Some more suggestions
A good list. Here are some more:
Reg Hardware PC Week If you’ve just purchased a spanking new Windows PC, what to slap on there often leaves pause for thought. The trial bloatware that inevitably came with your machine might keep you busy for a while until the payment nag screens start. Yet those costs and curses aside, there are plenty of free apps out …
Intersting list, few I wouldn't of picked but after seeing that playlist in VLC I'd not question them further.
One ommision I feel you should of had in there was InfraRecorder http://infrarecorder.org/ - nice burning software (InfraRecorder is a free CD/DVD burning solution for Microsoft Windows. It offers a wide range of powerful features; all through an easy to use application interface and Windows Explorer integration.
InfraRecorder is released under GPL version 3.)
I'd also say CygWin as well, but I'm sure others will.
Also I'd say I do prefer applications I can just run of a memory stick, why install anything onto windows with that option.
I'm sure others will add there gems they didn't see on the list.
What an unusual mix of correct apostrophe usage, fairly good spelling, but terrible grammar! Red Biro at the ready...
"Intersting list, _A_ few I wouldn't _HAVE_ picked"
"One ommision I feel you should _HAVE_ had in there was InfraRecorder http://infrarecorder.org/"
"Also I'd say I do prefer applications I can just run _OFF_ a memory stick, why install anything onto windows with that option _?_"
"I'm sure others will add _THEIR_ gems"
So I correct someone on their intentional misuse of grammar, ('Could of' / 'Should of' etc) and omit the obviously simple typo's.
You pick up on said minor typo's and accuse me of being a pedantic dickweed.
*I* love how by doing this, you actually prove the opposite, and prove yourself a hypocrite! That's a two-for-one - Well done sir!
Since virtually all of the "non-corporate" developers, who were in fact the core contributors to "Open Office" are now contributing to "Libre Office", that's the one I'd pick at the moment. It's also pretty telling that virtually all Linux Distro's now ship "Libre Office", not "Open Office".
There are supposedly going to be a lot of contributions from IBM (for one) entering "Open Office" in later releases, which may make it interesting, but they aren't there even in the first Apache release.
It's also worth remembering that the Apache license allows code to be moved to a GPL project, while the GPL license does not allow the reverse. So - it's possible that any improvements to "Open Office" will find their way into "Libre Office" - if it's something they want...
I'm inclined to think all of you weren't paying enough attention. Even looking for it, it takes a while to catch my focus. Nowadays it's on the first screen of installation below "Express Install" and "Custom Install" where I usually click one of the two without thinking anything. I remember it being on a separate page a year or so ago, but still placed in a way I never really caught it until I was just about to click. I wouldn't say it's at malware level, but it's still a tad bit disingenuous.
Forget Avast, it will nag you after a year. Microsoft security essentials is free for home users and small businesses with up to ten PCs.
OpenOffice or Star Office or whatever it's called is great if you want a reverse-engineered copy of Office 97. But if you work for a large company, it is very likely they'll have Microsoft's Home Use Program as part of their licensing agreement, in which case you can download a proper legit copy of Office 2010 for less than a tenner.
Right, then you renew Avast every year. It's a much more modern AV solution than MSE, which last time we compared AV produces was particularly weak on the heuristic/sandboxing front. Even the paid-for MS AV product was outperformed by Avast, Avira, and AVG's FREE products.
BTW OOo started life as StarOffice, made by a German firm - I have a German colleage who used the DOS version (StarWriter) in the 90's - and OOo still opens his old document files.
MSE comes up with false positives too many times to be considered safe for my liking. Half the games in Steam seem to be riddled with trojans if you believe MSE but AVG and Avast both find no problems.
And MSE is an MS product which means the company that wrote the bad OS software is also the one I trust to fix it? I would rather not have all eggs in one basket.
Avast has an annoying voice over but works and isn't bloated like AVG.
Back to the list, piriform who do CCleaner do 4 pieces of useful software. One for cleaning up rubbish, one for defragging hard drives, one for specking your machine and one for recovery of files. All well worth it.
I have a couple of hundred games on my Steam account, and MSE hasn't flagged a single one.
When it comes to dealing with the deepest recesses of Windows, I'd far rather that MS was the one writing the code with internal documents to help, than someone else dealing with undocumented functions. That doesn't mean MSE is the best solution, just that your argument that it should be shunned because a different coding department of the same firm wrote something that you think is bad yet you still bought is a pretty rubbish reason not to use something.
The only 'games' I've had flagged byt MSE is an build of my hobbyist project, which isn't using the Direct3D10 API quite right when switching to fullscreen mode (anyone got an answer? It's always going 1680x1050 instead of 1920x1080...).
