One of the nifty new features to come in Windows 7 is the ability to snap windows to occupy the left-half, right-half, or to maximize the application by moving it to the left edge, right edge or top edge of the screen respectively. Windows 7 also lets you use simple keyboard shortcuts to manipulate windows on the screen. It makes good use of the Aero effects to make managing windows easier.
For those who spent money buying Windows Vista this small feature can make for a much better Windows experience. The good news is that AeroSnap can bring all these features to not only Windows Vista, but Windows XP as well!
AeroSnap is a small sub-1MB application which adds support for window snapping and adds shortcuts for the same. The application runs discreetly in your system tray (from where it can be hidden), and offers a few simple configuration options to make it work to your liking. From here you can enable / disable the hot-keys, which are the same as those for Windows 7, and can set snapping tolerances, so that windows don’t end up snapping when you don’t want them to.
Optionally you can set a hot-key to enable snapping, so that windows will only snap if a modifier key (Shift / Alt / Ctrl) is pressed while moving the window into snapping position. As an experimental feature the developers of AeroSnap have added snap previews (only for Windows Vista with Aero enabled). With snap previews you will be able to preview the space a window will take when it is snapped to a given position. While this feature is experimental, we did not notice any problems in the time that we used it.
While AeroSnap does a commendable job in bringing this useful feature to older versions of Windows, it is important to note that its emulation of the feature is not exact. While Windows 7 has some internal changes to accommodate for the multiple “maximized” states, the same are not available in Windows Vista and XP. In Windows 7 one can drag a fully maximized window, and windows which are snapped to the left or the right of the screen are treated as maximized, however in Windows Vista / XP these features are not available due to a difference in how Windows treats application windows. These are minor flaws which arise due to the differences in the OSs themselves, and despite them AeroSnap is a brilliant application.
Check out a video by the application developers which explains its utility: