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#41
Best Free Windows Driver Backup Updated July 23, 2006
DoubleDriver allows you to view, backup and restore you Windows drivers. It also allows you to print out a driver list. It doesn't seem to have been updated recently but works fine on my XP SP2 PC. Before backing up it's a good idea to use Windows Device Manager to check that all your drivers are working properly.
BooZet's Free Software » Double Driver » Overview Freeware, Windows 98 and later, 1.4MB
 
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#42
Best Free Program Un-installer
The Windows Add/Remove Programs applet in the control panel constantly annoys me with its limitations. I've been looking around for some time for a replacement that provides more information about installed programs and more functionality. Well I've hit the jackpot. MyUninstaller [1] is a free program that works just like the Windows Add or Remove Programs applet but is a more capable product than the Windows version. It gives you much more information about each installed program including product name, company, version, uninstall string, installation folder and Windows Registry details. It also allows you to delete orphaned and obsolete entries from the list as well as the ability to save a list of all installed applications into a text file or HTML. My favorite feature though is the ability to sort programs by the date installed which is great for quickly uninstalling programs you are just trying out. As no installation is required, it can be run from a CD or USB drive which makes it an excellent addition to your diagnostic toolkit. An alternative to MyUninstaller is a free utility from Microsoft [2] . It too cleans up dead entries in the Windows Add/Remove programs panel and tidies up the corresponding Windows uninstaller registry entries. Nether it nor MyUninstaller can of course, remove leftover registry entries, DLLs and files that belong to defunct programs. To remove theset automatically you need a program that monitors the original install so that it can work out exactly what changes are made during installation. The only free program I'm aware of that does monitored installs and uninstalls is the last free version of the commercial product Total Uninstall 2 which is still available from some download sites [3].
[1] MyUninstaller: Alternative to the standard Windows Add / Remove module Windows 98 and later, 40KB
[2] Description of the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility All Windows versions, 1.23MB.
[3] Freeware4u.com A Site Dedicated to Freeware All Windows Versions, 684KB.
 

arella

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#43
[QUOTE="snow drops, post: 1727297]:laugh:

lol you wont be needing all of it, lmao, :D

these are to be picked and choosed from for people who dont already have certain programs like ccleaner etc, the arty programs you may like to get tho :)[/quote]

I know lol thats what I was drooling over lol the artsy goodies:tounge2: Altho lol hubby could probably use some of the other & the goodies!:thumbs-up Our oldest son is our geek lol right now he'd like to kill whoever downloaded the trojan and virus on GAs pc:laugh: All I know lol is it wasn't me:thumbs-up I have my own to play with lol:inlove:
 
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#44
Best Free Internet Accelerator
In a surprise move Google released in early May 2005 a beta version of a new product called the Google Web Accelerator (GWA). Unlike most other accelerators which provide caching on your own PC, the GWA utilizes caching on Google's own dedicated web servers to accelerate browsing. On top of that it uses a number of other techniques to speed thing up including compressing html pages and pre-fetching links. The WGA program automatically installs itself into the Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers and can be manually configured to work with other browsers. To protect user privacy the accelerator does not function during connections to secure sites such as internet banking. Does it work? You bet with most users myself included, reporting improvements of 10-40% in browsing speeds. There are however some caveats: First the product is only available for Windows XP or Windows 2000 SP3+. Second the product is optimized for broadband use and modem users may experience little or no gain. Third the system is currently working best within the USA and Europe and users located in other areas will only receive a partial benefit. Fourth there are some potential privacy issues involved so all users should closely read what Google has documented on the subject. Personally I don't have a problem but others mileage may vary. Finally some webmasters have been scare mongering with reports that the GWA pre-fetching function can cause all buttons on a web page to be automatically pressed including things like "delete my subscription." I've looked it this and frankly, every case I've seen has been due to very sloppy web coding. However if you want to be super cautious then I suggest you simply disable the GWA for any page that uses forms and buttons. Personally I think it's a storm in a tea cup. These reservations aside this is a terrific product. It provides for nix almost all of the benefits of expensive commercial web acceleration services like Propel.
Google Web Accelerator Download
Google Web Accelerator <= FAQ
 
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#45
[QUOTE="arella, post: 1727306]I know lol thats what I was drooling over lol the artsy goodies:tounge2: Altho lol hubby could probably use some of the other & the goodies!:thumbs-up Our oldest son is our geek lol right now he'd like to kill whoever downloaded the trojan and virus on GAs pc:laugh: All I know lol is it wasn't me:thumbs-up I have my own to play with lol:inlove:[/QUOTE]

lol well this stuff is clean, iv been downloading messege mate things, arty things with no probs and im usually the one to get trojans galour, lol :laugh:
 
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#46
Best Free Encryption Utility for Personal Use at Work
Camouflage is a free utility that will hide your personal or confidential files within another file. The neat thing is that the container file looks and works like a normal file of that format. So, by way of example, you could embed a secret message in a Word file which could be opened by anyone and appear to be just a normal Word file. The intended recipient could use their copy of Camouflage to open the file, enter the password and extract the embedded information. This free program is not intended to provide military strength protection but rather a convenient way to sneak information past unnecessarily prying eyes. Note: It looks like the author's web site is down, however you can download Camouflage from the other links below. (2.65MB)
http://arxspace.com/Camouflage/
Camouflage Home Page - Hide your files!
WebMasterFree Categories
 
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#47
Best Free CD Catalogue Organizer
I don't really have a need for this kind of product but if you do then you'll be interested in this excellent suggestion from subscriber David Killian Woods. "Disclib is a terrific utility. I archive all of my projects to CD/DVD and keep them in a fireproof box for storage. But there are over 30 full discs now (half are DVDs), and many of them have multiple versions of the same project. Disclib keeps an index of the file/directory structure of every disc, so I can search through them all without having to swap 30 discs in my drive! Invaluable! Thanks for that David, nice find. (1.75MB.)
http://www.lyrasoftware.com/disclib/
 
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#48
Best Free File Encryption Utility
This is what the web site says: "dsCrypt is AES/Rijndael file encryption software with simple, multi-file, drag-and-drop operations. It features optimal implementation, performance and safety measures. dsCrypt uses an advanced encryption algorithm and offers unique options for enhanced security." To that I'll add the fact that it's tiny, easy to use, has open code, employs proven techniques that are essentially unbreakable and comes from a highly reputable source. In summary, dsCrypt offers the average user everything they want in a simple file encryption program and it's free. That's why I use it myself. Equally impressive is an Open Source program called AxCrypt. It t provides secure AES-128 encryption using passwords or key-files, which AxCrypt can generate. Usage is wonderfully simple; to encrypt files or folders just right-click them and select "encrypt." while double clicking on encrypted files lets you edit or view them with the program of your choice. Closing any open files automatically re-encrypts.
http://freezip.cjb.net/freeware/ <=dsCrypt (25KB)
File Encryption Software for Windows - AxCrypt Free AES File Encryption for Personal Privacy and Security <=AxCrypt (1.02MB).
 
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#49
Best Free Disk De-fragmenter
My top recommendation here is Diskeeper Lite [1], an older free version of Executive Software's current commercial Diskeeper product. It works very well indeed given that it is V7 while the current commercial product is at V10 but I've had a few complaints from subscribers about the annoying nag screen. I have no magic fix for this but there are other free defraggers worth considering.

For example "DirMS-S" [2] is a full featured free de-fragmenting program that comes in a command line version and a easy to use graphic interface version as well. It's quite a smart defragmenter and performs comparably to many expensive commercial utilities. Also from the same company is "BuzzSaw" [3], a real-time defragger that works away in the background to ensure your files are always defragged. Personally I think this is overkill but each to their own. It's also not as effective as a full defrag but BuzzSaw can be used in concert with DirMS to provide a total solution. Both products are for Windows 2000 and later.

A final possibility is "Contig" [4] from SysInternals, a robust, free, command line utility which defrags one file at a time. It's a pain to use but eXcessive software has built an excellent user interface [5] for Contig that turns it into a more usable product.

Update: Thanks to Vashek Weis for letting me know about how you can get version 9 of Diskeeper Lite. It forms part of Intel's large (89MB) Desktop Utilities package which is available from the Intel site [6]. If you unzip the file you'll find Diskeeper V9 Lite in the folder ../3rdparty/Diskeeper/. Neither the read-me file or the License Agreement prohibit downloading and using this program on a single computer so it appears to be a perfectly legitimate way to obtain the program.

[1] |MG| Free Download - Diskeeper Lite 7.0 Build 418 (12.1MB)
[2] dirms details (326KB)
[3] buzzsaw 336KB)
[4] Contig v1.53 (26KB)
[5] http://www.excessive-software.tk/" (397KB)
[6] Intel® Desktop Boards - Intel® Desktop Utilities
 
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#50
Best Free Dictionary/Thesaurus Utility
I've been using WordWeb [1] for a while now and have seen enough to say this will be one of the rare utilities I review that ends up staying on my PC. So what does it do? Well, it's not a spellchecker so let's get that out of the way. If that's what you want, check the next item below. Rather, WordWeb is an enhanced dictionary and thesaurus. I say "enhanced" because it does some tricky extra things like showing only the relevant synonyms and related words according to whether they are noun, verb, adjective or adverb. It can also find words by pattern match or dictionary adjacency. Usage is simple; just select a word in any document and click the WordWeb tray icon. Immediately you'll get a popup with the word's meaning and synonyms. Overall, it works efficiently and elegantly to help you find the just right word to use in your written reports. WordWeb is free for personal use and a Pro version with an enhanced dictionary costs a mere $19 and is well worth buying. An equally attractive alternative to WordWeb is TheSage [2] from Sequence Publishing. Like WordWeb, it's a comprehensive dictionary with over 140,000 references together with a powerful thesaurus. It differs in that it is free even for commercial use and offers a couple of features missing from the free version of WordPro such as anagram solving and wildcard word matches. On the minus side, WordPro allows you to find meanings and synonyms in any application just by double clicking the word; with TheSage you have to cut and paste it into the application after you've launched it from its task bar icon. Picking a winner here is too hard. Try both and decide for yourself. Both products work with Windows 95 and later.
[1] WordWeb Pro: English Dictionary, thesaurus, and word finder. (6.96MB)
[2] Sequence Publishing - TheSage's English Dictionary and Thesaurus, a powerful language reference system that couples a professional dictionary of the English language with a multifaceted and extensive thesaurus (8.3MB)
 
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#51
a huge must for me, lmao



Best Free Spell-Checker
This is an impressive little utility that checks individual words on a correct-as-you-type basis, from clipboard contents or from a query box. The provided dictionary is not enormous but more than adequate for normal usage and you can also add words to the dictionary as needed. Resource usage seems modest and the product can be easily enabled/disenabled from the taskbar icon. It has one odd feature; the dictionary has both American and English spelling so words like "color" and "colour" both show as correct. Overall, it's quite a solid product and an excellent companion to WordWeb. Freeware, Win98 and later, 547KB.
tinySpell 1.5 - a tiny spell checker for Windows
 
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#52
Best Free Audio Editing Software Updated August 18, 2006
Thanks to subscriber Jay Eitelman for this suggestion: "Gizmo, I've switched from using $349 Adobe Audition to using Audacity [1]. It does all the recording and editing I need, and is much simpler/faster to use. Check out the noise reduction - it even allows you to select a noise profile - then remove the profile - just like Audition. " Thanks Jay. I note that, according to the web site, Audacity will also "record live audio, convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs, edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, and WAV sound files, cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together and change the speed or pitch of a recording."

Subscriber Brandon Tanner however differs: "Audacity is good but you should check out Kristal; I think it might have Audacity's number! To start with, Kristal has an ASIO driver while Audacity doesn't. That means that you can monitor your pre-recorded tracks in real-time while you're overdubbing new ones, mandatory when multi-track recording. You can't do that in Audacity as the latency is too high. Second, Kristal supports VST plug-ins. There are tons of quality VST effects and instruments floating around the net, a lot of them free. Audacity's effects are not quite up to par with some of the better VST ones. Not to bash Audacity but I have to give credit where credit's due. Third, Kristal has a 'proper' multi-track mixer, with a lot more options for routing individual tracks, effects, etc. Don't get me wrong, I like Audacity and I think it's a good program as long as your needs are basic. But Kristal definitely has more 'pro' features."

Rinchen Tsepal takes a different view: "Audacity can support VST plugins but this support is not "built-in" because the code is not 100% open source and must be kept separate for licensing reasons. The "VST Enabler" is available for download from the Audacity website, and is available for Windows, Mac OS-X and for Linux (as a LADSPA bridge apparently). They do claim that support is limited for the time being - but also that full support is coming. Additionally real-time monitoring can be enabled through preferences - although it's not selected by default."

Kristal is based on a 32-bit floating point audio engine that can handle sample rates of 44 to 192 kHz with word sizes of 16, 24 or 32 bit. It comes with a three band parametric EQ and supports WAVE, AIFF, FLAC, OGG Vorbis file formats. It can only handle a maximum of 16 audio tracks, though the web site mentions an upcoming version 2 that will handle more tracks as well as support for MIDI, virtual instruments, and a wider range of VST plugins. Like all media editing programs, Kristal requires a modern fast PC. Don't even think about using it with a sub 1Ghz machine.

[1] Audacity: Free Audio Editor and Recorder Free Open Source, Windows 98 and later (plus MAC and Linux), 2.4 MB
[2] KRISTAL Audio Engine Free for personal use, Win 98/ME with IE6, Win2K, XP, 3.51MB.
 
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#53
Best Free Web Form Filler/Password Manager Updated July 25, 2006
Products in this class are among the most useful of all PC utilities because they allow you to complete the common task of filling in web forms and logins by simply clicking a button. They work by saving user IDs, passwords and other information needed for individual sites in encrypted form for later retrieval. To login to a site you only have to type in a single master password to allow retrieval of the specific password information for that site. This information is then used by the program to automatically login. This greatly improves security by allowing different passwords to be assigned to individual sites without the need to be remembered while at the same time making logging in easier and quicker. There's no doubt that RoboForm [1] is the stand-out product in the category; it's full featured, easy to use, seamlessly integrated into both Internet Explorer and FireFox browsers and is constantly being enhanced by the developer. It also allows your saved passwords to be moved between PCs which is very convenient when using multiple machines or upgrading. I do have a major reservation though: The free version allows only 10 forms or passwords to be stored. This used to be 30 in earlier versions which was adequate but 10 is way too few for most users and they will be eventually forced to shell out $29.99 to buy the full product. This reservation aside, it is a fabulous product that saves me time every day. Try it. You'll be amazed how much time it will save you, too.

Note: If you use Internet Explorer, there's some good news: the last free version of RoboForm (V5.7.6) that allowed 30 passwords is still available [2] from the RoboForm web site though well hidden in the FAQ. FireFox users are out of luck as you can't use this version with the current FireFox.

Some alternatives: First there is the open source program KeePass [3]. It's not nearly as well integrated into your browser as RoboForm but it's a very good product that works without any limitations at all. There's also an excellent KeePass plug-in for Internet Explorer that automates web form filling. Yet another possibility is KeyWallet [4] which is superior to KeePass in the way you can drag and drop saved information directly into web forms. Not quite as neat as RoboForm’s click and fill system but still highly effective. KeyWallet can also automatically save form data, handle difficult Java based forms and is skinable.
[1] RoboForm: Password Manager, Form Filler, Password Generator, Fill & Save Forms
[2] http://www.roboform.com/dist/AiRoboForm-5-7-6.exe (1.8MB) (Direct download link)
[3] KeePass - The Open-Source Password Safe (857KB)
[4] KeyWallet - Free Password Manager (1.4MB)
 
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#54
Best Free File Un-delete Utility Updated 18th, August 2006
I'm recommending two utilities here, each covering a different situation. The best freeware program I've found for recovering already deleted files is Brian Kato's Restoration. It works with FAT and NTFS file structures and runs on any version of Windows from 95 onwards. As a bonus, it requires no installation which means you can run it from a USB drive, CD or floppy. In fact, that's exactly where you should run it from as installing it on your hard drive will reduce your chance of successfully recovering your deleted files. Brian's web site in Japan is not currently working so I've also give a direct download link [1] to the SnapFiles download site.

If you want to protect your computer from future accidental deletions, check out SysInternals' Fundelete [2]. It overcomes the annoying limitation in the Windows Recycle Bin that only allows you to recover files deleted from within Windows Explorer. Fundelete allows you to recover just about all deleted files including files deleted in applications.
[1] Restoration download and review - file undelete utility from SnapFiles (162KB)
[2] Sysinternals Freeware - Fundelete (994KB)
 
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#55
Best Free CD Recovery Utility
It's pretty common to encounter unreadable CDs. The causes are many, ranging from simple scratches through to partially written sessions. ISOBuster is free utility that will allow you extract any usable information on the CD (or DVD) to your hard drive. It works by bypassing Windows and talking directly to the hardware. As an added bonus it can read old sessions, decode multiple image file formats, recover data from quick formatted DVDs and a host of other useful data recovery features. You can use most of the functions in ISOBuster for free but it will cost you $25.96 to enable some of the advanced functions such as recovering data from MAC UDF or HFS(+) file systems. Windows 95 and later, 2.5MB.
http://www.smart-projects.net/isobuster/
 
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#56
Best Free Application Minimizer
TrayIt! impressed me with its combination of simplicity and effectiveness. First, it requires no installation; just double click the program file and it's up and running. Second, it can minimize open windows to the tray either temporarily or permanently with just one click. Third, it handles "difficult" windows such as skins, with ease. Fourth, it works with all versions of Windows. Fifth, it's a tiny 45KB! Finally, it's free. A little gem.
http://www.teamcti.com/trayit/trayit.htm
 
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#57
Best Free Parental Filter
The stand-out choice in this category is K9 Web Protection [1] by Blue Coat Systems. It's a web based service that uses a special driver installed on your PC to redirect all your browsing through K9's servers where it is filtered for content. This means that the filtering works for any browser installed on your PC. The actual filtering itself is highly customizable from a password protected control panel at K9's web site with over 15 selectable categories plus the ability to restrict or permit individual sites. Full reports on sites visited are also available from the control panel. The filtering seems quite accurate; I only found one site in an hour of browsing which I felt should not have been blocked. I also liked the optional blocking of Spyware and Adware sites. I tried a few obvious ways of crippling the filter such as uninstalling the product or disenabling the driver, with no success, which is comforting to parents. I suspect though, that a determined tech-savvy teenager might eventually find a solution. The only real downside was the slight slowing down of my browsing as a result of it being re-routed through the K9 servers. This will mainly be of concern to dial-up users. If that's you then you might like to try Naomi [2] that has the advantage of filtering locally. In my tests it caught all the offensive sites I tried though occasionally it caught an innocent site as well. Like K9, it's also difficult to disable. As with K9 I tried the obvious tricks of defeating the filter by terminating the Naomi service and deleting the autostart entry without success. Naomi also works with any browser on your system not just Internet Explorer. On the downside, it filters by terminating the browser session without warning whenever a banned site is encountered. I found this a real pain especially when I had several browser tabs open and lost the lot! Naomi is certainly a very capable parental filter but on balance I preferred K9's smarter logic, greater configurability and friendlier behavior. Modem users will however, appreciate Naomi's speed advantage.
[1] K9 Web Protection - Free Internet Filter and Parental Control Software
[2]  Naomi - freeware internet filter 
 
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#58
Best Free Route Tracer
3D Traceroute graphically displays Internet route information. You can use it for technical tasks such as diagnosing slow connections or for general purpose snooping like determining the location and owner of a web site or tracing spammers. (1.6MB)
3d Traceroute
 
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#59
Best Free Browser Scrubber
There's no doubt that when you browse the web you accumulate huge amount of stored data. The sheer quantity is surprising; often gigabytes. A lot of this is just junk while other parts can be useful. Just what is and what isn't junk is a personal decision. For example, I regard the information stored in my browser's history as a valuable resource but I know a lot folks see it as clutter or even an embarrassment. That's why the flexibility to choose exactly what you want to keep or delete is a key requirement in any browser cleaning utility. It's in this area that CleanCache excels. Yes, there are a few other cleaner programs that also offer this but when you take into account CleanCache's speed, ease of use, automation features, near- forensic thoroughness and the fact that it works with Internet Explorer, IE Clones such as Avant, Firefox and Opera, then you have a clear winner in this category. Note that it requires the 26MB Microsoft .NET Framework to be installed on your PC. Freeware, Windows 2000 and later, 1.3 MB
page17
 
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#60
Best Free Instant Messaging Client
If you're like me, then you probably have friends and family using a variety of IM networks. One way to talk with people on each one of these networks is to open an account for each and then download and install each IM client on your computer. However, running four different IM applications on your computer uses a lot of system resources, is difficult to manage, and broadens your attack surface. Therefore, I would recommend using a multi-protocol IM client. These applications not only allow you to connect to multiple IM networks, but they are also advertisement free, more secure, and have features that allow you to easily manage your various IM accounts. For many Gaim [1] would be the first choice. It supports AIM, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, IRC, Jabber, Gadu-Gadu, and Zephyr IM networks and is available for multiple platform as as well. It's a solid choice but it's not by cup of tea. I've found it resource heavy and the interface confusing though I must admit the customizability though Guifications [2] is an attractive feature. Trillian Basic [3] is easier to use than Gaim, is less resource greedy and easier on the eye as well . It supports the AIM, ICQ, IRC, MSN, and Yahoo networks. Now, if you're a power user and want support for more networks and the ability to add features via plug-ins, then definitely check out Miranda Instant Messenger [4]. In addition to the networks supported by Trillian, it has native support for Gadu-Gadu and Jabber (it also will connect to the Google Talk network with a little plug-in tweaking). Its interface is minimalist, but the application is very extensible through the use of plug-ins. Miranda IM is now my IM client of choice
[1] SourceForge.net: Exiting with Error All Windows, 8MB.
[2] SourceForge.net: guifications
[3 Cerulean Studios -> Learn about Trillian Windows 98 and later, 8.6MB
[4] Miranda IM - Home of the Miranda IM client. Smaller, Faster, Easier Windows 95 and later, 943 KB+