5 more free tools for Windows 7 you have to try

Despite all of Windows 7's capabilities, creative developers keep finding cool utilities to offer to make it even better

Every couple of months, it's both entertaining and useful to revisit the tools and toys available to make our desktop experience smoother, more flexible, and, yes, more fun.

A while back, I identified eight free Windows 7 tools you have to try and later revealed some truly awesome tools for Windows 7 power users. I have five more "gotta try" Windows tools for you to consider:

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1. Mosaic Project's CodePlex: With all the fuss about Windows 8 and the new Metro UI that feels more like Windows Phone 7, CodePlex has a "skin" of sorts that will give you the feel of Windows 8 today. It's not fully functional, but it does contain a set of widgets that pulls content from the Web or your PC into the live tile UI that we expect to see with the next release of Windows.

2. ProduKey from NirSoft Freeware: If you've ever had to do a reinstall, you know how frustrating it can be if you cannot find your product key. Perhaps you have a bank of keys and forgot which one went with which system. ProduKey displays the Product ID and the CD key for Windows and Microsoft Office, as well as Exchange and SQL Server for your servers. You can use it to view the information on your current system or on a system over the network through command-line options. Never worry about losing a product key for Windows or Office again.

3. Bins by 1-up Industries: From the same folks who brought us Fences, Bins is a great organizer that combines related programs on your taskbar into bins to help reduce clutter and allow you to access your programs quickly. You can do more than just pin programs to Bins; you can pin files and folders as well.

4. Joli OS by Jolicloud: This tool is simply awesome. In fact, Joli OS is, as the name suggests, more of an entire operating system than a tool, providing a Web-based OS that could give Google Chrome a run for its money in terms of power and ease. What's really cool is that you can install it as a dual-boot OS with an existing Windows 7 system, then pop into Joli OS quickly to shoot off an email or do some Web browsing. In fact, you can jump into Joli OS and get your work done in the time it takes for Windows 7 to get to the login screen. Obviously the value of the dual boot is to allow you to keep using Windows 7 for more complex tasks, such as gaming, video and photo editing, and so on.

5. GbR by Dexpot: This tool allows you to have different virtual desktops that you can use to organize your working structure by placing applications you need on multiple desktops. You might have email on one, Internet on another, video games on a third, and so on. With GbR, you can use different screen resolutions, have 3D transitions between each desktop, and work with plug-ins.

There you have it: five more tools that can help make your Windows 7 experience both more productive and more fun. If you have additional tools you like, please mention them in the comments section to share with your fellow readers.

This article, "5 more free tools for Windows 7 you have to try," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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