Tom McCune's page of

Software Favorites

Actual Window Minimizer "lets you minimize any application to a small icon in the System Tray or at any Screen Edge. This feature helps save taskbar and desktop space and use them in a more efficient manner!"  I have tried others, but this is the one that I have found that really works.

  "Adobe® Acrobat® Reader™ is free, and freely distributable, software that lets you view and print Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files.   With Acrobat Reader, you also can fill in and submit PDF forms online...."

Ad-aware "is a free multi spyware removal utility, that scans your memory, registry and hard drives for known spyware components and lets you remove them safely."

Adobe Flash Player "Square" Preview Release  is "the developer preview release of Adobe Flash Player "Square" (codename). Flash Player "Square" enables 64-bit support."

  "Analog is a program to analyse the logfiles from your web server.  It tells you which pages are most popular, which countries people are visiting from, which sites they tried to follow broken links from, etc."

AnalogX QuickDNS  "The only slow spot in Analog is it's DNS lookup, which QuickDNS handles! Simply execute it before you run Analog, and it will do all of the DNS work for it, and it even uses the same config file!"  I didn't find QuickDNS so simple to set up, but it did resolve the DNS lookup problems I had begun having with Analog.

AtomTime98 "is a 32-bit Windows Internet (Winsock) application which will connect to the Atomic Clock time server in Boulder, Colorado (USA) and fetch the current atomic clock time value.  It compares this value to your PC time and displays the difference.  You then have the option of updating your PC clock to match the atomic clock value.  There are a number of options to automate the update process.  AtomTime98 also features support for most proxy servers."  Windows XP users do not need this, but it is very helpful on Windows 9x.

Avast! Antivirus  "avast! 4 Home Edition is a full-featured antivirus package designed exclusively for home users. Our company offers Home Edition free of charge, since in our opinion, it is possible to avoid global virus spreading by efficient prevention; however, many user are not able or do not want to pay for antivirus software."

AVG Anti-Virus  "AVG Free Edition is now available for all single home users worldwide!  More detailed information can be found in the AVG Free Edition License Agreement."

Belarc Advisor "builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware.  In this Web demo all of your PC profile information is kept in privacy on your PC and is not sent to a web server.  The license associated with this product allows for free personal use only."

Comodo Firewall Pro  "Unlike some other 'free' firewalls, this is not a stripped down version but is the full, completely functional product. Updates and upgrades are also free."

Digest IT  "MD5 for Win32 introduced the "right-click and hash" interface to calculate a message digest without having to open a separate program. digestIT 2003 took it further by adding multiple file support, integrated copying and saving, and support for the SHA-1 message digest algorithm."

Directory Snoop "is a low-level forensic utility that can recover erased files in an emergency, wipe sensitive data, and search for hidden data at the cluster level.  Step through your File Allocation Table (FAT) and map individual clusters back to the file that owns them.  Purge orphaned (and possibly sensitive) file names right out of the directory structure."  This does not work on NTFS partitions.

Drive Image "is proven cloning software that enables users to backup, recover, or upgrade their critical hard disk data quickly, easily and safely."  I have started using the newer version produced as Norton Ghost, now that it has been purchased by Symantec.

DropMyRights  "is a very simple application to help users who must run as an administrator run applications in a much-safer context—that of a non-administrator. It does this by taking the current user's token, removing various privileges and SIDs from the token, and then using that token to start another process, such as Internet Explorer or Outlook."

DrTCP  is the easy and effective way to adjust your TCP settings in Windows.  I found that my relatively slow 802.11b wireless download speed was due to a low default RWIN of 17520.  Increasing this to the wired ethernet default of 64240 gave my wireless downloads the same speed as my wired downloads - about doubling my wireless download speed (I'm on a cable modem connection).  To discover your current settings, use TCP/IP Analyzer (unfortunately, you may need to  disable your software firewall to access this site - which should not be done unless you are behind a router or hardware firewall).

EditPad  "EditPad is a replacement for the standard Windows NotePad. EditPad requires Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT 4.0 or later to run.  No additional DLLs or whatever are required."  What I appreciate is elimination of the file size limit, that it can open multiple text files at the same time, and its "Find and Replace" feature.

Eraser "is an advanced security tool (for Windows), which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns."  When a file is normally deleted in DOS or Windows, the space the file occupied is marked as available; but until the file happens to be overwritten by some other data, it remains on the disk and can be easily recovered by various utilities.

FileZilla  "is a fast FTP and SFTP client for Windows with a lot of features."  This is my current FTP (and Secure FTP!) client favorite.

