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Best 46 Free Utilities | Gizmo’s Freeware Archive

There are a lot of great freeware products out there. Many are as good as or better than their commercial alternatives. This list features our pick of the “best of the best.”

Almost all the utilities in this list have featured in past issues of the free monthly newsletter “Support Alert”  More freebies are published in each new issue. If you are interested in great utilities and freeware you really should consider subscribing. It's free. 

This list is currently being upgraded to a community-based list with different sections of the list maintained and updated by volunteer editors. More details here

Listed below are 46 different freeware categories with our selections of the best products in each category. The list is ordered by program function rather than merit so you'll get the most out of it by browsing down this page at leisure. The pathologically impatient can consult the index below. 

[Doakio Editor's Note: This article was restored from Gizmo's Freeware archives as a service to the freeware community. Gizmo's Freeware provided high-quality, volunteer freeware reviews for decades. They shut down in July of 2021.]

NEW!  Get the 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities on CD.  Click here for details

This page is updated regularly – most recent: 5 Apr, 08

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1   Best Free Web Browser     Sponsored links:32 Best Free Search Toolbar
  Best Free Anti-Virus Software     Best Backup Program33 Best Free Download Manager
3   Best Free Adware/Spyware/Scumware Remover     Best Remote Access Software34 Best Free Web Site Ripper
4   Best Free Browser Protection Utility     Best Spam Blocker for Dummies35 Best Free Download/Upload Meter
5   Best Free Firewall     Best Drive Imaging Program36 Best Free TCP Settings Tweaker
6   Best Free Trojan Scanner/Trojan Remover19 Best Free Desktop Search Utility37 Best Free File Cleaner
7   Best Free Rootkit Scanner/Remover20 Best Free Digital Image Viewer 38 Best Free Resource Meter
8   Best Free Intrusion Detection Utility  21 Best Free Digital Editor39 Best Free Sticky Notes Utility
9   Best Free Anonymous Surfing Service22 Best Free Digital Photo Organizer40 Best Free Secure Erase Utility
10 Best Free Software Suite23 Best Free Notepad Replacement41 Best Free Registry Editor
11 Best Free File Manager24 Best File Archiver/Zip Utility42 Best Free Process Viewer
12 Best Free Email Client25 Best Free Hotkey / Macro Recorder Utility 43 Best Free System Information Utility
13 Best Free Web Mail Accessory26 Best Free Registry Cleaner44 Best Free Search and Replace Utility 
14 Best Free Clipboard Replacement Utility 27 Best Free BitTorrent Client 45 Best Free Outliner
15 Best Free HTML Editor28 Best Free FTP Client46 Best Free Rename Utility
16 Best Free Spam Filter for the Average User29 Best Free Bookmark CleanerNew: Gizmo's Guide to Securing your PC
17 Best Free Spam Filter for Experienced Users30 Best Free Folder Synchronization Utility 
18 Best Free Popup Stopper31 Best Free Screen Capture Utility 47-118 latest additions to the list

NEW!  Get the 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities on CD.  Click here for details

Gold Award TrophyThe Best-ever Freeware List

1  Best Free Web Browser  Updated January 30, 2008

Back in the early 1990's When the World Wide Web was young, there was only one web browser worth using: Netscape. Then Microsoft gave us Internet Explorer and subsequently started including it with their OS. Thus began the browser wars and IE eventually emerged as the clear winner.

Today Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) is a competent browser with enough features to meet the needs of most users but is difficult to recommend due to on-going security concerns. In the past IE has been a focus for security attacks and there is little to suggest this will change with the release of IE7. Additionally, Microsoft has a poor track record for speedily fixing IE defects and this has left users open to drive-by attacks and other forms of zero-day exploits. This has opened up a new set of browsers that are feature rich, very secure, and super fast.

There are several excellent alternatives with the new Mozilla Firefox V2 [1] a solid first choice. It's safer than IE, so safe in fact that many users have reported no spyware infections since they started using the product. It also browses a tad faster than IE, is very stable and is more standards compliant. The program loads slower than IE but once running, it positively zips along. With tabbed browsing and over 2000 free extensions (add-ons) that allow you to customize your experience, it provides most users with a major surfing upgrade. Firefox is now my everyday browser though I still leave IE7 on my PC for the occasional web site that's designed around IE's non-standard features. If you need any further convincing then check out my IE to Firefox migration guide.

An equal first choice is Opera [2]. It's a speed demon; probably the fastest of all the common browsers. But it's much more than that; it's full featured, standards compliant and safe. Just as Firefox is extensible through add-ins, Opera can be enhanced using Widgets, though there are not nearly as many of these available as Firefox extensions. Then again, it doesn't need as many extensions as a lot of the features added by Firefox add-ins are already available built into the standard Opera browser. There's just so much to like about Opera V9 that you could easily create a case that it's better than Firefox. Indeed, if I could get an Opera replacement for some of my key Firefox add-ins, I'd probably switch.

Users who don't want to drift too far from the Microsoft stable can get some of the feature advantages of Firefox and Opera by using one of the many customized shells for Internet Explorer such as Maxthon [3] and Avant [4]. The main selling point for these products used to be tabbed browsing but now that this is available in IE7 it's hard to create a case for their general recommendation. Still if you need a specialized feature they are worth considering. On the downside these shells share most of the same security problems as IE as they utilize the IE engine.

Last but not least is K-Meleon [5], a slimmed down cousin of Firefox that's optimized for Windows. Of the four browsers I use on different PCs, K-Meleon is the quickest loading and along with Opera, the fastest for surfing. On the downside there are only a limited number of add-ons and plug-ins available so you are pretty well limited to the features available in the standard product. If you are the type of person who prefers performance to bells and whistles you should definitely try K-Meleon.

=>index

[1] Mozilla Firefox
Website: http://www.mozilla.org/
Download Link: http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/
Author: Mozilla Corp.
Current version: 2.0.0.11
Version date: 12/3/2007
License: Free – Mozilla Public License
Download File size: 5.75 MB
Operating Systems Supported: Windows 98-Vista, OS-X, Various Linux Distros
Additional Software Required: None
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English languages supported: Many; Available via downloadable language packs
Other relevant information:
Firefox Extensions: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/browse/type:1
IE to Firefox Migration Guide: http://www.techsupportalert.com/firefox.htm
Changing the Language Pack: http://support.mozilla.com/kb/Changing+the+language+pack

[2] Opera
Website: http://www.opera.com/
Download Link: http://www.opera.com/download/
Author: Opera Software
Current Version: 9.25
Version Date: 1/15/2008
License: Free
Download file size: 4.7 MB
Operating Systems Supported: Windows 95-Vista, Mac OS 7.5-OS X, Various Linux Distros, OS/2, QNX, Various Mobile Phones, and Palm OS 5
Additional Software Required: None
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English languages Supported: Many – Available via downloadable language files
Other relevant information:
Opera Language Files: http://www.opera.com/download/languagefiles/

[3] Maxthon
Website: http://www.maxthon.com/
Download Link: http://www.maxthon.com/download.htm
Author: Maxthon (Beijing) Ltd.
Current Version: 2.07
Version Date: 12/28/2007
License: Free
Download file size: 2.9 MB
Operating Systems Supported: Windows 98-Vista
Additional Software Required: At least MS Internet Explorer 6
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English Languages Supported: Many – Available via downloadable language packs
Other Relevant Information: None

