Saturday, August 25, 2007

Lesser Known Free Utilities for Windows

From decimation.com:

I thought it would be interesting to focus the lesser known freeware applications that are available instead of just listing all the popular freeware applications (Firefox, SmartFTP, etc). I’ve tried to attach a screenshot with each program so you can get a feel about what the program does before downloading it.

Feel free to comment if you think I missed something and would like it added. Remember that the focus of this post is not to point out well known pieces of software but to focus on the lesser knowns.

  • Acrobat Reader Speedup
    • This program will dramatically increase the speed it takes for Adobe Acrobat Reader to open. I can’t imagine not using it.
    • UPDATE 1: Foxit Reader - Replace Adobe Acrobat all together with this program. This is a lightweight program that is less than 2mb. Since I have no specific need for Adobe I’ve recently switched.
  • allSnap Screenshot
    • Another simple program that snaps your windows automatically like you see in Winamp. You can go to the site to see a video of it in action.
  • AutoHotkey
    • A simple utility that allows you to map hotkeys to perform certain actions.
  • Billy Screenshot
    • This is a really small and portable mp3 player. Good for a USB thumb drive.
  • Burrrn Screenshot
    • This tool is for creating audio CDs with CD-Text from various audio files from wav, mp3, mpc, ogg, aac, mp4, ape, flac, ofr, wv, tta, m3u, pls and fpl playlists and cue sheets.
  • Citrus Alarm Clock Screenshot
    • A simple program that has whatever audio program you pick start playing music at a set time. It will play any music choice, has a fade in feature, lets you choose day of the weeks and times. Cheap way to replace that alarm clock.
  • CoreFTP Screenshot
    • Another alternative to SmartFTP and FileZilla, this is a lightweight FTP client.
  • Dark Room Screenshot
    • Taken from the site, “Dark Room is a full screen, distraction free, writing environment. Unlike standard word processors that focus on features, Dark Room is just about you and your text.”
  • DriveImageXML Screenshot
    • If you need to make a backup of XP or 2k3 or clone a drive, this utility is for you.
  • Eraser Screenshot
    • If you really need to delete a file then I would recommend this. It will remove a file from your PC and remove all traces of it.
  • EverNote Screenshot
    • Taken from the website, “With EverNote you can easily capture, store and quickly access typed and handwritten memos, webpage excerpts, emails, phone messages, addresses, passwords, brainstorms, sketches, documents and more!”
  • Faststone Capture Screenshot
    • Pretty cool screen capturing utility. Allows you to select windows, objects, and even free hand selections.
    • UPDATE 1: FastStone Screen Capture went shareware beginning with Version 5.4 as of 05/14/2007.

      Version 5.3 is the last true freeware (for personal use) version.Version 5.3 can be downloaded here.