I moved from Avast! to MSE a few years ago and never looked back. I've never had any malware issues with either AV, but I prefer MSE because of how straightforward it feels. Little green castle in my notification area = 'salright.
Have to say I had to remove MSE from a low spec laptop and go to avast - MSE was taking up 100 meg memory, and on an XP machine with only 360, that was killing it.
And while I'd have used Lubuntu for my own machine (and have had it running nicely enough on an even lower spec laptop with 160 meg & 600MHz Processor) the machine wasn't for me, so had to be XP.
Indeed, MSE is scoring very well these days, as according to the rolling 28 day live testing at West Coast Labs. Avast is doing great too, but in my experience it's more resource hungry than MSE. As a fail safe I also ponied up only $25 for a lifetime license of Malwarebytes Pro. Great combo, and cheap!
To be honest it doesnt mention Windows in the title. It does say new PC. Which just does to show how entrenched things are - a new PC is expected to be windows. And not another
The firs sentence does mention windows but since you've made all the effort to click to get here from the front page... And the poster doesnt mention linux so your ability to recognise a penguin may suggest some progress is being made.
I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Linux/OSX fan but this is a WIndows only article and I read it as I sometimes get asked to offer advice on software for my Windows owning friends and family.
I don't judge my friends for their O/S "choices", I simply try my best to help them cope with their unfortunate circumstances until they arrive at the age of reason! Ha ha!
There should have been a few 'nix distros on the list, if only to use as file recovery when the free av fails to catch anything REALLY bad/annoying. The only program on the list that I have used is VLC. Probably the only one on that list I will ever use. (well, I used OOo until the fork) At home I just keep the Windows boxes off the internet at all times. My cat could probably update Facebook with linux. Its not that difficult.
Irfan View: more of a viewer with limited editing
(fast start, can set minimal interface, walk folders with space/backspace, crop, rotate, adjust curves/gamma/brightness, *no* drawing (lines etc), supports something like 9000+ formats e.g. also custom specified raw interpretation)
Paint.net: more of a lightweight editor ("mini-PS/PSP")
you know what it is
-Irfan for viewing, batch conversion, simple stuff like rotate and resize photos
-PDN for labeling stuff on screenshots, collages (at work)
Excellent suggestions, I'd also add Secunia PSI to this which will monitor your installed apps and ensure they're kept up to date (in some cases automagically updating them for you). It helps reduce the chances of being hit with an exploit for an old version of a piece of software, especially if they're not good at managing their own updates.
I seemed not to get hardware accelerated video in Windows until I disabled Aero, then it was much more satisfactory. Maybe there's a "Heck with Aero" preference to tick.
Less satisfactory playing certain PVR files, or converting them to MP4 last time I tried. Audio out of synch!
Open Office, Avast, and Notepad++.
The others I have no great need for, since Windows is used only because I have a couple of windows-only development suites, but nonetheless a good selection I think.
No recommendation for a browser, though? Or a PDF viewer? Surely not Adobe...
Some cool ones there but I can't believe you didn't put in paint.net - it's a wonderful little replacement for paint. Great for quick bitmap graphics.
And backup I'd say Cobian is better too as someone mentioned earlier.
As for text editing, I prefer SciTe because of it's configuableness though notepad++ is decent.
. and I'll put in a vote for the free PDF-Xchange program. The main advantage being that you can edit PDFs (typewriter, stamp tool) for free, and save them too.
No more print, sign, scan, email! Just one click of the stamp tool (with your signature as a stamp) and you're done.
I've got GIMP and Irfan view on my PC. By the time GIMP has started up, I can do a quick crop and lossless rotation in Irfan view! So for your ebay changes you might want to try it. Obviously very basic compared to GIMP which I only roll out for the big jobs!
Actually, I recently (1 year ago) started using Picasa - That's great for organising your photos and I like the straightening tool (I must be holding my camera wonky!) and the "I'm feeling lucky" adjuster that just sorts out the colour balance etc. nicely.
I guess they only had 10 slots to fill though!
I use Picasa a lot, it's very slick and makes organising photos easy - through the use of 'albums' - and its fast for editing - changes are made 'virtually' and only applied when pictures are exported. For croppping, straightening and other 'eBay photo' fixes its great. Fast for some batch operations, too.
However, this week I have been dealing with TIFFs with alpha layers. Picasa displays the alpha layer as black, so within Picasa I have had to right-click > open with > Irfan View. PNGs with alpha similarly confuse Picasa.
