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Stack 'em high

7stacks ports the Mac OS X stacking feature to Windows 7, Vista, and XP in a reasonable but hardly perfect manner.

7Stacks ports the Mac OS X stacking feature to Windows 7, Vista, and XP in a reasonable but not quite perfect manner. If you're not familiar, the "stack" jargon here refers to creating a container of folders or files and making it accessible with one click on your taskbar.

The program does an effective job once you've created your stack, but it lacks some of the smoothness that hallmarks its Mac progenitor. A clean design makes creating a stack easy, but what's not clear about the process is that the "Create shortcut on Desktop" button is a necessary step. Once you've created the shortcut, you can drag it onto your unlocked taskbar. Left-click on a stack to access its contents.

When creating a stack, you can customize the folder you choose to stack including Libraries, use the default folder icon or select your own, and toggle options for exploring the folder, browsing subfolders, hiding file extensions, or displaying image thumbnails. There are three stack view options: vertical, which presents the stack in a column; grid, which arranges the stack into rows and columns; and menu, which makes the stack look like a Windows Explorer right-click context menu. Text for each item can be turned on or off in grid and vertical modes, and both icon size and text size can be adjusted via slider.

You can't drag and drop items directly into or off of a stack, which means that you can only change what's in a stack from Windows Explorer. The utility could use a hot-key hook to create a new stack, although you can right-click on an already-existing stack to see stack options such as create new stack, edit current stack, and browse as menu. More than that, the process for creating and editing stacks should be smoother, and even on computers with top-shelf hardware, stacks don't open or close as fast as they should. Still, 7stacks brings an entirely new feature to Windows, and there's no harm in that.

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