Powertools - October 2009

I have seen many people listing the tools that they use quite often in their day today life. Here is a small list of tools that I use quite often. These tools are related to software development work as well as for personal use. I like to call them as powertools.


Development tools

Visual Studio 2008 team System.

Not much choice there. I am working on Microsoft technologies and in my opinion VS 2008 is one of the best IDE for C# development.

VS commands & Powertoys for VS 2008 

These powertoys and power commands add functionality to existing loads of features in VS 2008. I personally like Collapse All, Open Containing Folder and Open Command Prompt, Remove and Sort Usings commands. In many of our applications we have 10-15 projects in a solution. Navigating through various files in each of the project file can be cumbersome.  Collapse All comes in handy in this case. Other commands are self explanatory.

Source Code Outliner PowerToy

This VS 2008 extension provides the tree view of source code. I have it installed but use it very rarely.

Sticky Notes

This add in provides the sticky notes functionality to project and project items within Visual Studio 2008. It can be very handy to put some comments or hints.

Team Foundation Server Power Tools

These power tools allow check in/out from windows explorer. It has many command line extensions as well and requires Power Shell to be installed as a prerequisite.


TestDriven.NET is a wonderful add in which comes bundled with NCoverExplorer. This addin is used to run unit tests from within the VS 2003/2005/2008 IDE. I tend to use the coverage feature quite often to measure code coverage. The best thing I like about this add in is that it supports multiple unit testing framework. I use the personal edition of this add in.


General Utilities and Tools

Compression utilities

One of the most common task we do to share personal as well as official files is to compress them. I have been using WinZip for a long duration. Off late I have switched over to 7 Zip as its free and performance wise I feel its better as compared to WinZip. Apart from WinZip and 7 Zip I have also used Winrar.


To do lists / reminders

I have tried different tools and methods for managing to do list right from hand written notes to Microsoft outlook tasks. Recently I started using TodoList Resource which has a very simple user interface and is sufficient for my current requirement. This offers a very simple user interface in windows. If you are looking for a web based todo list manager you can have a look at Evernote or TODOIST.


File Comparison

I have an official laptop, a personal laptop, a 2 portable hard drives. Keeping data in synch on all these devices is problematic. I use Beyond compare to compare files and folders.


File Synchronization

Microsoft's SyncToy offers good support for synchronizing contents of two folders. Apart from that you can also try some other utility like Alwaysync


Email Signature

I like to gather quotes from various sources. I was looking for a utility to share these quotes with others by means of a footnote in my email signature. Qliner quotes offers a plugin which can be configured with multiple mail clients like Microsoft Outlook. This plugin can be configured to randomly pick quotes from different files and also at different intervals like daily/weekly / hourly basis.


Bulk File Rename

Many a times we need to rename multiples file at the same time. Bulk File Rename is a very good utility  which is freely available and has many options. You can preview the changes before applying final settings.


Dictionary software

Wordweb is a dictionary software which has both the windows application as well as an online dictionary. If you are installing the windows version please be careful while entering the number of miles you have traveled or number of time you have taken flight journey value. The free version has some weird restriction with regards to air miles or some factor which I don't  remember exactly. But if you enter a value which is above the limit you'll not be allowed to use the free software. Its bets to enter the value as zero.


Online file sharing

Most of the email clients have restriction on the size of the attachments. If there is a need to share a large file we can use an online file sharing service like DropBox. I use this service for hosting the solution files which I used during my blog entries. It offers public as well as restricted sharing access to the files.


Calendar Sync

I use Microsoft Outlook as mail client for accessing my gmail mails. I also have a habit of adding reminders to the google calendar online. Google Calendar Sync provides a way of synchronizing outlook calendar with google calendar. 


Desktop search

Google desktop search is my go to tool for searching files on the PC.


Wallpaper changer

Another utility I love on my PC is the wallpaper changer which is a Windows XP power toy. I like to change the wallpaper image on my desktop periodically. I can do that very easily using this power toy.


Blog Writer

I haven't tried any other blog writer other than Windows Live Writer. I use it to edit both my windows live as well as Blogger blog entries. I like its simple user interface and ease of use.


PDF Writer / Printer

Cute PDF writer is a free open source which can convert any printable format into a PDF file. It installs a PDF printer which can be used by applications to convert their documents as PDF files.



I am sure people are using different utilities to achieve many of the common tasks mentioned above. I would love to try those and choose the best one. I hope this was helpful.


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