[4] Avant
Website: http://www.avantbrowser.com/
Download Link: http://www.download.com/Avant-Browser/3000-2356_4-10150342.html
Author: Avant Force
Current Version: 11.5 build 21
Version Date: 9/30/2007
License: Free
Download file size: 1.85 MB
Operating Systems Supported: Windows 95-Vista
Additional Software Required: At least MS Internet Explorer 5.5
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: Yes – http://dl.filekicker.com/send/file/184227-Z37W/avant.exe
Non-English Languages Supported: Many
Other Relevant Information: None

[5] KMeleon
Website: http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/
Download Link: http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/download.php
Author: amutch, boisso, kkohler, ron_aegis, ulferikson
Current Version: 1.1.3
Version Date: 11/26/2007
License: Free GNU General Public License
Download file size: 5.2 MB
Operating Systems Supported: Windows 95-Vista
Additional Software Required: None
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English Languages Supported: German, French, Spanish, Russian
Other Relevant Information: None

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor Joe Bennett. If you have any suggestions for alterations or additions to this item then you can contact Joe at joe@techsupportalert.com

 Best Free Anti-Virus Software  Updated February 2, 2008

Antivirus tools are essential in protecting the host client from a multitude of viral, Trojan, and rootkit Internet threats. They also can also stop virus infestation from cross media file sharing. Antivirus is also essential as a secondary preventative Internet security solution beyond a firewall.

If you are looking for the best possible protection my top recommendation is Avira AntiVir Personal Edition Classic [1]. Although its detection rate is outstanding there are some reservations. Firstly, it lacks email scanning that is only available in the paid version. This means that AntiVir won't warn you about any infected emails before you open them. However, should you open an infected email, then AntiVir will still spring into action. The absence of its email scanner doesn't mean you are not protected from email based infections. My second reservation is that AntiVir is quite an intrusive product you will certainly be well aware of its presence. Finally, AntiVir Personal Edition Classic has a time limited license. It is renewable, but be aware you will have to periodically go through the hoops.
Recommended products:

If your not prepared to accept the drawbacks to AntiVir I would suggest either AVG Antivirus 7 Free Edition [2] or the Avast! scanner [3]. Neither is quite as effective in detection as AntiVir, however they are both more complete products and less intrusive in use.

AVG Free has been continuously refined since it was first released in 1991 and the latest version V7.5 makes further improvements to an already solid product. Additionally, it's relatively small, light on resources, has regular automatic updates, and handles email scanning. There is a free and a pro version; the only difference being that the free version has a few non critical features disabled and has no technical support other than a free user forum .

Equally effective is the free Avast scanner [3] although its funky media player style interface is not to everyone's taste. Avast also required periodic re registration while AVG does not. However, Avast does not seem to suffer the signature file update problems that plague some AVG users.

AVG and Avast are excellent free products that will meet the needs of most users, however, none
of these offer the best malware detection available. That title belongs to commercial products like NOD32, F Secure, the full versions of AntiVir, Kaspersky AV and others. They are however capable packages that offer the financially challenged a real alternative to the major anti virus suites.

However, if you use AVG or Avast in conjunction with a sandbox for surfing, (see section 4) and an anti spyware product, (see section 3) you can achieve a level of protection approaching that offered by the best commercial AV products.

Further improvement is possible running regular on demand scans with a different anti virus product.

On demand scans should be run regularly, at least weekly, to check for viruses and other malware that may have been missed by your main scanner.

A good option for on demand scanning is the free version of the commercial AV product BitDefender [4]. It's a first class product with excellent detection rates, but as the free version lacks an email scanner, and a resident virus guard, it's only really suited for use as an on demand scanner rather than your main AV product. There are some other limitations as well. Firstly, it has an annoying habit of detecting malware products that have been quarantined by other security products and you can't exclude these areas from subsequent scans. Secondly, it is only available on a one year non renewable license.
Product Specifications:

[1] AntiVir
Website:
http://www.free-av.com
Author: Avira
Date: 01/12/2008
Version: 7.06.00.268
Download File size: 20.3MB
License: Freeware
Operating systems supported:  Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP/Vista
64 Bit Capable: yes
Portable version available: no
Other languages supported: yes
Additional Software Required: no

[2] AVG Anti Virus
Website: http://free.grisoft.com/
Author: Grisoft
Date: 12/20/2007
Version :7.5.516
Download File size:31.5MB
License: Freeware
Operating systems supported: Windows 98/Me/NT/2000/XP/Vista
64 Bit Capable: no
Portable version available: no
Other languages supported: no
Additional Software Required: no

[3] Avast
Website: http://www.avast.com/eng/avast_4_home.html
Author: Alwil Software
Date: 01/12/2008
Version: 4.7
Download File size:18.0MB
License: Freeware
Operating systems supported: Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP/Vista
64 Bit Capable: yes
Portable version available: no
Other languages supported: yes
Additional Software Required: no

[4] BitDefender
Website: http://www.bitdefender.com/
Author: Softwin
Date: 8/23/2007
Version: 8.0
Download File size: 13.18B
License: Freeware with registration
Operating systems supported: Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP/Vista
64 Bit Capable: no
Portable version available: yes
Other languages supported: yes
Additional Software Required: no

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor Jeffrey Brown. If you have any suggestions for alterations or additions to this item then you can contact Jeffrey at jeffrey@techsupportalert.com

3  Best Free Adware/Spyware/Scumware Remover  Updated  February 10, 2008

A couple of years ago most folks relied on SpyBot Search and Destroy and Ad-Aware for spyware protection.  Alas spyware has evolved so quickly that these once outstanding products are no longer up to the task of providing primary protection, though they remain useful as secondary, on-demand scanners.

The new generation of malware requires a new generation of defensive products. Such products need to provide stronger active protection and broader spectrum detection. The best anti-spyware programs, WebRoot SpySweeper, Spyware Doctor and CounterSpy are all commercial products, but, there are three capable and free products that I can recommend.

The first is a special cut-down version of Spyware Doctor that's available as part of Google Pack [1]; a bundle of free software offered by Google.  Called “Spyware Doctor Starter Edition”, the cut down version lacks the full array of real time protection monitors possessed by its commercial big brother, but still offers some active protection along with full scan and remove capabilities, scheduled scans, and free signature file updates.  And on the subject of signature files it should be noted that the signature files in Spyware Doctor Starter Edition are neither as large or as up-to-date as those in its commercial big brother.

Your second choice is Microsoft's Windows Defender program [2]. Defender is the latest re-incarnation of the excellent Giant Anti-Spyware product that Microsoft purchased late in 2004. Based on my tests, Windows Defender is not as effective as its immediate predecessor but still has solid protective capability. I tested it on several drive-by download sites. Its multiple, real time monitors provided a reasonable (though by no means watertight) defense.  It appears to be a little vulnerable to polymorphic malware in particular and for this reason I suggest it should be used in combination with regular, on-demand scans from the free AVG Anti-Spyware. My other reservation about Windows Defender is that it consumes quite a lot of your processing power.  If you have a modern PC this should not be a problem, however, older machines will definitely suffer a performance hit.

Note that you need a legal version of Windows XP SP2 to run this program. I've been told cracked versions of Defender will run on any XP SP2 PC and are currently circulating on the P2P networks, but I'd approach those with caution. The idea of a cracked security program must be considered an oxymoron.

