Three Useful Utilities
by Cate Eales
Appeared April 16, 2012 on castanet.net
This week I found three little programs that work
just the way they say they do. One of them is even built right in to
Windows. Set simple or complex reminders, take control of your laptop,
and safely eject those flash drives without squinting.
Desktop Reminder 2 does just what it says
Recently I mentioned
simple program that will remind you of one thing a day. It’s a great
little program, but some of you want something more robust. If you want
a task planner that’s easy to use, easy to see, and offers more
flexibility than Xcalday,
Desktop Reminder 2 is worth a look.
(click to enlarge graphic)
Desktop Reminder 2
You can set reminders, make a recurring task, search
and filter with the free version. The paid version includes a day
planner as well. Both versions use a ribbon interface like Microsoft
Office programs. You can grab Desktop Reminder 2 from the author’s site,
here. There are many more features, even in the free version.
Windows Mobility Center puts you in control of
If you have a laptop running Windows 7 Home Premium or better (or even
Vista Home Premium or better) you have a great little utility on your
laptop that you probably don’t even know about. Windows Mobility Center
provides ready access to the most useful settings on your laptop without
forcing you to use key combinations.
Activate Mobility Center by pressing the Windows and the X key at the
same time. The Mobility Center presents you with a “tiles” for
controlling screen brightness, volume, switching your wireless
connection off and on, and lets you see the battery status. Sometimes
there are tiles for external displays and presentation settings. Not all
computers can do all functions, and some computer manufacturers replace
the generic Mobility Center with their own branded one.
(click to enlarge graphic)
Windows Mobility Center
You’ll find more information about the
Windows 7 Mobility Center here.
Vista users go here. If you have a Vista or Windows 7 laptop, try
out the Mobility Center and see what you think.
USB Disk Ejector safely removes USB drives
without the hassle
No matter what version of Windows you’re using, it’s a really bad idea
to just yank a USB flash drive or external hard drive out of the USB
port. You should safely remove it to make sure none of your important
data becomes corrupted.
There are several ways to do this. The most common one is to squint at
the notification area by the clock in the lower right corner of the
screen and look for a tiny green icon, click on it, and click on the
Now you know why lots of people never bother to do
Another way to do this --- without squinting --- is to click on
Computer, find the drive, right-click on it and click on “Eject” in
Windows 7 or “Safely remove” in Vista. Still a lot of clicking but it’s
easier to see.
If you already know you’re not going to remember that way either, try a
USB Disk Ejector. It will work on anything from XP to Windows 7.
It’s super easy to use. It can eject things that Windows (Vista in
particular) fusses about and won’t let you eject without swearing at it.
You can make desktop shortcuts to your drives, and if
you put Disk Ejector on a flash drive, it can even eject the flash drive
it’s on. Don’t ask me how they do that, but I’ve tried it and it works.
Do you have a program that makes your computing life a little easier?
Please email me at
email@example.com and tell me about it. I’ll share your
suggestions in a future column.
Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com)
a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their
computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate
also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to
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Going to Extremes
Desktop Reminder 2
Using Windows Mobility Center Windows 7
Using Windows Mobility Center Vista
Download Disk Ejector
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Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile service helping home users
and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment
phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and
suggestions. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can read previous
columns here. If you'd like to subscribe to this column by
email, please visit this link It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the
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Cate Eales 2012 – All Rights Reserved