Pitaschio

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Pitaschio is an explorer shell extension that introduces a number of interesting functions and tweaks, including allowing small (details-view) icons on the desktop, snapping open windows to other windows.

restricting windows to the visible screen area, customizing mouse shortcuts to control various window functions, and others.

Here’s a listing of my favorite Pitaschio functions:

  • Small icons on the desktop: ever wondered why you cannot use small, detail-view icons withtin the desktop. With Pitaschio you can do just that (see screenshot). While the effect is definitely interesting, I tried to use small icons on my desktop for about a day and I must admit that I have doubts about their practicality. Still, definitely an interesting idea.
  • Open windows snap together: i.e. the edges of open windows behave as if they were magnetic. Quite a nice effect, really.
  • Windows forced to stay within the visible screen area: 100% of any window will be visible at all times.
  • Mouse shortcuts: for example, I was able to set it such that right clicking on the title bar of any open window will cause the window to ’roll up’ so that only the top bar is visible, while right clicking while pressing shift caused it to switch to 50% transparency. Note that mouse shortcuts can control many effects/functions, such as restarting the computer, standing by, switching off the monitor, running a screensaver, moving to the center, and many others.
  • Parent folder by double click: double clicking on the area inside the folder moves up one folder.
  • Window transparency by mousewheel: when mouse is positioned on the taskbar, you can use the mouse wheel to vary window transparency.

Here’s a listing of more functions that I like less than the ones above:

  • Disable stuff: such as the caps lock, windows , and other keys. Disable minimize, maximize, close buttons on windows. Also includes a function where mouse or keyboard are disabled for cleaning.
  • Autoraise: a function that enables toggling active windows simply by mousing over them and resting for a pre-defined number of seconds.
  • Adjust volume by mousewheel: you can do this when volume dialog is visible; sounds good but doesn’t work very well.
  • Minimize to system tray: this one didn’t work properly in the version I tested. Both TrayIt and ShellEnhancer offer this if you’re looking for it.
  • Window management: for specific open windows, you can set size, position, transparency and other variables. Settings seem to be discarded when you close the window and are not preserved when you re-open it, so I’m not sure what the point is.
  • Other functions: ’laser pointer’, which shows a green blob instead of the mouse cursor, and calculating the moon’s age,

This program encompasses some nice and unusual functions; however, like other shell enhancements of its kind, it is burdened with a confusing, less-than-straightforward interface and rather too many options. On the other hand it takes up only 6.5 megs of memory so if there’s a function (or functions) here that you think you would like by all means download and try it out.

Version tested: 2.10

Compatibility: Windows 2000, XP.

Go to the download page to get the latest version (approx 55K). Also visit the program home page.