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The power of ‘$’ in Windows

The $ character not only exudes money and power, but is also useful in many dynamically-typed languages, such as Perl and Windows PowerShell. I won’t be discussing it’s use in any of these languages, but rather, how you can take advantage of it in one powerful way: To share a folder in “steath-mode.”

Here’s how:

  1. Navigate to the folder you’d like to share.
  2. Access the Sharing and Security properties.
  3. Share the folder like so: FolderName$, then apply the change.
  4. Next go to the Security tab and add the user with the appropriate permissions.

That’s pretty much it. To access, type the following from the Run command: \\ComputerName\FolderName$

Essential Windows tools

I’m actually a Mac and Linux convert, but use a Windows PC [for work] on a daily basis. And as all of you may know, Windows doesn’t provide a lot of the “essential” and/or “nice-to-have” tools out-of-the-box (which I think are essential) compared to OS X and Linux. Why another list? Why not? So here’s my list, in no particular order:

  • FireFox – The best browser (duh?)! Just check out the add-ons.
  • AVG – The best free anti-virus software out there.
  • Windows Server 2003 Administration Tools Pack – Free and it’s essential if you administer AD, etc.
  • PS Tools – Best command-line tools from Systinternals.
  • WinRAR – Way, way better than WinZip.
  • visionApp – An excellent alternative to Windows’ Remote Desktop Manager. You can save credentials and pair it to any connection for auto-login (only on XP/2K3 and up).
  • RealVNC – RDP’s not the only remote control software out there.
  • UltraMon – A really must-have if using dual monitors.
  • Windows PowerShell – A new, excellent shell from Microsoft that uses the .NET Framework in a scripting environment and method.
  • Taskbar Manager – If you’re like me, you like your apps opened and sequenced in a certain order, especially, when a program crashes.
  • Cygwin – This virtual workspace mimics a *nix environment, which becomes handy when you need to perform text parsing.
  • PuTTY – A must have if you need to access routers, SSH tunnels, and telnet.
  • TextPad – Not only can you use it for .txt files, but you can take advantage of the highlighting features it provides to program in C, C++, Perl, etc.

That’s it! Hopefully, this list will help you become a more productive and efficient Windows user.

Disclaimer: Some tools I mention are not free, but I’ve found them to be invaluable in numerous occasions. Some of the tools can also be older, but again, invaluable.