As I anticipated a few days ago, GOM Mix Max's brand new video editing software has been launched on November 30th, 2021. Developed by GOM & Company, GOM Mix Max aims to […]
I promised to write a second part of the article Top XP Freeware that every user needs and here it comes. I was concentrating on security aspects in the first article and will not write about every other freeware that every windows user should have on his system. I might miss one or two but I know that you will comment on this and help you me out.
Using Windows XP without those nifty little freeware programs is not a good idea. When you run it out of the box it is slow, offers many features no one needs, lacks many that everyone needs and raises privacy concerns that can only be fixed using third party tools. This is basically a listing of programs that I install everytime I setup Windows XP on a computer, the must have freeware utilities in my opinion.
The freeware Auto Window Manager adds additional functionality to the way windows manages the windows it displays. You could for instance customize that whenever a program opens it opens in maximized, minimized or default state. This setting should work with most programs and windows, i tried it with firefox and thunderbird for example.
There are times when it is safer to remain anonymous on the internet - be it that you want to write something about your current company on the web, live in a country that does everything to prevent it's citizens from accessing unbiased information or simply for the reason that you do not wish that someone could track what you are doing on the internet. In an ideal world every user should have the right to read and publish on the internet without the fear of loosing his job or life. The world however is not ideal and tools like FoxTor exist to help those people out.
Internet Explorer comes equipped with the same technique as firefox that allows users to create addons and offer them for download on a site that was specially created for this purpose by Microsoft. Ieaddons is the name of the site and looks like a typical slow-loading Microsoft website. Add-Ons are categorised in the four categories Security, Time Savers, Browsers and Entertainment.
Everyone in the world seems to have a digital camera nowadays and many seem to be happy using the software that came with the camera. I'am going to introduce some of the free products that I'am using with my camera - you might have heard about some already but I'am sure some are relatively unknown to most of you.
I've written a great deal about firefox and tons of extensions that have been developed for it but I've never done the same for thunderbird, the email client that is based on mozilla. I started using thunderbird about a week ago and imported all my emails from opera to it and I love this tool. It is fast, I can sort everything the way I like it and the spam mail recognition is awesome even without third party tools.
This topic has been covered before in my blog but I tend to take a look at older interesting topics from time to time and update them to reflect the changes that happened to the concept in the time between. One-Use-Emails, also known as Disposable Email Addresses and Throwaway Emails are really helpful when you do not want to give someone your real email address because you fear that they would abuse this information and probably sell the address to make a quick bug.
Songbird is a relatively new open source media player that is build from Mozilla and aims to revolutionize the media player market the same way firefox did to the browser market. Songbird is currently available in revision 0.2 "test flight" and runs on Windows 2000+, Linux and Mac just like firefox. Songbird comes with pretty much the same functionality as iTunes and more, due to the fact that it is based on the same core as firefox you can easily use songbird to browse between websites of radio stations, podcasts and blogs. Which means you play the songs and at the same time read what they have written in the same program.
System Safety Monitor 2 is available in a free version from the developers website. The tool basically works as a firewall preventing malicious software to be started automatically. The free version runs in paranoid mode which means you have to allow or disallow every process and get nagged quite a bit at the beginning. Once the majority of rules are established the software runs a lot smoother and seems to come forth only when you tend to install a new program or change existing ones.
You see lots of processes when you start your taskmanager, svhost.exe, csrss.exe, winlogon.exe and many more. A user who never dealt with those executables before has a hard time figuring out which are safe and which could be malicious because normally you can't say which program is using those files. A question like "Is svhost.exe a virus, is it safe ?" is normal and can be answered using the methods described below.
Beta and release candidate versions of Windows Vista, Microsofts latest operating system, can be download from the official Microsoft Vista website but getting a product key did not seem to be that easy. Everyone was able to download Windows Vista but this did not mean that you would receive a product key to activate the beta or release candidate. Without a product key Vista would only work for 14 days.
Many sites offer to scan your computer for viruses online which should be seen as a last resort because this method has advantages but also disadvantages. If you scan your system online you can be sure that the latest virus definitions are used while scanning your system and that the script that is running was not compromised by a virus or trojan running on your system.