Irfan View displays - and exports- this layer correctly. And Irfan also handles more obscure formats, such as Radience (.hdr) files. However, it could do with more polish (can't get quick zoom to 100%, for example)
Have both, they play well together.
IrfanView lets you add plug-ins for different file types, though - you might have had one of those installed?
I use IrfanView as the image file viewer integrated into Total Commander (shareware, but completely uncrippled if unregistered.. and my licence file from when I registered my copy in 1998 still works).
Bvckup looks like a great little tool, very simple and clean and does exactly what you want, I've just switched to using it. I'd second Secuna PSI and also add Evernote. For keeping my lists, notes and otherstuff together whichever machine I am working on it's great and the amount of free space given is more than enough for most peoples needs without paying for more.
I've been using Spybot S&D for years - mostly on friends' PCs. You know - the "This f-ing thing is too slow. Should I go buy a new one?" crowd. When I install and run Spybot and it removes a few thousand toolbars, smiley-face generators and tracking cookies, all of a sudden the thing is magically much faster.
"Not only does it play absolutely everything, VLC can capture media streams and also transcode between nearly every format and container under the sun, so you can turn that pesky file into something readable by your other devices."
Yeah well maybe it does run everything, except it didn't run any of the Portal 2 videos I downloaded via Steam and the forum pointed me to a "fixer" applet that let me "fix" those videos... one at a time, as it had no batch capabilities whatsoever. So using Zoom Player quite a bit now.
(I have no idea if this is a general problem of VLC not being able to play Steam videos or if it was something specific about the Portal 2 videos. The devs didn't seem to care, and so I won't, either.)
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I've always Windows user - the software I use is only available for it. Linux vs Windows is a complete non-argument for me.
However, the first thing I did when I got this PC was to create an additional partition and put Ubuntu on it. I haven't used it much at all, but its good to know it is there- saves carrying around a Linux live CD for 'just in case' situations. Or if I suddenly need functionality only offered by a Linux-only application. But really, its there to indulge my geeky side- the Scientific section of the repository is great - a 3D molecule designer!
I agree with what you said, but the way you put it could be read as being akin to the old "Windows is rubbish, just use Linux" cry.
An install of Linux on a Windows machine is handy for its recovery tools, or as a dedicated OS for online banking... Any more suggestions for 'Uses for Linux on a dual-boot Windows machine'?
I'd add a few suggestions like:
Always on PC- useful virtual PC application to easily bypass work site filtering
DVD Dycrypter- still working my way through ripping my DVD collection :/
Boxee/XBMC-- useful if you're hooked up via HDMI to a telly. My nettop is :D
AnyVideo Converter- just found this and it's rather good for converting formats AND downloading videos off YouTube easily (just paste the URL). Free version isn't very limited at all.
Calibre- ebook management, conversion and server software. Very useful indeed.
Now, can anyone recommend a decent PC UPnP media server? I currently use Twonky but was wondering if there's anything out there that's free?
I've been using Dropbox for ages, but then noticed if you have an old hotmail address you can upgrade skydrive free to 25GB! The app isn't as great IMHO as Dropbox, and there isn't an android app (although you can use it with browser apparently) but that's a lot of free space!
MS Skydrive 25 GB upgrade is, sadly, no more. I managed to upgrade my very old and operational hotmail address, and then, surprisingly, a very new and hardly used hotmail address. Then I went to do the same for my wife and - why did she choose hotmail?! - children's hotmail addresses. Alas, no more and they're all stuck with 7 Gb. That said, the arms rance is only going to get faster and we'll probably see the upgrades from all providers, including that new, funny one from google, the one that says: it's your stuff, but we can make full use of it. Or something.
Another vote for this great app.
It's looks great and is the only media player I've found on 'doze (and Linux come to think of it) that easily lets you browse
standards-compliant non-Microsoft DLNA media servers.
Never got Mediatomb/Ushare to show up under VLC/Media Player/Rhythm Box/Banshee
I do like Ninite, but a way of saving your preferences for some common configuration options (like "don't create a bloody desktop shortcut please", for example) would be nice.
It would also be nicer if the range of software it supported was more extensive. I tried to suggest some other free/open source apps but heard nothing back.
But definitely recommended.
As mentioned above, Irfan View is a terrific image viewer
ImgBurn is a very competent CD/DVD/Blu-Ray burner, I've found it can do things that Nero can't manage.
NirSoft have a load of cool little utilities, check out their website.
Macrium have a free edition of their Reflect disk imaging software which works really well.
Thanks to all the developers who create this stuff and give it away!