A third choice is Spyware Terminator [3]. Unlike Spyware Doctor or Windows Defender it works with all versions of Windows, so it's the stand-out choice for Windows 9x users. It's no slouch either. Like Windows Defender, it has strong active protection. Indeed with it’s built in HIPS system that warns you of any unrecognized intruders, it has stronger protection against unknown threats than the Microsoft product. This was confirmed on some tests I ran on drive-by download sites where Spyware Terminator proved to be impregnable.

Spyware Terminator has its own spyware detection engine and gives you the option of using a second engine based on the Open Source ClamWin anti-virus program. ClamAV is not the most effective AV scanner on the market but it's certainly competent and the additional protection can only be a plus.

On the downside, Spyware Terminator is slow to scan and can slow down your PC a tad though nowhere as much as Windows Defender. I've also heard reports that support via the free forum is poor.

Choosing between Spyware Doctor Starter Edition, Windows Defender, and Spyware Terminator is not easy.  The full commercial version of Spyware Doctor has outstanding detection but the reduced signature file size and weak active protection in the free starter edition is a concern. Defender is heavy on resources but has reasonable active protection. Its detection, however, is mediocre.

As of today, I think Spyware Terminator has the edge as the best balanced product of the three but it's difficult to see how free products like this can remain viable, particularly in a high support product class such as anti-spyware.

However, if you use an anti-virus product with good, active protection, such as the free version of AntiVir, you may well be tempted to go with Spyware Doctor. It's a product with reasonable detection and excellent removal capabilities backed by regular and reliable signature file updates.  Note: Spyware Doctor Starter Edition can be obtained via the Google Pack, but, you can get it as a stand-alone download from here [4].

=>index

[1] Google Pack
Website: http://pack.google.com/intl/en/pack_installer.html?hl=en&gl=us
Download link: http://pack.google.com/intl/en/pack_installer.html?hl=en&gl=us
Author: Google
Current version: 2.2.940.34809
Version date: August 28, 2007
License: Freeware
Download File size: 845KB
Operating Systems Supported: Windows XP or Vista
Additional Software Required: Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or later or Mozilla Firefox 1.0 or later
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English languages supported: Yes
Other relevant information: None

[2] Microsoft Windows Defender
Website: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=435bfce7-da2b-4a6a-afa4-f7f14e605a0d
Download link: http://download.microsoft.com/download/e/d/0/ed099d5e-dc60-4740-8747-1c72f053b800/WindowsDefender.msi
Author: Microsoft
Current version: 1593
Version date: May 23, 2007
License: Freeware
Download File size: 4.9MB
Operating Systems Supported: Windows Server 2003 sp1 & sp2/Windows XP sp2
Additional Software Required: None
64 Bit Capable: Yes
Portable Version Available: No
Additional Software Required: Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or later
Non-English languages supported: Yes
Other relevant information: Genuine Microsoft Windows Validation Required

[3] Spyware Terminator
Website: http://www.spywareterminator.com
Download link: http://www.spywareterminator.com/download/download.aspx
Author: Crawler, LLC
Current version: 2.0.1.224
Version date: September 27, 2007
License: Freeware
Download File size: 8.51MB
Operating Systems Supported: 98/Me/NT/2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista
Additional Software Required: None
64 Bit Capable: Yes
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English languages supported: Yes
Other relevant information: At least 10 MB of free hard drive space/ 2.1 beta released 1/12/2008

[4] Spyware Doctor Starter Edition
Website: http://www.pctools.com/spyware-doctor/google_pack/
Download link: http://www.download.com/Spyware-Doctor-Starter-Edition/3000-8022_4-10704508.html
Author: PC Tools
Current version: 5.1.0.273
Version date: November 12, 2007
License: Freeware
Download File size: 14.72MB
Operating Systems Supported: Windows 2000/2003/XP/Vista
Additional Software Required: None
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English languages supported: Yes
Other relevant information: None

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor Matthew Evans. If you have any suggestions for alterations or additions to this item then you can contact him at matthew@techsupportalert.com

4  Best Free Browser Protection Utility  

There's a scumware  plague at the moment. All it takes is a visit to a pushy web site or a “loaded” shareware install and next minute your Internet Explorer homepage has been changed, your default search setting altered, unwanted ads pop up on your screen and worse.

If you use Windows 2000 or later my top recommendation for safe browsing is a free program called Sandboxie [1] that creates a special contained “sandbox” environment on your PC. While browsing within the virtual sandbox provided by Sandboxie you are totally corralled off from other parts of your PC. So any files you download are isolated to the sandbox. Similarly, any programs that are executed only do so within the sandbox and have no access to your normal files, the Windows operating system or any other part of your PC.

Usage is remarkably simple. To start a sandboxed browsing session you just click the Sandboxie icon from the Quick Launch tray and this will launch your default browser in the sandbox. You can then use it in the normal way to browse to sites or download files.

If you download a file it will install normally but again will be corralled off from your real PC as any new processes running in your computer memory or entries in the Windows startup areas will be sandboxed.

After you have finished browsing you can right click the Sandboxie icon and delete all sandboxed files and processes and your PC will be returned to much the same state it was in before the browsing session. If you want retain particular downloaded files you can save them permanently before clearing the contents of the Sandbox.

The advantage is clear: any spyware, trojans, keyloggers or other malware products that infected your PC while browsing will be eliminated.

Sandboxie works fine with all browsers but requires Windows 2000 and later. It can cause problems on some PCs so backup before installing.

Users of earlier Windows versions may want to check out  SpywareBlaster [2].  It's is not a sandbox but rather is a free program that changes some settings in your computer to help prevent an initial infection. It provides protection against thousands of malevolent products that use ActiveX based exploits, block hostile sites and discards unwanted cookies as well. SpywareBlaster is most effective with Internet Explorer but can be used with Firefox as well. though this may be overkill as Firefox doesn't need to be protected against ActiveX exploits. Once it has changed your settings SpywareBlaster doesn't really need to continuously run on your PC other than to provide updates. These can be initiated manually but the automatic update service costs $9.95 annually.

A companion program to SpywareBlaster is SpywareGuard [3] that provides active protection. It is a monitor that checks programs before they are run for malware behavior and also does some signature checking as well. However of late SpywareGuard seems to have been rather neglected with no new updates for more than a year so I can only give it a qualified recommendation.

An alternative to SpywareGuard is to use one of the free intrusion prevention and detection utilities listed here. These provide active protection against infection and work very effectively in concert with the passive protection provided by SpywareBlaster.  

=>index

[1] http://www.sandboxie.com  Free for personal use, Win2K and later, 310KB
[2] http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html  Freeware, all Windows version, 2.5MB
[3] http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareguard.html  Freeware,  All Windows versions, 913KB

5  Best Free Firewall  Updated February 10, 2008

No other single product class seems to cause as much angst to average users in their installation and day-to-day use as Firewalls.

For such users, Sunbelt-Kerio Personal Firewall [1] is my top recommendation as it seems to cause the fewest problems yet manages reasonable protection as well.

Kerio dropped the product in late 2005 but thankfully Sunbelt Software, the makers of the excellent CounterSpy anti-spyware scanner, picked it up and will continue making it available. Note that the free and paid versions of Sunbelt Kerio are the same. If you don't buy the product some advanced features are automatically turned off after 30 days. The product will also nag you every time you start it. For some this is a small price to pay for a great free firewall. For others it's a real turn-off.

