20 free applications to supercharge your mouse’s right-click

For millions of computer users, the mouse is an essential tool and working on a computer without it is almost unthinkable. And for the bulk of these users, the left button is the default way to use the mouse; with the right mouse button getting neglected most of the time.

While there are some tasks you can perform with a right-click, there is not much you can do with it. Or is there? Installing a couple of free utilities can add a lot of functionality to the right mouse button. Here are 20 things you can do with just a click on the mouse right button.

See also: 19 free online services – a treat for knowledge workers

Synchronize between Folders

If you have multiple copies of the same folder and want to synchronize it quickly and effortlessly, what can be better than just right-clicking and synching two folders in a few mouse clicks — you can do that with the FileMenu Tools utility that add dozens of utility to the right-click menu — the ‘Synchronize’ option is one of them. You just need to specify the two folders to synchronize and choose the synchronization type – Unidirectional (one-way sync) or Bidirectional (two-way sync) and you are done.

Free Up Locked Files

Files which are locked for some reason can be deleted (with the previously mentioned FileMenu Tools for example). But what if you don’t want to delete but free up the file from whatever is locking it up? The aptly named Unlocker gives you few more options for dealing with locked files other than deleting them like moving it to another location or renaming it.

You can also kill the process which is locking the file or just unlock the file without killing the process. Launch it by right-clicking on the locked file and it displays the different processes are possible for locking the file and lets you kill them to free up the file.

Unravel Unknown File Extensions

What do you do when you encounter file with unknown extensions? The obvious way would be to right-click and try to find a compatible application by clicking on the Open With option. It is basically a tedious task trying to find a suitable program from among the myriad software installed in your PC and more often than not, a compatible application might not be installed.

In this scenario, OpenWith.org is a better alternative to the default Windows Open With feature. It finds matching applications to run the file. In situations where no compatible application is found, it gives you an option to download applications directly from the Net.

Easier Access to Folders

With Folder Guide you can avoid the hassle of navigating through a set of paths to access a particular folder. It provides you direct access to folders that you use frequently — just add the folders you want to access and it will show up in the ‘Folder Guide’ item when you right-click on the Desktop or Explorer window. Right-clicking on a particular folder allows you to add it to Folder Guide list for quick navigation to that folder.

Control and Manage Windows Tasks Easily

Process Manager adds a host of features when you right-click on a particular task in the taskbar or an active window. It lets you set the priority level or terminate a particular process without the hassle of running Windows Task Manager. There is also an option for making any window transparent where you can set the level of transparency. Other useful features include the ability to minimize applications to the system tray and displaying windows always on top of other open windows.

Shut Down PC with a Double (Right)-Click

Double-clicking with the left mouse button is nothing new but what about the right button? Yes, you can execute a number of tasks by double- (right) clicking with ClickZap. You can choose to Lock/Log out/Shutdown the computer or minimize/close windows with a right-click.

Run Applications and Tasks with Gestures

MouseWrangler lets you run applications or tasks by holding the right mouse button and moving the mouse in a particular direction. You can replace keystrokes like Alt+F4, Ctrl+C, etc with a particular gesture or create gestures that will open up any application.

Thumbnail Creation in a Jiffy

RightThumb adds a thumbnail creation option to the right-click menu. By default, this standalone utility doesn’t integrate into the context menu automatically, for integration into the context menu; you need to select the ‘Run in Context menu’ option.

It allows you to save the thumbnail in four formats (BMP, GIF, JPG, and PNG) and provides some advanced options like setting the JPG quality/compression level for PNG files, sharpening the thumbnails after resizing, and advanced filters for resampling the images.

Encrypt and Be Safe

Locking a file can sound intimidating but it can’t get easier than just right clicking on it and encrypting it or decrypting it as the need arises — that’s exactly what AxCrypt does. Select a file to encrypt and enter the passphrase that will be used to unlock the file and it will be locked. The ‘Decrypt’ option will unlock the file. It’s as easy as that.