I installed it. I liked it. It worked... for months. Then, one day my icons broke free and scattered themselves all over my desktop again (Win 7 x64). The Fences still work (icons can be dragged back in) but maybe it needs a 'sheepdog' companion to round things up again?!
I downloaded a number of Stardock widgets including Fence and a number of other windows customising utilities (allowed me to alter all the system icons and themes etc.) I paid for a years worth of updates. I then reinstalled my machine sometime after the year was up, and lo and behold - because stardock utilised a downloader for all its software - this downloader was the only installer I had for it all. So I reinstalled the downloader - signed in - and it wouldn't let me download and install any of the software I had previously paid for as my year was up and I no longer had access to their software updates...
I must say I never contacted them about this - I wasn't overly bothered TBH - only lost about 40 quids worth of software. But it has made me wary of being forced to use a downloader for software which I have paid for. Maybe all I needed to do was find where the original downloader had plonked the installers on my drive before wiping my system - but it wasn't something I had thought of at the time and I thought I'd at least still be able to re-download all my previous purchases... If I pay for software - I want to manually download each installer so I can manage my own backing up of them - and not rely on a downloader which will lock me out after a set period of time.
At least 7-Zip, OpenOffice.org and VLC are not Freeware, but Free Software.
Free Software gives users four basic freedoms: The freedom to Enjoy using it for any purpose without let or hindrance (freedom 0); the freedom to Study how it works (freedom 1); the freedom to Share it with your neighbour (freedom 2); and the freedom to Adapt it to suit your own purposes (freedom 3). This requires for it to be released under a licence which permits these activities which the Law of the Land would ordinarily curtail, and with the Source Code (the human-readable form, as used by programmers) available to all users.
"Freeware" is software which is offered gratis, but without some or all of the above freedoms. Freedoms 0 and 2 can always be taken by force if necessary; but access to Source Code is what directly enables Freedoms 1 and 3 and in its absence, users may be hamstrung.
The term "Open Source Software" is often used as a mealy-mouthed, politically-correct alternative to "Free Software", since it (1) avoids potential confusion between £0 and freedom, and (2) avoids implying awkward things about non-Free software.
Whatever name you are going to call it, this drum needs banging, because people are still too keen to sell their freedoms until it is already too late.
Actually, you may find you're using terms in a manner most people don't. "Freeware" and "Free Software" are not terms generally used in the way you've described by the majority of the world. You may think that's what those terms mean. The majority don't share that opinion.
So, being pedantic, that's a load of bollocks.
"because people are still too keen to sell their freedoms until it is already too late."
What "freedoms"? The ones the Church of Stallman invented out of thin air?
There's a damned good reason why that clichéd shepherd-and-flock metaphor keeps popping up in threads like these, and it's not what the religious think either:
It is impossible for a single person to know everything there is to know about everything. Therefore, people prioritise. Most people who have to use computers have no idea how they work, any more than most drivers know how to strip down and rebuild their car by themselves. In each specialism, only a few can be the shepherds. The rest will be sheep, because they have different priorities.
Stop wasting your time trying to teach sheep how to dance the polka as it only wastes your time and annoys the sheep.
Personally, if I'm going to give something I've made away for free, I'll put it in the Public Domain, thanks. I don't believe in attaching strings to my gifts.
Bollocks to the Church of Stallman.
If you want to play the pedantic game, you're wrong : 7-zip etc are freeware, and may also be Free software. They're not, though. 7Zip is LGPL. Freedom does not restrict what you are permitted to do, whilst the GPL and LGPL apply various conditions to their usage.
The principles you list are great, but the GPL/LGPL and various other licences don't satisfy all of the above principles - everything beyond the first paragraph isn't precisely true. Source code helps an awful lot, but is not what enables 1) and 3). Suggesting the use of the GPL over closed source merely exchanges one set of (commercial) interests for other forms of self interest.
That may align with your own personal philosophy, but it's still not freedom.
"They're not, though. 7Zip is LGPL. Freedom does not restrict what you are permitted to do, whilst the GPL and LGPL apply various conditions to their usage."
By which logic, people in a country where slavery is permitted are freer than people in a country where slavery is not permitted (and thus people are denied the freedom to enslave others).
Maybe the freest person in such a land would be more free than the freest person in a non-slave-owning country; but one must suppose that the average person would be a lot less free where slavery was permitted.
Similarly, a country whose government is not bound by a written constitution is not necessarily freer than a country where the government's powers are restricted by a written constitution.
The fallacy is to assume that the power (not freedom; see http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/freedom-or-power.html) to do what licences such as the GPL do not allow would always be used in a benign manner. History has shown consistently that such expectations are naïve and unrealistic.
