Freeware Utilities

Desktop Freeware Utilities

Add useful widgets

Keep the stuff that you love right at your fingertips. Bring life to your desktop with fun, stylish, and useful Yahoo! Widgets. To get Widgets on your desktop, you first need to download the Yahoo! Widget Engine.
Add useful widgets: Yahoo Widgets

Automatically take screenshots at regular intervals

TimeSnapper is an Automatic Screenshot Journal. It runs in the background of your computer, taking screenshots of your desktop every few seconds all week long. TimeSnapper lets you play back your week just like a movie. You can play it at any speed you like, and jump in at any time you like
Automatically take screenshots at regular intervals: TimeSnapper

Change desktop wallpaper automatically

Background Boss is a desktop background manager that gives you total control over how your wallpapers are displayed and when they are changed.
Change desktop wallpaper automatically: Background Boss

Customize my shortcuts

PowerPro lets you take control of how you use Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP. Run commands and configure your system any way you want. PowerPro gives you a compact and powerful launch bar, menu, and tray icon facility. But this is just the start. With a little experimenting with its configuration, you'll find that you can use PowerPro to change the way you work with your system.
Customize my shortcuts: PowerPro

Display earth-from-space photographs screen-saver

EarthView is a dynamic desktop wallpaper and screen saver, which displays beautiful views of the earth with daylight and night shadows. It produces colorful, high quality, high resolution images for every screen resolution - even beyond 1600x1200! The program supports map and globe views, urban areas, city lights, atmospheric effects, clouds, local time display and much more. EarthView supports different maps that show our planet earth in different ways, like photographic or artistic. Many options allow total customization of all view parameters. EarthView has won many awards for its absolutely breathtaking images.
Display earth-from-space photographs screen-saver: EarthView

Display weather information

WeatherMate is a little Windows program that gives you instant access to current weather conditions and forecasts for tens of thousands of locations worldwide. I wrote WeatherMate because I got tired of having to open several browser windows and wade through a bunch of ads to check the weather.
Display weather information: WeatherMate

Weather Watcher is your personal Windows desktop weather station. Automatically retrieve the current conditions, hourly forecast, daily forecast, detailed forecast, severe weather alerts (US only), and weather maps for over 77,000 cities world-wide. The current conditions can be quickly viewed by holding your mouse pointer over the Weather Watcher system tray icon.
Display weather information: Weather Watcher

Hide/bring back all the icons on the desktop

Hide all desktop icons (including Recycle Bin, My Computer, Network Neighbourhood, etc.) DeskSweeper is always visible in the Windows system tray for easy access. A single mouseclick is all you need to hide or view your desktop icons. This version includes several new options and features. Freeware.
Hide/bring back all the icons on the desktop: DeskSweeper

Hide applications from taskbar/system tray

WatchCat lets you hide any running application from view. WatchCat is convenient if you need to keep applications running, but you don't want them to be obtrusive. Application windows that are hidden by WatchCat not only disappear from your Windows desktop, but they also disappear from the Taskbarand from the list of running tasks displayed by ALT-TAB. To hide or unhide any application, simply right-click on WatchCat's System Tray icon, and select an application from the menu that appears.Applications that appear on the bottom of the menu are ones that arecurrently hidden. There are options to hide and show all windows,and to hide or show your desktop icons. Other options let you hide and unhide programs using hotkeys, or by right-clicking on any application's "minimize" icon. You can even set up timers which automatically hide or close windows after a specified period of time. You can also minimize applications to the System Tray, and protect hidden windows with a password.
Hide applications from taskbar/system tray: WatchCat

Launch applications from a sidebar

Breaking News... Critical Appointments... Personal Photo Gallery... Convenient Toolbars... Favorite Cartoon... Instant Web Searches... Task Tracking... Music Library... Notes to File... Weather in Tokyo... You can have it all and more at your fingertips with Desktop Sidebar!
Desktop Sidebar provides you with instant access to the information you most desire by grabbing data from your PC and the internet. The result is a dynamic visual display you configure and control.
Launch applications from a sidebar: Desktop Sidebar

Launch applications quickly (icons)

RocketDock is a smoothly animated, alpha-blended application launcher that is similar to ObjectDock. RocketDock renders quickly like MobyDock, has the visual sharpness of Y'z Dock, and the stability that neither seem to possess. It is compatible with every dock skin format we are aware of. In fact, if you have a skin that doesn't load properly, send it to us, along with a screenshot of what it should look like and we'll see what we can do about integrating the format...
Launch applications quickly (icons): RocketDock

Launch applications with shortcut names

SlickRun is a free floating command line utility for Windows. SlickRun gives you almost instant access to any program or website. SlickRun allows you to create command aliases (known as MagicWords), so C:\Program Files\Outlook Express\msimn.exe becomes MAIL.
Launch applications with shortcut names: SlickRun

Find and Run Robot is a program for keyboard maniacs - it helps you rapidly find programs or documents from within the depths of the start menu (or other directories). One keypress launches the utility - then just start typing the first letters of the application you want to launch. As you type the best matches are shown - just hit the number to launch the associated program.
Launch applications with shortcut names: Find and Run Robot

