NirSoft.net Review (Tech Sites We Love)
NirSoft.net is home to a growing number of software programs for Microsoft Windows devices that are developed by Nir Sofer.
There are only a few developers out there that have produced a constant stream of quality free software for Windows in the past 15 or so years, and Nir Sofer is definitely one of them.
Nir Sofer started to publish his programs on free sites back in 2001, and switched to the iconic nirsoft.net domain in 2004.
Today, it is home to more than 100 freeware programs for Windows. These programs are all free, most are portable, and none include advertisement, unwanted offers or nags.
As good as many of the programs are that are offered on nirsoft.net, so messy is the site itself. The homepage has so many links that it is hard to find what you are looking for.
The best options that you have are to either use the category browser on the left, the custom search engine near the top, or to download NirLauncher, a package of Nirsoft programs that you can run locally once downloaded.
All product pages on the NirSoft website use the same layout. This is helpful for returning visitors, as you can find your way around more easily because of that.
As a rule of thumb: the download links are always listed near the end of the page. You get a description and details, command line switches, limitations, and a release history on those pages as well usually.
NirSoft programs use a custom translation system that allows anyone to contribute translations for programs available on the website. It is not uncommon that translations of programs become available shortly after release.
The average Nirsoft program has a size of less than 100 Kilobytes thanks to efficient programming in C++, and the lack of installation packages or dependencies that add to the size of the program download.
NirSoft Top Programs
The Top Downloads listing on the NirSoft website dates back to 2015. It is a bit outdated because of that, but may still be useful.
I'd like to provide you with my own top 10 listing of NirSoft applications:
- Browsing History View -- Reads browsing data of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari, and lists it in its interface.
- CurrPorts -- A handy program that lists all open ports, processes responsible for those, and other information.
- DNS Query Sniffer -- The program lists all DNS queries of the system.
- DriveLetterView -- Lists all drive letters of connected devices and devices that were connected in the past.
- Quick Set DNS -- A simply tool that allows you to switch between different DNS server configurations.
- NirCmd -- A small tool that enables you to run certain tasks on the system using commands.
- NTFSLinksView -- Displays symbolic links and junction points in its interface.
- Volumouse -- Provides access to the volume of audio components through the mouse.
- Wireless Net View -- Scans wireless network activity and logs it.
- Wireless Network Watcher -- Scans the wireless network, and lists all computer systems and devices that are connected to the network.
NirSoft Software Advantages
- The programs are free to use.
- All programs are small and portable, which means that you can run them from anywhere, and that they won't take up much space.
- Most NirSoft software uses the same layout and functionality. You will feel right at home regardless of program that you run, and you can use features such as the exporting of data or sorting of data in most.
- Most programs can be run from the command line.
While users may concentrate on downloading software programs from the NirSoft website, other sections of the site may be overlooked. These tips provide you with information on some of the useful sections:
- Code Samples may be useful if you are an aspiring software developer. Nir Sofer published source code samples, as well as the source code for some of his programs.
- Donate page on Nirsoft.
- HTTPS is supported, but it is not enabled by default. You get some mixed content warnings right now when you load https://www.nirsoft.net/
- NirSoft Launcher is one of the best options when it comes to downloading all NirSoft programs at once, and using a launcher application to run them.
- NirSoft Panel lists all programs, and links directly to their executable file. This is a fast way of downloading those programs from a single page.
- The NirSoft blog is updated whenever new tools are released.
What is not so good?
Users may run into two issues with NirSoft applications. First, that some may throw false positives. The nature of some programs, programs that reveal passwords for instance, make them targets for some antivirus solutions.
Nir Sofer published a false positives list until 2008, but stopped doing so because of the large number of reports he received on a daily basis. False positives may impact NirSoft's reputation, and may also put it regularly on blacklists on the Internet.
Inexperienced users may shy away from using NirSoft programs that are flagged by their antivirus solution.
The second issue comes down to the compartmentalization of some of the program families. Most NirSoft programs sever a single purpose, and that is usually a good thing as it means that they are small in size. It can be frustrating however to download several programs for a single purpose instead of just one.
NirSoft is home to quality software programs for Windows, there is no doubt about that. What is great about Nir Sofer is that he kept going in all that time, and that he publishes new software programs and updates to existing programs regularly.
Now You: What are your favorite NirSoft programs, and why?Advertisement