18 Features Windows Should Have (but Doesn't)

12. Automated Screen Shots

Available on: Mac

Taking screen shots in Windows has never been as easy as it should be. Sure, it starts out simple enough: You press the Print Screen key, and the current view instantly copies to the Clipboard. Where it goes from there, however, is another matter entirely. It's up to you to open up Paint or another image editor, paste the captured screen into the app window, and then save it. What a pain.

On the Mac, however, things are easier. When you press Command-Shift-3, an image of the entire screen view instantly saves to your desktop. Press Command-Shift-4, and the mouse pointer turns into a set of crosshairs that you can drag over the area you want to capture. You can grab as much, or as little, of the screen as you like.

Better Screenshots gives you more control over the way you grab screen images in Windows.
You can improve Windows' screen-grabbing prowess with a $15 utility called Better Screenshots. Better Screenshots lets you assign any hot-key to capture whole screens, partial screens, and even full-motion on-screen actions. It then automatically saves them to any folder you wish, in a format of your choosing.

13. Multitouch Trackpad Gestures

Available on: Mac

Beginning with the new generation of MacBooks, all Apple notebooks now support at least some multitouch trackpad gestures. You can use two fingers to do cool things such as scroll up and down, resize objects on the screen, swipe your way through Cover Flow menus, and more. Some Macs can do more than others, but all now recognize two fingers on the trackpad in one way or another.

Apple accomplishes this, of course, because it makes its own hardware. Microsoft, on the other hand, makes only software. However, some PC notebook vendors, such as AsusTek, are beginning to ship their notebooks with multitouch trackpads and the drivers required to make them work. We'd like to see multitouch become standard on all Windows laptops over time--with support for multitouch gestures built directly into Windows--but for now it's something you'll have to keep an eye out for with every laptop purchase.

14. Cover Flow

Available on: Mac

No matter what folder you're looking at, you can use Mac OS X's Cover Flow feature to view all your files as large, intuitive icons, and even get previews of images, album art, and document contents.
We all absorb information in different ways, and some of us do better at handling visual information. That's the main appeal of Apple's Cover Flow, which lets Mac OS X users browse through their folders, files, music, and other data visually. By sliding the scroll bar or tapping the arrow keys on the keyboard, you can flip through your files one at a time, viewing each object as a large, helpful thumbnail, rather than seeing everything as a mess of small, obscure icons.

Vista has made strides in improving the Windows Explorer interface, but Windows has yet to integrate anything as dynamic as Cover Flow. With a free utility called Harmony, though, you can add Cover Flow-like browsing to Windows. Harmony works only with iTunes-generated cover art, and it doesn't integrate into Windows Explorer. Nevertheless, it's a simple, free way to add a little Cover Flow-style action to your Windows Media Player experience.

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