If performance rather than ease-of-use is your criterion then the Comodo firewall [2] is the top contender. The firewall itself is very robust and the just released version 3 includes a well designed intrusion detection system and Vista compatibility as well. Comodo also supports internet connection sharing, while the free versions of Kerio and ZoneAlarm do not. On the minus side the IDS is initially rather talkative and this can unnecessarily alarm inexperienced users. There have also been reports that the new version 3 has some new version bugs so it may be better to wait a couple of months until the new version has stabilized before installing. Additionally Comodo has been known to conflict with some other security products. However for the technically initiated who can cope with these annoyances this is an outstanding free product and an easy first choice. Make sure though, you install it in the “Advanced” mode as the “Basic” installation has the HIPS and outbound protection disabled.

A recent contender is the free version of Online Armor Personal Firewall V2 [3] which has been getting praise for its outstanding leak-test performance and ease of use. I looked at the full commercial version a while back and was impressed but I have yet to test the cut down free version so I'm reluctant to make a recommendation. Certainly the feedback I've been getting from users has been very positive.

Also technically impressive is the Jetico Firewall [4]. It rates highest on the leak tests of all firewalls but personally I find it awkward to use. It may, however, be just your cup of tea.

Another tricky product is NetVeda Safety.Net firewall [5]. However, it's performance is quite outstanding and it offers application control and content filtering as well. This highly capable product deserves to be better known and experienced users should definitely put it on their short list.

I no longer recommend the free version of the ZoneAlarm firewall [6]. First, it is a very basic product compared to the commercial ZoneAlarm Pro version. The leak-test performance of the latest free version is extremely poor while the Pro version is excellent. The download also includes the large commercial ZoneAlarm suite so be careful not to install it. On the plus side ZA free does have the advantage of working with Vista.

=>index

[1] Sunbelt-Kerio Personal Firewall
Website: http://www.sunbelt-software.com/Home-Home-Office/Sunbelt-Personal-Firewall/
Download link: http://www.sunbelt-software.com/Home-Home-Office/Sunbelt-Personal-Firewall/
Author: Sunbelt Software
Current version: 4.5.916
Version date: April 26, 2007
Download file size: 6.27MB
License: Freeware
Operating systems supported: Windows 2000/XP
Additional software required: None
64 Bit capable: No
Portable version available: No
Non-English languages supported: Yes
Other relevant information:

[2] Comodo firewall
Website: http://www.personalfirewall.comodo.com/
Download link: http://www.personalfirewall.comodo.com/download_firewall.html
Author: Comodo Group
Current version: 3.0.15.277
Version date: January 11, 2008
Download file size: 9.08MB
License: Freeware
Operating systems supported: Windows Xp/Vista
Additional software required: No
64 Bit capable: Yes
Portable version available: No
Non-English languages supported: Yes
Other relevant information: Version 2.4 is available for Windows 2000

[3] Online Armor Personal Firewall V2
Website: http://www.tallemu.com/product_overview.html
Download link: http://www.tallemu.com/downloads.html
Author: Tall Emu Pty Ltd
Current version: 2.1.0.31
Version date: November 16, 2007
Download file size: 14.9MB
License: Freeware
Operating systems supported: Windows NT/2000/XP
Additional software required: None
64 Bit capable: No
Portable version available: No
Non-English languages supported: No
Other relevant information: Free version doesn't include Mail Shield (spam filter) or automatic updates

[4] Jetico Firewall
Website: http://www.jetico.com/jpfirewall.htm
Download link: http://www.jetico.com/jpfirewall.htm
Author: Jetico, Inc.
Current version: 1.0.1.61
Version date: July 19, 2005
Download file size: 2.67MB
License: Freeware
Operating systems supported: Windows 98/Me/NT/2000/XP
Additional software required: None
64 Bit capable: Yes
Portable version available: No
Non-English languages supported: Yes
Other relevant information:

[5] NetVeda Safety.Net firewall
Website: http://www.netveda.com/consumer/safetynet.htm
Download link: http://www.netveda.com/downloads/index.htm
Author: NetVeda
Current version: 3.8.1
Version date: October 7th, 2007
Download file size: 4.31MB
License: Freeware
Operating systems supported: Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP
Additional software required: None
64 Bit capable: No
Portable version available: No
Non-English languages supported: No
Other relevant information:

[6] ZoneAlarm free firewall
Website: http://www.zonealarm.com/store/content/catalog/products/sku_list_za.jsp
Download link: http://www.zonealarm.com/store/content/company/products/znalm/freeDownload.jsp
Author: Check Point Software
Current version: 7.0.462.000
Version date: December 14, 2007
Download file size: 205KB
License: Freeware
Operating systems supported: Windows 2000/XP/Vista
Additional software required: None
64 Bit capable: No
Portable version available: No
Non-English languages supported: Yes
Other relevant information:

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor “Kat”. If you have any suggestions for alterations or additions to this item then you can contact her at kat@techsupportalert.com

6  Best Free Trojan Scanner/Trojan Remover

My top recommendation here is AVG Anti-Spyware [1], a product formerly formerly known as Ewido until it was acquired recently by GriSoft.

Ewido started life as an anti-trojan scanner but has been repositioned as an anti-spyware scanner by the new owners and the new name reflects that re-positioning.  Whatever ever it is called it is an excellent anti-trojan and a fine anti-spyware program as well.

In my tests Ewido/AVG Anti-Spyware emerged as was one of the few products that could detect polymorphic and process injecting trojans that were totally missed by many anti-virus products.  Unfortunately the free version of AVG Anti-Spyware doesn’t have a memory monitor and this omission significantly  reduces the level of active protection provided. However the on-demand scanner is excellent.

I recommend that all average PC users who don't have an anti-trojan scanner download AVG Anti-Spyware and scan their PCs weekly. I suspect you may be surprised at what you will find. AVG Anti-Spyware is also pretty good at removing some spyware infections so bear that in mind next time you encounter a spyware product you can't remove with normal anti-spyware products like Ad-Aware.  

Note that AVG Anti-Spyware only works with Windows 2000 and later so Win 9X users should consider the free version of a2 (a-squared) anti-trojan as an alternative. It's not quite as effective as AVG Anti-Spyware but is still an excellent product. 

High risk PC users such as P2P file sharers and frequenters of hack sites, should however consider Trojan Hunter or the full version of AVG Anti-Spyware both of which offer the active protection they need.

Note: The free version of AVG Anti-Spyware is actually the same as the paid version but after 30 days the active protection (i.e. memory monitor) becomes non-functional, automatic updates are disabled and kernel level self protection is turned off.

=>index

[1] http://www.ewido.net/en/download/   (6.17MB)
[2] http://www.emsisoft.com/en/software/free/ (13.2MB)

7  Best Free Rootkit Scanner/Remover Updated March 10, 2008

Rootkits are a special kind of software tool used to hide trojans, viruses and other malware from your anti virus scanner and other security products. Unfortunately, they are extremely effective which means that some of you reading this will be infected even though you believe your PC to be totally clean. Thankfully there is a new class of security product now available called rootkit detectors that use specialized techniques to detect these dangerous intruders.

