Freeware (software you download
and keep for free), may not be popular
with you now, but if you encounter Disasterware (my term for programs you
thought were going to do one thing, but, because of inherent design deficiencies,
that cause your operating system to struggle, or frequently crash or block
out other programs from functioning correctly, have hidden agendas - information
gathering, have frequent pop-up ads to block portions of your screen, and
generally make work for you as you try to get rid of them), Freeware may
become popular with you. There are some good ones out there, and some are
used daily by some. Having more than one in the same category (like Virus
Checker software) may also be a plus for you.
Let me cover a few, and perhaps give you some new and useful information.
If a site is not listed, each should be available at one of the freeware
repository sites I mentioned in a separate article.
Hope one or more of these will may prove to be helpful.
Ad-ware 5.62 detects the spyware (information gathering code)
often included with free, ad-sponsored software. (Spyware vendors can use
ad-serving software code to track your online activities, even after you
have deleted the program it came with.) Ad-ware also lets you back up files
and Registry keys it has removed.
WebWasher 3.2 is thought to be among the most powerful and thorough
ad-blocker programs. It uses multiple techniques to determine whether static
images should be blocked, checking ad dimensions as well as both internal
and user defined lists. It also tries to block pop-up ads, some or all
action taken by scripts, and Web bugs. If an unwelcome ad gets through,
right click on it and WebWasher adds the URL to your block list. And, you
can also edit the pattern to include ads from the same site. WebWasher’s
useful privacy features include Referrer filter (which hides the identity
of the page that referred you), a Prefix filter (which blocks URLs that
have built-in tracking), and an innovative cookie control mechanism that
converts persistent cookies into ones that last just long enough for your
online session, and then vanish. The product doesn’t work with AOL’s browser
and isn’t guaranteed to work with XP, but I believe it is still worth a
RegCleaner focuses on the Windows Registry, which often gets
clogged with erroneous entries that can cause mysterious crashes or other
problems. (It is the repository for almost every setting on your system
and the settings are very precise. Unless you know exactly which parts
to edit, playing around with them can be dangerous.) It is considered the
safest and most powerful Registry fixer that lets you select obsolete entries
for software you no longer use. It doesn’t automatically detect broken
links. (You should avoid Registry cleaners that do as they almost always
mistakenly identify “broken links” that are actually filenames stored in
the Registry for applications to use when creating error logs of other
RegistryRobot also focuses on the Windows Registry. It provides
a safe interface to dozens of Registry settings that you can’t configure
through built-in windows utilities. Some of RegistryRobots tweaks ifs problems
like scrambled Desktop icons, and others let you customize your Desktop
or your “Start” menu by removing default items. The tweaks appear in a
tree-structure, organized by category. They include descriptive text so
you know what each adjustment will do. You can also add new tweaks through
the Import command on the File menu, or remove tweaks from the tree using
the Hide command on the Tweak menu.
Google Toolbar lets you search Google from anywhere on the Web.
But, Google Toolbar also add all sorts of other nifty (maybe indispensable
for some) features, like the ability to search any site you are visiting
(handy when that site doesn’t’ have its own search capability). Also, you
can search Google Groups’ millions of archived USENET posts. Plus, you
can highlight key terms on a page and access lists of related sites, as
well as sites that link to the current page.
Web Highlighter gives you basics like highlighting and sticky
Pretty Good Privacy can provide personal encryption when it’s
no body’s business but your own (and the receiver).
Adobe Acrobat Reader is a MUST HAVE utility for reading documents
which are in PDF (portable document file) format.
Download or Alternate
Forte’ Free Agent is a newsgroup reader that is great for offline
news reading, and for downloading and decoding batches of file attachments.
Surfsaver (from the folks at AskSam; listed as free, ad supported)
gives you great control over what’s saved from the Web. It also creates
searchable archives and works with Netscape Navigator 4.x and IE 4 or higher.
Evrsoft 1st Page 2000 has samples for creating Web
effects, allows real-time previews, and grows with your skills.
ZoneAlarm (free for personal and non-profit use) blocks unwanted
access to your system. Also prevents applications on your system from gaining
unauthorized Internet access. If you have a DSL connection and leave it
ON 24/7, you need to seriously consider this program or one that is similar
if you want to keep information on your PC private.
There are many more that I could list, but if I did, you wouldn’t have
the pleasure of searching for yourself. Hope you find other programs that
will be both interesting and useful to you.