After all, whyever should anyone want the power to rob others of their freedom, if they were not going to exercise it?
You are blinded by your own philosophy and equating slavery to software licensing carries more than a whiff of Godwin, but I'll spell it out :
Yes, if software is issued under a completely free license it's entirely probable at some point it will be taken, monetized and enhanced without returning anything to the original authors. The GPL/LGPL is one way of enforcing an evolving software ecosystem, but not the only way.
A third party taking code and not releasing enhancements is not depriving the original author of 'freedom' - it is merely refusing to sign up to the same viewpoint on how software should be distributed.
Neither is a third party taking code, putting a fancy skin on it and selling it in closed source form to users depriving them of as much freedom as the GPL would assert. After all, the original free source is still there. The users are equally able to search that out. If the enhancements the third party make are trivial then it should be equally trivial for the authors of the majority of the source code base to create an open source alternative, whilst if the enhancements are major then frankly I don't think there's a real case to answer.
Enforcing how code has to be used is pushing a particular viewpoint on others. This is not freedom.
Now, it's entirely possible that by using other licences such as BSD, Apache etc, the growth of a software ecosystem is not as fast as GPL/LGPL proponents would prefer, but history proves that growth still does occur.
History also proves that the GPL/LGPL is an effective philosophy for creating a large base of software, but don't dress it up as freedom when it's merely pushing a particular viewpoint.
Regarding use of the 35-pass Gutmann algorithm, Mr Gutmann himself has this to say -
"In the time since this paper was published, some people have treated the 35-pass overwrite technique described in it more as a kind of voodoo incantation to banish evil spirits than the result of a technical analysis of drive encoding techniques. As a result, they advocate applying the voodoo to PRML and EPRML drives even though it will have no more effect than a simple scrubbing with random data. In fact performing the full 35-pass overwrite is pointless for any drive since it targets a blend of scenarios involving all types of (normally-used) encoding technology, which covers everything back to 30+-year-old MFM methods.... If you're using a drive which uses encoding technology X, you only need to perform the passes specific to X, and you never need to perform all 35 passes. For any modern PRML/EPRML drive, a few passes of random scrubbing is the best you can do. As the paper says, "A good scrubbing with random data will do about as well as can be expected". This was true in 1996, and is still true now."
Plus, CCleaner can do multi-pass overwriting to delete data - maybe that slot in the top ten should go to an Adobe-alternative PDF reader?
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Total Commander PowerPack makes it even better. You quickly forget that it handles everything transparently - until you have to use a machine with just Explorer on it. Feels like working with both hands cut off . just copy the whole directory to a USB stick and you can run it from there.
> Heh. I actually paid for WIndows Commander before the rename.
Me, too :-) And the latest version still works with the (14-year-old) wincmd.key
The UI is skinnable, but after playing with a few different looks, I've gone back to what I'm used to: I don't use TC for what it looks like, but for the incredible power of what you can do with it.
All the Piriform apps (not just CCleaner) are worth getting. Defraggler (as mentioned), Speccy & Recuva (damned handy).
Also - consider photorec - free deleted file recovery tool which is very thorough and useful when things go wrong.
If you use Eraser (as you suggest), why not grab Sandboxie too, to further bolt down web browsing and ensure no little nasties get to remain on your machine via Flash/Java etc, without having to block their usage. It also uses Eraser (if you have it) to clear itself up on exit.
Then of course there is Soluto - for optimising boot, and Secunia PSI to keep track of what needs patching and again increase security.... :)
Zero Assumption Recovery is amazing for recovering images from memory cards for free. I bought the full version after using the free a few times. Well worth it. There might be other more full-featured free programs but for flexibility in dealing with images it does seem to have everything.
The kids got a triple play dvd for Christmas, so thought I'd give the digital copy a go. The only thing I can get to run it is Media Player, making it not all that useful.
Anybody know of a utility that can convert a digital copy to comething more useful? Just tred VLC player on the strength of the review here, only to that, not only will it not convert, it can't even open the file.
Yes, as several others have pointed out, VLC's a tired old dog. One of the most annoying features is when you hit pause, theres a delay.
What, am I watching this on VHS?
Media Player Classic is a truly well rounded app, but to get around the codec issue, simply download the K-lite codec pack, and choose "Lots of Stuff" during the install, and you get MPC.
Voila, you have high functionality media player, with codecs to to play just about anything, even the Bink and Smacker A/V codecs EA and Codemasters commonly use as the format for their in-game videos. Crucially, because they are system codecs, your other player apps can use them too, improving overall system flexibility.
For disc writing, I've sworn by Ashampoo Burning Studio (ver. 6, the free one) for years, and can count the number of writer drives more easily than the the number of discs I've worked through. Tiny memory footprint, extremely stable, fully featured, delightfully lacking in bloatware and I can run multiple instances, writing to multiple drives simultaniously.
I've used XBMC, and while I have no argument over cross platform issues, the interface is appalling unintuitive for novice users. I know this because I had a system with it set up for my parents in their living room.
No matter how much I tweaked the preferences or themes, they found it just too difficult to navigate.
The solution came with MediaBrowser, an open source plugin for media player which combines similar functionality, incredible beauty, and crucially, ease of use which means my parents, rather than watching telly, frequently browse through the 2TB of movies and TV using the media center remote, with the same ease that they use the DVD player
Primitive File Size Chart
Very quick to use, shows you the 50 largest files and 50 largest folders in specified disk or folder. No install just a small .exe file. Helped me numerous times tracking down rogue processes filling up system hard disks. Only downfall is that you can't export the results to text on the version I have.
Allows you to grab the data stored in standard list-views, tree-views, list boxes, combo boxes, text-boxes, and WebBrowser/HTML controls from almost any application running on your system, and export it to text, HTML or XML file.
Absolute life saver when used with standard Window searches, etc. Just export results straight into Execl spreadsheets.
7zip, OO and Avast were the first things I put on a new Win PC recently. Not heard of Bvckup, must try it.
Don't like VLC on windows. Too flaky
For editors, I'd recommend PSPad over Notepad++ any day. It is particularly good at handling large files. I work with log files a lot, some Gb in size and it can handle them with no problems. Also lots of search&replace functionality, syntax highlighting, FTP access, macros, diff, block highlighting, etc. Well worth the money (!!)
First thing you do when a relative gets you to help set up their new PC is delete that Norton trial crap that PCWorld keep insisting on installing.
NotePad++ can be infuriating if you have (or had open) files from across a network share, as it is always checking them for updates.
A nice simple paint application is Paint.net.
FreeMind is useful for firing down thoughts at the start of a project.
Virtualbox for getting all flavours of Windows, OS/2 etc. to run.
DosBox for your old games.
For an XP machine, the Royale theme can brighten up the desktop a little, makes the blue slightly shinier.
CDBurnerXP - I prefer it to Imgburn, though both are good
Paint.NET - I find its menu structure more straightforward than GIMP, plus there's a good community developing plugins that extend functionality a lot
Audacity - best free sound editor going, IMO
Virtual Clone Drive - since Windows still can't do much with ISOs natively, this creates a virtual loopback device so you can mount & manipulate them
GSMART control - querying SMART data from installed drive
Acronis Drive Monitor - handy little drive monitoring tool
I used to use Avast but I've moved to Clam for myself. Most users will be fine with Microsoft Security Essentials. If you're only dealing with .zip file then Windows handles them natively, same for burning. NVidia actually cleans up it's driver refuse if you choose a clean install now which removed my need/desire for CCCleaner. VLC: damn good. Open Office...? Still no. I use MS Office myself but I've used Google Docs quite a bit and it's better than Open Office.
Still, a good list. Gets people thinking about and looking for alternatives.
Read your post and had to ask - how many of us here (or know people we work with who) insist on calling it "C-C-Cleaner" when it blatantly isn't called that!
Great little utility but unfortunately was blacklisted in my corporate environment due to its ability to uninstall software that the in-house Client Management system had marked as un-uninstallable - he he
F.lux - adjusts the colour temperature of your display according to the time of day. Obviously not for image editing etc, but good for when using web browsers.
MagicISO - A virtual DVD dive.
HDRview - views HDRI (.hdr, .exr) files. Despite my previous comment, IrfanView can't do this - maybe there is a plug in?
VirtualDUB - does loads of video encoding stuff. Turning a sequence of still images into an AVI, for example. Many people might be better served by a specific converter for their needs though. (eg just to get a video onto their PMP)
CoreTemp - tells you how hot your CPUs are. So you put some more books under your laptop in the hope of increasing airflow.
Nice feature of Picasa is that if it is open when you hit PrntScrn, the screengrab is automatically saved (you don't have to manually paste it into Paint etc)
Is next to useless now.
Use to work great a year or so ago but now it rarely detects anything while the other products I use still find stuff.
As for SpybotS&D thats great if you like using software that looks like it was designed for Win95. Pus it's got way bloated now.
All those extra Spyware detectors are a waste of time. All you need is a free AV and thats it.