Most of these detectors require quite a bit of technical skill to interpret the results but two of the simplest to use are also amongst the most effective. The first is called Panda Anti Rootkit [1]. It's my top recommendation for average users because it not only good at detecting rootkits it also quite effective at removing them. As a bonus it's small and doesn't require installation although you do have to register at the Panda website before you can download it. I suggest everyone download this product and scan their PC’s. The chances of you being infected are small, but for five minutes work it's not worth taking the risk.

Panda Anti Rootkit will detect most rootkits missed by AV scanners, but it can't provide perfect detection; no rootkit detector can. That's why I suggest you use more than one.
Recommended products:

If you are an experienced user you should check out Sysinternals RootkitRevealer [2]. It uses a totally different different technique than Panda Anti Rootkit and BlackLight and by using all three products together you'll be getting excellent overall detection. RootkitRevealer is more complex to use than BlackLight, and is a bit prone to false positives, so take care before deleting detected items.

For experienced users my top recommendation is GMER [3] though you will need to read the documentation carefully before using this one. I like this product a lot but it's not for everyone. So if you are the type that simply likes to press the “scan” button then stick with Panda Anti Rootkit ;>)

Currently two of the biggest guns in the rootkit detection war are the free Chinese products IceSword [4] and DarkSpy [5]. They are not really detectors like the other products rather they offer a set of tools that can help reveal the presence of a rootkit. These tools include a special process viewer, startup manager and port enumerator that are not fooled by rootkits. It's left to the user though, to interpret the results. In the hands of an skilled user, these are powerful tools but not much use to beginners. The Chinese download sites are slow so I've given local download links [4], [5].

The reality is that at the present time, full protection against rootkits may require the use of multiple products and complete removal may require a system rebuild. For more details see my introductory article on rootkits [6].
Product Specifications:

=>index

[1] Panda Anti Rootkit
Website: http://www.pandasecurity.com/homeusers/downloads/docs/product/help/rkc/en/rkc_en.htm
Download link: http://www.majorgeeks.com/Panda_Anti Rootkit_d5457.html
Author: Panda Security
Date: 04/27/2007
Version:1.07
Download File size: 304KB
License: Freeware
Operating systems supported: Windows NT/2000/XP/2003
64 Bit Capable: no
Portable version available: no
Other languages supported: no
Additional Software Required: no

[2] RootkitRevealer
Website: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897445.aspx
Author: Bryce Cogswell and Mark Russinovich
Date: 11/1/2006
Version:1.71
Download File size:231KB
License: Freeware
Operating systems supported: All Windows versions
64 Bit Capable: no
Portable version available: no
Other languages supported: no
Additional Software Required: no

[3] GMER
Website: http://www.gmer.net/index.php
Author: GMER
Date:01/12/2008
Version:1.0.14
Download File size: 679KB
License: Freeware
Operating systems supported: Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista
64 Bit Capable: no
Portable version available: no
Other languages supported: no
Additional Software Required: no

[4] IceSword
Website: http://antirootkit.com/software/IceSword.htm
Author: pjf_
Date:12/7/2007
Version:1.22
Download File size: 2.1MB
License: Freeware
Operating systems supported: Windows 2000, XP, Vista (version 1.20)
64 Bit Capable: no
Portable version available: yes
Other languages supported: yes
Additional Software Required: no

[5] DarkSpy
Website: http://www.softpedia.com/get/Antivirus/DarkSpy Anti Rootkit.shtml
Author: DarkSpy Anti Rootkit
Date: 2/12/2007
Version:1.0.5
Download File size: 626KB
License: Freeware
Operating systems supported: Windows 2000, XP, 2003
64 Bit Capable: no
Portable version available: no
Other languages supported: no
Additional Software Required :no

[6] Dealing with the Rootkit Threat
Website: http://www.techsupportalert.com/rootkits.htm

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor Jeffrey Brown. If you have any suggestions for alterations or additions to this item then you can contact Jeffrey at j@techsupportalert.com

8  Best Free Intrusion Prevention and Detection Utility for Home Use  (HIPS) Updated February 2, 2008

These days all users face a real risk of malicious programs secretly installing themselves on their computers. Anti virus and anti spyware products dramatically reduce the chance of infection but are not perfect. In particular they are prone to miss new malware products not yet included in their signature databases. They can also fail to detect malware programs that are cleverly disguised to avoid detection.

To prevent these malevolent programs from slipping by your AV and anti spyware programs you need additional defenses such as a Host based Intrusion Prevention program (HIPS). These programs pick up intruders by their behavior rather than by their characteristic fingerprint. They are not limited to detecting specific malware products but can target a wide range of interlopers. For the most part HIPS programs all work in a similar manner; they stop any suspicious behavior and then ask the user whether they want to allow it. This, as we shall see, can be a mixed blessing.

Unfortunately most HIPS programs, including the popular free programs WinPatrol and Prevx, generate a lot of warning messages many of which are quite cryptic. These messages tend to alarm many less experienced users who feel there is something wrong and simply don't know how to respond. That's why these products are only suitable for the very experienced (and very patient).

Thankfully a new generation of HIPS programs has emerged that use white lists, black lists, policies and behavior analysis rules along with other techniques to reduce the number of messages and the load on the user.
Editor's Choice:

A prime example of this class of product is ThreatFire (formerly Cyberhawk) [1] from PCTools. It's available in a free and paid versions and I use the free version on one of my PC's. It only occasionally issues warnings but when it does the warnings are usually real and need to be taken seriously. In essence it provides a vital additional layer of protection to my AV and anti spyware scanners at little cost in terms of annoyance and no cost in terms of my wallet. It is the stand out free product in the HIPS category. Note: A number of readers have reported browsing performance problems after installing ThreatFire. I've not found that myself but be aware that this may be a problem on some PCs.

There are some solid other contenders. Blink Personal from eEye [2] is a HIPS with a firewall as opposed to products like Comodo and ZoneAlarm Pro that are firewalls with HIPS. It's a useful tool for advanced users though I found ThreatFire to be more effective and yet simpler to configure and use. Blink is also only free for non commercial use.
Product Specifications:

[1] ThreatFire
Website: http://www.threatfire.com/download/
Author: ThreatFire
Date: December 20, 2007
Version: 3.0.13
Download File size: 14MB
License: Freeware
Operating systems supported: Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista
64 Bit Capable: yes
Portable version available: no
Other languages supported: no
Additional Software Required: no

[2] Blink
Website: http://www.eeye.com/html/consumer/products/blink/download/index.html
Secondary download mirror: http://www.download.com/Blink-Personal-Edition/3000-2239_4-10658343.html?tag=lst-1
Author: eEye Digital Security
Date: 09/18/2007
Version: 3.2
Download File size: 41.5MB
License: Free for personal or home use
Operating systems supported: Windows 2000, XP, 2003
64 Bit Capable: no
Portable version available: no
Other languages supported: no
Additional Software Required: no

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor Jeffrey Brown. If you have any suggestions for alterations or additions to this item then you can contact Jeffrey at jeffrey@techsupportalert.com

9 Best Free Anonymous Surfing Service  Updated February 16, 2008

There are lots of reasons folks have for wanting to surf anonymously, ranging from simple paranoia to possibly being murdered by a malevolent foreign government. Whatever the reasons, commercial services that offer anonymity are doing real well. However one of the best services JAP [1], is totally free. In fact JAP is perhaps a little too good. That's why the German Police insisted in 2004 that a backdoor be put into the product to allow interception of child pornographers. This was done but subsequently removed as a result of court action by JAP.

