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-- by James E. Powell
If you have room for only one set of desktop and system utilities, PowerDesk Utilities is it. Originally marketed by MicroHelp, this program is back in the hands of its original developers, Mijenix, and the company's hard work shows in a rich new set of features. With PowerDesk, you no longer have to use Windows' built-in Windows Explorer, Find or Registry tools-PowerDesk replaces them all with better tools.
The program comprises two parts, PowerDesk and ExplorerPlus. The PowerDesk component supplies quick access to programs and displays monitors for disk usage, CPU utilization and so forth. My favorite component, ExplorerPlus, is a superb Windows Explorer replacement. It lets you do all the standard tasks (copy a disk, rename files, set a file's date/time stamp and add folders). But it also allows you to view files in two panes arranged either horizontally or vertically. Competitors like Norton's File Utilities and Drag and File run two copies of their program and then arrange the windows, wasting precious screen space.
PowerDesk adds the ability to print a folder tree or file list, as well as set up commonly used paths and programs for quick navigation. Zip capabilities let you create Zip archives and view their contents.
You can also encrypt and decrypt files (DES encryption is provided), "destroy" files so they can't be unerased and access Start button options from the Windows 95 toolbar. You can configure font size and customize PowerDesk's toolbar with buttons for the features you use most; PowerDesk added 30 more buttons to the customization set.
Rounding out the new features is a toolbar called the Launchbar. It lets you add buttons to run your favorite programs. Predefined buttons run the new File Find utility (not significantly better than Win95's own), start Size Manager (to graphically view the size of a folder and all its subfolders) or run the Registry Editor. You can drag and drop files to the Launchbar, too.
PowerDesk's toolbar can be anchored to the top of your screen. You can configure it in many different ways, including displays of system resource usage, and system date and time. You can add buttons to launch your favorite applications or include buttons that duplicate items on your Start menu. You can access printer properties or control the print queue. Like many other products, PowerDesk's Multiview offers multiple virtual desktops for organizing your files and applications. System Access features let you change common settings, such as screen resolutions, or restart the computer in DOS mode.
PowerDesk is the one program that I simply must have running on my system.
Copyright (c) 1997 CMP Media Inc.