Four free programs to help control Windows 7

Lincoln spector By Lincoln Spector

Windows 7, like all powerful operating systems, can seem a bit overwhelming and give you the feeling you’ve lost control.

Fortunately, there are some great utilities for taming Windows 7.

Some problems are obvious: you’ve got so many icons on your desktop you’ve given up trying to keep them organized. Other problems are more obscure —for example, why Windows takes so long to boot. And it’s always good to know exactly what hardware and software are residing in your PC.

Here are four free programs that make Windows easier to control. I’m betting you’ll find them as useful as I do.

Use Fences to subdivide your desktop

If you’re one of those rare people who never ever put anything on their desktops, I applaud your inner neatnik. But if your screen is so packed with file and shortcut icons that you don’t remember what your wallpaper looks like, Stardock’s Fences (download page) can put some order back into your computing life. (Sorry, it can’t do anything about your garage.)

Once installed, this utility lets you create fenced areas on your desktop by double-clicking a blank spot and right-dragging the mouse. After you’ve created a fence, you give it a name and drag any item on the desktop into it.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2011-01-06:

Lincoln Spector

About Lincoln Spector

Lincoln Spector writes about computers, home theater, and film and maintains two blogs: Answer Line at and His articles have appeared in CNET, InfoWorld, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications.