Success Story of Jason M. Purcell:

Actual Title Buttons is a robust productivity utility supported by extraordinarily caring and efficient support personnel at a reasonable price.

Add Minimize To Tray, Roll up\Unroll Window, Stay On Top and Make Transparent buttons to any window's title bar next to Minimize/Restore/Close. Review info:
Reviewer: Jason M. Purcell, President/CTO, Hawkins Research, Inc.
Residence: Murray, KY
Published Date: October 24, 2003

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I've been a registered user of ToggleMinimize since October 2, 2001, and was -- overall -- quite satisfied with it. In October, 2003, I read about Actual Title Buttons in a shareware newsletter and was intrigued. I installed the Actual Title Buttons (ATB) demo and resumed using my computer as usual, occasionally tweaking ATB's settings to match my usage habits. After less than two hours, I was completely convinced that ATB easily provided the performance gains necessary to justify the $19.95 registration fee, and purchased.

The ATB features I use most, in order of frequency, are: 1) Minimize to Tray, 2) Stay Always-on-Top, and 3) Make Transparent. ToggleMinimize doesn't provide the second and third features, and isn't as flexible in its implementation of the first. ATB is simply far more powerful and customizable than ToggleMinimize, and uses very little more RAM and CPU cycles than my old title bar utility. ToggleMinimize no longer resides on my hard drive. :)

After registering, I discovered that ATB was causing certain comboboxes in a couple of my programs -- including both a major application (WordPerfect 11) and a niche application (PowerClaim XML) -- to behave abnormally. I wrote the support staff -- on a Friday -- and within hours received a reply both offering a temporary, partial workaround (which worked) and stating that my problem would be further investigated on Monday. On Monday morning, I received a reply with a second suggestion, which completely eliminated the problem I was experiencing. As someone with fifteen years of software engineering experience, I can say with some authority that technical support like this is most rare.

I've found Minimize to System Tray to be most useful for applications that need to be *open* all day, but that only need to be in the *foreground* from time-to-time, and that don't include their own "Minimize to System Tray" features. For me, this translates to MS Outlook and Access.

I use Stay Always-on-Top to keep Windows Explorer and my text editor, UltraEdit (for most people, this would be Notepad) visible when browsing, as I often need to copy multiple bits of information from a browser window to paste into a document or use to rename a list of files. Stay Always-on-Top is also useful for opening multiple URLs (links) from Outlook or Internet Explorer without the "focus" (display and control) switching to the new browser windows -- a *tremendous* timesaver.

When used in conjunction with Stay Always-on-Top, Make Transparent actually makes many Windows dialogs, such as the "Date/Time Properties" window, seamless and pleasant rather than clunky and annoying. Who would have imagined that was ever possible? :)

The only needed interface improvement that is obvious to me: Tool tips need to be added to the ATB title bar command buttons. However, as the button images represent their associated functions quite well, this is -- at worst -- a minor issue.

Jason M. Purcell,
Hawkins Research, Inc.
Bellevue, WA