You know about the native Windows applications like Notepad, Task Manager, etc. These applications have been there in Microsoft Windows operating system since its earliest versions. They have not been altered or developed much either. In this article, you will find some perfect replacements for these native Windows programs. These advanced programs are feature rich and better suited for power users.
Most of you may be using Microsoft Windows operating system in your computers. In a brand new computer, there are certain tools that you find useful to do some immediate work. Such applications include Notepad or WordPad for on-the-go text editing; MS Paint for touching up images; and Windows Explorer for looking up files and folders on your computer. However, advanced users might need better functionality than what these applications can offer. In this article, you will find some advanced replacements for default Windows applications.
Notepad is an application that has been there since the first version of Microsoft Windows. Over the years, there have been no noticeable changes in this application. Although for immediate editing purposes, Notepad is perfect (as it will launch when you type in ‘Notepad’ on Windows Run box or the Start Search box in Vista and 7), it is a no-brainer that advanced users want better alternatives. There are several replacements available for this application. One of the popular applications available as a Notepad replacement is Notepad2. Developed by Florian Balmer, its first version came out in 2004. Since then, there have been multiple changes and upgrades to this application, and it is available as a freeware with BSD license.
More information about setting up Notepad2 is available from the developer’s website. Once set up following the instructions given, you can launch this application just as how you launch your regular Notepad.
Another free replacement for Notepad is Notepad++, which gives you a tabbed interface with support for editing markup languages like HTML.
Notepad++ is my personal favorite replacement for Notepad.
MS Paint, which can be launched with ‘mspaint’ command from the Windows Run box, is an easy-to-use application for touching up photos and making primitive drawings. High-end users would go for feature-rich proprietary piece of software such as Adobe Photoshop for doing professional photo editing. However, ordinary users needing a little more functionality than that offered by MS Paint can go for replacements such as GIMP or Paint.net.
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free application that does much more than what MS Paint does. This is available not only for Windows computers, but also for Linux and Macintosh platforms. You can find almost all the features you can get from a proprietary painting application in this free program.
Paint.net is another application that gives you layered editing along with other painting features. It is also a free application with an advanced user interface that supports such features as special effects and unlimited undoing.
Microsoft Windows comes with a native disk defragmentation utility. This application makes your hard disk faster by arranging data sectors in a much better fashion. However, this application has not seen much development, and it comes with almost the same interface and functionality as in earlier versions of Windows.
A fully functional replacement to the Windows Defragmenter is MyDefrag. This is a freeware available for all versions of Windows. It also supports the 64-bit version of the operating system. You can go to MyDefrag website to get this utility.
Windows Default File Copy Tool
The file copying tool that comes in Windows is a simple application, and it does not take care of such errors as Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC). If any error happens during copying of a large number of files, the file copier fails and you have to restart copying all along. This can be frustrating today as there are needs to copy gigabytes of data between hard disks or other media.
In order to copy files more efficiently, use SuperCopier or TeraCopy. These applications are free and support a lot more than what Windows file copier offers. You can create copying file lists, start multiple copy threads, and resume copying. Even if errors are there in the files being copied, they retry copying and do not terminate the entire task. Moreover, they integrate to the Windows Shell so that you can start the application by right clicking on the file to copy.
Windows Archive Extractor
The Microsoft Archive Extractor tool started appearing since Windows XP. This application is integrated to Windows Explorer and recognizes an archived file within your folders. It opens the archive and displays its content within Windows Explorer itself. However, the tools and options available with this simple application are limited. Hence, it is better to replace it with open source archiving programs, such as 7-Zip or PeaZip. They support all kinds of different archiving formats out there – RAR, ZIP, CAB, GZIP, 7z, etc.
Windows Task Manager
You can open Windows Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del key combination. This program lists all the applications that are running on the computer at a point of time, and gives the option to terminate unwanted applications.
Process Explorer is a free replacement for Task Manager, and it gives much more information. It displays the process handles that have opened specific files or folders within the system. This way, you can be sure of what resources are under use and what files are open at a point of time on your computer. A Microsoft subsidiary, Winternals (Or Windows Sysinternals), developed Process Explorer. This free utility is downloadable from Microsoft’s TechNet website itself.
Windows Scheduled Tasks
This Windows utility lets you start certain programs automatically when you want them to. This application has several functionalities, but its user interface is not that easy to familiarize with. Freebyte Task Scheduler is a tiny application that can do the job just fine. It gives the same functionalities available in the Windows Scheduled Tasks through an intuitive interface.
Windows Add or Remove Programs
Add or Remove Programs is the application directory in all versions of Windows. It is an “applet” accessible from Control Panel. Through this utility, you can install new applications or uninstall existing applications and Windows components.
A better replacement for the Add/Remove Programs is Revo Uninstaller. It has more advanced features than the native Windows utility. It gives such features as complete uninstall of applications, forced uninstall, cleaning of junk files, secure erase of important files, etc.
In order to set up your new computer, you may want to check these applications out, and have your native Windows programs replaced with them. Although the native Windows applications are all free utilities, Microsoft has not done much development for them, and applications like Notepad still have the same interface and limited functionality.
For advanced users, it is always better to replace these Windows components with advanced utilities.