What? Part 3? You said that there would be only two parts in the top XP series. I know that I said that but I wanted to write a third part to add all the great recommendations that you have posted in the comments of the first two parts (access part 1 and part 2).
This time I will write about lesser known tools, special purpose ones that most users do not need but some can't live without. I thought it would be nice to give those tools some exposure as well, they are great and they deserve it.
I did write about some of them here on ghacks already but I guess only the die hard ghacks readers will know about this. I would like to start with a tool that I have been using for some time now. It is called Hamachi and the main benefit is that it is able to simulate a lan over internet.
This is great if a game only offers lan play for instance. I do not suggest you use it for the following purpose but it is possible. Many games require serial numbers and those numbers are checked when you connect to a game server on the internet. They are not checked if you create a lan game.
Please insert the CD into the drive and restart the application. I hate this message. Forcing legit users to have the CD / DVD in drive to execute the program is something I never understood. Pirates crack those protections in seconds and legit users have the problems with methods that are supposed to make it harder for pirates. Something is wrong here. I do like Daemon Tools which emulates CDs on your hard drive. Create an image of the CD, mount it in Daemon Tools and you may use the software without the Cd.
That shitty movie is not playing. I don't see a picture, I hear no sound. Have you ever experienced something like that? This could be due to a missing codec on your system. Gspot analyzed a movie file and displays the codecs it is using. Did I say that I hate the fact that there are billions of codecs out there? Waste of time and energy.
Notepad 2 replaces Notepad which ships with every windows installation. It offers more features than Notepad like syntax highlighting.
Rbtray makes it possible to minimize every window into the system tray instead of the task bar. If you are like me and dislike crowded task bars this tool is for you.
I like my computers as silent as they can be. One method to achieve this is to use a software that is able to control the speed of the fans in your pc. Speedfan is my choice. It displays temperatures for important system components such as processor, motherboard and hard drives and lets you change the fan speed if that is supported on your system.
Vippy the writer friendly cursor changes the cursor into a eye-friendly one. This is great if you have troubles finding the cursor in a text document. Vippy changes the color of the cursor to red for instance.
Ghacks is running on a dedicated server and I have to make the connection using a terminal program. I do use Putty for this, it is fast and clean and does exactly the things that I need it to do. I do use WinSCP to download backups that I made from the dedicated server and transfer files to it.
I have a Skype account to talk to my friends and see who is online at the moment. There is no charge if both users are connected to the Skype network. I do prefer Teamspeak while gaming. Teamspeak has the advantage that more users may chat and talk at the same time while Skype has that limited I think. When I was playing WOW we were using Teamspeak with more than 40 people in one channel. Don't worry, you can moderate to keep everyone in check.
If you want to view TV on the PC you should take a look at tvu player which offers some interesting channels to choose from. To name a few: ABC, ESPN, Comedy Channel, CBC, Fox and more. All free, with relative good quality. You need a broadband connection for good results.
You need some additional tools if you want to save video streams. Most providers hide the real url to the stream making it impossible to detect it by normal means. Url Snooper comes into play and detects the real address by analyzing all network traffic.
I need a local test installation of ghacks to test new features before I make the upgrade on the running site. XAMPP offers everything I need to have a local Apache installation with PHP and MYSQL support. It is great for learning and testing upgrades.
You might remember the Sony rootkit incident. They planted a rootkit on some of their CDs and users had a hard time getting rid of it. Rootkit Revealer is one of those tools that helps detecting and removing rootkits.
I do not buy lots of new CDs but sometimes I buy some used ones on Ebay or Amazon. I don't have a CD player at all so I have to get the songs from the CD on my computer to be able to play them and transfer them to my Ipod. CDex is the tool I use for that purpose. It is fast, pulls all relevant information from the internet (author, title, songs..) and adds them automatically to the songs.
Update: We had to remove some links as programs or websites they were hosted on are no longer available.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.