Aero Flip Task Switching for XP with WinFlip

[Windows Only] Over the last few years, Microsoft has tried to leave XP behind after releasing Vista, and then Windows 7. Even though they’d like to forget about XP, millions of people and businesses out there are still using it. Some are reluctant to give it up, because it works, and they’re familiar with it. If you still have a PC running XP, there are a few things you can do to make XP look like Vista or look like Windows 7.

One feature I sometimes miss in XP is the Aero Flip feature. In Vista and Seven, you can hold down the Windows key and hit the tab key to switch to another application. Here’s what it looks like in Win7:


I recently found a cool little freeware application called WinFlip, which gives you the same feature in XP. Here’s what WinFlip looks like:


WinFlip is small, and it doesn’t take up very much of the system memory while running. It’s available in several languages and has plenty of settings. You can access the settings by right clicking on the WinFlip system tray icon while it’s running.

• Download WinFlip from Softpedia

You might also want to check out some of the other application switchers we’ve mentioned in the past.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

There are plenty of ways to make XP look more modern, but sometimes these tweaks make XP run slower. WinFlip is an easy way to gain a cool looking feature without paying a big price in performance.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

JBS Wallpaper Switcher – Better than the one in Windows 7

display-ico [Windows Only] Those of you who are using Windows 7 may already be familiar with the awesome built in wallpaper (background) switcher. It allows you to choose a set of wallpapers and set them up so that they change at certain time intervals. You might want the wallpaper to change once a day or once every hour.

Actually, the only reason I call it an awesome feature is that it’s built right into the Windows settings. There have been third-party applications around, long before Win7, that allowed you to switch wallpapers as needed. Keith has written about one of them here.

Sometime after Keith wrote that piece, I saw a comment from one of our readers. Mitchell McKenna wrote: I recommend John’s Background Switcher. Let’s you bring in photos from facebook, picasa, etc. to use in backgrounds as well.


I’ve taken a look at John’s Background Switcher (JBS for short), and I have to agree with Mitch. It’s far better than any wallpaper switcher I’ve tried before. Here’s a brief list of the functions in it.

You can choose to display:

  • Individual pictures on your computer.
  • Folders containing pictures on your computer such as My Pictures’.
  • Flickr photo sharing selecting pictures by person, tags, sets or just plain random. You never know what you’re going to get next!
  • Facebook your friends photos on your desktop!
  • Vladstudio wallpapers choose from the coolest wallpapers on the net!
  • Any Media RSS feed choose pictures from sites like DeviantArt, Photobucket,LOLCats and Zooomr amongst many others!
  • Phanfare web albums keep up to date with your friends and family.
  • smugmug photo galleries yours, your friends, anybody’s!
  • Picasa Web Albums choose from specific albums or any search text.
  • Webshots if you’re a Webshots user, you can choose from your online or downloaded photos and collections.
  • Google Image Search get pictures from anywhere across the internet.
  • Bing Image Search not a Google fanboy? Then Bing is for you!
  • Yahoo! image search the internet is your oyster!
  • Runs on 98, ME, XP, 2000, Vista, 7

When JBS is running, it will show as an icon in your system tray. To get to the settings, just right click on the icon. Here’s what the settings applet looks like:


Based on what I’ve seen so far, I’d have to say that JBS is much better than the built in wallpaper switcher in Windows 7.

Check it out for yourself: Download John’s Background Switcher

Techie Buzz Verdict:

If you get tired of seeing the same old wallpapers on your Windows desktop, John’s Background Switcher may be the best solution for you. I have to rate it highly recommended, because I haven’t seen anything that does as much or does it any better.


Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Great Windows Search Replacement – Agent Ransack

search-doc2-ico [Windows Only] A little over two months ago, Mythicsoft released a new version of their well known freeware search tool, Agent Ransack. Agent Ransack is a lite version of FileLocator Pro, and is free for both personal and commercial use.

Even though I normally use the Everything Search tool to find files, I like to keep Agent Ransack installed on my Windows XP machines, because it integrates with Windows and provides a much faster file search and content search when you need it. It will also work in Vista and Windows 7.

Here’s what it looks like when you launch it normally:


As you can see above, I searched for all files containing the text techie buzzand it returned the results within a few minutes. There’s a nice preview pane that lets you see inside the files you pick from the results. That’s not all the features it has, here’s a list from the web site:

• Boolean expressions
Combine search terms using the familiar Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT.

• Office formats
Support for popular Office formats including Office 2007 and OpenOffice.

• Updated UI
Brings Agent Ransack’s user interface into the modern day.

• Perl regex
Support for Perl compatible regular expressions.

• 64-bit Version
Natively compiled 64-bit version for improved compatibility.

I think the best feature is the Windows integration. You have to enable it using the Tools / Shell Integrationmenu.


When you have a file folder open, all you have to do is hit the F3 (search) key to fire up the integrated Agent Ransack. In that mode, it doesn’t look much different than the normal Windows file search.