Internet Explorer users beware: Stealth Web Page Recorder is a little add on for internet explorer that records every visited webpage including every action on that website like entering passwords, forms, emails and account numbers. The add on can't be spotted in the task manager nor in advanced tools like process explorer, it is a so called BHO - Browser Helper Object.
I sometimes quote websites and do a normal copy paste job to copy the website content to the editor of my blog or into a word processor. Unfortunately this copy job always pastes the original formatting of the original source to the editor as well which means that the text may have a different size, font type or color. It is quite a hassle to remove the formatting of the copied contents to make it look like the rest of your content.
Netvibes offers their users a way to create a personalized homepage on the web. I'am using it mainly to display the RSS feeds that I'am subscribed to but Netvibes offers more than that. You can create tabs just like in Firefox and name them, I categorized my feeds this way by giving them names like seo, money and games. You are able to add numerous feeds to every tab plus additional features that come in handy like a bookmarks manager or a todo list.
Microsoft released a new version of their upcoming Windows Vista operating system called Pre RC1 which means this should be the last version before the release candidate gets out. It is only available for a limted time so hurry up and visit their download pages right away. Only the first 100.000 users will be able to download this version, after that the download will not be available anymore.
Freenigma offers a free firefox extension that adds cryptography functionality to Yahoo, Gmail and MSN. The team says it is working on adding other emails services, as of now, only the three services mentioned are supported. You have to signup at their website to recieve an invitation before you will be able to download the extension. They state that it could take a few hours the most before you recieve the invitation. Mine arrived about ten minutes after I completed it.
This freeware tool is so sweet. I hate when dozens of windows clutter my precious taskbar space with no means to minimize them to the tray. I especially donÂ´t like it when IÂ´am not using the program for a long time but want to keep it running, for example transcoding large video streams.
I have lots of bookmarks, not only in Firefox but also in Internet Explorer and Opera. It happens sometimes when I want to open a bookmark that I have not used for a while that the link points to a dead url which makes me search for mirrors or cached versions of the page. Ultimately I remove the link from the favorites because it is dead and most likely will not be revived at a later date.
Microsoft Groupbar is a freeware application for windows xp that offers an enhanced window management capability. Groupbar does not need to be installed, just download the file and start GroupBar.exe. The tool automatically appears as a sidebar on the left of your screen but can be placed in the other three corners as well. The sidebar displays all running applications, you are free to sort them anyway you like.
This topic might not look interesting at first glance but I promise it will be worth reading it. More than 900 readers subscribed to the feeds of ghacks.net using feedburner alone while many more are using different services to read my feeds. But what are feeds ? They are a short abstract of every article that gets posted here. This means whenever I write an article it will automatically appear in those peoples feed reader software. Many browsers for instance are able to read feeds or can be upgraded to read them.
Sometimes sites are not accessible maybe because they are moving to a new webserver, have problems with their hardware or simply get slashdotted / digged and canÂ´t handle that many requests which leads to timeouts for the user. This happens of course most of the time when you desperately need the information on that website.
Sometimes itÂ´s the small changes that make a big difference. IÂ´am writing a lot of articles as you all know and I find it sometimes hard to locate the cursor in my articles, especially when it is late in the evening and IÂ´am tired. Vippy is a small utility that does only one thing: It changes the color of the cursor to red. Take a look at the image to see the difference. The great thing about vippy is that it should work in nearly all windows applications including Microsoft Word and Open Office.
IceSword is a new contender for the title of the best rootkit revealing and removing program out there at the moment. It is rather hard to find a working download of IceSword but as always I provide a fast way to download the latest version of Icesword named IceSword1.18.rar. Click the link to download the rootkit scanner from rapidshare. In contrast to other rootkit scanners like Blacklight Icesword can not be run automatically. Icesword only provides perhaps the most powerful utilities to scan your system for rootkits and other information.
IÂ´ve written a large article about Coral CDN just a few days ago. Here is a short introduction for those who might have missed this article. Coral CDN caches websites, basically every website that one of its users opens for the first time. After caching this website is available for all other users of the network and is accessible by appending nyud.net:8080 to the url. Now, in this article I mentioned a firefox extension which appends the nyud.net:8080 extension automatically to your links but what about the people who may not use firefox ?