Firefox   "Firefox is a fast, full-featured browser that makes browsing more efficient than ever before."  I was a fan of Netscape Navigator before Internet Explorer was ever heard of - it continued being more secure than IE.  More recently, I moved on to the the newer incarnation - Mozilla, and now on to the current incarnation - Firefox.  Be sure to consider these extensions: CookieCuller, IE View, Print Preview, TinyURL Creator, NoScript and ShowIP.

FreeUndelete  "is a freeware data recovery program for deleted files.  In case of accidental deletion of files on a NTFS file system (used by default in Windows XP, 2000 and NT) FreeUndelete is the utility to help."

GAMES:   Epic Pinball      WinTrek

Intel® Processor Frequency ID Utility "was developed by Intel Corporation to enable consumers the ability to identify and, in some circumstances, determine if their Intel processor is operating at the correct and rated frequency intended by Intel Corporation.  Beginning with the Pentium® processor, this utility provides consumers with the ability to determine standard CPU identification of Intel processors."

LINUX: The Linux distributions mentioned here can be purchased for a small price, or downloaded as iso images to burn to CD for installation.  I found them to be very Windows like in use and functioning for included software; but installing new software is much more difficult than installing Windows software (and I'm pretty inept at it).  Lycoris Desktop/LX was my first Linux experience, and it was a particularly easy installation. Mandrake was my next installation; it was more mainstream, had a newer KDE (graphical desktop environment) version, and was nearly as easy to install.  KNOPPIX is very interesting; it is a Debian-based distribution that you run directly from the CD.

Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder "is a freeware utility that retrieves your Product Key (cd key) used to install windows from your registry. It has the options to copy the key to clipboard, save it to a text file, or print it for safekeeping. It works on Windows 95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Windows Vista, Office 97, Office XP, and Office 2003."

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer "is an easy-to-use tool designed for the IT professional that helps small- and medium-sized businesses determine their security state in accordance with Microsoft security recommendations and offers specific remediation guidance. Improve your security management process by using MBSA to detect common security misconfigurations and missing security updates on your computer systems."

Microsoft Safety Scanner "is a free downloadable security tool that provides on-demand scanning and helps remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It works with your existing antivirus software."

MultiRes "works very much like a 32-bit version of the venerable Microsoft QuickRes 16-bit applet for Windows 95, with administrative scripting facilities and extended capabilities to handle ClearType, refresh rates and multiple monitors. Supported resolution and refresh rates are accessible from the command-line or from a simple menu that pops up from the system tray. An optional timed confirmation prompt – enabled by default in the program About box – ensures that any changes you make can be reversed safely, without fuss. While MultiRes - unlike EnTech’s PowerStrip - does not allow you to define new display settings, it does give you quick and easy access to the ones the driver makes available – in a simple, compact and conservative package."

Nero  "This easy-to-use yet powerful multimedia suite, gives you the freedom to create, rip, copy, burn, edit, share, and upload online. Whatever you want – music, video, photo, and data – enjoy and share with family and friends anytime, anywhere."

Password Safe "is a tool that allows you to have a different password for all the different programs and websites that you deal with, without actually having to remember all those usernames and passwords.  Password Safe runs on PCs under Windows (95/98/NT/2000/XP)."  I really like how easily this provides real security, but make sure you backup your database to another computer and/or removable media.

Pegasus Mail  "Pegasus Mail is a free, standards-based electronic mail client suitable for use by single or multiple users on single computers or on local area networks. A proven product, it has served millions of users since it was released in 1990. It is extremely feature-rich and powerful, yet remains small and fast."  "Pegasus Mail protects you from even the worst HTML-borne virus and trojans, and protects your privacy by intercepting web bugs."  I especially appreciate how safe Pegasus is, and how the current version's Content Control helps deal with spam and other junk email - its newer use of Spamhalter is even better in the fight against spam and other junk email.

  Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) protects the privacy of your email messages and your files.  This really is necessary if you want email messages to be private, and a real must if you are using email for transfer of confidential information.  In addition to securing files and email, PGP's "automatically wipe on delete" option is a great way to make sure that all Windows deleted files (including application created temporary files) are overwritten and unrecoverable.  With PGP's Whole Disk Encryption (WDE), every sector (except for the sector contaning the PGP bootloader) of your hard disk is encrypted to 256 bit AES - this is particularly necessary for protection of sensitive data on easily lost or stolen laptops.  PGP includes additional security features such as all the usual file and free space overwriting ability, and instant messaging encryption.