An alternative to JAP is a system called Tor [2]. It not only allows anonymous browsing but anonymous P2P, email, IM, and IRC chat as well. Given the US Navy origin of Tor, the suspicion arises that this system may indeed have a permanent backdoor. However the source code is now publicly available so that suspicion can perhaps be set aside. More worrying was a raid by German police in September 2006 involving the seizing of some Tor servers in that country. Again, pedophiles were the supposed target but who really knows.

Whatever, both JAP and Tor offer a level of secrecy that is better than many commercial systems though not watertight. Do expect your surfing to slow down as you'll be relayed through a chain of servers particularly with Tor which has been ground to a near standstill by BitTorrent users seeking to hide from the RIAA. Note: the latest V5 release of JAP now allows Tor users to use JAP as a software access point.

A recent development is the release of the XeroBank Browser [3], previously called TorPark, a special version of the Firefox browser that has been configured to work with the free Tor anonymizing service and run directly from a USB flash drive. It's a neat idea; just plug in your USB stick to any PC with a USB port and Firefox V2 is automatically launched, set up for secure and private surfing.

The most obvious application is internet cafes, public terminals or indeed any PC including your own where you don't want to leave any trace of your private surfing activities. However, what attracts me is not so much the privacy side as the security potential. That's because TorPark creates a secure encrypted connection between the PC you are using and the first Tor server. This allows you to safely transmit information without fear of local interception. This makes it ideal for surfing on open Wi-Fi networks. Previously, secure surfing on such networks required the use of private VPN networks, an option only available to corporates, the well-heeled and the technically savvy. Now, using XeroBank Browser, any surfer can reap the same security benefits for their browsing.

An alternative to XeroBank is OperaTor [4] which is a portable version of Opera with Tor built in. It's smaller and faster than XeroBank though Firefox users will feel more comfortable with XeroBank.

=>index

[1] JAP
Website: http://anon.inf.tu-dresden.de/index_en.html
Download Link: http://anon.inf.tu-dresden.de/download_en.html
Author: JAP is a software development within the Project Anonymity in the Internet sponsored by the German Research Foundation and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. The Project works closely with the Independent Center for Data Privacy Schleswig-Holstein.
Current version: 00.09.010
Version date: -n/a-
License: Freeware
Download File size: 15,623,168 Bytes
Operating Systems Supported: Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista,
Macintosh, Os/2, Linux/Unix
Additional Software Required: Java (downloadable from http://sun.java.com)
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English languages supported: German
Other relevant information: None

[2] Tor
Website: http://tor.eff.org/
Download Link: http://www.torproject.org/download.html.en
Author: Tor Project
Current version: 0.1.2.19
Version date: -n/a-
License: BSD Freeware (information on website)
Download file size: 6.38 MB
Operating Systems Supported: Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista,
Mac OS, Linux/Unix
Additional Software Required: None
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English languages supported: None
Other relevant information: None

[3] XeroBank Browser
Website: http://www.xerobank.com/xB_browser.html
Download Link: http://update.xerobank.com/distro/XeroBank/xB-Browser_latest.exe
Author: XeroBank
Current version: 2.0.0.10a
Version date: -n/a-
License: Freeware
Download file size: 8.8 MB
Operating Systems Supported: Windows NT and Later
Additional Software Required: None
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English languages supported: None
Other relevant information: None

[4] OperaTor
Website: http://archetwist.com/opera/operator
Download Link: http://operator.pbwiki.com/f/OperaTor-2.4b.zip
Author: Arche Twist
Current version: 2.4b
Version date: -n/a-
License: Freeware
Download file size: 6.4 MB
Operating Systems Supported: All Windows
Additional Software Required: None
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English languages supported: None
Other relevant information: None

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor ­Abdul S. If you have any suggestions for alterations or additions to this item then you can contact him at abdul@techsupportalert.com

10  Best Free Software Suite
 
The Open CD site [1] offers for free a wonderful collection of just about every application software product you need to run a PC including the latest version of OpenOffice. Many of these freebies substitute admirably for expensive commercial products. There is Abi Word as an alternative for MS Word, OpenOffice for MS Office XP, Thunderbird for Outlook, The Gimp for Adobe Photoshop, 7-zip for WinZip and many more. If you then add to this collection some of the other utilities from my “46 Best-ever Utilities” collection you will have all the software you'll ever need without spending a cent. Note: All of the Open CD utilities can be downloaded for free as a CD ISO image. If you have a slow connection you can purchase the CD for a as little as $1.99.

The Open CD project was a great idea but updates have been slow coming.  OpenDisc is a follow-on project with a similar objective, but it aspires to be more up-to-date and responsive to user needs. The early signs look encouraging, with an impressive download package [2] and a reasonably active blog and forum [2]. This is an extraordinary collection of software containing  everything you could want to fully set up your PC. Do note, though, that the ISO download [4] is 555MB.

The folks at Ubuntu Linux  [5] are giving away free CDs containing most of the programs on the Open CD together with the latest version of Ubuntu. They will send you the full Ubuntu installation CDs plus a live CD where you can run Ubuntu directly from the CD. You can order as many CDs as you want and you don't even have to pay the mailing costs! When you get your CDs read this this simple introduction to Linux [6] before starting.    

=>index

[1] http://theopencd.org
[2] http://theopendisc.com/programs/
[3] http://www.theopendisc.com/forum/
[4] http://theopendisc.com/latest-version/
[5] https://shipit.ubuntu.com/
[6] http://www.paulstamatiou.com/2005/10/24/how-to-ubuntu-linux-for-novices/ 


(Sponsored Links)

The Best Windows Backup Software
We are in the process of updating all the backup reviews at our site but I can tell you right now that the top product has blitzed the field for a second year in row. In fact, it's improved so much that it's now a one horse race for our “editor's choice.” The updated review of the top product is now online. If you have been looking for a backup program, this is the one.
http://www.backup-software-reviews.com/

The Best Re mote Access Software
Our reviewer had given this product category away as “too slow, tool clumsy and too unreliable” but after reviewing this product he's changed his mind; “… at long last a remote access solution that actually works!  Quite frankly we agree with him, it's an impressive product.  Read the full review here:
http://www.pcsupportadvisor.com/best_remote_access_software.htm

The Best Spam Blocker for Dummies
Most spam filters require you to be a computer expert. Our Editor has found two spam filters for average users that will remove the spam from your email and yet are simple to use.
http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-antispam.htm

The Best Drive Imaging Program
In this race there are really only two runners worth considering. This review provides an in-depth comparison of the top contenders but in the end, one product is the clear winner.
http://techsupportalert.com/drive-imaging-reviews.htm

The Best Places to Buy Cheap Inkjet Cartridges
We looked at 47 websites offering compatible inkjet printer cartridges and found 11 that we were able to recommend. Two sites though, stood out from the rest for both price and service.
 http://techsupportalert.com/cheap_inket_cartridges.htm

11  Best Free File Manager 

Windows Explorer is fine for simple file management activities but when you have some serious work to do, you need a multi-pane pane file manager. I use Directory Opus which is IMHO, the best product in this class but costs $59.  A good free alternative is xplorer² Lite [1].  It offers a good part of the functionality of Directory Opus and is totally free. As a bonus, its user interface is very similar to Windows Explorer, so most users will find this tool easy to learn and use.

