Since the release of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, there has been a lot of talk about its different features. Some of them are unique, new and have mostly gained positive reviews, while other changes have received some negative remarks from the users. One of the biggest and most visible change is obviously its Metro UI, which is a juxtaposition of Desktop and Tablets OS. Apart from the major UI related changes, Windows 8 comes with a lot of quick access shortcuts as well that were not included in previous versions of Windows, even in Windows 7. In this article, however, we are concerned with only one particular menu of Windows 8, the Win + X menu. It is a System Utility Settings menu that can be accessed from the bottom-left corner of the screen. It allows you to instantly view and access different system utilities, such as Programs and Features, Network Connections, Device Manager, Event Viewer, Disk Management, Command Prompt etc. If you have already played with Windows 8 Consumer Preview and found the Win + X menu of great use, then you can also bring it to your preceding Windows version by using WinPlusX. It is a free portable application that brings the System Utility Settings menu of Windows 8 to Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. Read on to find out more about WinPlusX.
As stated earlier, the Win + X menu is not included in the any of the previous versions of Windows. In Windows 7, the Win + X hotkey is assigned to Windows Mobility Center, which allows you to adjust Display Brightness, Sound Level, Power Settings, Toggle Wireless, Connected Display, Sync Settings and Presentation (Projector) Settings. However, after running WinPlusX, pressing Win + X in Windows 7 opens the the Win + X menu of Windows 8 along with the Windows Mobility Center, so you have access to both the utilities at the same time.
Just like Windows 8, it provides you with quick access shortcuts for different tools, including Task Manager, Control Panel, Windows Explorer, Search, Registry Editor, Notepad and Run dialog box. Other than the shortcuts included in the Win + X menu of Windows 8, this tools lets you add custom shortcuts of frequently used programs. However, some users might find it annoying to have two windows opened, while they only needed to access one. Other than that WinPlusX is a handsome utility that almost works flawlessly. The application works on both 32-bit an 64-bit versions of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.