquaSnap hooks onto Windows 7’s default hotkeys for moving windows (Win+arrow keys), it won’t let you use those keys for moving windows across multiple monitors, making AquaSnap’s hotkeys less functional than the ones built into Windows.

By default, Windows 7 uses Win+up to maximize a window. AquaSnap modifies this hotkey so that when you press it, the window just takes the upper half of the screen. To maximize the window, you’ll have to press Win+Enter or Win+numpad 5, at which time AquaSnap will indeed maximize the window, but will also snap it back onto your primary monitor if it happened to be on another screen. A true deal breaker for multi-monitor users.

If you don’t use multiple monitors, AquaSnap may make it easier for you to move windows around. Then again, WinSplit Revolution is also free, and is much more powerful. You may want to give each a try before settling on just one.

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