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July 14, 1997

A bag full of tools for GUI managers everywhere

My column this week is on a variety of topics sent in by readers. I'm sure you'll find one or more that adds to the file cabinet of Windows secrets that you're undoubtedly saving!

WinTop has a license to kill

I wrote in my June 30 column about a free utility from Microsoft called WinTop. (See "Smoke out those mystery activities with free WinTop.") This program shows how much CPU time is being consumed by the various programs (visible or not) that you're running.

The Microsoft Web site made the observation, which I repeated, that WinTop was similar to the Processes tab in Windows NT 4.0, except that WinTop doesn't allow you to kill a rogue process as NT does.

Numerous readers wrote to tell me that WinTop does have the ability to kill a process. You select a program in WinTop's display, then pull down WinTop's Process menu and click Properties. Select the Priority tab, then click the Terminate Process Now button.

To get WinTop, point your Web browser to To download WinTop (a 17KB compressed file), click on the link on that page entitled Windows Process Watcher.

Extensions to Registry Editor

I often write about changes to the Registry that you can make by running RegEdit.exe, a program in your Windows folder. It's handy to have another free utility, this one called Registry Editor Extensions by David Ching.

Download (214KB) from

Unzip the file to a temporary folder. Run Setup.exe and install the program into a permanent folder, such as C:\RegEditX. Then run RegEditX.exe, which loads the usual RegEdit and adds new features to it.

The most prominent addition is a drop-down box for the most recently used key. This box lists the keys you've most recently visited or modified. It's easy to jump back to keys you commonly need to edit.

The extensions also add some nice user-interface touches. Because the drop-down box can be the entire width of your screen, the pull-down arrow at the right edge can be some distance from your mouse. Simply hold down Shift and click anywhere in the box to drop it down instead of clicking on the arrow.

In addition, you can type or cut and paste keys into the drop-down box and instantly navigate there.

RegClean not for NT

I wrote on April 21 about a new version of a free utility from Microsoft called RegClean 4.1. (See "RegClean 4.1 could solve problems with conflicting apps") This utility is for Windows 95 only; it shouldn't be run on Windows NT, which has a different registry structure. You can read about this utility and download a copy at

Six years and still hacking

I am writing this column on the sixth anniversary of starting my Window Manager column for InfoWorld. My first column, back in the summer of 1991, described an undocumented switch that Windows users needed to use to take advantage of a feature of the newly released DOS 5.0. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Keep sending me tips and I'll keep reporting them.

Brian Livingston is the co-author of Windows 95 Secrets Gold and four other Windows books (IDG Books). Send tips to or fax: (206) 282-1248.

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Copyright © 1997 by InfoWorld Publishing Company


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