Using it to search folders in this manner will end up saving you lots of time, and in addition, it will eliminate the Windows XP doggie spy.

Agent Ransack isn’t the fastest search tool around. The search tools that use an indexed search are faster, but an indexed search tool usually runs in the background, continuously watching your hard drive for changes. Often the index databases can be large, sometimes very large (hundreds of megabytes).

• Download Agent Ransack

Techie Buzz Verdict:

If you’d like a good, light weight replacement for the slow Windows file search, you won’t find many tools better than Agent Ransack. I have no problem giving it a highly recommended.


Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Royale Remixed – Is it the Best Microsoft Theme for XP?

display-ico One of my online buddies, Andrew Fox, recently commented on my Google Buzz about the article concerning 4 Free Microsoft Themes for XP. Andrew mentioned that he thought the best Microsoft theme was one called Royale. I quickly located a copy of it and tried it out. It is a very nice theme, but I found out that someone has taken the Royale theme and tweaked it to make it even better. The tweaked version is called Royale Remixed.

Here’s what the Royale Remixed theme looks like on my netbook.


There are three color schemes included in this theme. The color schemes can be accessed by right clicking on your desktop and selecting Properties, then the Appearance tab.


The Noir color scheme is shown above while Royale and Zune are shown below.



The only difference I noticed between Noir and Zune was that Zune is a little darker. I like the Zune color scheme the best. Which one do you like?

Download the Royale Remixed theme (also known as Royale Noir Theme)

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Is Royale Remixed the best theme for Microsoft XP? I’d have to say noto that question. There are so many themes available to an XP user, especially if they are willing to use the UxTheme patch to unlock all the great themes that are available.

Techie Buzz Verdict: 3/5 (Good)

4 Free Themes for XP from Microsoft

Even though Windows 7 is becoming more popular every day, most people are still using Windows XP. Since you’ve had XP for so long, isn’t it time you gave it a fresh facelift?

Check out these four free Windows XP themes from Microsoft.


download page



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Ree Ree Khao Sarn

download page



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The only thing you may not like about these themes is that you will have to pass the Windows Validation test to download them. It’s not a big deal, unless you have a pirated copy of Windows.

Here are several other themes and mods for XP that we’ve shown off in the past:

Download Windows 7 Theme For Windows XP

Christmas Themes for Windows XP | Christmas Theme Pack

Transform Windows XP to look like Windows Seven aka Windows Vienna

Make Windows XP look like Windows Vista

Windows 7 Theme For Windows XP

Google Chrome OS Theme For Windows

How To Backup Your Current Theme In Windows XP and Vista

Download AeroFlame, Awesome Black Windows Vista Theme

Replace Windows XP Start Button with Windows Vista Orb

I hope you enjoy trying some of these themes out. If you have a theme you’d like to tell us about, be sure to comment below.

Display Multiple Time Zones in the XP System Tray

microsoft-time-zone-icon I was very happy when I found a feature in Windows 7 that allowed me to see the current time in cities across the world by hovering the mouse over the system tray clock.


As you can see in the image, you can display up to three time zones, including the one you are using. If you didn’t know how to set that up in Vista or Win7, you can use these instructions at Microsoft.

I have several PCs at home and at work that are running Windows XP, so I decided to find out if there was a way to add a similar feature.

I found several applications that give you fairly quick access to views of multiple time zones, but I wanted one that resided in the system tray. Finally, I found my answer: Microsoft Time Zone.

Normally the time is displayed in the system tray in XP, showing only the time itself. Hovering your mouse over it displays the day and date as shown here.


Microsoft Time Zone allows you to see up to 5 different times zones. However, it requires a left click on the system tray icon to display them.


Right clicking on it gives you access to the settings and options. It also allows you to find the current times of anyplace else in the world.


I found out that installing Microsoft Time Zone wasn’t exactly trouble-free. This little program requires .NET Framework 1.1 to be installed. Even if you have later versions of .NET installed, Time Zone won’t let you install until you add .NET 1.1. This has always been the main reason I don’t like .NET Framework.

Download Microsoft Time Zone

Download Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1

Be sure to take a look at some of the other articles we’ve written about Time Zones and other system tray utilities.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I really enjoy having Microsoft Time Zone in Windows XP. Since many of the people I chat with online are in other time zones, it’s a big help to know what time it is where they live. As I mentioned above, the major drawback to this application is it’s reliance on .NET Framework.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5

A New and Improved Start Menu with StartMenu7

In September of 2008, Keith wrote about a Windows Start Menu replacement called VistaStartMenu. The author of that program has created a new alternative based on the Windows 7 menu. If you are running an older version of Windows, and you have a slight case of feature envy, StartMenu7 may be an option you’ll enjoy adding.

7start-menu-icon I recently tried StartMenu7 and took a few screenshots. I’ll share them with you here and add a few comments on some of the features.

This screen-shot is from the author. It shows the default skin.


If your system supports it, portions of the menu are transparent.

This menu has a search box at the bottom, like Vista and Win7. It works pretty much the same. Typing into it searches your Start Menu for programs or actions. Also across the bottom are buttons for PC power control and options. Just above the power buttons are three tabs labeled All Programs, Quick Startand Autorun. The All Programsis the default view and it shows all of your programs. The Quick Startmenu can be populated with items that you add to it through the Options.

Here’s another skin called Classic…


… and another skin called Windows. I liked this one the best.


At the top of StartMenu7 are two buttons for adding and removing program shortcuts. There’s a third button for access to a custom Runmenu with several interesting features.


Shown above is the Runsub-menu called Commandsand below is the sub-menu for Folders.


StartMenu7 is installed like most other applications and can be removed using the Windows Add/Remove applet. You can launch StartMenu7 normally or you can set it to automatically launch when Windows boots up.

There are many options that I haven’t explored. Here are a few that are listed on the program’s website.

  • The list of menu items is alphabetically sorted, so you can easily find any program or command by its name.
  • Open any location on your PC with a single click.
    You can create, modify, and reorder items in Start Menu 7. So it’s easy to create a list of the most used locations, popular directories, and virtual folders to access them with a single click.
  • There is a special Run button to access seldom used locations without adding them into menu.
  • Start Menu 7 has a customizable Power Buttons panel.
  • With Power Timer feature you can delay any of power management operations.

Download StartMenu7 (Windows 2000, 2003, XP, Vista, 7)

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I don’t use many addons like StartMenu7. I like to keep my resources free and I’m also a big fan of Classicmenus. That said, I’m very tempted to add StartMenu7 to my Windows XP machines. While I was using it, it seemed bug free and didn’t slow things down one bit. I really did like all of the extra features it adds.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Find as You Type with Listary

Last year, while trying out some Linux operating systems, I was surprised to discover a cool find-as-you-type feature in the Gnome Nautilus file browsers.

listary-icon While looking for a file, you only had to start typing and a small text box appeared in the bottom right of the window (as shown below).


At this point I had feature envybecause I wanted to see the same feature built into Windows Explorer. However, I knew that this was not going to happen anytime soon. Windows is traditionally many years behind on cool features that appear in other operating systems.

Last week, I found that my wait was over. As usual, someone saw the need and developed a third-party app which adds this cool feature to Windows. Listary not only reproduces the find-as-you-type feature, it adds even more little time-saving tricks.

Here’s what Listary looks like in Windows 7 (or Vista):


As you can see, it not only lists the first match as Nautilus does in Linux, it adds a drop-down list with all the possible matches. Another great addition is that it accepts the asterisk and question mark wild-card characters that help you find files quickly.

If you were looking for only JPG files in a folder, you would start by typing *JPG in the window and your matching files would be listed below. To navigate inside the list, you can use the TAB key or the UP and DOWN arrow keys. As each file is highlighted in the Listary search box, the corresponding file in the Explorer window is also automatically shown and highlighted. If a file you wish to open is highlighted in the results box, pressing ENTER will open it.

In addition to working in Windows 7 and Vista, Listary also works in Windows XP, as shown below.


Listary is a free program although there is a paid version (Listary Pro) which offers more search features. You’ll find that it’s offered as an 827kb setup file that must be installed. The installation doesn’t spring any surprises on you and you do have the ability to set several options in it.

The most important option is whether to allow Listary to start when Windows does. Listary only takes about 7mb of memory while running and is always shown as an icon in the system tray. Right clicking on the system tray icon allows you to exit the program or change settings.

Download the free version of Listary

[via DownloadSquad]

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Listary has given me the chance to try a feature I’d wished for in Windows. I like how it works and I was also surprised to find that it offers more than similar features in Linux. I can’t complain about any lack in features, because there is a Pro version and I could pay for the additional features if I need them.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5

Replace Windows XP Start Button with Windows Vista Orb

Transforming your Windows XP PC to look like Windows Vista can either be a one step process or you could also choose from different applications so that you decide which look and feel you would like to get from Windows Vista to Windows XP. Oh and there is also a easy way to replace the Windows XP sounds with those from Windows Vista.

Well to add to the whole list of things we have been talking about for quite some time, today we will also tell you about another small application that will bring the Windows Vista orb to your Windows XP machine.

The Orb is the start button for Windows Vista which is much more compact than the regular Windows XP start button.


Continue reading Replace Windows XP Start Button with Windows Vista Orb

Transform Your Windows XP with Vista Transformation Pack 8

I had earlier written about how you can transform your Windows XP to look like Windows Vista and how to get Windows Vista sounds for Windows XP. Though both those tricks would make your Windows XP look and sound like Windows Vista you would still manually have to install each and every software.

Vista Transformation Pack is a software bundle that makes the task easier for you. You simply have to download and install the software and it will automatically transform your Windows XP to look and sound like Windows Vista.

Vista Transformation Pack is pretty safe and is widely used by a number of users who do not want to make the switch to the expensive Windows Vista platform.


Continue reading Transform Your Windows XP with Vista Transformation Pack 8