Published Date: April 25, 2007
Actual Window Menu
Hello all and welcome to another 15-Minute Review! Today’s application is Actual Window Menu version 4.4 by Actual Tools—This application is a window control interface, giving you an assortment of options for manipulating your windows, including transparency, priority and more.
As Giveaway of the Day states:
“Actual Window Menu is the unique extension of standard window menu that provides advanced users with alternative ways of organizing and managing windows.
Actual Window Menu adds several extra items to standard window menu accessible via application icon in the title bar. These extra items allow to invoke some handy window management commands such as: roll up/unroll, make transparent, change program priority, minimize to the system tray, keep always-on-top, accurately resize, accurately align, and many others. These new features allow both advanced and newbie Windows users save their time and desktop space by neatly organizing their windows.
Unlike other OS extensions, Actual Window Menu provides flexible configuration abilities allowing to create specific settings for some particular windows and customize on a window basis as the exact set of extra items as their properties.”
This application seems to be chalk-full of features, most of them useful at least occasionally for their inclusion into the application. As mentioned above, there are a lot of options available; I haven’t even listed them all either, just the most notable ones. While I wasn’t thrilled with AltMin at first, minimizing to the System Tray, I was delighted when I found that the icons could be docked to the top left of the screen as well, keeping the application out of your Taskbar or System Tray while leaving it running. Common use for this might be for an email client, so you can listen for incoming emails without loading yet another ‘EMail Monitor’ application to sit in your System Tray.
While for me Transparency functionality (Ability to directly control the alpha of a window) may not have a great use, if you were to mix it with Ghost (which disables mouse clicks within a window, leaving keyboard usage,) it would allow you to monitor a website or another application without destroying your desktop totally. It might have been handy to be able to with Ghost and Transparency to make the window totally click-through, able to manipulate what was behind it.
I stumbled upon Resize, and I immediately found one use for it; Webdesign and ensuring your design will look good on different resolutions of screens. With the ability to control not only by pixel but also by percentage, it can be used in conjunction with the ‘Alignment’ functionality, you could use it to help with window clutter as well; Granted, with tips like this one here, you likely wouldn’t use this ability often, concidering the number of mouseclicks involved.
The greatest part of this application that I found was the ability to set the priority class of the application; I hate having to flip into Task Manager to scale down a process-intensive application just to use my computer (Filters, coversions, etc.) I like the ability to control the process priority right from the menu instead of the long method through the Task Manager. It would have been nice to see Processor Affinity however included as well, if you had a multi-processor system.
The great aspect of this application, is you can not only exclude certain windows from having these functionalities, but you can also control which controls are available to each application; IE: You may only want AltMin, Alignment, Transparency and Resize for Firefox, but you may want AltMin, Send-To-Bottom, Alignment, Transparency and Priority for Adobe Photoshop. You can do this.
Biggest issue is that after a while, I do like keyboard shortcuts, and granted they are mostly placed on the Windows key, it is a lot of functions and their shortcuts to remember. It might be handy to have a setting to allow you to hit an initial key combination to pop up a menu on your mouse, showing you the list of functions with their shortcuts, and then either able to hit the keyboard shortcut or just click on it. One issue I did have but ran out of time to play with was the Send-To-Bottom keyboard shortcut; While it is Win-B, it didn’t seem to work, only from the menu. I suspect a conflict with another keyboard shortcut, but with such little time I couldn’t track it down.
One last issue; I do wish they would have put global settings for how AltMin works right directly into the Configure… window instead of having you rely on doing it in the menu to set its default settings up.