Boss keys, also known as boss buttons, are hot keys programmed to drop all open windows in an instant, such as when the boss walks by. They've been around forever. Unfortunately, today's bosses are smart enough to look at your taskbar. Is the answer to quit goldbricking and get back to work? No! Obviously, if you have a smarter boss, you need a smarter boss key. That's why you should subcontract in-house security to NTWind's Close All Windows. It's portable freeware that closes all running applications instantly at the click of a button. It's extremely compact, uses no system resources, and needs no installation--and it leaves no traces in the Registry or file system. Close All Programs doesn't hang around, either; it opens, sends a "close" command to all running applications, and then exits.
We downloaded and extracted the Close All executable to a folder on our desktop. Since Close All is portable and only 35KB in size, you can stick it just about anywhere, create shortcuts, and place them wherever they're needed. We clicked the program's red X icon, and all our open programs closed immediately. We were ready and didn't lose anything, but it was still slightly startling to see how quickly it happened. The developers claim Close All can close 20 or more running applications; we only had a half-dozen or so open, but it certainly made quick work in terminating several large Office apps, Firefox, and a couple of other programs, including, unfortunately, our antivirus program. Not to worry; the program's Web site describes how to add an easy exclusion list to the program's shortcut: CloseAll.exe -x="explorer.exe|firefox.exe|msnmsgr.exe" and so on. This leaves open the apps you're supposed to have open and closes all the ones that will get you in trouble, and has the added advantage of being quick and easy to customize: just add executables to the exclude list as you need to.
We like Close All Windows not only because it does something useful with the absolute minimum of resources but also because it's old-school enough to feel like you're actually doing something with it, even when you're using it to avoid doing something else.