Mac: We've seen a lot of apps that mimic Windows' snapping feature where open windows are automatically opened in different positions. Better Window Manager manages to combine a lot of features into a small package. It allows you to save window states, manage shortcuts, and much more.
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Blogger Jeff Kelley prefers his windows take up specific areas of his screen, regardless of the monitor he's plugged his MacBook Pro into. His solution? An AppleScript that determines his screen size and arranges his windows appropriately. Whenever he wants to rearrange his desktop to those specifications, he just runs the script. Geek factor aside, the script can be easily modified to maximise your screen real estate to fit your tastes. Windows users have apps like WinSplit Revolution and Sizer, but if you've been looking for similar functionality for your Mac, Jeff's script is a good starting point. Resize Your Windows Automatically for Different Resolutions
Windows only: Free customisation utility XNeat adds a few unique functions to the rich library of tweaking utilities, and some might become must-installs for Windows power-users. The most notable are the additions to the standard "Save As" dialog: an option to create a numbered "clone" file when you're about to save over an existing document (i.e. "Paper(1).doc"), and a time-stamping utility that adds numbered dates to filenames automatically. XNeat also lets you enable drag-and-drop taskbar re-ordering, giving you your preference of left-to-right app layout, and a full set of windows management tools, including transparency and system tray docking. XNeat is a free download for Windows XP and Vista only.
How-to blog Tech-Recipes.com offers a useful desktop optimisng tip for Ubuntu/GNOME newcomers (and those of us who forgot it was there). The bottom taskbar installed in Ubuntu and most GNOME-based desktops can group application windows together in a fashion similar to XP. To make it do so, right-click on the dotted section just to the left of your "Windows List" section (in Ubuntu, that's between the "Show Desktop" button and the window buttons). Select "Preferences," and then choose either "Group windows when space is limited" or "Always group windows." Nifty tip, and not so easy to find. Ubuntu: Enable Window Grouping on the Windows List
Windows only: Freeware application AutoSizer automatically resizes and moves application windows to specific, user-defined sizes and screen locations as soon as they're opened. That means that if you've got a widescreen monitor with the perfect window layout that packs every last pixel with useful information, you can save each window size and location with AutoSizer and restore the perfect layout automatically, day after day, as soon as you launch the applications. Alternately, if you'd prefer an application to open maximised or minimised, AutoSizer can take care of that, too. AutoSizer is freeware, Windows only. For similar but manual takes on screen real estate maximisation, check out Sizer and WinSplit Revolution.