Quick Hide Windows 1.5 Free CronoSoft www.cronosoft.com Rating: 2 out of 5
Goofing off with a personal computer is a concept that's about as old as the PC itself. The "boss key" was a concept born about three minutes later. Quick Hide Windows, a free utility, is a new implementation of an old idea: press a key combination and the current application is quickly hidden.
Quick Hide Windows does the job, but it may not do it well enough to keep you from getting fired, divorced, or dirty looks when someone walks in on you updating your resume, viewing suspect material, or playing games.
Press CTRL-ALT-Z to hide a window or CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-Z to hide every window. The windows disappear, and the applications aren't shown in the Taskbar, making the programs invisible to the casual observer. Another set of keys reveals your hidden windows. The key combinations are somewhat configurable (you can change the Z to another character), but if you're not so nimble-fingered in times of stress, you can't opt for a simpler key combo.
If the boss walks in while you're playing a game, you're toast. Quick Hide Windows will conceal the contraband entertainment, but it won't hush its sound--a dead giveaway. Some games crash when hidden, meaning you can lose your job and your game.
When I tried the program, it seemed to be enduring an uncomfortable adolescence. Although it works with Windows 95/98/Me, it has limitations on NT/2000/XP. For example, some Microsoft Office XP applications generate errors when hidden, and the "lock computer" feature doesn't work. An XP beta edition that addresses these issues is available.
Quick Hide Windows does require a couple of other pieces of software; you'll need Visual Basic 6 runtime DLL files and Macromedia Flash (both free downloads).
Quick Hide Windows provides a speedy method for getting a window or application out of your way, but the program will probably disappoint those users who really have something to hide.
Reprinted with permission from Computer Power User magazine.