Phishing is a popular method to capture personal data such as passwords, transaction numbers and credit card details. The company IÂ´am working with locks several user accounts each day to prevent harm done to them due to phishing. It normaly starts with an email asking you to update your profile, to download a security update or a email that reveals that you are the highest bidder of an ebay auction (that you do not know about).
You are leaving traces on the computer you are working with unless you are using a live cd or software that runs from an usb stick. Traces are everywhere and itÂ´s rather hard to clean every possible trace by hand. Disk Cleaner is a nice little freeware application that helps you in this task.
Coral CDN (content distribution network) might be the solution if you canÂ´t reach a website because it is either blocked by an administrator, slow or even completly unreachable. Filters and restrictions become more common on the internet. Schools and workplaces blocking access to unwanted sites and networks is a prime example. I can understand that a company does not want you to surf at websites like Ebay during worktime but what about breaks ? What if you are in school and some class did not take place and you would like to check your mail accounts ?
Are you experiencing long shut down times ? Is it taken some minutes after you click on shut down before windows finally shuts down your computer ? This problem could be caused by unloading the current user profile.
This can happen when third party, or even Microsoft applications have not properly cleaned up when exiting. Windows will keep trying to unload the profile until Windows finally decides that it can't and should shutdown. Even if you find the application causing the problem - it may be impossible to do anything about it.
The question that always comes up when IÂ´am talking about the benefits of download managers is why would someone need to use them at all. This canÂ´t be answered in a hurry but my initial response is always the same. First, download managers are great time safers if you download many files from a server that allows only a few connections from the same IP. ItÂ´s tiresome to wait until one download is finished to start the next.
It is a good idea to make sure that no one is able to find and use private files on your computer against you. I can think of several reasons why it is wise to secure private files. If you are sharing a computer you have multiple users working with it, would not it be embarrassing if your mother (wife, sister, girlfriend..) found your hidden adult picture stash ? A thief would be more than happy to use all the personal information (login details to sites like paypal or ebay for example) to make some extra bucks.
Some tv stations, like the BBC in Britain, will provide their fellow countrymen with an opportunity to watch the football world cup 2006 in germany live in a streamed version from their webpages. They said on their webpage that "The service will be available to UK broadband users and will mirror terrestrial and interactive coverage." I assume it is free of charge but maybe my loyal British readers could enlight me how they plan on streaming the content.
Press CTRL + ALT + DEL, what do you see ? The windows taskmanager with lots of processes, showing a filename like svhost.exe and a memory usage of that process. Besides checking for trojans, spyware and virii: WhatÂ´s a good way to check for possible causes if your computer behaves slowly ? Right, the taskmanager. Unfortunatly the process donÂ´t give you lotÂ´s of information which application did cause them to run on your windows version.
The portable apps suite contains a collection of portable freeware applications including a web browser, email client, web editor, office suite, word processor, calendar/scheduler, instant messaging client and FTP client. The suite itself comes in two flavours, standard (117 MB) and light edition (44 MB). The difference between the standard and light suite is that the standard suite includes open office while the light suite does not.
In case you are using the windows media player you probably would like to take a look at the upcoming media player 11 by downloading a beta version of it. The download is available right from the microsoft homepage. I found a list of the new features, not sure if it is correct though:
Many people consider themselves to be very secure when they are surfing the internet and that very well may be true. However, there are some things that are often forgotten about. The one thing is the cookie. This is not speaking about the edible version with chocolate chips, but instead the file that a good many web sites across the internet that put onto your system that tell the site that you have visited before and what you have done.
Sometimes itÂ´s a small utility that helps you the most. Did you ever forget a password from an email account, a forum account or another piece of software ? What did you do to find it out again ? Maybe the software / script had a function to mail you your password, but what if it had no option like that ?
Yes, this is even better than the website that offered about 700 shows. Actually the 700 show website used content from guba.com as a source for their shows, but guba offers more of them. All videos belong to one of eight categories (cartoons, comedy, documentary, drama, foreign, miscellanous, music videos and sports).
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.