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Window appearance FX
Toys. Some applications that will add some stunning effects to opening and closing your windows in some way. Looking cool and probably slowing down your comp. But fun anyway:
Window animation
A shareware utility to perform some desktop tricks is WindowFX, part of Object Desktop. Has all sorts of transparancy tricks that only work in Win 2k/XP, but some extra animation, the option to set a maximized window to a certain size and transparancy for the icon text background on the desktop too. Shadows are in, and latest effect is "morphing" (check video there to see).

Dunno if it still works: adding a line "TransOn9x=1" (no quotes) to windowfx.ini in your Windows directory makes some, but not all of the transparancy options available in Win 9x. It even works quite smooth...

There's also ZoomOpen (free), that adds some effects to opening a window. Low on resources, but when your memory is filled, it leaves some traces... Designed for Windows 95, it works for us in 98/2k.

PopOpen (free) adds a more simple animation, like in MacOS. Works smooth here (Win 9x/2k). It's got no homepage, but since distribution is allowed, that's a download link (33 kB).

A Japanese app by the name of KH CoolMessage2001 (free) applies several different effects to popup windows. Its kinda selective about the popup windows, but the effects are great and the app uses very little system resources. Just follow the normal installation and then run it. For all Windows versions.
Remove animation
To completly remove the native window animation, modify or create the string value "MinAnimate" in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Control Panel\Desktop, with a value of "0" (disabled) or "1" (enabled).
Window shading
Winshade (free, all versions) lets you collapse windows to show the titlebar only, and more. Very smooth and even useful.
And there's FreeShade, by hmmnsoft, too (named when winshade was still shareware :). Handles XP visual styles correctly (top and bottom parts connected correctly). If you're using a two button mouse be sure to add a space and "-2" (without the quotes) to the regkey at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run (for Windows 2000 same path but at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, when installed by admin). Without it you won't have access to all the options.
Another free and XP compatible alternative we found at shellcity is named WinRoll. Has a systray icon that affects all open windows.

Doughnut does, next to the rollup, horizontal and vertical maximizing of windows too. Doesn't look very smooth (windows just cut off) though, and no XP style support.
Window transparency & shadow
"Glass2k is a small little program that allows Windows 2000/XP users to make any window transparent. Right-click on any window or press the keyboard shortcuts (Control + Shift + [0-9]) to make any window transparent. It's that simple."

Set any program and/or window to one of 3 presets (set by yourself, that is) of alphablending with Trans2k. Program itself is even skinnable (free, 2k/XP)!

Power Menu (free, all) adds both "Always On Top" and "Minimize To Tray", but also "Priority" and "Transparency" (on 2k/+) sub menus to all windows.

Y'z Shadow (free, XP only) "is an enhancement software which adds a shadow effect to the windows in pursuit of the "beauty of a shadow". It also allows the user the option of making menus transparent."

And Lokai ShadowsXP does also add a shadow behind toplevel windows (free, XP only).
Peep Show lite (free, there's a full shareware version too, for Win 9x/NT) will allow you to make holes in your windows (!) so you can reach what's underneath. Very cool, but did some random crashing (reset...) here - may work for you.

Another shareware tool ($12) that adds the ability to cut holes in your windows is Agent Undercover. Beside "freestyle" you can use predifined holes/stamps, or make your own.

Madotate (free, Win 9x/2k) is an original Japanese release (homepage is here), translated to English. It adds a button next to the min/max/close buttons; when pushed the window collapses, in a 3Dish way, to the center of your screen (screenshot). Mirror of the English version here (401 kB).


A cool little tool that adds the ability to "dock", glue two windows together, even when moved, is docket (free, Win 9x/2k) by killarny. Some good settings, not too much, but giving control over the process. 404 - for now, mirror here.

You know how those WinAmp windows "snap" together, as if magnetic ? Now, allSnap can do that with all your toplevel windows, cool :).
More control
TurboTop (free, all) can make any opened window always on top. Sits in your systray, right-click it to check/uncheck in a list of opened windows the ones you want always on top.
Bottom window Bottom is a fun little utility by IGA. A small dialog with a docked cursor. Drag it onto any window to send it to bottom of desktop order, even if set to ontop with holding [Shift] or make it ontop when holding [Ctrl], and some more nifty options.
RBtray allows you to minimize any window into the tray area by right-clicking on window's minimize box... Very useful.

Tray It! does about the same, with a little more options.

You just have to make these Japanese ideas visual. WipeOut by nhoj adds a line to the edge(s) of the screen. Drag it and wipe part of your screen clean, so you can click icons or desktop underneath. All gets restored after you do:

Window Manager (free) has control over your windows and allows you to hide, show, restore, minimize, maximize, stay-on-top, disable and close any of them (visible or hidden!), and even taskbar places like the systray (sometimes messes up stuff).

"Win32WM is a VirtuaWin module that handles a couple of window manager functions present in most modern Unix WindowManagers I missed most. It allows moving windows around by pressing and holding the ALT key and dragging the window using the left mouse button. Like Unix WMs it allows resizing windows by pressing ALT key and dragging the right mouse button." It runs as a standalone .exe too; available in VirtuaWin modules section.

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