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Freeware For You?
Freeware And Shareware

Bill Klutz does consulting work, primarily in the areas of Management and Computer Applications/Hardware/Software. 


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.
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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 look. 
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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 emergency files.) 
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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. 
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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. 
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Web Highlighter gives you basics like highlighting and sticky notes. 
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Pretty Good Privacy can provide personal encryption when it’s no body’s business but your own (and the receiver). 
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Adobe Acrobat Reader is a MUST HAVE utility for reading documents which are in PDF (portable document file) format. 
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Forte’ Free Agent is a newsgroup reader that is great for offline news reading, and for downloading and decoding batches of file attachments. 
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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. 
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Evrsoft 1st Page 2000 has samples for creating Web effects, allows real-time previews, and grows with your skills. 
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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. 
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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.


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