5 must-have Windows Utilities

5 must-have Windows Utilities


In a recent video we
talked about my favorite utilities for the Mac,
but here’s a question. What about Windows? Yep, we’re doin’ Windows, and just like we did with
the Mac utilities video, I wanna talk specifically about utilities. These are little tools
that make your experience using Windows better, not just apps. And I have to be honest with you, I can’t pretend that I know Windows quite as well as I know the Mac. This is my Surface and I
do use it all the time, but I really wanted to call in an expert and lucky for me, I’ve got one I can call. His name is Tom Warren, he’s a Senior Editor for The Verge and so, we’re gonna have a chat. He’s gonna talk about
his favorite utilities, I’m gonna talk about mine, we’re gonna see where Windows 10 is going. So you know, let’s Skype him in. Hey Tom, thanks for being on. – Yeah, no worries, good to be on. – I know you just wrote an article about ear trumpets so, what’s that all about? – I don’t know about you,
but I’ve got gaming PC. I like to have Spotify
coming out my speakers and YouTube coming out
my headphones and stuff. That’s not really super easy to do in Windows at the moment. So EarTrumpet is kinda the third party app that lets you switch
apps between the outputs. So it basically imitates
the system tray icon where you have the volume icon right now. It lets you sort of drag
and drop essentially apps between different
outputs within that interface. – So on the Mac there’s
a bunch of different window utility options that let you set up split screen and full screen and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But Windows doesn’t really need that because most of that stuff
is sort of, built in. But, there’s this new
utility called Groupy, right. Can you tell me about that? – So say you’ve used File
Explorer, stuff like that. I have always wanted tabs just to have different folders open
and in the same window and stuff like that. So this enables that. It’s pretty simple, you
just click plus and it generates a tab within the whole window interface, you can group
different apps together, you can group workflows,
so say you use Word, File Explorer, you can group them all in to that single window and
just tab between them. You can’t tab pretty easily, you can create your own shortcut, but usually you’d use Control + Tab to tab through things, you
can’t do that for example. But, Microsoft is working
on their own version of Groupy, so, you know. – One of the themes that
I’m picking up on here is that a bunch of the stuff
that we’re talking about is basically going to be
built right into Windows at some point in the near future. And I guess a lot of
those updates gonna come in this Redstone update,
so, Tom, how is Microsoft gonna be doing its version
of a tabbed interface? – It’s very similar, they’re doing it in a way that, they’re calling it sets. The idea is that you’d have a set of applications that are sort of grouped into this single interface. But they have some form of
connection to each other. So say you were working on an email and you open a link from an email, it might open within that interface rather than opening in a separate window. – Let’s talk screenshots. Everyone needs a good
screenshot utility, right? But the one that’s built into Windows is honestly, it’s not that great. And there’s a bunch of replacements out there, there’s Lightshot and a few others, but you use one called ShareX, right? – ShareX is a totally customizable screenshot tool for Windows. It’s super powerful, you can upload stuff to Imgur and I can literally hit print screen on my keyboard, drag around the desktop for the region I want, let go and within a couple of seconds
it’s uploaded to Imgur. The link is in my clipboards and I just paste it into Slack or wherever I want to share that image. The reason I like it as well, is that you can record GIFs on that, so particularly in our sort of job where you’re trying to grab GIFs off the screen and stuff like that, it’s pretty great. – Tom does it also let you annotations? – Yup, so when you get the region capture, you can also annotate on it, crop it, all that sort of stuff. – Okay so we know that a bunch of the features that we’ve been talking about are basically going to get built into Windows 10 later on, but what do you think it means that Microsoft is being so aggressive at converting these third party utilities into things that are just built into the operating system? – I’d like to think it’s them listening, but then I have been asking for ages for Alfred for Windows, so maybe that will come at some point. I feel like it’s a mixture of them listening and just realizing what kind of people use Windows for, maybe. It’s moved on from the general consumer to more of a subset of people who are using it for real work, so to speak. So I feel like they’re
picking up on that trend. It’s the one thing that Microsoft has that they have to keep pushing, it’s the PC, right. – Yeah. – They have to keep making it better and better to keep people using it. – I did find some utilities on my own. I want to get into the stuff that I found. I really can’t use a good, proper desktop operating system without a clipboard history. My memory sucks, and I love that it can just remember the last 100 things that I copied, and then just be able to arrow through
them when I paste. On Windows my favorite
one is called Ditto. It’s a free utility, just lives down in the system tray. And you set a hotkey to it, I’ve set mine to Shift + Command + V and when you hit it, it pops up this little window and then you can just arrow through the last few things that you copied, hit enter and it pastes it right
there at the cursor . It’s super convenient, doesn’t take up any memory, it’s just great. Whenever I use a computer with a keyboard, I want to have instant universal search no matter what I’m doing, no matter where I am on the computer. In theory Windows is very good at that. They have this thing where you just hit the Windows key, start typing the thing that you want to search for, hit enter and bam, it opens up. But here’s the problem, that Windows search uses Cortana and Cortana wants to use Bing, and I don’t find it that easy to customize, and it doesn’t really match the way that I want to work. So I’ve installed an app called Wox, that’s W-O-X, and if you’re familiar at all with Alfred on the Mac, this is basically the same thing. You hit a button and a blank search bar comes up and you can just type a thing. So I’ve got G for Google, type Verge and then it searches the Verge. And there’s a bunch of other stuff you can do to customize it. You can put in custom searches, you can have it do calculations, you can do all kinds of stuff. It’s a little bit complicated to set up, but for me it’s totally worth it. Anyway, this isn’t a review of Windows, I just wanted to talk about some of the tools that make me feel more productive on this
operating system because like I’ve said before, and I know this is really corny, but these utilities make me feel like I have super powers, and Windows is really good at enabling that. The thing I’m worried about, is I don’t know if Microsoft is
really into that anymore. They’re pushing Edge super hard. They’re pushing Bing so hard, oh my god, stop it with the Bing. They’re even pushing Cortana
a little bit too much. I hope that they change
their mind about that because I don’t think Windows should be about locking us
into Microsoft services. I think Windows should be about making us feel powerful. Hey, thanks for watching and if I missed your favorite Windows utility now’s a perfect time to drop some knowledge on all of us,
down in the comments. We can have a chat down there. You can click subscribe. And the other thing you can do is go check out Verge Science. They’re doing some amazing work. I love the video they made about ferrofluids not too long ago.