XYplorer is another strong contender. It uses a tabbed view rather than a two pane view which is better when working with multiple folders though not quite as efficient as the two pane approach when working with only two. XYplorer is packed with features included one of the best file-finders I've seen. It's one of those products that impresses more with use. In fact I suspect that if you use it for a month, you'll end up using it permanently.  Until the 21st March 2006 it was freeware but has now morphed to shareware but a recent free version (V5.55) is available from the vendor's site [2].

Some folks just love Free Commander [3], a classic two pane Norton Commander style manager. It's certainly powerful but I find the interface a little dated. However it's free for both private and commercial use and that's a big plus.

=>index

[1] http://zabkat.com/x2lite.htm   Free for private use, Win 95 and later, 1MBB
[2] http://www.xyplorer.com/free.php Free for private use, Win 98 and later, 836KB
[3] http://www.freecommander.com/  Freeware, Windows 95 and later, 1.61MB

12 Best Free Email Client Updated January 30, 2008

Email programs today are a much more sophisticated than they used to be. In addition to simply sending and receiving email, they now can manage your contacts and calendar, read news groups and RSS newsfeeds, and even integrate with various web-based mail systems like GMail and Hotmail.

Thunderbird [1] is a free open source POP and IMAP email client developed by Mozilla.org, the same folks who brought you Firefox. Feature-wise it sits somewhere between Outlook Express and Outlook which means that it offers an upgrade to Express users and a downgrade to those who use the more advanced PIM features of Outlook. Further features can be added through free extensions. Notable among these is Webmail (Download link below), an extension that allows POP3 access to webmail services operated by Yahoo, Hotmail, Lycos, MailDotCom, Gmail and Libero. Thunderbird email files can be indexed by the Google, Yahoo! and Copernic desktop search programs.

Outlook Express users should seriously consider switching. You’ll be rewarded with a more advanced product including built-in spam filtering, built-in RSS reader, message color coding, fast email search, anti-phishing measures, spell check as you type, inbox filters, Kerberos authentication, automatic updates and the ability to view your mail in conversational threads. On top of that, the product is more secure than Outlook Express and unlike the latter, is still being actively developed.

Switching is made easier by the fact that Thunderbird looks and works similar to Outlook Express. Tools within Thunderbird also allow you to easily import your Outlook Express account settings and stored email. If you need assistance there is an excellent guide from Mozilla available for download at the link below.

If you want an alternative to Thunderbird then try Foxmail [2]. Despite the name it is not related to Firefox, but comes out of China. It's an impressive product with features matching or exceeding Thunderbird and it's also really easy to use. My only real beef is the quality of the help files. Yes, they have been translated to English but rather poorly. So poorly that they are actually quite amusing. Don't let that deflect you though, Foxmail is a top product with eight million users world-wide and is a real alternative to Thunderbird. If you need help there's a good FAQ available in the “Product Specifications” Section.

Another good option that not many people are aware of is the email client built into the Opera Web Browser [3]. The folks at Opera call it their “M2 Mail Client”. Though there is no calendar on this program like in Outlook but it is still quite powerful. This built-in e-mail client is a combined e-mail database, news reader, mailing list organizer and RSS newsfeed reader. My experience with it was quite pleasant. It was easy to set up, very intuitive to use and it easily looked up any contact I ever had an email correspondence with.

=>index

[1] Mozilla Thunderbird
Website: http://www.mozilla.org/
Download Link: http://www.mozilla.org/products/thunderbird/
Author: Mozilla Corp.
Current Version: 2.0.0.9
Version date: 12/3/2007
License: Freeware – Mozilla Public License
Download file size: 6.4 MB
Operating Systems Supported: Windows 98-Vista, Mac OS-X, Various Linux Distros
Additional Software Required: None
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English Languages Supported: Many: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/thunderbird/all.html
Other relevant information:
Thunderbird Extensions: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird
Webmail Plugin: http://webmail.mozdev.org/index.html
Guide for Migrating from Outlook to Thunderbird: http://opensourcearticles.com/introduction_to_thunderbird

[2] Foxmail
Website: http://fox.foxmail.com.cn/
Download Link: http://www.softpedia.com/get/Internet/E-mail/E-mail-Clients/Foxmail.shtml
Author: Foxmail
Current Version: 6.10.201.20
Version Date: 9/25/2007
License: Freeware
Download file size: 5.44 MB
Operating Systems Supported: Windows 95-Vista
Additional Software Required: None
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English Languages Supported: Chinese
Other Relevant Information:
FoxMail English FAQ: http://www.hazeleger.net/psjs_faqs/index.html
Note: If after installing, the program comes up in Chinese, all you have to do is delete the file chinese.lgb in the installation folder. Developer's website is in Chinese.

[3] Opera (M2 Mail Client)
Website: http://www.opera.com/
Download Link: http://www.opera.com/download/
Author: Opera Software
Current Version: 9.25
Version Date: 1/15/2008
License: Free
Download file size: 4.7 MB
Operating Systems Supported: Windows 95-Vista, Mac OS 7.5-OS X, Various Linux Distros, OS/2, QNX, Various Mobile Phones, and Palm OS 5
Additional Software Required: None
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English languages Supported: Many – Available via downloadable language files
Other relevant information:
Opera Language Files: http://www.opera.com/download/languagefiles/
Note: Runs as part of the Opera Web Browser

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor Joe Bennett. If you have any suggestions for alterations or additions to this item then you can contact Joe at joe@techsupportalert.com

13 Best Free Web Mail Accessory

It's a real plus to be able to collect your Hotmail, Yahoo! or other Webmail using your POP3 email client. It used to be simple but these days most Webmail services only provide POP3 access for premium paid accounts. However it's still possible to do it though by using a special utility designed for the job.

If you use Yahoo! mail then head straight for YPOPs!  [1]  that allows you to download your Yahoo webmail from within your POP3 email client such as Outlook, Thunderbird or Eudora. It's free, easy top set up using the instructions on the web site and is simple to use.  I use it on multiple Yahoo accounts and it works wonderfully.

The second suggestion is a free utility called FreePOPs [2]. It's a much more flexible product than YPOPs! and will download mail from HotMail, AOL, Yahoo!, Juno, Libero and a myriad of other webmail services as well. It's power and flexibility can confuse new users but thankfully there is a clearly written tutorial for beginners [3] . FreePOPS is for receiving email only and has no sending capabilities.

A  third possibility is the Open Source program MrPostman [4] which offers similar functionality to FreePOPs and allows access to email accounts on MS Exchange 5.5 as well.  It needs a bit of fiddling to work correctly but you'll find a couple of links below [5], [6} that will help you. My only reservation is that product development seems to have ceased. Note that MrPostman requires the Java Runtime Environment to be installed on your PC.

Another webmail accessory you might useful is POP Peeper, a free utility that lets you know when new mail arrived in your Webmail account. It installs a little tray icon that alerts you to new mail in your Hotmail, MSN, Yahoo, Mail.com, MyWay, Excite, Lycos.com, or RediffMail accounts.  It's particularly useful for users who have multiple webmail webmail services.  It won't though, download your mail to your POP3 email client. To do that you need one of the products above. It does however, allow you to read and even respond to your mail within the product without opening your email program.  This makes it very attractive to Webmail users who don't use a regular email client such as Outlook or Thunderbird.    

