When preparing the Daily Downloads a few weeks back I came across a nifty little program for Windows called Pitaschio (note that it’s spelled differently than pistachio the nut). It caught my attention not only because it was freeware, but also because it didn’t require any installation. Those two ingredients are pretty important when it comes to making a good first impression on me.
After I got it up and running I began diving through the manual to figure out what all of the options do. Believe me, at first it doesn’t seem like there is all that much to configure since there is less than 30 checkboxes, but don’t let that deceive you. That’s just a sign that it’s a well developed application.
–Snap to Windows (Magnetic Edges)–
Pitaschio is almost like the FreeSnap application in that it makes it possible to better organize your windows. Pitaschio doesn’t offer quite the features that FreeSnap does, but one strong point is that it has a configurable snap-to-window option. This turns the edges of every application into a “magnet,” and when an edge of a window comes close to another edge they will naturally be attracted to each other. It thereby makes it easy to align multiple windows side-by-side.
There is also a “place window only in screen” option that I like. With it enabled you will not be able to drag any windows outside of your screen’s perimeter. If you enjoy being able to move your windows off the screen you’ll want to disable this setting because it will get annoying rather fast.
–Keys & Shortcuts–
The mouse shortcuts are one of the things that I fell in love with first. With them you can assign commands to various mouse operations that you normally wouldn’t use in Windows. For example, I have Pitaschio setup so that when I hold down Shift and right-click on the Title Bar of a program it will minimize that particular window:
In all there are about 25 different commands that you can assign mouse shortcuts to, and all of them are pictured above. Some of the operations you can perform with the mouse shortcuts include:
- Start the screensaver or turn off the monitor
- Shutdown, hibernate, logoff, restart, or put the computer in standby
- Open your Documents, Recycle Bin, Control Panel, Task Manager, or Display Properties
- Adjust the transparency of the window
- Minimize to the System Tray or minimize to the Taskbar
- Center the window on your monitor
- Rollup a window to just the Title Bar:
- Maximize the height and/or width of a window
–Window Size & Position Manager–
This is similar to the AutoSizer application that we mentioned a few weeks back. You can specify the starting position of an application, the window size, and even how transparent you want the entire window to be.
A screenshot of the window manager is to the right, and I’m sure you can see just how powerful this feature can really be.
I’ve covered a lot of great stuff in this article, but that’s really only about half of what Pitaschio is capable of doing. Take a look at some of the other things you may find useful:
- Disable keys that you don’t use, such as Insert, Windows Key, Caps Lock, and more. I’m actually surprised that keyboards still have a Caps Lock key, and it was nice being able to turn it off completely.
- “Allow extended rename” makes other versions of Windows behave more like Vista when trying to rename a file, assuming that you have file extensions shown. When you rename a file it will select just the filename, and not the extension. Vista already does this, and I recommend disabling it if you’re using Vista because it can cause some unwanted side effects.
- Autoraise windows as you hover over them. This will bring a particular window to the front if you just hover over it with the mouse, instead of requiring a click.
- Adjust the volume of the speakers using the scroll wheel on your mouse.
There are also some features that are only available through right-clicking on the System Tray icon for Pitaschio
- Clean the mouse/keyboard. How many times have you wanted to clean your mouse or keyboard, but you don’t want to inadvertently do things on the screen. Pitaschio will let you disable one or the other so that they can be cleaned.
- View stats on how far you move your mouse and how many times you press each key on the keyboard. This doesn’t really have a purpose, but it’s interesting to see.
When I tried Pitaschio out for the first time I didn’t expect too much from it, but after using it for a few days it quickly became one of my favorite freeware applications. I run it on all of my computers, and it’s painless to setup since there is nothing to install.