  • HFS (HTTP File Server) Screenshot
    • This program allows you to setup file sharing using an open source http server. Works right out of the box. I use this daily to transfer data from my main PC to my media center PC.
  • IZArc Screenshot
    • An alternative to 7-Zip and WinRAR. It extracts all the well known formats along with the lesser known ones. I love it and it’s free.
  • jEdit
    • “jEdit is a mature programmer’s text editor with hundreds (counting the time developing plugins) of person-years of development behind it.” It is a multi-platform program since it is written in Java.
  • Launchy Screenshot
    • This program allows you to launch programs based on its indexed database of programs. Similar to Vista’s search and run feature, but much more powerful.
  • Lclock Screenshot
    • While you probably won’t need this if you run Vista, this utility has a configurable popup calendar that opens when the system tray clock is clicked.
  • MP3Gain
    • MP3Gain analyzes and adjusts mp3 files so that they have the same volume.
  • Multimon
    • It manages your dual monitor desktop. I actually use Ultramon but this one is free for those not wanting to spend any money.
  • nLite
    • nLite allows you to build custom Windows CDs. You can exclude certain features so they don’t even install in the first place. A way to make Windows how you want it on installation.
  • Notepad++ Screenshot
    • One of my favorite notepad replacement programs. Has features like syntax highlighting and tabs. Check out this HOWTO article on replacing the default notepad.exe with this one.
  • Notepad2 Screenshot
    • Another notepad replacement. It is very simple, which I like. I use it often at work instead of Notepad++.
  • Password Gorilla Screenshot
    • A small little utility that can fit on your USB thumb drive. It is program and database combo that stores all your passwords. Just plug it in and you can connect to any site. Sure would suck to lose it.
  • Portable Apps Screenshot
    • This application allows you to use your USB drive to run all types of apps built for a USB drive. It also has an optional menu interface to launch them.
  • PrimoPDF
    • You can easily convert any file into a PDF file. It pretty much does any type of printable file type. And it’s free and not just a trial version.
  • Process Explorer Screenshot
    • Now you can replace your task manager with something that has a little more power and and provides more details. Gives you a ton more data when hunting a process.
  • Programmer’s Notepad Screenshot
    • This notepad was designed with special featured aimed at the coder. Check out the site for more details.
  • Quicktime Alternative / Realplayer Alternative
    • Simply put, you can install these and not have to install Quicktime and Realplayer to view movies anyone. Though, who still uses Realplayer to encode movies? :roll:
  • Rainlendar Screenshot
    • This is a small little desktop calendar that has useful things like a todo list and reminders.
  • RightLoad Screenshot
    • Since I’ve installed this application, I can’t imagine not having it. It integrates FTP support into your right click menu. You can now upload a file is two clicks.
  • Screamer Radio Screenshot
    • Stream internet radio for free. As simple as that.
  • Snippy
    • If you have a need to easily copy information from a website then this utility is for you. Click on the Snippy icon – mouse cursor changes to a pen – mark an area of the screen – the marked area is now in your clipboard.
  • StrokeIt Screenshot
    • “StrokeIt is an advanced mouse gesture recognition engine and command processor.” This utility allows you to make mouse gestures to perform certain actions on your computer. When it recognizes the gesture it will fire off a set of commands.
  • Synergy
    • This program is probably one of my favorites. It allows you to use one mouse and keyboard with two computers without needing a KVM switch. One computer runs the server software and the other runs the client software. You can have a dual monitor setup (without dragging windows from one to the other, but close) with a few minutues of configuration. Highly recommended.
  • Taskbar Shuffle
    • “No hotkeys, no extra steps, just rearrange the buttons on your Windows taskbar by dragging and dropping them. Allows you to rearrange your system tray icons by dragging and dropping as well (but that does require a hotkey).”
  • Teracopy Screenshot
    • Teracopy will replace the horrible Windows copy dialog with one that allows you to stop, pause, and recover copying. Lightweight and free.
  • ToDoList Screenshot
    • A freeware to-do-list. Real simple to use.
  • True Launch Bar Screenshot
    • This is a Windows Quick Launch replacement. It is very customizable and obviously exceeds the features that Windows has.
    • UPDATE 1: Sorry for the confusion. True Launch Bar is not freeware. I got Free Launch Bar and True Launch Bar confused. Free Launch Bar is a lighter version of True Launch Bar.
  • unxutils
    • Not exactly my thing but I know some of you out there like this type of stuff. This is just a set of some common GNU utilities for Win32 without needing Cygwin.
  • Volumouse Screenshot
    • You can now control your sound volume on your system just by using your mousewheel. It’s a really cool piece of software. I’ve been using it for awhile. I was worried it wouldn’t work in Vista when I upgraded but it did.
  • Weather Watcher Screenshot
    • I was amazed when I came across a weather program that wasn’t a front end for spyware. While I’d prefer a different UI it gives you your weather without ads.
  • WinDirStat Screenshot
    • This utility will show you, visually, how your hard drives look. Really cool if you’re looking to free some space and need to find the larger files. Alternatives include SequoiaView, Spacemonger, and JDiskReport.
  • WinExpose Screenshot
    • While still under development, this program aims to mimic Macs OS X’s expose feature.
  • Winwget Screenshot
    • A Windows version of wget. It acts as a simple download manage

Here are some other resources for more freeware. I’ll be looking over those lists to add to mine if I see something that is lesser known.

  • Large list of over 450 freeware applications - Link
  • Freeware listing for both Windows and Mac - Link
  • Another list of all the popular freeware - Link

1 comment:

Ron Starc said...

FTP Manager Lite is one of the best free FTP and SFTP client software. The clean interface is super easy to use. It will perform your files transfers quickly and efficiently. It also supports FXP for superfast server to server transfers.