Selective Backup

If you just want to backup individual files without installing heavy duty apps, Developer’s Backup might be the perfect tool. You need to configure it to set the folders where you want to store all your backups by clicking on the ‘Right-click Backup’ tab. When you right-click on a file, the particular folder will be shown in the ‘Developers Backup’ menu.

Upload Files the ‘Right’ Way

If you into sharing files with your friends, it would be good to have an easy option to upload files without the need to anything fancy. You can share files easily and quickly with a free right-click utility — RightLoad. It features support for uploading to FTP/HTTP servers. Facebook, Rapidshare, Flickr, and Imageshack support can be also added via plugins.

Resize and Convert Images Instantly

Changing the size and format of image files might not be that essential but it does sometimes come in handy. And doing it with the help of the mouse right button makes it a lot easier instead of opening up full-fledged image editors. VSO Image Resizer lets you do just that. Right-click on an image file and select “VSO Image Resizer” and it throws up a window with various options to resize your image. It lets you resize the original image directly or create copies of it and also lets you convert images to a different format. It supports most of the common image files including RAW format.

Create PDFs in Two Clicks

When we want to create PDFs from other file formats, we normally use PDF printers which get installed in the PC as a virtual printer and converts files into PDFs by printing it into a PDF file. This method is not always the best way but we don’t have much of a choice.

Or do we? Actually, there is a way to convert files to PDFs with just a right-click without installing a virtual PDF printer — 7-PDF Maker lets you create PDF from almost any document or image files in a matter of just two clicks. Right-click on the file and select “7-PDF — Create PDF” and you are done.

Convert Media Files

When you want to quickly convert audio and video files, there is probably no better and quicker way than to just right-click a file and choose the format you want to convert it to. Oxelon Media Converter lets you do that exactly by nicely integrating into the context menu. It features most of the options available in other full-fledged media converter and supports almost all the common audio and video files that you can think of.

Explore and Burn

Using a full-fledged burning tool like the Nero burning tool is not necessary if you don’t need all the bells-and-whistles that come along with it and your needs are quite basic like burning regular files or ISO image files only. Instead, you can use the aptly named Explore&Burn which allows you to burn files right from Windows Explore context menu. It is quite simple and easy to use with its wizard based step-by-step interface.

Launch Programs the “Right” Way

Program launchers are available in plenty but for quicker access to frequently used applications, RUNit can be a great time saver by allowing you to run applications with just a right-click. You need to first add applications to the program list and once added you will be able to launch applications by right-clicking on a particular corner of the desktop’s screen — by default it is the upper part of the screen (you can set it to any of the four parts of the screen).

Check Files for Virus

The VirusTotal.com’s free online service lets you upload files to check if the files are infected with virus. Once uploaded, it will scan for viruses and other malware with the help of around 40 security tools. The VirusTotal Uploader provides a very easy way to upload files to VirusTotal.com — right-click on a file and from the Send to option, select “VirusTotal”.

Access and Manage Virtual Desktops

Virtual desktops can be a very good way to maximize your desktop’s space by having separate desktop for different tasks. WindowsPager provides four virtual desktops with which you can organize your various tasks in a more optimized way. For organizing and managing running applications, just right-click on any program’s window and choose among the four virtual desktops to include that particular program in one of the virtual desktop.

Create MP3 Playlists

This might not be applicable to all PC users but if you have lots of music files stored in your PC, Mp3ListShellEx might come in handy. It lets you create different types of playlist or a plain text list of all audio files contained inside a folder. Just right-click on the folder containing the music files and from the “Create with Mp3ListShellEx” option choose the type of list you want to create.

View and Navigate Image Files

First Impression is a very useful image viewer with no visible interface — you only see the image you are viewing and you just need to use your mouse right button to navigate the images from a particular folder. It is a simple and very effective way to display images by cutting out all the unnecessary frills and focusing on only the images.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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