=>index

[1]  http://www.ypopsemail.com/  Free GPL license, Win95 and later, 1.48MB
[2] http://www.freepops.org Freeware, Windows 98 and later, 813KB
[3] http://www.freepops.org/en/tutorial/index.shtml
[4] http://mrpostman.sourceforge.net/   Free Open Source, 1.5MB
[5] http://2mod2.com/mohot/   <= Installing Mr Postman
[6] http://sourceforge.net/forum/?group_id=68124   <= MrPostman forum
[7] http://www.poppeeper.com/ Freeware, Windows 95 and later, 818KB

14 Best Free Clipboard Replacement Utility  Updated February 27, 2008

There are many clipboard managers out there but only a few that do what I want, the way I want.

Clipx [1] and Clipomatic [2] are excellent. They are both fast, lightweight, easy to use and use few system resources. When you press a programmable hot key they launch a pop-up menu of clips to select. The clip selection can be made via mouse or keyboard shortcut thus enabling completion of the entire copy/select/paste process to be made by keyboard alone. They have options to record and display a variable number of clips, as well as to store permanent clips such as text snippets. Both use less than 1MB memory so any system can afford to have them running continuously.
Clipomatic is a bit slicker to use and has more robust permanent item functionality but its real limitation is that it is text only. ClipX will do everything Clipomatic will (although you need to add a plug-in to enable the permanent clip function, available from the same site as ClipX plus copy images.

The only reason I've stopped using those two is because they only keep a limited number of clips. They can hold 30+ but everything they hold is displayed on the hot key popup and if you set them high the popup gets pretty big and cluttered. If you keep the popup slim and small, you only get to keep a limited clip history.

There are other clip utilities that record full histories but most of them fail in simplicity of use. Clip Magic [3] and Yankee Clipper III [4] are two decent ones that record, sort, and archive huge histories and both do it well. But they are overkill; more like clipboard Personal Information Managers than utilities. And the cost of this overkill is the loss of simplicity of operation. Yankee Clipper is now shareware but the last free version is available from the link shown below.

ArsClip [5] is a product that offers a perfect balance between functionality and ease of use. It has the fast and light features of Clipomatic and ClipX but also records a long history of clips. Intelligently, the popup only displays a limited number of clips but the rest of the history is just one click further away. The history is also searchable. ArsClip has permanent items, but expands the basic ability and lets you create several different groups of permanent clips (like forum responses, email addresses, signatures, etc.), each displayed as separate cascading menus on the popup. ArsClip also allows easy one-click editing of clips. To top it all off, ArsClip requires no installation and can be run from a portable drive so you can easily tote all your clips with you.

For those with undemanding clip management needs, ClipX and Clipomatic are both fine choices. They are efficient tiny utilities that, while simple, still enormously increase the functionality of the Windows clipboard. Clip Magic and YCIII are more like full-blown clip management applications rather than utilities, but do offer excellent sorting and archiving if you're a digital pack rat ArsClip is my favorite, offering speed and effortless functionality while hanging on to a wealth of data.

All of these tools offer great advantages over the standard Windows Clipboard. So pick what's right for your needs knowing that whatever you chose you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.

=>index

[1] ClipX
Website: http://bluemars.org/clipx/
Download Link:: Latest stable version: ClipX 1.0.3.8 (Nov. 30th, 2005)
Latest beta version: ClipX 1.0.3.9 beta 3 (Feb. 6th, 2008)
Author: Francis Gastellu
Current Version: 1.0.3.8
Version Date: November 30, 2005
License: Freeware
Download File Size: 108KB
Operating Systems Supported: Not Clear – presumably through Vista
Additional Software Required: None
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English languages supported: None
Other relevant information: None

[2] Clipomatic
Website: http://www.mlin.net/Clipomatic.shtml
Download Link: http://www.mlin.net/Clipomatic.shtml
Author: Unknown
Current Version: 2.01
Version Date: Unknown
License: Freeware
Download File Size: 96KB
Operating Systems Supported: Not Clear – presumably through XP
Additional Software Required: None
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English languages supported: None
Other relevant information: Zip File

[3] Clip Magic
Website: http://www.clipmagic.com/
Download Link: http://www.clipmagic.com
Latest stable version: 3.2.3
Author: MJT Net Ltd
Current Version: 3.2.3
Version Date: Unknown
License: Freeware
Download File Size: 1.83MB
Operating Systems Supported: Not Clear – presumably through XP
Additional Software Required: None
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English languages supported: None
Other relevant information: None

[4] Yankee Clipper III
Website: http://www.intelexual.com/products/index.aspx
Download Link for last free version: http://www.brothersoft.com/yankee-clipper-iii-3552.html
Latest stable version: 1.0.1.0
Author: InteleXual Software, LLC
Current Version: 1.0.1.0
Version Date: September 20, 2005
License: Trialware (90 days)
Download File Size: 4.27MB
Operating Systems Supported: Not Clear – presumably through XP
Additional Software Required: No
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English languages supported: None
Other relevant information: Must register after 90-day trial

[5] ArsClip
Website: http://www.joejoesoft.com/cms/showpage.php?cid=97
Download Link: http://www.joejoesoft.com
Latest stable version: 3.0.3
Author: arsware.org
Current Version: 3.0.3
Version Date: June 12, 2007
License: Freeware
Download File Size: 613KB
Operating Systems Supported: At least through '98 S.E.
Additional Software Required:
64 Bit Capable: No
Portable Version Available: No
Non-English languages supported: None
Other relevant information: Runs from executable

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor Oers Kelemen. If you have any suggestions for alterations or additions to this item then you can contact him at oers@techsupportalert.com

15  Best Free HTML Editor Updated February 18, 2008
 

Many professional designers and web developers use Adobe software such as DreamWeaver, but quite a few just use a simple text editor and take a certain pride in doing so.

Text editors are fine for programmers or those who really want to learn how to code raw html but most users have no interest in this. They just want an editor that allows them to produce web pages quickly in a WYSIWYG environment.

Ideally such an editor should also be able to validate that the html is standards-compliant, include a FTP client, preview the page in different browsers, support meta-tags and provide basic image editing, while still being free.

That's a big ask. Possibly the free product that goes closest is KompoZer [3], and this is our top recommendation for newbies. It's a full featured WYSIWYG editor based on the Open Source Nvu editor. It fixes a number of problems in Nvu though it still has some stability issues itself.

The problem with this kind of software is that it needs continuous updating, because of the arrival of new browsers and browser versions, new versions of XHTML or CSS, Ajax etc. Unfortunately little is happening with KompoZer – the last release was in July 2006 while Nvu, the product on which KompoZer is based, is now discontinued.  

This is a real problem: Evrsoft First Page 2006 [1] is another fine editor, but as its name indicates it's out of date while the last update to Selida [5] was in 2005.

That's why my top choice for experienced users goes to HTML-Kit 292 [2]. HTML-Kit is not a WYSIWYG editor nor is it just a text editor. It's a specialized html editor with so many plugins that it is best considered as a development environment. Its last release date was February 2008.  Furthermore it has a big community so that it is continually being developed and updated. The website is full of video tutorials and resources like plugins. It's the only freebie one that is compatible with Vista, and is also portable.  It is a great choice for serious coders.

There three more free HTML editors worth mentioning.

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