The reason being is that once you are infected you cannot clean off those drivebys etc. using those apps on the PC. They don't work. They might delete a few files but they wont get rid of it all.
The only way is to remove the HDD and scan it in another machine with about 4 different products so installing Spybot/Malwarebytes etc. are largely a waste of space.
Surprised you didn't mention Paint.net and Irfanview - 2 of the best photo tools available for Windows.
Paint.net has almost all the features you are likely to need from Photoshop and is totally free.
Irfanview provides a slick interface to paging through masses of photos.
No mention of 'Karen's Replicator.' It used to be mentioned a lot.
Backup across network, schedule, autostart...... It runs. I don't even notice it (exactly how it should be) and my backups are on my other machine.
Free. Bigger than Bvbackup but worth a look...
More functionality? I dunno....
Tried Karen's Replicator, Microsoft's SyncToy, RapidBackup, SyncBack, Yadis file Sync, RichCopy from Microsoft, etc. all fail on large data sets (1.5+ TB total size and over 100K files) transferred over a network. The only one which did not quit is TeraCopy - there is a free version, and it is the only copy / sync utility I found which generates CRC 32 for the files it copies/checks and does not quit with very large datasets (NAS to NAS or local disk to NAS). http://codesector.com/teracopy free for non-commercial use only. FastCopy http://ipmsg.org/tools/fastcopy.html.en also deserves an honorable mention for handling large file sets.
Well, my wife's PC (Dell mini with XP) has Avira and it's a naggy bastard that pops up a message that needs to be killed via taskmgr. Maybe I'll try a reinstallation.
LibreOffice, yes, although there's a bug in the keyboard handling (first noticed when using the Formula Editor) such that you have to use the plus on the keypad instead of the shift-equals to get it to behave properly at times.
I might also suggest people give KDE for Windows a try. (http://windows.kde.org/). Basically it's porting the KDE infrastructure and applications to Windows. It's up to KDE 4.8 and has continued to get closer to Linux quality*. Running the software will load the KDE libaries, but if you find multiple pieces of software in there useful the overhead is shared. All Free (beer and speech).
Anyway, I was glad to see 7Zip as number 1 because it was my first thought.
* Don't. Just don't.
The OpenOffice developer community was messed around by Oracle, so the bulk of the devs left to set up LibreOffice. Oracle since gave OpenOffice to Apache, and that development is supported by IBM. Because of the different licenses of the two projects you can expect new OpenOffice features to appear in LibreOffice, but not vice versa.
VLC is terrible. At least if you want to use it for home cinema playback. MPC-HC all the way! Mind you my setup is rather esoteric (ffdshow, MAdVR, LAV etc). I have way to play nearly every format in exactly the way I want (like auto switching HDTV refresh etc for PAL, NTSC etc).
I personally use AVG which works fine. I tend to switch based on the latest reviews though. I prefer XNViewMP beta over Irfanview right now (It displays transaparent PNG's correctly) although it can be a bit buggy on occasion.
I am not sure 7-zip adds right click context menus to Explorer. I like the way in Winrar you can right click and 'extract here'.
Oh and therer is some issue over whether Eraser will actually erase data on solid state storage such as flash drives due to the way wear levelling works. You may 'think' you erased the data but it cold be hiding in the redundant data portion of the memory still. just so you know.
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...in that it can usually be relied upon to play stuff nothing else will touch (though I find the transcode to be rather flakey), however the UI is horrible. I prefer SMPlayer, though it seems like later MPlayers are more finicky in what it'll play.
+1 for Avast, the sandbox does work in the free version, you just need to be running the file off a removable drive. Yes, it hassles you to renew each year. It is dead easy, just find the renew button, click it, and give an email address.
What I would appreciate is something that can join up multipart RAR files. It seems 7zip can't do that. Yet?
I like FreeMeter, so I can quickly see what my 'Net connection is up to. Sits in the systray and at a glance I can see graphically how much bandwidth is being used. It's old now and crashes on system startup but I still like it - any alternative solutions welcome.
XPLORER: Another one that's never mentioned but it's WONDERFUL!!
It's a Windows Explorer replacement but it does so much that I use it continuously. It's main strength is the twin-pane approach with tabs on each pane to different folders. If you do a lot of work in folders this is for you.
It also does overwrites like Eraser, Mass rename for photos, previews for images, amend file attributes - lots more, and that's only in the free version. The paid version does even more.
I can't praise it highly enough, and clearly it needs a wider audience.
Just try it.
Best free search utility bar none. Way better than even advanced Windows 7 searches.
Finds filenames and contents using Boolean or Regular Expression criteria.
