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1 - Being more efficient with Cartool




This page aims at making your work with Cartool (but not only) way easier. Broadly, this is about setting your machine correctly, and using third party (free) utilities.

Utilities

Everything

This nifty utility, powerful though light on your resources, will index all your file names (but not the contents) and allows you to search them with logical expression. Seems simple? try it, and see how fast you get to your files, especially if they have a pattern in their names, like, experiments?

Notepad++

A very powerful replacement to (the lame) Notepad: gobbles huge files, mutli-tabbed, fast, colored syntax, zoom, macro recording (again), etc...

WinDirStat

A utility transposed from the Linux world into the Windows' one. Where are all your gigabytes being used, where is it possible to get some free room on your drive? WinDirStat scans your drives, and graphically displays directories / files sizes.

7-zip

This will handle all your zip, tar archives / compressed files, quickly and easily.

AltDrag

This is for small screens: a utility that allows you to drag a window (say a Dialog) from its body (anywhere) instead of only its border...

CCleaner

Crap Cleaner will thoroughly clean your machine: temporary files, internet cache, recycle bin, etc...

Revo Uninstaller

Safely and totally remove any application, scanning for all sorts of left-overs. Definitely a must-have.

überOptions

In case you have a Logitech Mouse (like the real mighty Revolution), you can use überOptions to configure your mouse to new levels. F.ex., giving each of the buttons an action that depends on the current program at use. Think of it like having a one hundred button mouse!

AutoHotKey

A very handy macro recorder / automation tool, that will run all sorts of tedious repetitive tasks from any key combination (hotkeys). It actually simulates you typing the keyboard, opening and selecting windows, clicking buttons, and so on, on top of whatever your current program is. Use this utility in stand alone, or with the above überOptions.

Disk Partitioning

See below, but you're likely to split your big hard drive into independent partitions. The EASEUS program is doing the job fairly well, though only on 32 bits versions of Windows...

For more very good freewares...

Gizmos Freeware Reviews has a very honnest, useful and up-to-date list of all sorts of freewares!



Setting your machine correctly

So, you think Windows has been correctly installed? Chances are high this is not the case, and we can blame Microsoft for not setting things better by default. Here are a few tips to set your machine, preferably when you just bought it, otherwise it might be a good idea to backup your important stuff!


Explorer

The Explorer hides the file extensions, which is not a good idea, as we (and Cartool) do need to know the type of files.
  • For XP: Go to menu Tools, then Folder Options, then the View tab. Browse down the list, and uncheck "Hide extensions from known file types".
  • And see here for Windows 7.

Partitioning your disk(s)

Windows comes by default with everything mixed together in the same disk / partition, which should be punished by law (Windows system, temporary files, virtual memory, your data...)
A better way to work, preferably to set up when your machine is brand new, is to allocate a partition for each of these uses:
  • Windows system and all the programs you'll need (40-50 gigabytes, drive letter C:)
  • The Virtual Memory (aka pagefile.sys, or swap), about twice the size of your installed RAM (drive letter S:)
  • Everything temporary: Windows, internet, DVD burner temp files... (10 to 20 gigabytes, drive letter T:)
  • Your own stuff and data, be liberal in the space you need (drive letter D: or E:, or whatever your fancy).
  • Optionally, a place for the downloads and files you have to sort later (20+ gigabytes, drive letter D:)


This way, the temporary files don't mix with the system and your data, avoiding disk fragmentation. The temporary partition can be emptied without second thoughts. The system and your personal partitions can be backed up easily with any utility.
The nice thing with partition is that you can add new disks in your system, and simply move some partitions to the new disk. Windows will not complain (on the contrary).

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