Three small tools create useful features

This collection of free utilities will energize your corners, introduce tagging for files, and allow you to move and resize program windows in a Windows 7 style.

This collection of free utilities for Windows will energize your corners, introduce tagging for files, and allow you to move and resize program windows in a Windows 7 style via your Alt key.

TaggedFrog is an iTunes-styled tag for your files.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

TaggedFrog tags your files, but keeps the tags to itself--there's little cross-over with Windows Explorer. You can drag and drop from Explorer, though, and that makes adding tags significantly easier. It does nothing automatically, which means there's little chance of a file getting mistagged and lost in the tag cloud. You can batch tag files from the Scan and Tag option under File, and batch edit tags after your initial tagging process. TaggedFrog can be accessed and tags initiated from the system tray.

TaggedFrog's biggest drawback is the utter disconnectedness of the program from Windows Explorer--there's no way to tag files from Explorer without mouse labor. The iTunes-based interface belies the unnecessarily complicated workflow, another drawback. Where tagging and managing should be one-step motions, it can take three or even four to complete basic tasks.

The Filter box is especially hard to get used to, with both drop-down options and the ability to accept user-entered parameters. When entering your own search, you must hit Enter to initiate the filter. It also needs about 45MB of RAM to run, which isn't outrageously large but seems like a bit much for a program with so few visible hooks into other system processes.

TaggedFrog does offer a portable version, and the tagging abilities are robust if you can handle the program's idiosyncrasies.

AltDrag's About window is the only place to find instructions within the program.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

AltDrag is a simple, nearly one-hit program that should appeal to Netbook users and others who need more options for moving program windows around their desktop. It runs at a shade under 6MB of RAM, and sticks a quick toggle switch into your system tray. Click on the black mouse pointer icon once, and the plus-symbol that indicates the program has been enabled goes away. Click once more to re-enable the app. You can set it to run at Windows launch, and hide the tray icon, too.

Using AltDrag is easy, although the instructions are hidden in the About pane, accessible when you right-click on the system tray icon. Hold down Alt and click your left mouse button anywhere in a program window to move that window. Hold Alt and use the center or right button to resize a window. The Windows 7 functionality comes in when you press Alt and Shift and then drag the window using your left mouse button. The window will snap to the edge of your monitor that you've been dragging it toward. Alt plus a double left-click will maximize a window, or restore a maximized window to its normal size.

Resizing the window is a bit wonky because it's hard at first to determine where the resizing anchor point is. Still, this is a smart tool to have for those with small monitors.

Hot Corners is a program that will have many screaming "virus!" but after having installed it, I can confirm that it's not. According to the publisher, the installer comes from a third party that sets off red flags and claims that it's not a threat. They've released the source code to prove it, but unless you're running NOD32 or ClamWin, your virus scanner will have to be disabled for the duration of the installation process. Turn it back on after you've installed it.

Hot Corners provides preconfigured and customizable mouse gestures.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

If you decide to go ahead and install Hot Corners, you'll find your PC now has OS X-style corner actions that go far beyond what they can do on the Mac. The program executes a stunning variety of tasks by turning all four screen corners into Hot Corners. The hot-key combo of the Windows key plus X key gives similar powers to mouse gestures as the Mouse Move feature.

With either Hot Corners or Mouse Move, you can launch programs, search Google, run your screensaver, minimize or maximize windows, open your My Documents folder, place the computer into stand-by mode, lock the screen, show your desktop, jump to the previous window you were viewing, or run a specific file. The Google search is surprisingly smooth, utilizing a small pop-up query box that then opens a new browser tab with your results.

In testing the various tasks, all of them worked without flaw. A system tray icon that can be hidden from the program's options menu lets you disable Mouse Move. Hot Corners runs on about 6.5MB of RAM, and looks to be an immense time-saver for your most repetitive tasks.

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