So good, I bought the paid for version - Filelocator Pro, which is better again (tabbed searches, can save results, outputs results in various formats for further analysis).
... as it does not play well with shell integration and windows 7 it seems.
Also, it's algo to name the folder if you uncompress a zip to a folder.like.this was not good.
I now use IZArc http://www.izarc.org/
For windows 7 peeps, I also always install 7 taskbar tweaker ( http://rammichael.com/ )
You sure you're using the version of 7-Zip that corresponds to the architecture of your OS? Installing the 32-bit version of 7-Zip on a 64-bit version of Windows will result in shell integration problems (as I witnessed back in the early days of 64-bit computing. Ran XP Pro x64 on one of my rigs, but at that time 7-Zip was only available in 32-bit). Shell extension started working properly once they came up with 64-bit native versions of 7-Zip.
Apart from the article dubiously recommending OpenOffice instead of the more featureful LibreOffice (does anyone with a new PC bother installing OpenOffice any more?!), here's some "obvious" ones left out:
* Microsoft Security Essentials - a free download (even SMEs can use it on up to 10 PCs for free) and actually does its job quite unobtrusively and is lightweight too.
* Daemon Tools Lite - useful for mounting ISOs as a drive (amongst other features). Bizarre that Windows 7 *still* can't do this, ho hum.
* Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome - anything but IE, surely?!
* ImgBurn - again, does a lot more than the standard CD/DVD burning stuff baked into Win 7.
* puTTY and/or FileZilla - essential tools if you ever have to transfer files or login remotely to another machine that isn't running Windows (yes, shock, there are non-Windows machines out there).
* VirtualBox - so you play with VMs (often running Linux) to see what "real" operating systems are like :-)
+1 for TrueCrypt which I used on my previous XP machine and now on my current (Win 7 Pro, HP Elitebook) rig.
It will do full disc encryption and can take advantage of AES hardware acceleration found in many newer Intel CPUs to help keep the performance up. Even on a Win 7 install with multiple partitions (boot, main win 7, recovery, tools) you can encrypt the main partition without any problems. Even if you don't have the shiny AES instructions available, the performance is still very respectable.
Continuing the disc related theme, a mention has to go to Clonezilla which allows you to perform bare metal backup & recovery. It will also perform deployments and can use multicasting to boost performance. I used it to transfer my Elitebook from the stock HDD to an SSD and once I'd resized the HDD partitions before cloning to the SSD, the process ran like clockwork.
I haven't read through all the comments, but haven't seen that anyone suggested Imgburn. Imgburn is free, powerful CD/DVD/BD recording software that is lightning fast and will burn anything from CD audio to bootable media. It even has the ability to extract a boot image from other media, such as floppies, for making a bootable disk. It's not so good with movies, but there are a lot of specialized movie making apps out there. It has dozens of tweaks and pro features that most will never understand, much less use. And it has a goofy comment every time you launch it for the first time. What's not to love?
OK, it's not free, although it is, right now, on a promotion:
You can get either version 7 or 8 -- or both. They will email you a license.
It's a file manager, a file finder, an archiver and even an FTP program.
I've used it since version 2.x on Win 3.1, and I consider it essential.
PFrank File Renamer
- Probably the most powerful and flexible Windows-based filename renamer there is and it's free. Well supported in forums. Powerful regex, derived names, generate logs of the renames, etc, undo, with built-in commonly used presets - all done from a Windows application.
Reliable CD,DVD,Blu-ray burning software, burn files direct to disk, or make image files and burn those. Very comprehensive logging, preset Wizard quick guides. Well supported in forums. Free.
Fast Duplicate File Finder
Free basic non-trial version (pro, paid for version provides extra features). Find same files with different names. Uses CRC. Exclude folders from being purged as duplicates (i.e. define the master location).
Photo image browsing across multiple folders. Define which folders get looked at by the program. Free.
Adds the missing folder size feature to Windows 7 - see how much space the contents of folders are taking up. Free basic non-trial version. Paid version provides extra reporting.
All this talk of erasing sensitive data using Eraser or CCleaner. Use truecrypt instead to encrypt the data before it gets written to the hard drive in the first place. Transparent and integrates with Windows, requires you to define a password that you enter once on boot up or if accessing an encrypted drive. Free.
Just discovered this, for anybody who wants a free MS version of a back up utility. Don't laugh at me, somebody might like it. It has big buttons and can be scheduled. Karen's Backup runs all the time, remember, in the sys tray.
32 and 64. Runs very happily on win7 too, although it's from the XP download 'toy' page. At least that's where I originally found it.
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