Alamo PC Organization: HOME > PC Alamode Magazine > Product Reviews

cat

Five Useful Utilities 
Utility reviews by Jeff Zubricky

Utilities have become a necessary part of my collection of computer programs. I use some of them daily, while others are for special projects or applications. Here are a couple of my favorites:
 
 
    dotWinZip 6.2 
    If you spend any time on the Internet downloading files, WinZip is one of those “Must Have” utilities. The program files that are available on the Net are usually in a “zipped” format requiring you to have a program to extract them to make them usable. I used PKZip at first like most, but quickly came to appreciate WinZip after trying it. I have been using WinZip for a couple years now after discovering how powerful and simple it is to use. 

    WinZip 6.2 is the latest version and support Windows 3.1, Win 95, Windows NT 3.51 and Windows NT 4.0. The current version of WinZip and has many improvements. WinZip now supports encryption, for those of you who are security conscience; also added is the new “Favorite” toolbar button, this keeps your zipped file close at hand. 

    You may also be interested in the Wizard Interface, it is designed to get the business of zipping and unzipping done with a few keystrokes. WinZip 6.2 now supports UUencode, XXencode, BinHex, and MIME which are all popular formats of Internet e-mail. 

     I like the added touch of the WinZip Self-Extractor Personal Edition added to WinZip 6.2. You can now create Zip files that unzip themselves. You can compress files so the are stored in less space and they transmit faster over the Internet. The Personal Edition is somewhat limited, for the full power of self-extraction you will need WinZip’s other product WinZip Self-Extractor. 

     WinZip 6.2 costs $29 for an individual copy and can be downloaded at their web site. 

    dotWinZip SE version 2.0
    WinZip Self-Extractor is a real powerhouse of Self Extracting. You can set up a zipped file for self installation, complete with a progress meter and an ability to delete the temporary files after the zipped files installation. If you write software and want to include a professional looking program to unzipping your software. I would encourage you take a look at WinZip SE. You can set up a simple unzipping into the current directory. 

    WinZip Self-Extractor costs $49 for a license to create an unlimited number of freely distributable royalty-free self-extracting ZIP files at a single workstation. 

     For more details on both programs and eligibility for upgrades, visit the WinZip Web Site at http://www.winzip.com

    dotThe Slicer 32 version 3.0
    The Slicer is a utility I found on the Net and it is a gem. The Slicer has a single purpose and it does it quite well, it is a file splitting utility. I found the program when confronted with a simple problem, I had a file that was a self extracting zipped file that was 5.2 megabytes in size. I needed to put the file onto floppies for storage. I could have unzipped the file and cut it into pieces, but that is time consuming and would require even more room. I searched the Net and found The Slicer, I used it and The Slicer split my file onto 5 floppy disks. The Slicer slices the program into manageable parts and makes a small BAT file to put the pieces back together. If you ever need to break up a big file, this utility is for you, and the price is right! Win95 only. 

     Freeware available on the Internet 
    Currently available on the Web at: 
    http://oak.oakland.edu/pub/simtelnet/win95/fileutl/slice300.zip or FTP at: ftp://oak.oakland.edu/pub/simtelnet/win95/fileutl/slice300.zip

    dotWinImage version 3.0
    WinImage is a disk image management utility. A disk image is a file which contains all the floppy data (files, FATs, boot sector, directories, etc.). This utility makes an exact copy of the disk. The other part of the program, and the reason I have it, is WinImage can format floppy disks to the DFM format allowing 1.68 MB on a 1.44 MB disk. I have used this program to fit the latest Norton CrashGuard 1.1 (Freeware Edition) onto one floppy. The Norton program is 1.55 MB and it will not fit on a standard floppy, but thanks to WinImage it copies over nicely. 

    There is a Batch Assistant function, compare funtion, and others. WinImage is available in Windows 3.1, Win 95 and Win NT versions. 

    Current price is $30(US) 
    Available on the Internet at: 
    http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/gvollant/winimage.htm 

    dotThe LaunchBoard Software Package
    The LaunchBoard Software Package is a software program that programs your standard keyboard function keys to launch Web Sites and programs. You gain one-touch access to your favorite Web Sites and Programs. The interface is clean and simple, you select what you want the function key to launch and your finished. The software package also comes with some overlay labels to put on your function keys. 

     LaunchBoard is a real handy utility, whether you use it for the Web, Programs or both. I must give you a word of advice; you may want to consider which function keys you program because when you hit F1 for help you may be launching your favorite Web Site. I have experienced this first hand, I needed the help key and boom!, off to the Net I went. I found the way to by pass the LaunchBoard program to get to the function keys standard function is CTRL+ ALT+LaunchKey. Please keep this shortcut in mind, or you to may find yourself headed for the Net not Help. Gamers may wish to review which keys are needed to play there favorite games. 

     The LaunchBoard is a hardware & software combination. The package includes a high quality Windows 95 104-key keyboard and the LaunchBoard Software. 

    Current price for The LaunchBoard Software Package is $29.95 
    Current price for The LaunchBoard $69.95 
    Available on the Web, direct at 1-888-4DARWIN, and leading retail stores and computer catalogs. Web Site: http://www.darwinkeyboards.com