Safe XP   allows users to quickly tweak various security and privacy related settings in XP. The options include Media Player settings, Services settings (error reporting, time synch, remote registry etc.), as well as and option to remove items from the Start menu, network security settings and more.

SiteAdvisor  "McAfee uses an army of test computers to literally test the Web for everything from spam to spyware to phishing to viruses. When you install SiteAdvisor software, we add small site rating icons to your search results as well as a browser button. Together, these alert you to potentially risky sites and help you find safer alternatives."

SpinRite "now brings its legendary data recovery and drive maintenance magic to the latest file systems, operating systems, and hard drives. It runs MUCH faster than ever before, can help maintain all of your drives in tip top shape, can warn of impending disaster, and wrestle data from dying and nearly dead drives . . . before it's too late."

SpyBot Search & Destroy  "SpyBot-S&D searches your harddisk for so-called spy- or adbots; little modules that are responsible for the ads many programs show.  But many of these modules also transmit information about your surfing behaviour and more to the net.  If SpyBot-S&D finds such modules, it can remove them - or replace them with empty dummies in case their host won't work any more with its bot removed."  It also helps identify and remove keyloggers, trojans, etc.

TimeLeft  "is a versatile desktop utility, which may be used as a countdown clock, reminder, clock, alarm clock, tray clock, stopwatch, timer, sticker, auction watch and time synchronization utility."

TreeWalk DNS  "is a Domain Name Server program which fetches and converts Web Site human readable names into the numbered addresses your computer needs so that your browser, email, icq, and ftp programs can surf the Web. For Microsoft Windows® XP /2000 /.NET /2003 workstations or servers."  This really sped up my Road Runner cable modem browsing when the Road Runner DNS servers were so slow.

TSUNAMI MPEG DVD AUTHOR  "Even for computer beginners, its controls let you master every part of DVD creation-video, audio, creating chapters-in minutes, even if you don’t know a thing about computers."  Being able to create menus for your own created DVDs is especially nice.

Tweak UI  adjusts your Windows User Interface, including menu speed, window animation, provides for elimination of "Shortcut to" on new shortcuts, etc., etc.

UBitMenu "is a simple way for professional Microsoft Office users to get accustomed to the new ribbon based interface of Office 2007 without any performance loss. It will emulate / activate the Office 2003 menu in Word 2007, Excel 2007 and Powerpoint 2007 (Word 2010, Excel 2010, Powerpoint 2010)."

Ultimate Windows Tweaker "is a freeware TweakUI Utility for tweaking and optimizing Windows 7 & Windows Vista, 32-bit & 64-bit."

VideoReDo  "the MPEG editor that lets you edit TV Shows, Movies, and Home Videos in minutes rather than hours with traditional video editor software."  I really like the Ad Detective component that locates commercials in recordings from TV (for deletion), how it can combine multiple VOB files into one, and how well this works for ripping TV VCR recordings from my Philips DVD Recorder.

WebFerret  "queries large Web Search Engines to find quickly and efficiently whatever it is that you are looking for on the World Wide Web.  WebFerret will query all configured search engines simultaneously, while discarding any duplicate results.  Results that are returned (often within a second or two) can be acted upon immediately.  New or updated search engines are added automatically to the application as they become available."

Web Link Validator  is a powerful link checker and site management tool for webmasters to check links for accuracy and availability, find broken links and links containing syntactic errors.

Window Washer  "Window Washer is a very useful program for cleaning up the history of your activities on a computer. Many people do not realize that Windows and other software programs store information about what they have done, what documents they have used, what web sites they have visited, and various other activities they have performed. Therefore, anyone else can see what you have been doing on your computer, which raises several privacy concerns. Furthermore, much of your activity information takes up valuable disk space, and recovering this space can be very beneficial."

Windows NT IPConfig Utility  "This GUI tool gives you information about your IP configuration."  This provides Windows NT/2000/XP users the same information that winipcfg provides to Win9x users.

WinZip Now  WinZip brings the convenience of Windows to the use of Zip files and other compression formats.  Windows 95, NT, and Windows 3.1 versions are available.  I have often used Winzip to transfer very large files from one computer to another: "WinZip makes it easy to create Zip files that “span” multiple disks.  This is useful if the files you are working with will not fit on one disk."

  "is a free Usenet newsreader for Windows 9x/NT."

ZoneAlarm  All Internet connected computers need (very much so!) to be behind a hardware or software firewall.  Even the freeware basic version of ZoneAlarm is better than the Windows firewall because it offers outgoing protection that is lacking in the Windows included firewall.


I've only included software that I've tried and found useful and/or interesting. Some of my descriptions include quotes from web pages, help files, etc.

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