Manage icons

Iconoid is a Windows desktop icon manager.
Make icon backgrounds transparent
Select any color for icon backgrounds
Save and Restore Icon positions for each (or every) screen resolution
Select any color for icon text
Automatically or manually select the best color for the text background
Dynamically hide icons when you don't need them and show them when you do
Manage icons: Iconoid by Sillysot

Manage wallpapers

Wallpaper XChange is an image browser/viewer program that serves as a convenient and powerful way to set your Windows wallpaper.
Manage wallpapers: Wallpaper XChange

Multiple desktops and switch between them

BossKey is a simple virtual desktop program. Create hot-keys to switch between the desktops and have one set of windows/applications on one and a different set of windows/applications on another and flip between them instantly with a single keypress. Up to 10 virtual desktops can be defined and windows can be designated always visible.
Multiple desktops and switch between them: BossKey

A free, fast, and feature-full virtual desktop manager for Windows platform. SourceForge project.
Multiple desktops and switch between them: Virtual Dimension

Rename Recycle Bin/My Computer/My Documents/My Network Places icons

Windows has an annoying habit of not letting you rename many of the icons on your desktop. With this free little application tweak the ui quickly and easily. Version 1 is now available, with the following features:
Easily change the name of the Recycle Bin, My Computer, My Documents, and My Network Places
Totally 100% Free!
No popup adverts or spyware, it really is free
Simple to use
Rename Recycle Bin/My Computer/My Documents/My Network Places icons: Desktop Renamer

Show a funny clock

Toon Clock is a Windows program to "add character to your desktop!" You can mix and match skins -- all of your favorite heads, bodies, clock hands, clock dials, clock bodies, sounds, etc. -- to express yourself with your own style of toon clocks.
Desktop Analog clock with resizable custom shapes
Optional cartoon characters with interchangeable heads, bodies and arms
Change clock and dial styles
Can run on top of other Windows, so you can always see the time.
Clock will gradually become translucent so that you can see through it. Moving mouse over clock returns it to opaque.
Set alarm/reminders with memos and optional sound effects
Hourly chimes or voice announcements
Saves your display preferences.
Show a funny clock: Toon Clock

Show a world clock

Qlock is a free World Clock for both your browser and your desktop.
Main Features
Multiple, dockable clock windows
Internet time sync
RSS/Atom feed reader
Daily FX Rates
Attachable "Sticky Notes"
Multiple alarms / timers per city
Adjustable sizes, colors and fonts
Multi-language Unicode support
NO adware or spyware.
Show a world clock: Qlock

Use two desktops on 2 monitors with taskbars

Multi-Monitor support for windows is way cool! Really - if you never tried it and you have resources for second monitor and doual monitor video card do it!
New 2.1 version with Hot-Keys (CTRL + ALT + arrow) to move the current window left or right 2.0 version, with triple monitor support What it does:
It adds second taskbar to the extended desktop on Monitor 2 (either right or left)
It can add third taskbar to the second Extended monitor if you have 3 monitors setup.
It shows only applications from that Monitor
It hides the applications on Monitor 2 from normal Windows Taskbar
Adds a Move to Monitor button to all windows applications.
Add Text Clipboard Extender (new 1.1.)
Very carefully written, I don't want to crash my own desktop!
Is it really Free? Yes, no nags, no spam, no spyware (Yuck!)
Use two desktops on 2 monitors with taskbars: MultiMon Task Bar

Write sticky (post-it) notes on the desktop

ATnotes is a FREE program which creates notes on the desktop. It lives in the system tray, takes very few resources, and supports a lot of languages. Don't lose your notes anymore With ATnotes, you will never miss important events or lose information. You can organize your notes by using folders, set alarm, change color or font and send your note to your colleagues.
Write sticky (post-it) notes on the desktop: ATnotes

hott notes is the free sticky notes reminder program for your desktop. Totally free. No ads. No spy-ware. Not only can you post sticky note reminders, you can make checklists, set alarms, draw on your notes, and archive. Pumped? Download away!
Write sticky (post-it) notes on the desktop: hott notes 3

Stickies is a PC utility I wrote to try to cut down on the number of Post-It notes I was leaving stuck to my monitor. It is a computerised version of those notes.
Write sticky (post-it) notes on the desktop: Stickies

Stickies for Windows lets you put yellow sticky notes on your Windows desktop, much like the popular MacOS application. It is very simple, very customizable, and completely free!
Write sticky (post-it) notes on the desktop: Stickies for Windows

StickyPad is an invaluable, easy-to-use tool that lets you place sticky notes on your desktop. You can type notes to yourself, set meeting and appointment reminders, keep track of a to-do list, and anything else you would do with paper notes. Your notes can be printed, pasted into other applications, or emailed to coworkers. You can even make notes translucent and have them float above your other windows, so you can see both your note and what you are working on. When you log off, StickyPad remembers all of your notes, and when you log back on, your notes are still there. Once you try it, you won't want to work without StickyPad again.
Write sticky (post-it) notes on the desktop: StickyPad